I spent much of the day today at the COEX Mall at the Fall 2005 Korean Emigration Fair. The fair is for students who would like to travel abroad to study (and possibly emigrate). Lately, I’ve tried to cut back on the number of out-of-office engagements I participate in because I’m already very busy at work. These events are good overtime opportunities, and they also give you a chance to reach out to the community. I’ve already done many of these events and did not really need to do another for awhile. The weekends are already short as it is; a Saturday day event limits the weekend to Sunday. On Friday afternoon, the front office asked me to sub for someone who had planned to attend the fair but backed out on short notice. I did not want to attend, but I decided that I needed to take one for the team. I reluctantly accepted. Fortunately, my wife understood and gave her blessing. During the fair, I gave a 30-minute presentation to about 55 attendees and answered questions for another 30 minutes. Afterwards, I manned a booth at the fair and answered visitors’ questions about studying in the United States. I also attended this fair last March. At the time, I was still new to Seoul and did not have answers to many people’s questions. This time I was much better prepared.
Although I don’t enjoy public speaking, my presentation went well. My delivery was good, in spite of a few challenges. For one, my knowledge of the subject is dated. Secondly, the presentation I used was in Korean, and my English guide was different than the Korean version. As a result, I had to improvise and modify my presentation. It is tricky making sure that what you say in English matches what is written in Korean on a PowerPoint presentation. I also had a Korean interpreter, and I needed to make sure that she understood the content of my presentation. At times I forgot to stop and let her translate what I said into Korean. Fortunately, she did a great job keeping up with me.
After I came home, I took care of my son. My wife went out tonight with some girlfriends for a "girl’s night on the town." I was happy to oblige. She spends so much time with our son that I was happy to encourage her to go out with friends. I also enjoy spending quality time alone with my son. He is better behaved with me when his mom isn’t around. My wife went out for deokgalbi and stayed out until long after my son’s bedtime. She had a great time. My son and I also had a wonderful time. He’s been sick, but he felt a little better tonight. I gave him some medicine and fed him dinner. We colored a few pictures, played with trains, and did some puzzles. I gave him a bath and got him ready for bed. He was such a good boy–until I tried to get him to sleep. His mom puts him to sleep every night, and tonight he resisted falling asleep with me. He cried for his mom. It took me over an hour to get him to sleep, but I finally did. Although I was happy to give my wife the night off and take care of my son, the frustration of getting my son to sleep and reluctantly going to the student fair today made me feel like I took two for the team.