Mary and Anne

1997 May 19, john

Somehow I ended up in China outside of Beijing at the "Ba-Da-Ling" section of the Great Wall on a tour bus with mostly retired Americans. The GREAT WALL was awesome and packed with tourists. Anyway, the lady behind me on the bus gets to talking and turns out she's 85 years old - looks 65 - and made it higher up the wall than I did. This doesn't bother me; I've been out done by many an old lady and respect them greatly. We chit-chat and she tells me her life synopsis in a soft staccato story.

AD-DA-SHEE

1996 March 26, john

The Korean word for "Mister" sounds something like "AD-DA-SHEE". Koreans call every man that they don't know by name, "AD-DA-SHEE". Koreans will tell you that this is an extremely friendly way of referring to the person. Most will say it translates to "UNCLE". This really is misleading because to us that implies a very close family or friend relationship. I quizzed my Korean friends further and found out that there is a completely different word for your parents siblings, and you would never call them "ad-da-shee". I don't know how Koreans came to translate AD-DA-SHEE into uncle.

Clouds

1996 February 08, john

I met Meg during my time as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Thailand, just after college, in 1983. For the first 3 months of our 2 year hitch we studied the THAI language together with Brian, Sheri, and Lisa and 2 language instructors; Ajaan Kannikar and Ajaan Tongchai. Who knows why we all ended up in the same group; I mean we did select each other, but we'd only known each other 2 days. It was kind of like choosing sides for kickball when you were a kid.

Black Hole

1996 January 22, john

It started out as a simple conversation about the big snow storm on the East Coast of the U.S., the “Blizzard of 96”. Ms. Pak, a friend in Taegu, and I were discussing the weather. Ms. Pak speaks some English, but not really enough to have an easy conversation. It's hard work for the both of us, but she is determined to learn English. Our method is very unstructured; just talk about whatever topic we can with whatever words she can find. Then, if I can figure out what she means, I try to show her a better way to say it.

Ka-bu-ki

1995 May 28, john

I have taken up a new hobby. I was in a taxi late at night. My window was open enjoying the rush of air from the swerving, speeding, stop and go ride up and down the hills of TAEGU. The cab stopped at a red light. Two young women were standing on the sidewalk next to my window. They said "HELLO MISTER". I said "AN-YONG-HA-SAE-YO". They giggled, and we all had exhausted our language abilities; so they said "Hello MISTER", and I said "HELLO" again.

Good Neighbors

1990 May 20, john

CAUTION: THIS PAGE STILL A WORK IN PROGRESS!!! I have no idea what I was trying to do with this draft page back in the 1990's just after my [[stories.mary_and_anne|trip to the great wall in china]]. I leave it here, until I figure it out and re-write it. Surely must have been profound...!