It has been well over a month since my last post, and you, my imaginary but faithful reader, may have been wondering where I went. The answer is New Zealand, for three weeks. It was not my original intention to leave without a word. I was planning to write at least a brief note about the upcoming trip, but a bout of somewhat serious illness (vestibular neuritis—look it up if you’re interested in seeing what I went through) put me behind on work, which meant that I had no time to write anything for Liminality. In fact, I barely even had enough time for sleep; I think I got a total of six hours of sleep in the two days before the trip.
Despite that, despite my illness, and despite the craziness that had swallowed my life just about the time we were getting ready to leave, the trip was great. Amazing, in fact. I can’t remember the last time I was so gutted when a trip ended; I genuinely did not want to come home. That may have been due in part to the knowledge of all the craziness that was waiting for me when I came back, but we had a truly great time in NZ and I did not want it to end. At some point in the future, although I make no promises as to when this future will arrive, there will be a travel journal and photos chronicling our adventures. These will be the first photos from our new camera, a Samsung NX300. It is so much better than our old camera that it almost feels like alien technology. And it is so easy to use that it almost feels like cheating—like it should be harder to take good photos. I’ve still got a lot to learn, of course, but I took over 1,500 photos over the course of our three-week trip, and there are some true gems in that digital slush pile. Of course, having the beautiful scenery of NZ to work with didn’t hurt, either.
At any rate, I am now back, and I have plunged headfirst into a time of transition (the source of the craziness mentioned above). I considered simply mentioning that I am facing a “major life change” and not elaborating on that until I have more time to go into greater detail, but that’s not really fair for those of you who do not already know what this life change is. So I’ll just spit it out for now: After six years of teaching at the Graduate School of Interpretation and Translation, my time at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies is coming to an end. At the start of the new semester, I will be an assistant professor (this is what I am now at HUFS) in the Department of Korean Language and Literature at Seoul National University. This may not mean much to my readers abroad, but it is analogous to getting a position at, say, Harvard University or the University of Cambridge. In other words, it’s a pretty big deal, and I feel very fortunate.
Of course, because of this development, as well as other factors, the remainder of February is going to be very hectic, and March is probably not going to be a picnic either. So I am going to leave things at that for now and get back to the work at hand (meeting a translation deadline, preparing to move, etc.). But I do hope to be able to write a little more in the near future about this transition and, in particular, about what HUFS has meant to me over the past six years. I didn’t think it would be this hard to say goodbye, but it is, and I’m going to need more time to get it all out than I can spare today. So I’ll be saving that for next time.