Posted by: rbbadger | February 27, 2009

The end of the academic year

Well, this week we celebrated the end of the Korean academic year.  We bid farewell to the Grape and Cherry classes, most of whom will rejoin us in the afternoon.  But we won’t teach them every morning, something that I will miss.  It is so very easy to get attached to students and there are many that I will remember with a great deal of fondness in the time ahead.

We are still down a teacher, given that one of the Korean teachers has been hospitalised for over a month with some illness or another.  She seems to have recovered, but the boss is worrying about her coming back too soon.  He doesn’t want to see her back in the hospital again.

The coldness of winter is passing, thankfully.  Korean winters aren’t that bad, but there are days when the cold winds coming down from Siberia feel like they cut right through you.  But where Lynnette is, it is much, much worse.  Concerns about our rain and snow levels are still with us, as the government is worried that we haven’t gotten enough snow.  And given the shape of the country, much of it tends to flow into the ocean, so there are new plans afoot to create more reservoirs to trap it. 

One thing that I will say for my time here in Korea is that I don’t think I’ve ever eaten so much rice before.  Rice is definitely a staple of the Korean home and a meal without it was unthinkable for a long, long time.  And of course, I eat kimchi or kkaktugi (fermented cucumbers treated the same way as kimchi) every day. 

The economic crisis is being felt very negatively here.  Thankfully, we have been spared any bank collapses of the type that we see on an almost daily basis in the USA.  But for a country which depends on exports for much of its livelihood, none of this is a good thing. 

One of the things about recessions, depressions, and the like is that with all the sophisticated mathematical modelling that goes on in economics, it is still terribly hard to predict when all of this will end.  Recessions can only be diagnosed in hindsight.  And the same is true of recoveries.  As for when the world’s economy might recover, it will happen when it happens and until then, there’s not a lot you can do about it.


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