Have to admit it! Yesterday was the first day since my arrival here that I’ve felt the restoration of some sense of balance in my life since leaving Cairo. In a truly nerdy fashion it took the first day of school and the meeting of my new students to get the ball really rolling on the process.  This is not to say that my new colleagues have been anything but incredibly helpful and very friendly, but I guess I’ve been on a determinedly miserable and melancholy mindset… missing my Cairene life fiercely and going to bed having imaginary, one-sided conversations in my head with my friends there (and some real ones too thanks to Skype). Then there have been the pangs of anxiety about adjusting to various aspects of life and bureaucracy in Korea.

All told I was on slump in terms of mood, but the first impression I got from students here is that the move was certainly career-wise, so to speak. Students, at least at the outset seem engaged, even pleased to be taking these courses (History of Science [yeah finally!] and a writing tutorial and many in the latter seemed genuinely enthused about the theme. This time it is about voyages and discovery (not food), chosen because it to resonate with my recent past.

The course itself more akin to the freshman writing classes I taught at Eau Claire than to the research writing experience at AUC, but I seem to have a better handle on it, having taught the upper level course, and also learned some do-s and don’t-s in teaching writing. I do have a common book project, which I plan to integrate in with other exercises. Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley, seemed ideal encompassing as it does both a trip of the length and breadth of USA, and personal journey as well. He also does well on the descriptive front. The book exposes the kids to a world class writer but is short enough to be manageable. Another piece I’m thrilled to be using a newsletter article on travel narratives called “A sense of place,” by Richard Hoath. (In true British style, he said he was “chuffed” about my using it!). I daresay my enthusiasm will wane as the semester progresses and things get chaotic as they’re bound to and oh yes, the 40 km commute (from new campus) entailing a bus from there at 7:40 and hence leaving home around 7 twice a week at least, will get old real fast. But those are par for the course, and in that respect at least I ought to feel right at home!

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