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The Adventures of Be Heij

A curious wanderer

Spoon Theory

The following poem was inspired from a story by Christine Miserandino that attempts to elucidate what it’s like for people living with sickness and disability. You can read her story by following the link: Spoon Theory.

 

Where the Spoons Roam
by Be Heij

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Is it possible to find a spoon in a line of poetry?
Lying, hidden there somewhere beneath the allusive alliteration.
Or maybe lost in a cluster of stampeding forks,
trying to poke its curved edge above the many stinging points?

How do the healthy handle their spoons?
Firmly? Or, quickly lost in the game?
Well, how do the wealthy handle theirs?
Forged from plastic? Or, carefully carved from life?

May a spoon be situated in song,
floating silently across the reverberating rhythm?
Or maybe growing in a garden,
standing proudly amongts the cacophony of dandelions.

How do the fauna face their supply of spoons?
Silly Question, fauna aren’t civilized!
Well, how do the flora find spoons without legs?
Silly Question, flora aren’t mouth-eaters!

Could you encounter a spoon adventuring through tales?
Finding itself in the swift swashbuckle of playful prose.
Or maybe there’s one, twisted in thought,
calling for the searing sacrifice of mindless routine.

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Final question (believe it or not):
From where does the spoon river flow,
and where does it lead?
Always high towards always low.

Will spoon panning be necessary?
Or another blunder by the “forty-niners”?
I know what you’re thinking,
but will the spoons ever stop coming?

 

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Our Greatest Blunder

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An ordinary asteroid was nudged, very slightly, by minute gravitational interactions and directed towards the lonely living planet. Then inhabited by giant, scaly monsters, it wiped them all out allowing for its tiny mammalian creatures to emerge from their protective crevices and bask in the abundant sunlight, thus opening up the opportunity for evolution to run its course in creating the most intelligent creatures in the known universe…

Then, by using our unparalleled creative intellect, we found utility in taking the subsequent liquefied monster-bones and burning it to energize our countless conveniencemobiles, making life sweet and adventurous. After decades of realizing the blunder this beautiful mess has caused, we’ve regressed to the pea-sized conscious of a quadruped chasing its own tail.

The demise of those monstrous-dinos surely made our very existence possible, and while their death was tragic, the glorious sensation of living is remarkable and I am grateful for their sacrifice. Now, with a comic sense of irony, these monsters may be doing more to kill us dead than they would have alive. But it’s not their fault. Only we are the ones smart enough to discover a way to allow a species already extinct to potentially wipe us out.

If the burning of fossil fuels eventually leads to the extinction of the human race, was it the dinosaurs that killed us? Or us? What a find for unsuspecting space voyagers that would be.

Floating thoughts

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With inspiration from my fellow traveler (Proud Feet) through the blogosphere, I have decided to follow his lead (even though he prefers picking up the rear) in creating smaller versions of my often lengthy prose. This will (hopefully) enable me to create more posts that are more convenient and enjoyable for readers.

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Distant Contradictions:

The thing that has brought me closer to friends and family has not been FB, nor my Smartphone or any other form of technology or social media. The essential thing that has brought me closer to those I love has been the distance I created by coming to S.Korea.

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Lukewarm Lullabies:

To me, the worst part about this whole Presidential election is the argument that Hillary is the better vote because she can do better against the even worse Republican candidates. Included in this debauchery is that she will also be able to work with Congress more to get things passed, whereas Bernie will more than likely have a harder time than Obama has been having working with Congress. I believe this type of thought process is flawed, but I can understand its potential effectiveness among many voters. We need a President that will stir the pot and not succumb to the idle gravitation towards a mediocre existence where we continue becoming Einstein’s definition of insanity. We need a President that won’t let the Stew of American Democracy Bern! Coffee, like tea, is only drinkable poured over ice or steaming at the surface. Hillary’s coffee is lukewarm. Lukewarm anything is a crime to humanity. Except for milk… for a baby.

From Here to There (pt. 1)

As I come back from the arduous trip, head in a daze and muscles aching, all I feel like doing is plopping down on my bed and throwing on a movie. There has been this one documentary gnawing at my side for me to watch for some time. It’s the riveting tale of an ordinary man, infected with a passion to do something unthinkable. Something impossible and dangerous, yet, extraordinary. An infection for which the only cure lies among the clouds, in a void between two monsters.

