Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Say What?

I translated a friend's Korean FB status update and this is what I got:

Goes round and in 80 foreigner grandfather and the feminine image English does a little marriage! of a Korean woman whom When gets married, the grandfather gives, cash billion 1,500,000,000 performance of a surgical operation gives…The thing receive, with the old man the grudge which will get married. Soup. There will be women? I Roh right ~ only result only will be anxious still!

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Fissured Vase

Le vase brisé
Sully Prudhomme

This vase wherein the vervain dies
A fan's light touch left a crack fine.
Soft blow it was to all the eyes,
And made no noise one would divine.

Yet slight as is the little bruise,
It gnaws at its crystal each day.
Unseen but sure in its slow cruise
Around the vase it makes its way.

Fresh water leaves in dribs and aught,
The flowers' soul will expire soon.
Though none has yet to suspect naught,
Touch not the vase for it's in ruin.

Thus often when the hand you love
Strokes light the heart yet breaks it so,
The heart shatters on its blest love,
The flower dies of its love's woe.

It looks whole to the world outside,
Yet feels the growth, and softly cries,
Of its wound deep and fine inside.
It is injured, touch not the vase.

Monday, March 14, 2011

"The saying, age makes us childish, is not true;
it only find us really children still."
- Goethe

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Le Lac

This poem reminds me strongly of the cottage my family goes to, in particular because it is a place I went to as a child and as a teenager, but is somewhere I've only briefly returned to as an adult. Where does the time go?

The Lake
by Alphonse de Lamartine (1790-1869)

And thus forever pushed to a newer shore,
In the darkness eternal carried ne'er to return,
Will we ever in the ocean of the ages
Cast anchor for one day more?

Oh lake! The year has scarcely ended
Than near the cherished waves she was to revisit,
Behold, on this stone I came alone to linger
Where you have seen her sit.

As you roared beneath these deep rocks,
Smashed your waters against their torn sides,
So the wind threw the foams of your billows
Onto her feet beloved.

One night, remember? As we cruised along silently,
One heard from afar on the waves under these skies,
Only the noises of rowers who struck in rhythm
Your harmonious waters.

Suddenly of the tones unknown to the earth
Of the charmed shore struck your echoes;
The waves grew attentive, and the voice to me dear
Thus spoke these very words:

"Oh time, suspend your flight! and you, blessed hours,
Delay your course!
Let us savor the fleeting delights
Of the happiest days of ours.

"Enough unhappy souls in this world implore you:
Flow on, and for them flow on;
Remove the days with the cares which consume them
And spare the happy ones.

"But in vain I ask for a few moments more,
Time evades me, and takes flight.
I say to this night, "Tarry." But the dawn
Will dissipate the night.

"So let us love, let us love; and the transient hour
Let's enjoy in a hurry;
Man has no harbor, time no shores;
It flows, we fade merely!"

Jealous time, can it be that these drunken moments
When love fills us with bliss to overflow
Fly from us at the same speed
As do our days of woe?

Alas, could we at least freeze their traces?
Why, gone forevermore? Why, lost forevermore?
This time that gave them, this time that kills them,
To yield them nevermore?

Eternity, void, past, gloomy abyss,
What have you done with the days you buried?
Speak; will you surrender the sublime ecstasies
From us you had ravished?

Oh lake, mute stones, grottoes, forests obscure!
You that time spares and rejuvenates,
Will you keep of this night, fair nature,
At least its memory pure?

Let it abide in your repose or your storms,
Beautiful lake, in the face of your smiling hills,
And in these dark firs, and these wild rocks
Which hang o'er your waters still!

Let it be in the zephyr that shudders in passing,
In the sounds of your shores and by them repeated,
In the silver-faced star that whitens your expanse
With its softened brightness!

Let the wind that groans and the reeds that sigh
The gentle perfume of your balmy air,
Let all that is heard or seen or breathed
All say: "In love they were."

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Sunday, March 06, 2011

On Wearing a Skirt

During my first year at Cheungwon Kindergarten, I wore a dress or skirt all of twice. The first time it was because I had a funeral right after work (followed up by a party at my place which involved me in a black dress cooking with flour - not wise) and the second time because I was over at April's, it was late, it was snowing, and I couldn't be bothered walking home, but I had no work clothing with me, so she lent me a skirt and I put on my running tights underneath. I was the picture of elegance, I tell you.

The funny thing is, both times my co-teachers, the principal and all of my students were absolutely and emphatically pleased with my attire. I got more compliments on each of those two days than on the rest of the days combined. They tell me I look far more beautiful in a skirt.

And so, since it seemed nice, I wore a skirt for the opening ceremony last Wednesday. After all, I had to go on stage and bow to the combined elementary school and kindergarten and all of their parents. There were performances by the elementary school orchestra, traditional drumming group and the belly dancing troupe. It was a fancy occasion and I dressed accordingly.

I may well dress up again for graduation, or parents day, or something similar, but I won't be doing it regularly.

Interestingly, I love to travel in skirts. If you've ever been driving along the roads in the mountainous region of Togo in a bush taxi, I'm sure you'll hit on why - it makes peeing so much easier, and I find them cooler too. Plus, when you're trying to pack light, skirts are simply more versatile - change the kind of shirt you're wearing and you change how dressy you look.

My main problem with skirts and dresses hits once the weather cools - I'm not fond of tights. I have never, ever been able to find a pair that really fit me properly. Fat or thin is not the issue - my height is. I'm just that little bit taller than the average size, but not tall enough to wear the tall sizes. It's a royal pain in the ass. I love leggings for that reason - I buy them 3/4 length and they fit just fine.

But, you know, if running tights are apparently okay under a skirt while teaching, it might be worth taking up dressier attire so that I can hit the streets faster after work!

Gay Stirfry

For about the last month, it feels like every gay person I know in Seoul has had one thing on their mind: eating at Bao, the tiny new stir fry restaurant in Kyungridan. I too have been trying to go and check it out, but every time I went, it was mysteriously closed. I was always with straight friends and I was starting to wonder...

Turns out, it's closed on Tuesdays. Good to know.

I finally made it tonight - with the Sappho Sisters book club. I hadn't read the book, but it was nice to meet everyone and the next book is one I'm dying to read (and one I already own) "Nothing to Envy", the latest book on life in North Korea. We stopped by What the Book afterwards, and then three of us dropped into Tartine's for pie and coffee.

I had a great night and Bao is fabulous - I'll have to get back to sample all the other sauces.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Goals. Alex Has Some.

I know a guy named Alex who has epic reading plans.

I'm jealous. But also lazy. I'd be tempted to start if all my old Classics books weren't on another continent.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Anthem by Ayn Rand

The Giver was a better book and it was written for children. Best thing about this? It's short.

And though it makes me dread my recent promise to a friend to read Atlas Shrugged before I watch the movie, I did like the marginalia I found in the book.