Sunday, June 12, 2011

New Beginnings

After spending a week in a cabin up at Massanutten Mountain (in Virginia), Bob and Heather cruised westward with their 2.5 tonnes of accumulated possessions. We met them at Mom and Dad's house where we watched them open wedding gifts (including the above portrait drawn by Jusu). Our gift came attached with an ulterior motive; it was a welcome package to Athens with gift certificates to our favorite spots (to ensure that they really would have to visit us a few times over the course of this next year that they'll be living in Ohio).

Due to a bit of switching around the cards that Joo and I had individually planned to give to Bob and Heather and to Dad (for Father's day), Dad ended up with his first wedding dress. It was a bit small for him. The Asdrubel Cabrera bobblehead that Joo had picked up at a thrift store was, however, a much better fit.

Since I was heading to a conference in Oxford, Ohio, Joo and I spent the night at Bob and Heather's new place. They were wonderful hosts, despite having only lived in the house for a couple days.

Heather cooked us up an experimental Mexican recipe with lots of wholesome goodies wrapped in a tortilla.

Then, we moved to the living room. You can see here how well they were able to set things up within two days. I think it took JooYeon and I about 4 or 5 months to get to this level of coziness with our place.
Heather was thrilled to try out some of her new cookingware she had received as wedding gifts...

At Miami University, I delivered my first solo conference presentation. It was a conference for GeoGebra, which is a free software that offers all kinds of cool ways to play around with algebra, geometry, statistics, and more. I had been in charge of a project to switch some of Ohio University's labs from a commercial software (Geometer's Sketchpad) to GeoGebra and so I gave a talk (or an interactive presentation, rather) at the conference. It was probably the most interesting conference I've attended, partly because of the almost comedic way that the two organizers played off of each other, heckling each other during keynote speeches and creating a sense of community among conference attendees. This was very fortunate for me because my computer crashed twice during my presentation and, thanks to the light-hearted atmosphere, it didn't interrupt the flow too much.

While JooYeon and I still haven't done too much couchsurfing hosting yet, we have continued to get random last-minute hosting opportunities. One night recently, I got a text at 8 am saying that an old student from when I taught in New Jersey (Erika), would be passing through Athens that evening to pick up a new puppy. JooYeon and I invited her to crash at our place, which gave us the chance to revisit a time in my life that now seems like the distant past.

After such a blah April, JooYeon and I reveled in a much better May. My SIAM poster entry on the mathematics behind online social networking was published (see it HERE), and some datasets I had compiled over Christmas break led to some fliers that were distributed on Capitol Hill last week in favor of the All Children are Equal act (you can read the handout HERE; please note that I didn't write the actual flier here; I only did the quantitative work behind the scenes).

I'm also trying to get more flexible at online editing so I've embedded both of the pdfs mentioned above right below here in the blog. Clicking on the leftmost button will make the document fullscreen so you can read it better. I believe this does NOT open a new window though, so if you view it, you will have to press back on your browser to return to the rest of the blog - which you will want to do; there is a rare video coming up!)
Online Social Networks

Talking Points (1)

Both of these are exciting because they are symbolic of a new stage in my life -- the production stage. In my journals throughout the past 10-15 years, I've often talked about how I felt like I was mostly in a collection stage. I was absorbing as many life experiences as possible and occasionally sifting through them, reflecting upon them, and making adjustments to my world view. But this past year, it feels as if I'm slowly transitioning to a time in my life where I feel comfortable disseminating some of my views/thoughts to the public. In the above cases, this includes my view on how math should be taught in a way that students see the relevancy to their lives (the SIAM handout) and that education should be a tool for promoting social equality rather than a hierarchical sorting mechanism (the ACE act piece).

Joo has also made a few strides herself towards what she feels is important in life. For one, she was awarded the President's award at Hocking College (modeled by the bear below), making her the only student in the entire college to win both a President's award and a JOMC scholarship (they were chosen based on two separate sets of criteria). She won the President's award partly because of her work in promoting Korean culture around the Hocking College campus (which is not particularly known for being multi-cultural).

But much more importantly, as she would say, was her baptism this morning. Becoming a part of the Korean church family here in Athens has been just as impacting on JooYeon as her culinary endeavors (and I suppose you could say that her first real attempts at exploring spirituality have been another major factor which led to this morning's baptism). I've included a short clip of the actual moment when she was baptized; if you would like to hear any more of the service, feel free to facebook her for some other clips (although they're all in Korean).

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