Monthly Archives: December 2010

2010: My year in music

Time for another annual soundtrack.  I thought i’d say a few words about 2010, but i wouldn’t even know where to start.  All i can say is that this year’s soundtrack was one of the most difficult to compile.

Happy new year, and see you in 2011!

2010: My year in music

Pre. U2 – “City of Blinding Lights” ………… <listen>
Jan. Florence and the Machine – “Postcards from Italy” (Beirut cover) ………… <listen>
Feb. Chroma Key – “You Go Now” ………… <listen>
Mar. Alanis Morissette – “Giggling Again for No Reason” ………… <listen>
Apr. Patrick Park – “Something Pretty” ………… <listen>
May. The Temper Trap – “Sweet Disposition” ………… <listen>
Jun. Nick Drake – “Been Smokin’ Too Long” ………… <listen>
Jul. Adele  – “Chasing Pavements” ………… <listen>
Aug. Duncan Sheik – “Good Morning!”
Sep. Oasis – “Stand By Me” ………… <listen>
Oct. Olney Clark – “Tea and Thunderstorms” ………… <listen>
Nov. Norah Jones – “Come Away With Me” ………… <listen>
Dec. Testface – “all the glass prayers”
Fin. Radiohead – “Planet Telex” ………… <listen>

2009
2008
2007

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Forgiving vs. Forgetting

Do you forgive but never forget, or forget but never forgive?  Remember that question from silly surveys we’d fill out in junior high when we didn’t feel like doing our homework?  Well, this question just came up in an email exchange with a friend of mine, and it actually holds much relevance to an important ethical issue i’ve been grappling with.

But before i get to my personal story, let’s look at what Charles L. Griswold, author of Forgiveness: A Philosophical Exploration and recent contributor to The Stone, had to say about forgiveness.

First of all, Griswold introduces the idea of forgiveness as something that stems from religion, and coming from a non-religious background, i have difficulty understanding that perspective.  For instance, what does forgiveness have to do with revenge?  I was quite surprised to see revenge and vengeance included in the discussion, because those are completely separate issues for me when it comes to forgiveness.  Maybe it’s just because i’m not a vengeful person (i honestly can’t think of a single instance when i got revenge on anyone), but when i think about forgiveness, i think only about what you might think about what someone did to you, not what you might do afterwards.

However, if giving up revenge and resentment were sufficient to yield forgiveness, then one could forgive simply by forgetting, or through counseling, or by taking the latest version of the nepenthe pill.  But none of those really seems to qualify as forgiveness properly speaking, however valuable they may be in their own right as a means of getting over anger.  The reason is that forgiveness is neither just a therapeutic technique nor simply self-regarding in its motivation; it is fundamentally a moral relation between self and other.

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What to do from here?

I have a comfortable life here, but it feels unfulfilling in so many ways.

I like my job, but i wish i could be doing some real teaching, i.e. not EFL teaching (refer to this post for more on this).

I miss learning.  A lot.  Ever since coming here, i haven’t had any time to read intellectually stimulating material.  I used to consume so much information back in the States; i’d read regularly and catalogue images.  I miss that.  I miss that so much.  I miss having the time to look at interesting things online.  I’m getting stupid!  And i think it shows!

On the other hand, i’ve grown so attached to my apartment that i don’t think i could bear to leave it in August.  I don’t know why i’m thinking so far ahead.  I’m usually not like this; planning has never been a strong point or even an interest of mine.  I think i’m afraid of going back to the States, even though i miss it a lot, because it would mean finding a new job and being closer to my family (because if i were to go back, i’d probably go back to NYC).

I’m not even sure if i wanna go to grad school for Philosophy anymore.  I become more and more afraid everyday; i have so many doubts.  ‘I’m not smart enough, i’m not hardworking enough, i’m not passionate enough…’

Maybe my life here is holding me back from doing what i really wanna do.  I’m starting to think all of this was a bad idea.  I think everything will be better if i go back to school, and the most cost effective way to do that would be to enroll at Yonsei, i think, but their application period isn’t until October.  I don’t know how much longer i can do what i’m doing now without being disappointed with myself.

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student quotes, edition #1

Spoken:

[Grabbing my arm] No, don’t go! I have more questions…

[Seeing me pass out letters for them] Ahhhhhhhh!!!  [not a squeal, but a full-on scream]

[Opening my letter] Teacher, you’re so sentimental…!

-Do you wanna ask me a question?

-No.
While playing the one word story game (where each person adds one word to a developing story):

Yesterday…i…went…to…the…bathroom…to…wash…my…body.  My…grandfather…visited…me, and he came into…the bathroom!!

From writing assignments:

They always look for hot girl even if they looks like potato.

I like to go shopping because my eyes are very excited.

I like blue & pink on ordinary times.  Because Blue is gloomy and like a daydream.  And Blue give to me imaginative power, so I can dream through the blue.

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I’m proud of my students

Today’s choral contest was by far my favorite school event.  There are some students who hurt my feelings and disrespect me on a regular basis, but i loved every single one of my students today.  How could you not love them when they’re singing like little angels?

I know all i talk about on this blog is school now, but that’s the thing:  i love school and it’s my favorite thing to talk about.  This job is no doubt the toughest i have ever had.  Sometimes i wanted to quit, sometimes i hated my school, but i think i’ve always secretly loved it.  I get along so well with everyone and i’ve made the place my second home.  I know the majority of my students—their names and class numbers—and most of the teachers in the main teachers’ office.  The weekly journals were an important part of building a relationship with the students; we shared interests and food/cultural recommendations over them, and sometimes, they shared more personal things, to which i always, always replied.  I’ve gotten thank you letters, and i’ve gotten hate letters.  But i gave my end-of-semester speech to each of my 2nd grade classes, and they all listened attentively and thanked me in return.

2-1 wasn’t so bad at the beginning of the semester, but after i lost some students’ work, they banded together and refused to pay attention in class.  I got the most negative feedback on my evaluations from this class.  I really hated them at times and at one point, i came close to telling the vice principal that i refuse to teach them (before you call me crazy, the VP and i are tight, so i would’ve gotten away with this).  But i forgive them now and understand that some students just hate school, and nothing’s going to change that.

2-2 was my worst class at first.  They were the loudest and most difficult to control.  What made it worse was that the co-teacher i teach it with didn’t know how to discipline.  I was the harshest and strictest with this class, and now they’re one of my most attentive and obedient classes.  Towards the end of the semester, their journals were the best.  This was the only class that learned to follow all of my instructions for journals.

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