My name is Jared Way. I was born in rural Far Northern California, and became an "adoptive" Minnesotan. I have lived in many other places: Mexico City, Philadelphia, Valdivia (Chile), Los Angeles. And for 11 years, I was an expatriate living in South Korea. In the summer of 2018, I made another huge change, and relocated to Southeast Alaska, which is my uncle's home.
For many years I was a database programmer, with a background in Linguistics and Spanish Literature. In Korea, worked as an EFL teacher.
In June, 2013, while I was in Ilsan in South Korea, I was diagnosed with cancer, and underwent successful treatment. That changed my life pretty radically.
Currently, you could say I'm "between jobs," somewhat caretaking my uncle (to the extent he tolerates that) and getting adapted to life in rural Alaska after so many years as an urban dweller.
I started this blog before I even had the idea of going 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 have come to play a central role in this blog's current incarnation.
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.
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 there is a website that has enabled this vice.
I worked as a volunteer administrator for the site OpenGeofiction on and off for a few years. I created (but no longer maintain) the site's main wiki page: OGF Wiki. I am not currently working as administrator but I remain active on the site.
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.
Starting in April, 2018, I decided somewhat capriciously to build my own "OGF stack" on my own server. This was not because I intended to abandon the OGF site, but rather because I wanted to better understand the whole architecture and all its parts. I built a wiki on the Mediawiki platform (the same as wikipedia). This wiki has no content. I built a map tileserver and geospatial database, which contains a very low resolution upload of an imaginary planet called Rahet. And I built a wordpress blog, which is a separate, low-frequency blog intended to focus on my geofictional pursuits rather than this more personalized, general purpose blog. All of these things can be found integrated together on my rent-a-server, here: geofictician.net
TEFL - my "profession," such as it is.
Online English Grammar reference Grammarist. Useful for settling disputes over grammar.
When I was a young child, every year around Thanksgiving, my family and various friends would travel from Humboldt down to the Bay Area to stay with other friends in a little town called La Honda. At that time, La Honda was quite rural, nestled up among the redwoods at the center of the South Peninsula, and felt quite remote from Palo Alto, just down the hill. Nowadays, of course, La Honda is fully overtaken by Silicon Valley bazillionaires and quite uninhabitable by air-breathing folk. But the tradition, back then, was to have a kind of extended, hippyish get-together with lots of guitars and good food and hanging out. It wasn't always just Thanksgiving - there were summer reunions, too.
Well, that tradition has drifted around, geographically, over the intervening decades. Mostly, I haven't made it to these reunions. A few times I made it at Thanksgiving, because it was typically hosted at Juli and Keith's in Oregon. But the summer gatherings were not something I ever made it to. Many of these have been hosted at the Hohstadt's property in southern Humboldt, but as the generations have shifted the location has relocated north to Olympia, where Sherry and Greg live.
Anyway, all these years later (I guess, about 40 years later relative to the last time I was part of this), it's still happening. It ends up a very nostalgic time for me. The oldest generation are often people I knew who were young adults when I was a child - people like Juli and Keith, David (who is now with Vivian), Pat and Steve. They remember me as a 10 year old boy. Subsequent generations are not so well-known to me. I know about them but in many cases have never met them before. Anyway...
Here's a picture of Pat and Steve. Bear in mind that I remember these as a young adult couple, parents to a boy a year older than me who I often played with. They're maybe a few years younger than my parents. I remember them playing guitars and singing old folk songs, back then. And they still are, all these years later.
Arthur attended these gatherings too - much more than I have, over the years. So having him come has been good for him, I think. It ties into old memories, he knows most of the people, and he can feel comfortable in a larger social setting. I tried to get a picture of him - this picture is a bit low-resolution, because it was dark, but he's there.
When we drove up, we didn't go through Portland. Instead, we went up west of Portland and crossed the Columbia River at Kelso. Arthur managed to figure out how to take a picture of the rather old-style, very high bridge with my phone, while I was driving.
A yellow moon rose over Olympia's firs, out by Rainier to the east. Aging hippies and their kids and grandkids and a few great-grandkids sat in a circle composed of memories and regrets and the sweep of time singing old Bob Dylan songs. The moon's light grew bold and enjoined the night to listen.
He hasn't been doing that much, these days, so I felt very lucky. I don't even know what I'd said in that moment - something about replicating the custom of photographing food. We were having a dinner out at the King's Pub - the restaurant that my cousin owns in Forest Grove. It was a pretty good dinner, anyway. And Arthur smiled - the photo was pure luck, since I didn't realize he was smiling until I was looking at the photo I took later.
Today, we're driving up to Olympia for the weekend, to visit old friends as a sort of large gathering up there. I may see some people I haven't seen since I was a child. It will be interesting. I think Arthur's up to it - he gets tired easily especially in social situations, but he'll be able to just stop interacting if it gets to be too much, I reckon.
The Minneapolitan rainbow monkey is trying to enjoy his retirement, but sometimes he experiences boredom or loneliness. The work at Karma was difficult, with those children throwing him all the time. But it was fun, too.
The last two days have been busy with various medical appointments for Arthur, my uncle, but I took some time to get the last of my "student goodbyes" organized. These are just scans of papers they made for me - unlike with the "yearbook" I posted in the last set, these were done at my request, which I felt more-or-less okay about doing with the younger students.
The youngest just made pictures. The next older cohorts made messages, often in Korean, while the oldest would sometimes write in English.
In the mornings, before it gets too hot, Arthur makes a walk up to the "tree farm," which is basically the end of the road out here in Cherry Grove. It's all uphill walking up the road, and it's therefore all downhill walking back. It's good exercise. The road continues after the top of the hill, but he stops at the top. Perhaps oddly, there don't seem to be many trees on the tree farm - that's because, as a tree farm, the trees have been harvested and there are only very young trees growing for now.
I walked up there this morning with him. When we paused at the top, he took a picture of me.
There are many wild blackberries growing in this part of Oregon.
Here is the gate to the tree farm, with a sign on it. The gate is always open.
Here are some more goodbye messages I have received from students. It being currently 4 AM in Oregon, and feeling wide awake from jetlag, I decided to make this post.
Firstly, my student Jun Hui, 7th grade, gave me this painting. She painted it from a photo on my blog, here.
My coworker Grace created this "yearbook" with her students. It's quite amazing and beautiful. Grace managed to do this without me being aware that it was being worked on - she was good at getting all the kids to keep the secret of its creation.
On the front cover is "See you later alligator" and on the back cover is "In a while crocodile."
There were many envelopes and other goodbyes handed to me, too. I've put these into the yearbook.
My student Shelley created some paper flowers. Inside, was a secret note that explained how all the students were making letters for me. She had to keep the secret, see, but she had to tell, so she made a note and put it in the flowers which she would give to me.
My heart is touched.
I have some scans of some other goodbyes papers I'll post later, in a part 3.