Tag Archives: Zingara Travels

Great Week of Classe at Chung Dahm (South Korea)

This week, I think, has been a particularly successful week at Chung Dahm; maybe because the term is coming to a close, maybe because testing is over and the students are more at ease, or maybe I’m actually seriously getting the hang of this teaching Chung Dahm style. Whatever it is, I am thankful to whatever beneficent entity aligned the planets of teaching in my favor.

My Mega kids are learning about “Unsolved Science Mysteries” and we’ve been considering the possibility of life in outer space, particularly on Mars. I’ve supplemented the in-class readings with internet images of Mars’ surface as well as images of the various space vessels that have been propelled to that planet. The kids are not as amazed by these realities as I was when I was a child and space travel was still very new. They seem to have every confidence that scientists will in fact find life on another planet or at least discover a planet that is compatible enough for life that we earthlings will be able to immigrate to it before global warming fully destroys our earthly climate.

One of the “Critical Thinking Projects” involved envisioning life on Mars and drawing a picture of a creature from that planet. Most of their illustrations were based more on fantasy than fact and proved to be very imaginative. One group of students depicted alien life looking very much like Sponge Bob.

Monday night’s Bridge class only consisted of four students this week. Our subject was “Prehensile Tails.”

I started the class by asking the kids “if you could be any animal at all, what would you choose.” The answers were bird, dolphin, whale and cat. I showed them a couple of videos of animals with prehensile tales, namely a pangolin (a kind of anteater). Later, during the post reading (which was about prehensile TONGUES) I showed them a video of a chameleon catching a grasshopper with its tongue in slow motions, which quite impressed my students.  I then accused my students of hiding their prehensile tongues and tails from me, which they though quite funny.

The “Critical Thinking Project” for Monday’s Bridge class  involved considering attributes non-human animals posses that are useful and imagining what two attributes would be neat for a human to have. Everyone picked the ability to change colors, like the chameleon, but no one picked prehensile tails. We all drew pictures of our ideas and taped them to the wall. One student thought wings would be nice (the same student who said he’d like to be a bird), another student chose smelling as a preferred attribute because then she could easily find chocolate cake, which sounded like pretty sound logic to me. Two other students chose the ability to run fast so they could shop quicker and easier. I chose a turtle shell and wings, which my students found pretty fascinating. That way, I explained,  I could go to fa- away places and still have my home with me.

Tuesday’s Tera class involved the “Roots of Rock and Roll.” During this unit I played a number of youtube clips of Fats Domino, Chuck Berry, the original movie trailer for “Blackboard Jungle”  (which they really disliked) and finally a clip of Run DMC on “Reading Rainbow” (mostly because our text makes a connection between the rock movement of the 50s and the hiphop movement of the 80s in terms of cross-over music). They thought Fats Domino was ugly and had a hard time believing Chuck Berry was really black. DMC seemed to be their favorite clip. I showed the kids some 50s and 60s dance moves. They loved it when I did the twist.

I have two Birdie level classes, one on Tuesday one on Wednesday nights. My Tuesday night Birdies are a surly, sullen bunch, but I am starting to get through to them. I have of late been rewarded with a smile or two from some of the most surly. My Wednesday night Birdies are all girls and the atmosphere of my Wednesday night class is quite the opposite from Tuesday’s. I spend more time trying to get the girls to stop talking and focus on the lesson. But we all really like each other and, amidst discussions of pop music, shoes and movies, manage to get our work done every week.

I work really hard for Chung Dahm, and Chung Dahm demands it of me, but because I love the students it is worth it and I am thoroughly glad I’ve come to S. Korea.

There is also a chocolate museum and factory, where one can purchase Jeju Island chocolate. The area is famous for it’s orange chocolate, which make sense when you realize that the island is also famous for its delicious oranges.

Gangnam Style: Korean National Museum of Contemporary Art

Up until last Saturday, the weather in Anyang had been mild and quintessentially autumnal. The front that moved through on Halloween, however, drastically changed everything, and it has been very cold and gray since.

My friend Cereba and I  spent Halloween at the Korean National Museum of Contemporary Art, which is a great place to spend a rainy day, though we got plenty wet walking to the museum from the subway exit.  Had we come up at exit 2 at Gangnam Station, we could have taken the Elephant Tram and stayed relatively dry – so a word to the wise.

