I was hoping to write something yesterday, but I guess I missed the memo that yesterday was my day to be sick with a brutal cold. Thankfully, it was also a short cold, and I’m feeling much better now, so it’s time to break the silence. It’s been over three weeks now since we arrived in the States, and a lot has happened during that time. There are many things that I want to write about, but today I just want to get the ball rolling.
For those of you not up to speed, I am in the US for a year on sabbatical. We originally flew into New York, where my parents live, and spent most of our time with them. We did spend five days in Philadelphia as well—in fact, this was the whole reason I came over so early. I was scheduled to present a paper as part of a Korean Studies panel at the Modern Language Association meeting during the first week of the month. It was a little overwhelming, as there were five thousand people in attendance (my primary conference, the American Folklore Society, draws around a thousand people at best), but I enjoyed it, met some good people, and reconnected with some other people that I hadn’t seen in a while. HJ and I also had a good time walking around historical (and tasty) Philadelphia, even if it was rather cold.
Our time in New York with my parents was a lot more relaxed and less structured; other than a couple of days down in the city, a few days spent shopping, and a day visiting a friend in Connecticut, we pretty much just hung out. I probably could have written something for Liminality while I was there, but I didn’t quite feel like it. While I do come back to the States at least once a year for conferences, this is actually the first time in two-and-a-half years that I’ve seen my parents. It’s a little different now with the internet and Skype—when I first came to Korea, I communicated with my parents by scrawling letters on paper that were then physically delivered by carbon-based lifeforms—but there’s still nothing like seeing people in person. And there is also the fact that this is not going to be my usual brief visit, but an entire year spent here, so I still feel like I’m adjusting. I suspect that the adjustment process may continue until the day I leave, at which point I will have to start adjusting back to Korea.
At any rate, we are now in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where we will be spending the spring and fall semester. The semester started yesterday, but since I was very sick yesterday and recovering today, I have yet to get out to school to meet people; I hope to do this very soon. I have been getting some work done, and I’ve already read one of the books I bought at the MLA meeting. Between those books, some books I had ordered previously, and a few more books I had picked up since then, I have two dozen books sitting on my shelf here waiting to be read. The longest of these are a thousand pages or more (three books fit into that category), while the shortest is an 80-page collection of three short stories by Robert Louis Stevenson. That pile of books (which will no doubt grow) is one of the many projects I will be diving into this year.
I was emailing Kevin over the weekend and telling him how excited I was about the year ahead. I wasn’t so excited yesterday, when my nose decided to do its best Niagara Falls impression, but now, on the other side of that nasty cold and with hopefully better weather ahead (it’s been cold and rainy since yesterday), I’m starting to feel positive again. I am also a little nervous, to be honest. There are a lot of things that I want to do, and for most of those things I will be the sole taskmaster ensuring that progress is made. In other words, this year is going to require a lot of discipline. Not that it’s all going to be work, of course. There will be rest and relaxation involved as well. And there are some personal projects I will be working on; for one, I’d like to post more here at Liminality. I’ve set myself a goal of at least one post a week. That may not seem like a lot to more prolific scribes, but if you follow me here you’ll know that it’s a lot more than I usually write. And I do have a lot of things to write about. There is our new place and our new neighborhood, for one. I also now have a smartphone, and you can bet I have a lot to say about that. Then there is Rogue One which we saw with my parents. And, on top of all that, there are the things I’ve been noticing about the US, things that have changed since I last took a really close look.
But I think I’ll leave things at that for today. I sort of want to keep writing, but I have a feeling that if I do it will just become a sprawling, amorphous mass of thoughts. I’d rather give each individual topic its due. Next time I’ll probably start with a look at our place and our neighborhood and then go from there. I have a feeling that I’m not going to run out of things to write about any time soon.