Anno Domini MMXII in caso admodo adveni.
Which translates to about: “In the Year of the Lord two thousand and twelve I went on quite an adventure.” And indeed I did.
I started off 2012 in Cambodia. In itself, that represents quite the adventure. Seeing the ruins of Angkor Wat or mourning the injustices humans do to each other in the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum each provide plenty of adventure. But apparently not enough, for I had to go and get food poisoning not once, but twice! Yeah… I had a gut retching experience. But at least I also got to fight off the hordes of mosquitoes with an electric racket before taking shelter in the mosquito netting. And I got to watch mercury from a broken thermometer get washed down the drain in a bathroom, which was lacking in soap until my wife and her friends went and bought some, in a clinic with the air conditioning turned off for the holidays with no way to turn it back on and a state of cleanliness that left me wondering if I would leave with more problems than I entered with. I really loved that clinic. At least most of the time the IV was putting saline solution into me and not accidentally drawing blood…
The flight from Cambodia to Korea was a tense one. I didn’t know if I would make it without puking or not! And I didn’t know if the health people would let me back into Korea. The bus ride from the airport to the station near our flat was even worse. x.x
My job duties changed significantly, such that I had an entirely new set of things to do at work. With a last moment notification, of course, that I would be teaching a creative writing class. I ended up being the school librarian (which included redoing the entire library database due to inconsistencies in the original), the school nurse, the keeper of lost and found, the solver of printer issues, the online course proctor, teacher of creative writing and a quasi-ESL class (added in because apparently I had the time), the only one to do something about the computer lab (creating an admin password and removing games from the computers, including Grand Theft Auto O.o ), and being one of the few substitute teachers. So while I didn’t have quite the same stressors as I had for the first half of the school year, I definitely was kept busy.
My wife ended up getting typhoid fever, which shut the school down for a week and put her in the hospital and then stuck at home for a while. That was a bit of excitement. I had to be tested for typhoid fever, too. (And it wasn’t easy to swab myself). But I ended up being clean.
I started taking 검도 (Keomdo, Korean form of Kendo) lessons, which was a lot of fun. October was the last time I went—despite making it on the rank board and having my own armor, the language barrier proved to be too much as I couldn’t understand the explanations of how to not make the mistakes I was making. T.T So here’s hoping I find a Kendo or Keomdo dojo in the states and start over. One of the fun things that resulted from Keomdo was going to a raw seafood place with my instructors and a few classmates and having my Korean classmates shove raw abalone and squid into my mouth. I tried to explain that I grew up on the coast and could feed myself seafood… But that failed to keep them from putting raw seafood into my mouth. I think I may have gotten food poisoning from that outing…
I wrote some poetry during the school year. School, lesson planning, keomdo, Bible study (both the online one I lead and the one the Bible teacher was doing), church, and other sundry things kept me busy for most of the school year, though, so not too much exciting to tell. My parents and my wife’s aunt both visited us. Those visits were fun! One of the places I visited with my parents was Suwon Fortress. It was fascinating seeing the old wall encircling part of the city. On our way back from the fortress we watched a parade of people dressed in period costumes.
I suppose we did end up sort of gassing ourselves with chlorine while fighting against mold. Our flat doesn’t have the best ventilation, you see, and well, errm, we were using bleach to kill the mold in a closet and in the bathroom. Unfortunately the vapors sort of settled in the flat instead of leaving. So we did all we could to increase ventilation and bought milk because apparently drinking milk helps counteract any fumes you may have inhaled.
Back in the states I enjoyed some of the old LEGO sets I had acquired through BrickLink (a dangerous website for a Lego enthusiast) and the new Lord of the Rings sets. Well, I had fun with them in between helping clean and visiting friends. I’m hoping to acquire the sets related to The Hobbit sometime this summer and then figure out what bricks I might need to get to replicate parts of my stories in LEGO bricks. Because I also discovered the MOCs (stands for My Own Creation) people have done using LEGO bricks and there are some impressive ones, including a gigantic depiction of Amon Hen. Due to space constraints I had to put my LEGO sets away before I could really start building with them. Though I did get to have Rebel troopers and Indiana Jones help defend Helms Deep prior to the putting away (I mean, if the Elves got to be at Helms Deep, why not have other people who weren’t there come with them).
We also spent some time helping my wife’s parents clean. They were kind enough to let us stay there and have been storing our wedding gifts and such, so it was the least we could do. We didn’t get around to really doing much work on installing floor, which is sad, since I really enjoyed doing that a few summers ago. I’ll probably get a chance in the future, so I should probably be careful of what I wish for!
My wife and I then took a road trip down to visit my parents! My brother was also there, so it was good to see all three of them. And then we took a road trip to go see my maternal grandmother via Crater Lake, California and the Grand Canyon. It was my second time to see Crater Lake (the first time being with the Boy Scouts) and I definitely took more pictures this time around. Perhaps next time I’ll go on the boat ride they offer. We stopped in California to spend time with an aunt and uncle (it was the first time my wife got to meet them, so I was glad she had that opportunity). While there we got to see my dad’s old home in the Bay Area, Muir woods (what a relaxing hike that was), a college friend of my wife and I (I stayed with her family when I went to FurtherConfusion in 2010) whose TV we were returning, the park under the south side of the Golden Gate Bridge (I could look it up, but I’d rather keep writing), and my uncle took me and my dad to an observatory that was hosting an event for members of my uncle’s work.
