It is the eve of 2014. I've had a full day and I feel good.
To catch you up with what transpired yesterday afternoon, I made it to the dental hospital directly after class, making my excuses to my students for not being there for my mandatory office hour. The cause of the recent tooth aches was addressed by breaking down the foundation for the new crown; that is, the stump of the tooth had to be repacked and reshaped. After doing that, the mold was cast for the permanent crown, and a new temporary crown shaped and fitted. I was there for nearly two hours. In the end, the delay of this last appointment from last week to Monday (yesterday) was a fortunate thing, for had I gone last week, more work would have been done resulting in more to be undone once the aching commenced. I must return for the mounting of the crown in 10 days.
I actually arrived to Seomyeon for the dental appointment too early, so I popped into the Seomyeon Lotte Department Store to check out the sales of winter clothing and found big discounts compared to sales of a month previous. Since I'd recently lost my good gloves ( it seems I'm losing a lot of good stuff while in transit these days), I browsed through the gloves and found nice ones for about 20,000w less that the prices of last month. I also found walking shoes and hiking boots on sale. (I've been procrastinating about replacing an old worn-out pair for ages.) Like magic, I spotted a pair I liked almost immediately upon seeing them displayed, and, amazingly, they fit pretty well, so I paid for them instantly.
I woke up at around 5:30 today, which left me short of about an hour of sleep, so I'm not sure I can last until midnight tonight. Anyway, I eventually caught the shuttle bus to campus in order to teach the 9 a.m. class. It went well. We finished the discussion of the TED lecture on depression, then I taught the group a simple card game called "King's corners" as a New Year's Eve day treat. They liked it.
At the end of both my classes today, I gave each person a yellow balloon as a special activity for greeting the New Year. The yellow was suitable as a happy colour, the colour of sunshine. I asked the participants inflate the balloons, then write their personal greetings or wishes on the balloon's surface in the spirit of starting the New Year right. These older civil servants preferred to leave that task for later, and got in to the card game. The second group of young university students, on the other hand, immediately set about inflating the balloons up and writing messages--in English!
With the end of the grading period coming up this Friday, I thought I should tackle the grade reports today; they are the official record that teachers submit to the administration. I got three out of four written out properly, and recalculated everything. When I did the recalculations, I found I was able to boost the marks of several students.
I bore in mind the recent complaints of one young woman who has been objecting to her grade of C+ and her insistence that I reconsider and boost her grade. I reviewed the scores and calculations of her and her classmates, and found a couple of miscalculations. I was thus able to raise two grades from B to B+'s and, furthermore, change three A's to A+'s as a result of the complaint, though I could not bring her grade up to a B. She'll be even more pissed off, I imagine.
Then I reviewed and checked the grades of two more classes. In total, I found it justifiable to turn five strong A's in to A+'s.
I finished work at around 3:30 then set off for the local bathhouse. That was an activity I'd been holding in mind for New Year's Eve day for the past couple of days. It felt really good. I always go into the cold bath between immersions in the hot baths, then enjoy the dry sauna before a shower and scrub. It's very relaxing and satisfying.
Lucky for us, the new campus will be fairly close to the natural mountain springs. Actually, I'm a 30 minute transit ride from the natural sea water springs in Haeundae, but I've only been to them a couple of times.
How am I doing New Year's Eve. It's not always a big thing for me, personally. As you can see by the process by which I started this blog and the fact that I started it just after my birthday, the anticipation of the New Year begins early for me, and the process of reflecting on the entire year and coming to terms with the passing of the year is a long and involved process for me which begins even before November. I don't do it on one day, and I couldn't.
Regardless of this reality, let me articulate what I have come to see as my accomplishments of 2013 here. It suits the purpose, intent and character of this blog.
Job: I maintained workplace relationships. I got acquainted with a new office mate and have been building that relationship. We get along well. I resumed teaching the extra classes for the civic employees. I completed an extended term as our team coordinator with commendations. I overcame a bad evaluation on the part of one class of students last spring, and was offered the opportunity to resume my contract. I was called upon by Korea TESOL members to serve as a local officer once again because of my work and reputation. I got some good editing assignments with a great new team. In fact, I've just been paid for stints of work with both teams! One of my photos was selected by the American Anthropology Society to be published in its 2014 calendar and the calendar was distributed to 5,000 members at its annual conference in November. I attended and presented an international social science and education conference.
Hobbies: I kept up hiking and the relationships with fellow hikers is growing. I've generally been keeping reasonably fit. On the writing and publishing front, I finished the novel called, "Take Care" and uploaded it to the Smashwords.com site. I updated my Vistaprint professional site, and started this blog. My alumni association asked for updates ( and all alumni) to inform it about our published writing, and is inviting all us writers to a meeting to promote our works. (Not sure I'll be able to attend, though.)
Health: I started this calendar year in great health. I lost a bit of weight as of last spring. I got through a bit of a crisis recently and am healing well. Everyone's saying I look really well. I just had a full check-up. I had eaten breakfast before the blood test that is included with the general physical, and I took the test on day after Christmas, so that some results seemed a little high (Chol., ALP, Glucose), but I understand the context so I'm not worried about it. For one thing, I usually and generally eat little meat, take nutrition supplements, and I eat plenty of fish and vegetables. (My cholesterol count in Sept. 2012 was 100, but it was 244! this time!) My water balance appeared to be a bit low, but that is probably due to having drunk 2/3 a bottle of wine over the two nights prior to the test, and the fact that I'd had coffee then sped out the door to get to the hospital at an early hour.
Finances: I reached my targets this year, even though I traveled a lot. I reorganized some of my banking in arrangements that are more advantageous. I made a will for the first time. I have relatively healthy bank balances.
Travel: I accomplished a special trip to North America that I'd dreamed of for awhile, and in so doing met some special friends and made them happy. I was reunited with some activists, which are precious and most meaningful relationships. I visited a new region to me in doing so (Northeast US) and spend several weeks in wonderful Montreal. I also met my goals in visiting southern Honshu in Japan, and later in seeing Singapore where I attended the conference.
Family: However, I did not make much time to see family members because I made visiting these friends, and going to parts other than my hometown, priorities this time around. All the same, I am keeping up communications with my siblings and theirs.
Love life: ...What? Well, I did meet an interesting man from out of town who may move to Busan and start to see me. Fingers crossed!