I probably cannot adequately  express how much I enjoyed the museum. Seriously, experiencing art in whatever form and wherever it presents itself is kind of like a religious experience to me. Sort of like a soulful coming home. I’ve been complaining for a few weeks that I needed to get in touch with some kind of artistic expression but didn’t know where to go. Life here has been mostly about working hard to “make the grade” and, in my perception, keep from getting fired. Everyday life in Korea is about working and then more working, and when not working, drinking or shopping; exactly the kind of lifestyle I try to avoid. I mean, I try to lead a more deeply meaningful life – journey not destination and all that. What I was really seeking is the Korean perspective and reaction to the Korean mainstream way of life. I’m happy to report that I found some of that at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA).

Even though the permanent collection at the MOCA is free to view, we bought tickets for the featured exhibit, “Peppermint Candy.” Besides entry into a fantastic exhibit, our museum tickets entitled us to a free bus ride from the museum to the subway. That is, a warm and DRY ride from the museum to the subway.

So, after a lovely day at the MOCA, and a mostly dry journey home, a trip to our local E-Mart for snacks and dinner at the “Food Box,” our trio headed home to watch scary movies.  After the first movie, we all decided to head to Happidus’, a bar in Beomgye that caters to foreigners which, we’d heard, was having a Halloween party. At Happidus’, I played a game a pool with friend and before we knew it the place was filled with costumed party-goers, many of them, it turned out,  co-workers. I wound up hanging out around until around 1:00 AM before heading back to finish watching scary movies. My friends an I all fell asleep while watching “The Exorcist”

As I mentioned, the weather has been quite cold since Halloween and in the meantime my fellow teachers and I have been very busy administering the IBT Achievement Tests to our students – THE test that determines if a student can “level up.” Word is that once these tests are over, the kids will be wild and difficult to manage – and we still have three weeks left in the term! I look at this week as the calm before the storm and try to have faith in my ability to direct these children in positive ways in the weeks to come.

Travel Trivia: Details of My Journey to South Korea

After packing, repacking and weighing my luggage a dozen times on bathroom scales, turns out my bags each weighed a bit over 50 lbs. Fortunately the attendant wasn’t worried about it and I was not charged anything extra.  (I would still have to drag the damn heavy things through Seoul though).

I made it through airline security with my bamboo knitting needles, but never once got them out to knit; there simply was no elbow room.

Alan Arkin was traveling on the plane as Gary and I from ABQ to LAX. He and a female companion were seated just a few rows in ahead of my and Gary’s seats. At LAX, while waiting for their luggage to appear on the conveyors, Mr. Arkin and his female companion were quite affectionate with one another, which was very endearing. It was one of the few times I kind of wished I had twitter.

We did not have to pick up and transfer our luggage at LAX; United and Asiana airlines took care of that for us. We did have to get tickets for our flight from LAX to Seoul, however. (They talked me into signing up for Asiana Frequent Flier Miles).

Gary and I ate at LAX. We both had “Asian” food.

There was a family in line in front of us to go through security before boarding the plane in LAX who were so dramatic we thought for sure they were filming a Novella. There were tears and hysteria and lots of photos and hand grasping over ropes – at least until LAX Airport Authority tired of them and put an end to it. That only caused the drama level to increase.

Just as were were attempting to go through the metal detectors, a child belonging to a large family in front of us decided to throw a full-out fit. I mean, lay-on-the-floor-kicking-and-screaming-fit. Security scuttled around trying to keep the line moving and lots of folks were getting antsy. The mother was simply horrified and I felt bad for her. I was also glad it wasn’t me having to deal with that kid.

There are video monitors on the back of each seat on Asiana Airlines’ Airplanes, so each person can choose to watch what he or she wants. Available choices included movies, Asian TV shows, informative clips and video games.

Gary and I had seats in the center section of the plane.  Our seats were in the middle of the row. This meant we had to disrupt the people sitting on the aisle seats on either side of us every time we wanted to get up to use the bathroom. I tried to get up when the woman next to me got up to minimize disruption. Unfortunately, she had a bladder of steel.

I watched three movies during the flight from LAX to Incheon: Monsters vs. Aliens, which made me giggle, The Soloist, which made me cry (a lot) and (part of) She’s Just Not Into You – the last of which was too stupid to tolerate, even as a free in-flight movie, and kind of pissed me off.

