Today, I received something special in the mail. It was a package containing a few copies of the 2014 calendar of the American Anthropology Association, which was distributed at its annual conference in November last year. It was a special souvenir and promotional calendar featuring photographs of many members doing research or in areas where they work.
Why did I get these calendars? It is because one of the featured photographs is one I took!
The Association started having photo contests a few years ago, you see, and I decided to send in samples of my photos of life in Korea for as an entry for the contest in the fall of 2008. My photo of a Buddhist temple all decorated for Buddha's birthday under a brilliant May sun got an honourable mention. Was I surprised when an officer of one of the publications committees contacted me last October in order to advise me that that same honoured photo had been selected for the calendar! It was the first time a calendar using top photos of the AAA's photo contests had been made, and out of all those hundreds of entries over several years, mine was chosen among the 12 included in the calendar. Five thousand people attend the annual conference, and the organization has 12,000 members mostly based in North America, but also in some other countries.
Here it is. It is pretty, with sharpness and balance, as well as great colour.
I have never submitted any of my photos to any other contest before. I am not much of a photographer. I have the simplest of equipment--just digital cameras and the smart phone. I do think I have an artistic eye, and I've been complimented many times for the images that I post on Facebook and elsewhere. Maybe I should pursue photography as a hobby, as well as painting, one day.
I just returned home from dinner with my afternoon class of civic employees. They chose a "shabu-shabu" restaurant that serves boiled beef and vegetable cooked in a pot on a burner at the table, and eaten with sauces and side dishes. At the last part of the meal, when all that remains is the broth in the pot, it is custom to cook either rice or noodles in that broth. The noodles are usually freshly made in the kitchen, and often with herbs or vegetables. We had "sook" noodles, made of an herbal leaf and frequently served in Korean soups.
The group is quite conservative. Half are men and they are all married, most with children. The women are on the young side and unmarried except one. These single men live with their parents still!
After a few weeks, their minds will start to open like flower to the world as they learn more of other societies and their ways. They are in the class because they want to mix and mingle internationally and interculturally, and explore the world.
This week, the civic employees classes are taking place at the new campus. The surrounding mountains were dusted with a light snowfall, and the air was very fresh. Their classroom is a bit too small, and not everything is in working order yet. I had time to wander around the new campus. A lot of the fittings and landscaping are being done. One building is still under construction. I am still setting up my office; today I arranged some keepsakes in the hutch. Now I want to decorate it a little and put up some wall ornaments.. L has discarded one of her desks, and replaced it with shelving so the place is spacious-looking.