Thursday, March 29, 2012

Teeth and Rain

Today, while standing in the rain waiting for the streetlight to change so I could cross the street, I suddenly stopped feeling the pitter patter of droplets on my head. I turned to my right and a smiling lady was holding her umbrella over me. She said something in Korean, bowed slightly, and turned to watch for the green man telling us we could walk. What an awesomely nice lady, sharing her umbrella with wet foreign strangers.

Also, as an update to one of my earlier posts, I have been using my own home made toothpaste now for just over a year and my dentist has verified that my teeth are not only cleaner, but whiter than ever. He was "frankly amazed."

Toothpaste mix: 5 parts baking soda to 1 part salt. That's it. Healthy, clean, sparkling teeth and gums without all the crud and expensive corporate garbage coating your chompers.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Over Educated

Last night, my last class ended at 10:30 PM. Strictly speaking, this is illegal; schools in Korea cannot run past 10. Regardless, one of the girls in that class rolled her eyes when I assigned homework (required by the school) and told me "Teacher, I am so tired!" I responded, "Well go home and get some sleep, then do your homework in the morning silly! (It was only a few sentences)" She broke my heart, and said "I can't, I am going to math academy now..."

She genuinely looked exhausted, yawning, and barely able to keep her eyes open. She was probably at math academy until past midnight, and after copious amounts of homework, didn't go to sleep until around 2 or 3 am, only to wake up at 6 or 7am to do it all over again. Now strictly speaking, this is illegal, but regardless, it happens, all the time, all over.

Images and visions overwhelmed my mind. Memories of climbing trees, playing Super Mario Kart on Super Nintendo, eating snacks in the afternoon in my neighbors backyard and playing cops and robbers, sitting and wondering, just wondering. I remembered so much free time, so much fun and games, so much roaming and exploration. I remembered boredom, and laughter, and imagination. Then my mind traveled back to that girl again, who once before told me she doesn't like doing anything with her free time, she is too busy studying... She wants to make her parent's proud.

I remember my Mom being proud of me just for making it to first base in little league baseball.

I understand that the parents in Korea want the best for their children, they want them to find success no matter what. They are pushing them due to the immense love that they have for their children and their country, their ancestors and themselves. It is out of love.

Can anyone tell me what the point of succeeding is? To what end does success bring. Status? Power? Money? Happiness? Happiness? Happiness?

Happiness, Love, Power, Money, Status, Possession, Memory, Emotion, Regret, Desire, Joy, Pain, Passion, Boredom, Happiness. It all ends forever. At any moment, it all ends. All we have is right now. Now. Now.

Where is the balance? She needs sleep. Where are her dreams? She needs laughter. Where is her boredom? She needs wonder.

Where is the balance?

Sunday, March 4, 2012