When I ran out of appealing movie options, I read the first third of Julie and Julia, which was better than the last two-thirds. Now I don’t even want to see the movie.

I wasted a good 90 minutes playing a mindless video game that gave me a headache.

The row in front of us was occupied by American Frat boys who found the flight a perfect opportunity to drink all the free beer they wanted.

I had my first Korean meal on the plane – Bim-Bap. Unfortunately it was “Airplane Food Quality.” (I have since had much better authentic Korean food.) I was not crazy about the side dish that looked somewhat like coconut flakes, tasted salty-fishy and, I later noticed, had eyes. I liked the kimchi alright – but again, I’ve tasted some wonderful varieties of Kimchi since then that put the airplane variety to shame.

We beat the sun to S. Korea by about one hour.

Temperatures were taken at Incheon as we dis-boarded the plane and before we went though customs. The now drunk frat boys who were sitting in front of us were as obnoxious as you might imagine. One Hispanic guy threatened to tell the attendant taking temperatures that he was from Mexico. (Ok – I admit, I snickered at that one.)

Incheon Airport is every bit as impressive as everyone described. I may go back there some time just to shop.

Fourth Saturday in South Korea: Getting Acquainted

I’ve been in South Korea for about three and a half weeks now and so much has happened in that time that I hardly know where to begin. This is the first time I’ve really had time to reflect on my experiences so far and formulate any kind of real opinion. Up until this moment, I’ve had to rely on quick reactions and sometimes very basic survival skills. I’ve met some great people and a couple of real assholes too; faced overwhelmed, overworked students whose accents are so strong I could not understand them; gotten up in the early hours of morning to prep for classes; and wished a million times I had not left my comfortable home in Albuquerque.  But I persevere and have even begun to feel like I can make a place for myself here, even if only for a year. This belief is drastically different from the one I held only three days ago when I was certain I would have a nervous breakdown If I didn’t have a plane ticket back home in my hands before the day was out. I really don’t know how I moved through those feelings except by paying close attention to my breath and reminding myself that nothing and no one here can truly hurt me. I look forward to sharing some of the details of my first three weeks here as some of them are truly hilarious and some quite frightening. The best part is that these are my own true experiences of my own real-life adventure.

Thanks to everyone for your continued support and messages of encouragement. You have no idea how truly helpful they have been!!!

New South Korean Address: I’m in Anyang Y’all

Many, many people have asked for our new address, and here it is…

Kyunggi-do Anyang-si Dongan-gu Gwanyan-dong 1598-1  Trebell officetel Apt.

DO means Province
Si means City
Gu means District
Dong means Neighborhood

Very Quick Update from Seoul: First Days at Chung Dahm (South Korea)

We’ve been moved from the Casa Ville hotel in Samsung to the CoAtel in Gangnam Seoul and while we do not have a place to live yet, we are meeting with our real estate agent Monday morning. We will be working at the Chuung Dahm branch in Pyeongchon, just twenty minutes south of Seoul city limits. Right now, it takes about an hour to get from our hotel to our school, but we should be able to find a house (villa or officetel) within ten minutes of our branch.

Yesterday we visited our branch school, met our branch manager and a couple of head instructors, which did a lot to calm my nerves. It appears we will be in a pretty supportive environment and will get lots of tips and constructive advice about our preparation and delivery of lessons.

I am spending the afternoon prepping and practicing for my classes, so I’ll have to go for now. I just wanted to post a little something so everyone would know we are alive and survived our training (not everyone passed).

Until next time…

News Update From Seoul: Day Three (South Korea)

I’m reporting live from the 7th floor of CasaVille in the Samsung District of Seoul, South Korea. The current temperature is 85 degrees F. and the skies are partly cloudy. The humidity is somewhere around 200%, which begs for comparison with Florida rather than Kansas weather.

This is the beginning of our third day in Seoul and we are slowly but surely working things out. In just a few minutes, we will be shuttled to our Training Center Location in the  Kwangjung Bldg 4th floor, 18-9 Hwayang-dong, Kwangjin-gu, Seoul where we will begin orientation. The process today will only take a couple of hours and involves a test over Chung-Dahm policies, codes of conduct and, yes, grammar; the last subject of which caused me to wake up a 4:40 am this morning to brush up on my skills (remind me, what the f*** is a predicate nominative clause again?). Other items on the agenda for today include obtaining cell phones and bank accounts and finding out which Chung-Dahm branch in Seoul we will be teaching.  I think we will also secure an apartment or loft today (yay, finally a REAL address after two weeks of being essentially homeless!).

