It has been a while since I’ve posted anything—there are a lot of things I would like to write about, but both time and motivation have been in short supply these days. Today, though, I thought I would write something to let my faithful readers know I am still alive. I also promised my cyberstalkers I would write, and I wouldn’t want to break that promise (sorry it’s not more interesting!).
It’s hard to believe, but in a little over two weeks Hyunjin and I will be in the States. This is hard to believe because I have a rather ridiculous amount of work to get done before we leave. There is a lot of end-of-the-semester work that I need to wrap up, namely grading. I’m also finishing up the first half of the translation course I’m teaching at the Korea Literary Translation Institute. Then there are some commitments that need to be taken care of before the end of the month: a paper that I need to write for a conference in August and a column that I need to write for a magazine (the research I need to do is going to take a lot longer than the actual writing). Probably the biggest thing on my plate, though, is putting the final touches on that translation of Dr. Cho’s history of Korean literature I’ve been working on for the past five years or so.
It’s a lot of work to get done in two weeks, especially when it seems that every other evening is booked with get-togethers with friends and students. I welcome these, of course, but I’m going to have to pace myself—I went out with my first-year students last night and ended up drinking a bit more than I usually do. I’m going to have to cut back if I want to be in one piece for the trip to the States. Tonight, for example, there is a reception for foreign faculty on campus. They usually have plenty of wine and beer on hand at these events, but I think it would be wise to avoid the drinks table this time.
Anyway, the strange thing about all this is that, despite how busy I am and how much I have to get done, I’m not really too stressed about it. I suppose part of it is knowing that in fewer than twenty days I will be seeing my family again. In fact, that’s probably a big part of it. But another part of it is that I’m looking forward to completing all of the tasks before me. I will admit that I was a bit uncertain about the paper for the conference, but after doing a bit of research and getting my ducks in a row, I think it’s actually going to be fun to write. As for the other projects, well, after translating for the magazine Koreana for about seven years now, I’ve finally gotten the chance to write something for it as well. My first article, a look into the world of hiking/mountain climbing in Korea, will be appearing in the summer issue, which should be coming out sometime this month (at the moment, the latest issue online is the spring issue). The higher-ups at the magazine must have liked it, because I was asked to write the same column again for the autumn issue. The name of the column is “Living,” and it is described as a look at “the lifestyles of modern Koreans and how these lifestyles developed.” The subject for the autumn issue is traditional Korean houses and the “experience” programs that they have—you can stay overnight in a traditional house and then have a traditional breakfast in the morning. Some of these places are geared toward foreigners, but a lot of Koreans take advantage of these programs as well. My research for the column will involve going to some of these places (both in Seoul and in the provinces) and talking to some of the people there. I’ve been to these sorts of places before, and I’m looking forward to going again.
Of course, coming to the end of the history of Korean literature translation project is probably the most exciting of all. I have proofed and submitted all of the galleys, and the next step is to receive the final galleys to check over one last time. The things that I need to get done before heading to the States, though, are a set of maps and a timeline (and, if I have time, a list of books for further reading). I don’t know exactly when the book will be published—there’s still a lot of work to be done—but coming to the end of this is like having spent years and years in a dark tunnel and finally seeing a twinkling light up ahead.
So that’s what’s ahead for me over the next couple of weeks. I do have other things I want to write, and hopefully I’ll be able to squeeze in at least one entry before we leave. I’ve got to get ready for the reception now, though, so I’ll wrap things up here.