I came home this afternoon relieved to have accomplished more tasks and feeling tired once they were out of the way. I was awake a long time last night worrying over the logistics of going to places where I promised to be this coming Sunday and Monday, and having to have everything packed by Saturday night instead of Tuesday afternoon. With more tasks done, and the horizon becoming clearer before me, I feel relieved and can relax.
I enjoyed a tasy "shabu-shabu" lunch with my boss at the department's expense. It is one of my favourite meals, with thin slices of beef boiled with greens and mushrooms in a pot over a burner in the middle of the table. It comes with a large assortment of side dishes, and either noodles or rice cooked in the remaining broth at the end of the meal. It is quite healthy and delicious.
Having the privilege of some social one-on-one time with the boss is always revealing. I felt comfortable. He kept the conversation going and I just followed his lead. We talked about travel and his specialized field of English linguistics. He is an expert in the history of grammar from early English on, and he is particularly knowledgeable about the influence of Norse linguistics on what became English. He can read old English. I was surprised, though, when he said he had not read Beowolf. Despite the fact that his forte is linguistics and not literature, one would have to have some texts to work with and Beowolf is usually it. Anyway, he went on to tell me that he once met a scholar in Texas who could speak old English fluently. (With whom, I wondered?) Then he talked about his incredible journey to England, Sweden, Finland and Moscow. He said he liked Finland the most; I was interested in hearing about Finland since I have a Finnish friend living there who invited me to visit after visiting me twice in Korea. The professor does not travel every year, but he takes a long holiday every two or three years. I discovered that he is busy writing an academic book that is in its final stages. When I met him at his office, there was a large manuscript stacked on his desk, and a document up on the monitor. He is a refined and intelligent man who is strong but calm, open minded and very fair yet decisive in his management of our department. I was pleased to learn that his term is being extended and that he may soon attain the title of "Dean". Better to have a boss who is well esteemed by his peers and with whom you can easily talk, especially since his office is across from mine.
Speaking of bosses, I was lucky to catch the grad programs coordinator in today. We had a casual chat and I updated him on my progress regarding the development of the curriculum development grad class. He seemed to like what I have been planning, and he will review my proposed syllabus in detail in good time. Our conversation turned to other topics. I learned that the university published his book on functional grammar analysis, and that this book won a national award and is a standard textbook in the school system. Wow! We were talking about the publishing system at BUFS, and it turns out that he never applied for compensation. There must have been a procedural oversight, for one can complete a form and submit it to the finances staff for approval when a book is published. It should have been done by staff as a matter of course when the university went through the process of publishing it. He should get at least 1.8 million won ($1900) for that work. Another colleague was present with us during this conversation. As for him, his grammar book was just published, though by a commercial publisher. He too was unaware of the availability of funds. Anyway, it was good to catch up with our coordinator, and the other guy. It was another task out of the way, to boot.
Bearing the Cheongdo protest visit in mind, I was considering a trip to the intercity bus station to get details about the weekend bus schedules and routes later today. The logistical issue has been for me the problem of returning to Busan in time to collect my things and get to the airport on time, or carrying everything for Japan with me to the camp at Cheongdo, then finding a way to get directly from Cheongdo to the airport immediately after the morning program of activities. Now, however, there appears to be a new logistical stumbling block, but one that is easier for me to live with.
The errand of researching transportation for a trip on Sunday did not seem so urgent after I learned from my boss that a typhoon is headed this way and bound to hit Korea over the weekend. A heavy thunderstorm is forecast for the day of the protest, Sunday. I really doubt that the protest will be functioning during the storm and that the trip will go ahead in view of the bad weather. Therefore, making arrangements to find my way to Cheongdo on time on Sunday seems like a moot point now. I did get a little information online that calmed me, so that I am confident when and where I can get transportation to make it to the appointed rendez-vous on time.
Though I want to have my say and lend support to the Cheongdo protesters, it would make my life easier if I did not go there. Beyond the transportation issues, it would be more hectic to have to wrap up everything on Saturday, especially given that I will need to study Korean so that I can be prepared for the class that is taking place on the day of my return from Japan. With a storm canceling out the trip, I need not rush to cram and get the next lesson under my belt before Sunday. Whew.
I am concerned about S because his flight will likely be delayed or canceled. He should still make it to Hiroshima by the 6th, regardless.