Thursday, November 22, 2012
I feel very fortunate to have met-up with a former student of mine last night. Some of you might remember that I taught two semesters of the Nambu (south Seoul) district's Critical Reading & Writing Program - offered to cream-of-the-crop high school students with high English proficiency and outstanding academic records.
For me, it was a chance to be involved in a level of teaching that I now sorely miss, as well as a chance to meet some very cool people, and certainly some of the city's youngest, best, and brightest.
Anyway, I was truly honoured and touched when one of my former students (who calls me "Gagnier") messaged me back in late September to welcome me back to Korea and to invite me out to his university to look around the campus and catch-up.
Gene was accepted into Korea University - one of the top three in the nation - and is majoring in History. This is one brilliant young man, who not only embraces his inner nerd and is (to the best of my knowledge) unapologetic about it, but he also happens to catch for the Korea University men's baseball team. I hope to be seeing him in action next spring.
Before an Indian dinner at a nearby restaurant, Gene took time to show me around the campus - which is huge. I regret not going in the day as it is a beautiful campus and night shots won't do it justice, but we managed this one shot lit by street-maps - yellow.
Next time, I hope to make it when the sun is still out so that I can capture "Squirrel Road" - an urban legend among the students that involves fateful crossings of paths by a squirrel. Should a student be walking this tree-lined hilly path alone, and a squirrel crosses his or her path - expect three more years of "being solo". If it occurs in front of a couple, then the relationship will be long-lasting. In other words, if you dig on being with someone, don't walk Squirrel Road alone.
In February, Gene will be interrupting his schooling to complete his two years of military service - something mandatory for all Korean males between the ages of 18 and 35. I am pleased to know that for this period, Gene will be lending his gigantic brain to the National Defense Center in Jongno where he will be working to uncover and archive records from the Korean War. This, as opposed to being a floating target for North Korean buffoonery.