This week witnessed a cornucopia of interesting news events. Martha Stewart got out of jail and landed on Forbe’s list of the world’s richest people. (Congratulations, Martha–was the insider sale worth spending time in Camp Cupcake just to add a few more thousands to your net worth?) Michael Jackson’s defense team scored points against the prosecution by backing the plaintiff into a proverbial corner after they got the child to admit that he lied about being shown pornography. Then Jacko turns around and hurts his case by nearly being thrown in jail for showing up one hour late to trail wearing pajamas. (Note to Michael–do not show up to a molestation trial wearing pajamas–it just does not look good to the jury.) Wall Street reminisced over the 5th anniversary of the the peak of the NASDAQ at 5,048 (it now stands at 2,059), and the rest of us who lost money remember when we all thought we were investing genuises. We have since been humbled. Yes, it was a strange week indeed, and that’s not even including all the strangeness in the world today. One year after 3/11/04, the date of the train bombings in Madrid, we remember that the world is still an insecure place.
I had lunch today with a Korean lady who works at our office. I volunteered to help her practice her English, and we met to discuss a variety of conversations–family, Korea, the U.S., work. She is the first local I’ve had a chance to get acquainted with since I arrived in Seoul. Her English is already very, very good (she majored in English literature), but as I know from personal experience with the Korean language, practice makes perfect. While I’m here in Korea I also want to look up a couple of old friends I knew back in the United States. I met them while pursuing my MBA, and I haven’t seen them since we graduated and they returned to Korea. I’ve located two of them; the third I haven’t been able to connect with yet. Meeting and spending time with Koreans while I am here is one of my personal priorities. I find at work that Americans and Koreans tend to remain somewhat aloof from each other. It’s natural for people to have an affinity for others of their own culture. Language differences also hinder inter-cultural communication. Breaking down culture and language barriers is important, especially if you live and work overseas. The conversation partner program at work I joined is a convenient way to help break down that barrier. Having married into a Chinese family, I relate well to Asians. Language is a much bigger barrier for me than is culture.
I’ve been nursing a head cold all week. I’m feeling better, but now my family is sick again. My wife isn’t feeling well and hasn’t found the rest she needs, and tonight I noticed that my son has a runny nose. Darn, this one is my fault. I was hoping we could finally move past these nagging illnesses and enjoy the weekend, but we may have to stay home and rest again. Drats. I just hope and pray that we can all heal and start feeling like we’re past the move transition period.