It’s been a while since my last post, but with contract re-negotiations and events filling me to the brim with considerations, I’ve had little time to sit and think calmly like it takes to write a settled entry. So I’ve got Adele melting my ears and the day off to work with today ~ you get a post.
Things have been good, if hectic. Contract renegotiation has been a bit odd, due to a personality mixed in the middle. One of my co-teachers took issue with my holidays and how they were set up and structured to the point of calling me a liar and getting rather angry over the matter. Ultimately I pulled out my contract to point to the spot that read what I was saying (twice as the first time didn’t stick for some reason) and pointed out that her number was the article title, and my number was the context in the paragraph, big difference there.
For example: Article 14 states you get 18 days vacation – she was insisting on the 14 as the number of days. She has been angry ever since. Luckily, her boss and all the other co-teachers of which there are three, love having me and we have good relationships. It was a weird few days though as she was in charge of taking care of my paperwork and wasn’t having anything to do with me in regards to information sharing etc.
At this point, I have a meeting with the person who is replacing her tomorrow to take care of all the documents that she didn’t want to touch, and I look forward to that meeting. Teaching here has been an amazing experience that I anticipate another productive year with.
That being said; there was another thing that I said has been taking my time up. Events.
Last weekend was The World Expo in Yeosu, Jeollabuk-do, and a few weeks before that was the Jeonju International Film Festival in Jenonju. Wow~ two great weekends!
At the film festival, I saw films from all over the world, and from many different years. For example, one of my favorites was one that was brought from China, and from the 1960’s to boot. It was a tale about The Monkey King in animation. Well done stuff for the 1960’s, the Chinese had a way different style than what American cartoons from the same time were doing. It looked like paper-cuts for a large part, but at the same time, that might have had something to do with the fact that it was digitally remastered into 3-D, and it actually was pulled off.
Another was from France which told the story of a hard-up young mother and her son living near a rich ski resort in the Alps where they live as if brother and sister because she was so young when she had him and life is so hard for them. The boy is about 12 and works as a thief in the resort, and she does what she can between lousy jobs and lousy boyfriends. It was a really rich tale coupled with amazing cinematography.
Another called Free Land was told from the perspective of a woman from the First People of what are now the American States. Telling the tale through a personalized account with the voices of her older family members talking about things that aren’t often talked about. Things like how there was actually free land in the United States for anyone but the natives periodically until the 1970’s. From land allotted to settlers to the land given to freed slaves to the land given to WWII vets to land offered otherwise until Carter ended the system. But all the land was once somebody else’s, and it was stolen. And this was a story about what it felt like to be on that side of the coin. It was a strong film and reminded me of my core disagreements with modern political realities in the USA. It may have been the first time tears rolled from my eyes in many years. Gross hypocrisy is one of the things that bothers me most about humans. Living a modern life requires it sometimes though…
For example: As I type on this box of electronics and wires, I consider the “rare-earth elements” that are required to make the screen light up and the processor run. These are sourced from mines that are some of the dirtiest spots our species has left our footprint, and yet I use this box in order to type for a nicer today. Where is the balance? We look to live more efficiently by building apartment blocks and office towers to reduce our area-footprint, but the steel required to make it happen is created in smelters and due to mines that sop gunk into our water and air. I guess all a brother can do is work with good intention and do what can be done when given options that make grades of difference, while considering the profound leaps that our species is making. There are some Wired on Rare Earth that are clear. 1966, Curtis Mayfield said “Keep on pushin’!” Might as well. 🙂
The other two films I saw were A Simple Life, and The Ascension of Han-ne. The first was a story about a man who does well by the woman who had taken care of him his whole life. Coming from a wealthy Chinese family, the woman employed to care for him since his infancy gets old eventually, and he does really well by her. Nice tale of a nice story. Genuinely moving at times, I’m not quite doing it justice. The other was from 1977. A Korean film that started with a 25 minute translated lecture about the director and the movie-making context of Korea at the time. I was impressed as much by it as I was the film, which did not slouch when it came to getting a message across. The film was set even further back in time, when village life in Korea was the rule, and it was just turning into the modern age, per the Japanese (we deduced, though there are no real clear signs of it.). So the tale is about a woman who leaps from a waterfall to kill herself, but is found by a simpleton who ultimately was deeply wronged by the town chief into his state many years before, and the tale wraps itself around topics like the sex-trade and how villages cover their elders over the greater good sometimes. It was a real indictment while also being a sweet love tale. We were lucky to see it. A really well-made piece of film.
Being in Jeonju was a good time too. It’s on the other side of Korea, so took some effort to get there. We couch-surfed and had a great springtime weekend where the flowers and bushes were in bloom, and the wind was warm. Truly a good time.
Then last weekend, I got to a spot that I had been thinking about for two years. Back then, I lived in Yeosu, South Korea, and the whole town was abuzz with the building efforts to get ready for this thing… And now it’s there.
The Yeosu Expo.
World’s largest pipe organ anybody?
It was amazing. The installations that have been placed there are lasting tributes to architectural creativity and a new way of thinking when it comes to use of space in Korea. Very impressive permanence.
Then there was the whimsical…
I could go on at length about how amazing all the different countries’ installations were, but to be honest, I need to have the rest of my day happen, So I’m gonna stroll off with these 1300 words as my most recent gift of thought out here into Dataland for your perusal and enjoyment.
Life doesn’t always offer up cherries, sometimes there’s some really boring and bothersome crap, but when it’s good, it can be really good. Two more…