Saturday, April 05, 2008

April Update

I'll start with this weekend and work my way backwards.

Meghan and I visited Changdeokgung Palace this weekend. It's a ten minute bus ride from my house and supposed to be the prettiest of the five palaces in Seoul. Since the cherry blossoms have started to bloom here it was a great time to go. Later that night we went out to Hongdae and caught a show. A lot of bands I really like played~ bizarrely people were sitting on the floor in front of the stage, like they were watching a play or something. It's dance music! You can't sit on the floor and listen to ska! Oh well, later in the night people got up and we could finally dance.

Last weekend for my birthday I flew down to Thailand for three days to see Allister. We had a great time, of course! We didn't do many touristy things since we've both done it all before. He had a shopping list of items he couldn't get in Uttaradit so we mostly just looked for that stuff. Our hotel was really fun, A shanghai themed place in Chinatown. We managed to fit in massages, a boat ride, a temple, some markets, and a visit to Patpong, one of the bar areas. Not bad considering I arrived Friday afternoon and left Sunday night. We were victim to a few taxi/tuk-tuk scams, but lost more in regards to time than money. Sometimes drivers try to take you to their friends store or restaurant instead of the destination you asked for-- it could be pretty far out of the way. ah well. Of course, long distance relationships are hard but we talk all the time and are both looking forward to settling in there. I have a Thai tutor I meet with on the weekends and Al's picked up a lot of the language already. I'll move there last week of August but won't start work until November. I'll need a break because this has been a rough semester and my summer will be really busy.

This semester has been hard because I picked up too many extra classes. Of course, I did it to save money but I think I overloaded myself. Keeping up with the grading and preparation has been a challenge. The money will help though and the experience in making and teaching these courses (namely academic writing and western culture) will be helpful in the future I'm sure. This Wednesday is a holiday-- sleep!

This summer I will be going on a dig in Mongolia. I had the interview last week and have been provisionally accepted, pending the signing of papers and payment of fees. As I am not a graduate student it's not really possible for me to get funding, so I have to pay my own way. The experience I will gain here though is definitely worth it. This dig will be very different from other projects I've worked on. It's being organized by the Center for the Study of Eurasian Nomads. The team leaders include archaeologists from the Smithsonion and the Institute of Archaeology in Mongolia. The site includes burials ranging from 300 BC to 200 AD. The people there are the ones the Chinese built the Great Wall to keep out. I will not be just a shovel grunt, I will be able to participate in skeletal analysis as well as learn new skills such as mapping. Since I will be leading my own projects in Thailand this will be a wonderful opportunity to expand my skill base while gaining my first experience in the part of the world that most interests me. I still hope to return to graduate school, maybe in three years. This dig will help me network and develop my research interests. I can't wait!

OK, I have to run to Thai lessons. More updates later!


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