My name is Jared Way. I was born in California, and became an "adoptive" Minnesotan. Now I'm contentedly expatriated in South Korea.
For many years I was a database programmer, with a background in Linguistics and Spanish Literature.
I quit my well-paying job and starting in September, 2007, I spent 2 years teaching EFL to elementary kids in Ilsan (suburban Seoul), South Korea. From April, 2010, until April, 2011, I worked a public school position in rural southwestern Korea (Yeonggwang County). I have since returned to Ilsan and continue to work there.
As of June, 2013, I remain in Ilsan in South Korea, but I was diagnosed with cancer, and have been undergoing treatment. As a consequence, the focus and tone of this blog has changed somewhat.
I started this blog before I even had the idea of coming to Korea (first entry: Caveat: And lo...). So this is not meant to be a blog about Korea, by any stretch of the imagination. But life in Korea, and Korean language and culture, inevitably play a central role in this blog's current incarnation. Let's just say... it's a blog about whatever I happen to be thinking, that currently takes place in Korea.
Basically, this blog is a newsletter for the voices in my head. It keeps everyone on the same page: it has become a sort of aide-mémoire.
If you're curious about me, there is a great deal of me here. I believe in what I call "opaque transparency" - you can learn almost everything about me if you want, but it's not immediately easy to find. I also maintain a work-related blog on the Korean portal Naver: jaredway.com.
A distillation of my personal philosophy (at least on good days):
I have made the realization that happiness is not a mental state. It is not something that is given to you, or that you find, or that you can lose, or that can be taken from you. Happiness is something that you do. And like most things that you do, it is volitional. You can choose to do happiness, or not. You have complete freedom with respect to the matter.
"Ethical joy is the correlate of speculative affirmation." - Gilles Deleuze (writing about Spinoza).
Geofiction - this has evolved into a significant "hobby" for me. I like to draw imaginary maps, and these sites enable this vice.
I have, in fact, been working as a volunteer administrator for OpenGeofiction for about half a year
now. I enjoy it, and I've learned a lot. I created and maintain the site's main wiki page: OGF
The above work has required my becoming an expert in the Openstreetmap system. Openstreetmap is an attempt do for online maps what wikipedia has done for encyclopedias. I have considered becoming an openstreetmap contributor, but I feel that my current location in Korea hinders that, since I don't have a good grasp Korean cartographic naming conventions.
I originally discovered the above site when exploring this site Urban Geofiction.
Another geofiction site Norscand. They recently linked to OGF, too.
TEFL - my "profession," such as it is.
Online English Grammar reference Grammarist. Useful for settling disputes over grammar.
Think about it. We could have built a high speed rail network for the whole country for that price - if you assume $100 million per mile construction cost (very generous), you could get more than 10000 miles of high speed rail.
I suppose it must be a translation of a typical Korean way of phrasing things: my students almost universally will offer "for some reasons" when preparing to give a list of more than one reason for something. It makes sense, but it sounds unidiomatic in English. Being around it so much, however, it has become part of my idiolect, like some other Koreanisms, like starting a sentence with "By the way..." or "And then..." when those phrases aren't quite pragmatically appropriate.
By the way, I had a very hard week, this past week, for some reasons.
First, there was a lot to be done at work. Because I had to prepare more detailed versions of my syllabuses for my Elementary classes. Also, we had a business dinner. Also, Friday morning, I got some weird upset stomach thing, so I'm wondering if it was a mild food poisoning or something, since it passed fairly quickly, and it was unpleasant while it lasted.
And then, the week is finally over.
Nowadays, I am recovering from it.
It was lightly snowing this morning, but it doesn't show in this picture among the Hugok redwoods (deciduous "dawn redwoods," metasequoia).
Yesterday was a super exhausting day: 6 classes, straight through, followed by a 회식 (an after-work, semi-regular, semi-obligatory dining-and-drinking event). I only got home at around 1 am. I survived, but I'm feeling massively burned out at the moment. So... nothing to post today.
The scene: my afternoon "phonics" class with 1st and 2nd grade elementary students. This is very beginning English. I've been working on teaching them how to respond to the question, "How do you spell it?" Most of the words are of the "C-A-T" variety. I decided to try a much harder word.
I held up the flashcard showing a chicken to an obstreperous boy who goes by Jake.
"What is it?" I asked.
"Chicken," he said. Koreans know this, because Koreans have adopted the English word "chicken" (치킨), which they use mostly to refer to chicken prepared for eating (cf pork vs pig, in English), but they also know it refers to the animal.
"How do you spell it?" I asked. I expected him to be stumped.
Instead, without pause, Jake spelled, "J-A-R-E-D."
I really wasn't expecting that. I guess at some point, in a previous class, I'd taught them to spell my name (an important thing, maybe, knowing how to write your teacher's name, right?). And he decided rather than admit not knowing how to spell chicken, he'd fall back on something he knew.
It was pretty funny. I think only after he'd said it, did he realize he was equating me to a chicken. I pointed at the flashcard, and at myself: "Same, right?"
Urban planning has always fascinated me. I think if I'd felt more confident and more motivated during my college years, I'd have pursued that as a career.
Perhaps it can be attributed to my somewhat countercultural background, but I have always harbored a great deal of skepticism about what might be termed the US's "typical suburban development model." Recently I ran across a rather stunning indictment of this development model, concluding that not only does it produce fragmented and/or insular communities and excessive energy consumption, but it also is, in strictly financial terms, something like a publicly-sponsored pyramid scheme and utterly unsustainable.