This is going to be relatively short, but I did want to take the opportunity—while it is still 2018—to take a quick look back at the year before plunging headlong into 2019 (more later on why this is being written at the last minute).
It’s been a bit of a hectic year, to be honest. Maybe that’s why it seems to have gone by so quickly—it’s hard to believe that it’s been a year now since we left the Cambridge/Boston area to return to Korea. I can still remember very clearly coming back in the midst of a really bad few days in terms of air quality and being very depressed about it. But then, in February, we went to Pyeongchang to experience the Olympics, and we had the good fortune to witness, among other things, an inspiring performance by the Korean men’s ice hockey team against Finland. Our Olympic experience was definitely one of the highlights of the year. Having to visit the dentist quite a number of times over the first quarter of the year was, on the other hand, one of the lows.
Then came the spring semester, my first semester of teaching after a year-long sabbatical. Colleagues had warned me that it was going to be hard to start teaching again, but in truth I did not find it all that difficult. In fact, the teaching was the easiest part of the readjustment—all the other stuff was a lot more of a pain to deal with.
Also, for the first time since arriving at SNU, I taught a summer session, which was one of the things that contributed to how hectic the year was. It was a very rewarding experience, and I did enjoy it, but it did mean that I did not get a lot done over the summer. That, combined with how much money we had spent in 2017, meant that there was no summer travel for us. In fact, my only trip abroad this year was my annual attendance of the American Folklore Society meeting in October. This time was different, in that I took four grad students along to present a panel of their own. Like the summer session, it was a lot of work, but it was also very rewarding, and I know my students got a lot out of it as well.
And here we are at the end of December, teetering on the edge of the old year and looking over the brink into the new year. I would have written this earlier, but I’ve been busy for the past few days. Some of you already know this, but HJ went into the hospital on Friday for a routine procedure that, thankfully, went fine. I stayed at the hospital to take care of her as she recovered, and I will be continuing to do so at home over the new few weeks.
So, here at the end of 2018, what I feel the most is an overwhelming sense of relief and gratitude that we’ve all made it through. It was a rough year, but we’re tying a bow on it now, and I’m looking forward to seeing the calendar flip over into 2019. I don’t do resolutions, but there are many things I am looking forward to, and many things that I intend to do. I will write more about that at some point early next month, but in the mean time, let me say that I hope 2018 has turned out, when all is said and done, to be a rewarding year for you. And if it hasn’t, take comfort in the fact that it’s over now and we’ve got a blank slate ahead of us. At the very least, I hope you have something to be thankful for, and I wish you a happy new year.