It’s amazing how quickly time flies. I can’t believe that it has already been ten days since my birthday and my last post here. Things have been busy, and I’m still on the tail end of catching up on everything.
Last Friday I had a conference in Chuncheon, where I presented a paper comparing the short stories of Kim Yujeong and Erskine Caldwell. I won’t bore you with the details, but it seemed to go over pretty well. Because the conference was on a Friday, though, I had to reschedule my two classes that day for earlier in the week, which meant that my schedule was busier than usual and I didn’t catch up on all the student feedback I was hoping to get to. I am mostly caught up now, though, and should be back on schedule before the end of the week.
The day after the conference, I got a call from the professor who facilitated discussion for my section at the conference. (He also happened to be the guy with whom I hitched a ride to Chuncheon the day earlier, which made me wonder why he hadn’t mentioned anything about it then, but whatever.) He asked me if I wanted to write a “theme paper” for the summer conference of the Society of Korean Oral Literature. The theme is something along the lines of “Oral Literature and the Diaspora,” and my role in all of this will be to take a look at Korean oral literature “from the point of view of a foreigner.” I put this in quotes because, well, yeah, I am a foreigner, but I’ve also lived in Korea for the past twelve years and change—over a third of my life—and I’m not sure if I’m really the right person for the job. I’m still trying to wrap my head around what exactly they want, but I’ve at least figured out that they’re looking for something more along the lines of an essay than an academic paper. Which is great, because it means less stress for me, but I was kind of hoping to present an academic paper related to my upcoming dissertation at this conference. So it looks like I’ll have to present that paper elsewhere (maybe either the Korean Classical Literature Association or the Korean Folklore Society—I’m leaning toward the latter at the moment), which is not the end of the world, but it does mean that I will have to write and present two papers this summer.
I got another call this afternoon from the Korea Literature Translation Institute. They’re putting on a literary translation academy this summer, starting at the end of June and going to the end of August, and they want me to do the translation practice classes for the English section. Despite the fact that I have worked with the KLTI for years, I know the only reason that I’m getting this opportunity is because I am now officially a translation professor. And it’s a good opportunity—I’ll actually get to teach literary translation, which is where my real interests lie.
So it looks like it’s going to be a busy summer. As for the current semester, we are at the halfway point—tomorrow begins week 9 of 16. I think I’m finally starting to get into a groove after a rather rough start (mostly due to external factors, like the stress of moving into an apartment that was not fully furnished, dealing with administrative tangles, etc.). I’ve learned a lot in the past eight weeks, and I expect to learn more in the next eight weeks. Sometimes I wish that I could take this knowledge back in time with me and start the semester over again, but then my rational side reminds me that even if I had had this knowledge, the beginning of my very first semester teaching at the university/graduate level would still have been nerve-wracking, and it’s kind of nice to realize that I will never have to go through that again. Besides, armed with this knowledge and experience, I can go into next semester much stronger and do a much better job.
Well, I suppose that about wraps it up for now. I just figured I’d get something written and let people know what was going on with me. I do have interesting content planned for the near future: a write-up of pizza day with Kevin (and with photos by Kevin), the next installment of the Korean Beer Review, etc. I’ll try to stay away from the dull stuff for a while.
Oh, yeah—my littlest brother has a new blog. Since I don’t have a sidebar or a links page or anything like that, I’ll give him a quick shout-out here: Amore In’ Finire.