We met another uncle near the California-Arizona border, as he had been working in mines in Nevada, and had dinner with him. I enjoyed that as well. And then came my second visit to the Grand Canyon (the first being when my dad and I had been driving a moving truck with furniture for a relative in Albuquerque many years ago). My dad and brother hiked a lot farther than my mother, wife, and I did. I could have gone as far, but I wanted to stay with my wife. So we got to see more views of the canyon, while my dad and brother got to brag about how far they went. All-in-all it was wonderful, though I want to return and, LORD willing, backpack from Rim to Rim.
As we were leaving the Grand Canyon that evening, we got a phone call from one of my aunts who was with my grandmother at the nursing home. And it was that grandmother’s condition had worsened. It was a rough night. The next morning we got in the car and blitzed toward southern New Mexico. I had been hoping to see the VLA (Very Large Array–a radio telescope) on our way down, but seeing that will have to wait. And I had been hoping to show my wife more of New Mexico, but the weather and events conspired against that.
We did manage to make it to grandmother in time to say goodbye, though she wasn’t as responsive as she had been a few days prior. And she didn’t pass from this world until all of her children had arrived. But she is gone, which I still find hard to believe, and I miss her. T.T
So the rest of the time in New Mexico was spent preparing for the funeral and going through grandmother’s stuff. My brother flew back to university during that process. My wife got to meet other relatives of mine, though I wish it could have been in happier circumstances. Then my parents, wife, and I drove back to my parents’ house via Utah. We rented a moving truck to help take with us some of grandma’s stuff, so we had two vehicles returning.
I got to see Arches for the first time and that made me happy. And I found another vulpine friend! My wife named him Archie, since we found him in the Arches NP gift shop. We helped my parents a little with the stuff we had brought back, though we soon left back for my wife’s parents’ house.
During our summer in the States, we also visited with friends. It was good to visit with the members of the Commonwealth of 212 and 216, though not all of them were around. And we got to have lunch with a fellow wordweaver and dear friend who likes to call me Kitsune. And I spent time with one of the best DMs I have campaigned under who is also a dear friend of mine. There were people I didn’t get to see and I didn’t really get to go to any furmeets, but it was good to see those friends I did.
The return to Korea brought a return to humidity and I found myself firmly unemployed. I spent a little time trying to find work, but then settled on writing my novels and comic/webcomic/graphic novel (not sure which it will be) scripts. So while I haven’t been paid for my work, I have been working.
I have now been through several typhoons. You probably read my earlier ramblings about Typhoon Bolaven, so I don’t need to go into detail about that, but it was another part of the adventure I had in 2012.
I also did a lot more adventuring around Korea in 2012. I think I have mentioned my trips to various parks and historic sites. And at least some of the videos I have taken are on my YouTube channel. If you pester me enough, I might remember to upload all the ones I have in queue. My adventuring benefited from not having a set work schedule, as I could visit places while they were open and avoid the weekend crowds.
So some of you may be familiar with NaNoWriMo. For those of you who aren’t, it stands for National Novel Writing Month and takes place in November (perhaps that’s why it’s no-shave November–everyone is too busy trying to keep their wordcount up to bother with shaving…). The goal is to write a 50,000 word novel over the course of November. Well, because I was going to a friend’s wedding in November, my wife had the grand idea of having me choose a thirty day period in October to set aside for writing the first draft of my second novel. So I did NaNoWriMo this past year, but it was in October.
For November found me in Oregon. I helped my parents with cataloging the massive stamp collection my grandmother had left behind. Thousands upon thousands of stamps in boxes beyond boxes. Most of them weren’t worth that much, since grandmother liked buying sheets of stamps. And most of them were American stamps, so there wasn’t as much mystery as there would have been had we had to decipher where the stamps were from. But it was still exciting and gave me something to do while my parents were off at work.
My friend’s wedding went well! I had fun being one of the groomsmen and enjoyed the trip to the Oregon coast. I hadn’t realized how much I missed the Oregon coast, until I was standing on its shores under the overcast sky. Yeah… that reminds me of a home I once knew, back when I was but a kit. And the wedding allowed me to catch up with the Brotherhood Five, which had been sorely needed. May we meet again soon, my dear friends!
And I had an early Thanksgiving with my parents and one of the Brotherhood Five (you know, I really should find out how they want me to refer to them individually here in my ramblings–since I am trying to obfuscate names and places to some extent…). It was delicious! And it was good to spend time with this dear friend of mine (he had been my best man, after all!). I also stayed at his flat for a night. Oh! And I ate with him at a Korean restaurant in one town and at another Korean restaurant in my parents’ town with my former youth pastor. So my craving for kimchi while in the States was satisfied!
And the end of 2012 saw me visiting Jeju island. That was quite the fun adventure and deserves at least one rambling of its own! Especially since I have rambled on rather long right now… Yeah, I better let you go soon…
The adventure that continued into this year was trying to write on adaptations. Never again will I tie a deviantArt submission of that magnitude to ramblings here and announce it before hand. Because then I feel like I can’t ramble here because it would mess up what I had planned… So I have learned my lesson (for now), and you should be hearing more from me on a more regular basis.
So my plans and goals for 2013 are as follows:
- Stay alive. As much as North Korea is probably just sabre rattling and not really intending to follow through with their threats, I would like to see my friends and family in the States again and get around to the rest of my list. So I’ll do what I can to avoid the sort of adventure that would come from hostilities starting up again and pray that things don’t come to that.
- Continue exploring Korea.
- Get my first novel ready to send out to publishers by summer.
- Visit Japan.
- Attend the wedding of the person who was my best man and perhaps another friend’s wedding.
- Learn more Korean and brush up on my Japanese and Russian.
- Ramble more often!!!
Blessings and peace!