Tag Archives: United States

The Speech Contest

  I had been avoiding giving speeches at the Mokwon University chapter of Toastmasters, mostly because the speeches are in English, the members are almost entirely Korean and the entire thought of competing with them just struck me as incredibly unfair. There was also the part about me not wanting to write or memorize a […]

The Upside of Western Decline

I view the US and its western allies as very positive forces in international politics. US nation building policies during the 40s and 50s constructed much of the modern first world. The US civil rights movement, the anti-colonization movement running parallel to it in Britain, France, and other Western nations, democracy promotion efforts and trade […]

Context in Foreign Language

I had gotten to the point I was feeling pretty cocky with my Korean. Granted, I am perhaps a bit (okay, a lot) more prone to bouts of cartoonish egomania than most, but this particular run of overconfidence wasn’t entirely my fault. You see, on the morning in question the nice lady selling me coffee […]

The Tale of Bob

Tale of Bob, The Blue Collar American Worker Ben Garrido Bob was driving his one ton duly pickup truck out of his highly mortgaged driveway to work when he received a call from his employer, Global Bicycles. “We’re sorry, Mr. Bob. We regret to inform you that your position is no longer available.” “How did […]

Ghost Hunting

This article originally appeared, in an altered form, in the Reno News and Review.  This is a story about ghosts. According to the Most Holy Book of Cultural Cliché, I’m supposed to either tell you about how the ghost hunters are a bunch of superstitious charlatans or passionately defend the paranormal possibilities of the universe. […]

Return to the United States

A little more than a year ago I left behind my family, my friends and my job in Reno.  I did this because Chungdahm April Language Academy offered me work teaching English in Korea.  Here’s what happened. Return to the United States “그레하운드 장류정에 가야 해요.” I was standing at the airport in San Francisco […]

Things to Fear and Things to Ignore, Korean-style

A good rule of thumb for Korea is to assume that half of what you see will be very familiar and half will look like something invented by Martians.  You can find multitudes of Martian-like behaviors by examining the things Koreans fear and the things they couldn’t care less about. Koreans do not like infectious […]