We’ve met three other Chang Dahm instructors here at CasaVille and have struck up a friendship. They will be at the orientation as well today and perhaps this afternoon the five of us will do something together.

Until then…

Annyong-hi ga-shipshiyo.

VISA Debacle III: Passports

The Friday after we sent our pertinent documentation to the Korean Consulate in Los Angeles, our friend Christina called to say that she had received an express mail envelope from the Korean Consulate (we had used her address for the return express envelope because we were unsure where we would be living by the time the envelope was returned).

We made arrangements to meet up with Christina and Eric for dinner and to also get our express envelope from them. We knew, of course,  that the express envelope contained our passports; we were excited and relieved to have received them back in such short time, considering we had just spoken with the Korean Consulate on Wednesday. Finally, we thought, we will be able to move forward with our travel arrangments and vacate our house at last (we had made arrangements with the landlord and the utility companies to stay in our house a week longer).

At around 7:00 PM we arrived at Christina and Eric’s place, visited with the dogs (Akira is living with Christina and Eric and their dog Frannie) and finally got around to opening the express envelope. Our passports were there, safe and sound and in one piece. Whew.

But wait.

Gary looked at the E2 VISA in his passport and found that it had my name on it. I checked my passport and, sure enough, Gary’s VISA was attached inside. We couldn’t believe the mix-up. Humorous, yes, but frustrating too as it also meant we would have to postpone our travel arrangements yet again.

Since it was after 5:00 PM on a Friday, we knew would have to wait all weekend before calling the Korean Consulate to find out how to remedy the error. Might as well have a nice dinner, we reasoned. So, we called in an order to the Taj Mahal, Gary and Eric picked up for us. It was delicious, of course, though I couldn’t name all the things we ate, other than the Garlic Nahn. We took-leftovers home and I swear they were even more delicious the second day.

Saturday, Gary shot an email off to our contacts at Chung Dahm Learning and Aclipse recruiting agency, but of course, it was the weekend, and we would not hear back from them until Monday either.

When Monday morning finally arrived, Gary called the Korean Consulate to explain what had happened. The woman he spoke with made it a point to mention that she had been on vacation the previous week, otherwise such an error would have never occurred. Nonetheless, it did.

Gary was instructed to express mail the passports back to the Consulate would correct the error and return our passports to us in a return postage-paid express envelope. Off to the Post Office we went, exactly one week after sending our passports the first time.

The clerk at the Post Office remembered us from the week before and so we described what had happened. The cost for the express mail envelopes and postage this time was $17.50 – a cost we all agreed should be reimbursed by the Korean Consulate , but we really had no time to argue the matter.

Our contacts at Chung Dahm Learning and Aclipse responded to Gary’s email and recommended we secure travel reservations, and we have (though the first itinerary the travel agency emailed Gary was for someone named Steven Tyler – whether it was THE Steven Tyler remains a mystery), and though the reservations are made, Gary’s credit card has not been charged. He reasoned that is would be better to pay a little extra now should the rates go up than to purchase airline tickets that may be canceled and nonrefundable or which would cost an arm and a leg to alter.

It’s Thursday now, and Christina has called to say that her postal carrier left a note regarding a package which needs to be signed for. It’s pretty likely that the package the note refers to contains our passports; the postal carrier is to bring the package again tomorrow, according to the note.

The person we have hired to clean our house will be here at 8:30 tomorrow (Friday) morning, so we are getting the last of our belongings out of the house tonight. From now until the day we leave (Tuesday, August 25th), we will be living with Christina and Eric (and Frannie and Akira).

Let’s hope all goes well from here.

