Sunday, September 20, 2009

Well, over a full month since my last entry... a month of you wishing I would put on a shirt or at least put down the power tool... I now continue with the adventures of Dan and Joo (and random others). Kiwi (a random but significant other) studied English increasingly diligently towards the end of his two months in America. He even brought his English teacher Yuki over to our house to do some extracurricular studying as we watched the movie Once...

Joo and I had previously had some discussions and come to the compromise that we wouldn't have any guests over to our house until the makeover was pretty much complete. Once we reached this illustrious day, we had a few guests over. The first was the aforementioned Yuki, the next was our realtor Brooks (who we introduced to fire accu-therapy)...

and after that we had some of my friends from the masters program (not pictured). Kiwi's final days (when he wasn't studying English) were filled with lots of frisbee golf and delicious cuisine.

When he left, it was a time of hawjeonhada (I believe I used that same word in the blog when Kiwi and Gyuseong left us in South America a year ago). It's a time where you can still feel the spirit of a person, but there is a heavy emptiness since they are not physically there. It was probably easier for me since I was swept up in the beginnings of all my grad school stuff, but for Joo it was a lonelier time. This was compounded by the fact that she still couldn't drive so she was more or less confined to the house. Which meant one thing... it was finally time to get her driver's license! The permit test went well for her, and so did the driving portion of the test, but the maneuverability was an obstacle. And so we practiced...

It's amazing how protective people are of empty parking lots- I don't think we found a single place to practice where we didn't eventually get yelled at or at least some threatening stares. But Joo persevered and passed on her second try with flying colors...

Once she had her license, she freely could pick up sewing supplies, library books, cooking stuff, etc. and pursue her hobbies more avidly.

I certainly was/am a fan of her avid pursuits as I now have sewed up pants to wear to classes, stashes of healthy homemade cookies in my desk drawers, and a sparkling clean house to come home to every day! Joo and I have always agreed that we didn't simply want to follow conventional patterns where the woman is expected to cook and clean. However, we have realized that for practicality's sake, it is best for whoever happens to be less busy to do these tasks in order to have quality time to spend with each other.

In order to have this time together, Joo has been waking up at 7:00 (which is a very big sacrifice if you know how anti-morning Joo generally is) every day to walk with me into class and then usually stays at the OU library all day doing various types of personal research and translating while I'm in classes. Recently she's been trying to find her sister Jusu (the artist) some venues and contests in America for her to submit her work.

As for the beginnings of my classes, my first impressions academically were a bit overwhelming. It was one of the first times I've ever sat through entire math classes and had virtually everything go over my head. Grad school style is certainly a lot different from undergrad, at least in the math department. Proofs, which used to be fringe things to give us reassurance about math laws, have become virtually the only language we use in the classroom and homework. It's even overflowed into my everyday language and reasoning! The orientation was well-designed so that we had ample time to bond together already and in particular, there is already a study group that a few of us have started up that I think will blossom into stronger friendships. The professors have very different teaching styles but I enjoy them all (and I'm not just writing that out of fear that they may stumble across this blog- I'm sure they're all too busy for that!) I really like the small class sizes because I have a LOT of questions and it's nice to have cozy atmospheres to really get thorough answers. My teaching is going well, although it feels quite different than the last time I taught in America five years ago (I can feel the age difference a bit more- much more of a formal, professional, respectful relationship between the students and me).

And that's all for now- hopefully I'll be able to get the next blog out before another month rolls by!!!

1 comment:

  1. Dan!
    I'm glad to hear grad school is starting off well and that your house is feeling more like a home. Congrats to Joo for getting her license!