Advice and Anecdotes: What I Was Told to Expect in South Korea

Below is a list of the kinds of advice people often offer when they hear you are going to South Korea:

  1. Pack a year’s worth of deodorant; you won’t be able to easily find deodorant in South Korea, and if you do find any, it won’t be your brand and it will be expensive. (People in south Korea don’t wear deodorant/the deodorant you buy won’t work.)
  2. Take lots of day trips; the country-side is beautiful and easy to get to.
  3. All of Seoul smells of garlic and kimchi.
  4. Seoul is a great place to be; full of activity, culture, shopping…a city that never sleeps.
  5. Seoul has excellent public transportation.
  6. If you have blue eyes, strangers may try to touch your eyeballs because they don’t believe they are real.
  7. If you have hair on your arms, strangers may try and touch your arms.
  8. Old Korean women will pinch/grab your ass, especially if you are dressed “provocatively.” Old Korean women feel entitled to do such things to young women.
  9. The Korean language is easy to pick up.
  10. The Korean language is difficult.
  11. Don’t plan on buying clothes in Korea; you won’t find anything that fits (Korean people are much more petite than are Americans).
  12. Korean students are well disciplined and very polite.
  13. Everyone in Korea has a servant.
  14. Korean women coddle their men/husbands; if you do not coddle your man/husband, Korean women will harass you for it.
  15. “Dog” is a viable meat dish in Korea.
  16. Korean food is spicy.
  17. For many Koreans, the Korean war is not over.
  18. Koreans embrace westerners and their customs.
  19. Koreans hate westerners and their customs.
  20. Many South Koreans still feel “they” should have gone with the North.
  21. Most Asian people are xenophobic.
  22. Korean people discriminate against homosexual persons.

Check back for updates as I discover whether or not any of these statements prove true.

VISA Debacle II: VISA Codes

On Monday, August 10th, Gary and I received two emails from our contact at Chung-Dahm Learning in Seoul. The first contained our VISA codes and these instructions:

“Please take this code to the Korean Consulate with your passport and a set of sealed transcripts to complete your visa and conduct the interview.  You need to call them beforehand to arrange an interview.

“We would like for you to enter our August 21st training session.  Therefore, you need to arrive in Korea on August 19th.  You will have orientation on Friday and begin training the following Monday. Please speak to your Aclipse recruiter who can assist in arranging a flight.

Please update me as soon as you get the visa.  Thank you, and  I look forward to meeting you.

It is important to mention here that the Korean Consulate is in LA, necessitating our communicating with the consulate by mail.

The second email instructed us to ignore the VISA codes in the first email because they were incorrect. I’m glad we received both emails at about the same time, otherwise this would have been the 2nd installment of four rather than three VISA debacles blog postings.

As you might expect, these emails sent Gary and I into a whirlwind of activity. First, we logged onto the Korean Consulate’s website, downloaded and printed the E-2 VISA Health forms. Then we purchased our money orders from our neighborhood grocery store. Lastly (at least we thought lastly) we headed to the post-office to express mail the forms along with our original passports to the Korean Consulate (I was relieved to find that, despite instructions otherwise, the consulate did not in fact need our sealed, official transcripts, as that would have taken another week to acquire).

It was while assembling our documents at the post office counter that we realized that we had forgotten to bring the address for the Korean Consulate with us – so back home we went to get the address.

We made it back to the post office just moments before closing time, assembled our packet of information and paid our $34 in express mailing fees. The clerk explained that, because it was after 3:00 pm, our express envelope wouldn’t be delivered to the consulate  “next-day,” but would certainly be delivered by Wednesday.

He was right, because Wednesday morning around 10:00 AM we received a phone call from the Korean Consulate – my first experience talking with someone possessing and very strong Korean accent. The man on the phone asked just a few questions, really just verifying the information I had written on my form, then asked to speak with Gary. Gary answered more or less the same questions I did and the interview was over.  Receiving this phone call gave us confidence that our VISAs were well on their way to being processed.

We had not yet begun to make our travel arrangements because we wanted to be absolutely certain we had our passports and VISAs in hand before committing to a travel date. As the Korean Consulate indicated it would take a week to process our VISAs, and we had only received our VISA codes on the 10th, and wouldn’t likely see them again until the 17th (at the earliest and if all went smoothly), and were instructed to arrive in Seoul on the 19th, and would likely have to leave on the 18th (at the latest) we decided to negotiate a later travel date with our recruiter and our contact at Chung-Dahm.

And it was a good thing we did, as you will learn from my next blog.

Things People Ask About Our S. Korean Adventure

1. Why South Korea?

The recruiting agency we applied with (Aclipse)  places teachers all over Asia; schools in Japan and China were full. We have the option to relocate after our initial contractual obligations are met. Thankfully, North Korea was not an option.

2.  Where in South Korea are you going?

Chung-Dahm Learning Center has ten branches in the Seoul area, and though we know we will be in Seoul, we do not know which branch we will be teaching at or in which district we will be living. These details will be determined during orientation.

3. Do you speak Korean?

– Not at all. In the classroom, we will not be required to speak Korean. The students are to speak exclusively in English. If they speak to us in Korean we are to tell them we do not speak Korean and to please address us in English. On the other hand, I plan to learn as much Korean as I can, starting with basics, like “hello,” “my name is ___,” “I’m sorry,” “How much…” and “where’s the bathroom,” as those seem like crucial things to be able to say. Further, I don’t wish to be an arrogant American who expects everyone around them to accommodate them.

4. How long will you be there?

– We have a twelve-month contract that automatically renews unless we give 45-day notice.

5. Do you have a place to live?

-Not yet. During orientation we will be assigned a branch to teach at, a place to live within 10 minutes travel time of that branch, and cell phones. We will also have the opportunity  sign up for such benefits as health insurance.

6. How much will you be paid?

As hourly employees we stand to make more money than salaried employees, though we will be responsible for our housing costs.

7. What’s the weather/climate like?

-Very similar to the mid-west; hot and humid in the summer, wet and cold in the winter (lots of snow). When people learn that we are from Kansas they generally tell us that S. Korean weather won’t throw anything our way that we haven’t already experienced. Obviously, the further north one goes, the colder the winters.  Remember, Korea is a peninsula.

8. When are you leaving?

-Hopefully around the 24th of August (our departure date has been set back a couple of times due to VISA issues – see my blogs on VISA debacles)

9. What can you take with you?

-Two fifty-pound bags (check in), one twenty-five pound carry-on and one personal item.

10. What are you doing with all your stuff?

-We have sold nearly everything we own through a series of yard sales and numerous listings on craigslist. What we have left, which consists primarily of personal items that have sentimental value, is being stored in a 4X6 storage unit.

11. What are you going to do about your pets?

-Akira, our dog,  is living as a “foster” dog in a very loving environment and has a foster sister, Frannie (pictures to follow). We will continue to keep in touch with Akira and pay for his vet bills as needed. He will live with us again some day.

-Baby Girl, our cat, has found permanent residence in a home with other cats. I have no doubt she will be thoroughly spoiled (and I’d have it not other way). Her new name is Princess Anabelle.

12. What do your families think of you moving out of the country?

-As might be expected, our families feel a little conflicted. They are happy for us and excited that we are  answering this call for adventure. I think it’s also safe to say that they are very proud of us and rather relieved that we will have each other to rely on while taking on this challenge. In tandem with these positive feelings though, are feelings of sadness that we will be so far away, sadness that they won’t be able to talk to us anytime they want or see us several times a year as they can now (we plan to get a skype account). Above all, they love Gary and me dearly and support our decisions.

13. Are you worried about war?

-Of course. Everyone is worried about war. That our proximity to North Korea will be greatly reduced is obviously a point of concern; no one wants to live in a war zone. But living in fear that some un-name-able tragedy might occur has never been my style and I’m not about to begin now. I live my life regardless of world politics and threats of nuclear testing or war. Besides, those North Korean missils are aimed at American soil. (As reassurance to my readers, we will be registered with the American embassy in Seoul in case evacuation of expatriates is required. I have also subscribed to the US State Departments e-newsletter alerts. Finally, I have no intention of wandering into North Korean territory in a journalistic endeavor to cover some sensitive political issue.)

I will post more FAQs and their answers as I collect them.

Why “Zingara Poet?”

While considering a representative name for my new blog, I researched synonyms for “traveler” and found “zingara.”  Great word! I thought, and submitted it as my blog name. Unfortunately,  “zingara” was already taken.  I was pretty attached to the word by that point and wanted to utilize it somehow. Adding a number would have been easy, but I don’t really like user-names that include numbers and generally think they are tragically un-creative. So, I tacked “poet” onto the end, and while tacking on the word “poet” isn’t  terribly more creative than just adding a number, it’s still NOT a number. Plus, I like to think of myself as a “female traveling poet.” It suits my romantic personality and sort of reflects my tendency to take myself too seriously, despite criticism from folks who are less romantic and self-serious.  I’d like to add here that while these characteristics sometimes create obstacles to my writing success, I’m pretty much over tying to change my romantic, self-serious characteristics and am resigned to living in harmony with them.

Hope you enjoy my meandering musings in the years to come.