His dream spawned in his creative mind and was inspired by a newspaper ad before the object of it was even created. Something about this looming construction gave him an itch that he knew he could not yet scratch. And he knew that he would be waiting for quite some time. But before I get into the romantic tale of a man’s balance between these two ferocities, I will need to go back, back to another tale nearly forgotten and now splendidly awoken from its hibernation by the fondest of connections, transformed into something new and vibrant.

This tale also begins with a dream.  But not the kind of dream you have in the night-time, when the moon is smiling somberly over your slumber, nor the kind you have when thinking about some possibility for action in the future. This one, is a dream born under the sun, where the birds sing a song of chipper excitement… a daydream, of a young man who’s head finds solace in the clouds and who’s feet find the feeling of the dirty earth more comfortable than the softest of carpets.

Have you ever felt your reality turn into a mechanized routine of predictability? Day falls away to night, night pushes up day, again and again in an almost rhythmic percussion of the vibrations on a string. Only difference is that this song is monotone; it’s the sound of the flat-line of a heart in cardiac arrest, of a once chaotic and curiously energetic wire shaken by the inner child without a care.

What sound does the whisper make, that leads you into the forest? What say the feet to the neuronal web when it orders them to walk over three million steps in a summer? I can only imagine these were some of the hidden queries of a Daydreamer who embarked on a journey with the Appalachians as a GAME-er. Then later to manifest itself into a similar journey, northbound, in the company of the sharp personality of the Rockies only the length of a tightrope away. What void persists between them? Might it come along for the ride? How do feet “shake hands” with such an arrogant sharpness?

Inspired by the dream, I set off to bear witness to where these ferocious feet would take me. With feet so close to the Earth they’re almost buried by it, it was hard to imagine they would steer me in any wrong direction. They first brought me to meet the kindred presence of old Katahdin. Every step of the way stole a slot on a disposable roll (rocks are much more interesting in person). With the marker reading “0” on both memory boxes upon reaching the summit, I was delightfully forced to take in the moment through organic lenses. I can still feel the ridges, etched into my brain by the “Knife’s Edge” that followed, like the graffiti left behind on the walls and tables of Yesterdog, a local hot-dog eatery. A blissful void, littered with mountains of ripples in space-time of the quantum realm and covered in a blanket of clouds that I return to, every now and again, in my (night-time) dreams.

What song does the moon sing to tuck the sun in bed? What trail of grain is left behind the sun as it hops over the hills? At what aperture does the soul begin to see the stars?

The journey and dream continued onward like the Amtrak on the opposite end of the slack-line, with an old friend and the eagerness to complete a 74-mile slice of an oatmeal crest pie. No matter if it ended up a little bit burnt… the real joy came from preparing the ingredients.

After all the necessary preparations and planning of meeting points, my companion and I were off on our adventure! We were not yet sure when or where we would rendezvous with our fateful Daydreamer and the one they call Shutterbug, but we knew it would come. For this is the way of the trail… everything is tentative, no absolutes! We continued this way, in a daring balance between doubt and faith, with minimal communication and a growing hunger to realize our reunion.

The beginning of the trail met us with a wonderful rocky riverbed… our first glimpse of “Trail Magic”.  We had only been hiking for a short while when this gem first fell upon our ears. “D’you hear that?” exclaims Toke. “Whooosh!” The roaring waters penetrated the drums of our ears eliciting a reverberance that fell profoundly onto our skin, cleansing any lingering presence of the artificial world. After our pupils were filled to the irises with awe of this spectacular display of nature’s showmanship, we quickly set aside our turtle shells, removed our feet clothes, hiked up our pants and put on our wading hats.

The water chilled our bones and invigorated our souls. Understand that this river was ordinarily unusual. There were deep parts contrasted by behemoth type boulders flattened by a millennium of the steady shaping liquid katana. These places were only covered by a thin sheet running away. This led to mini waterfalls and miniature life-giving rock bowls that scattered the oasis. The place was a sanctuary, shaped for thousands of years, just for us to share that moment.

What clever quip holds the water to enter the unbreachable walls of the toughest rock?

After some acrobatic leaps from one rock to the next and a few snapshots for the album, we both enjoyed the relaxful roaring of the whitecaps in our own ways. Without the usual distractions of electrical stimulation, one may find themselves curiously occupied by the oddest of objects. While Toke was off on his own mental meanderings, I preoccupied myself with an ordinary log not quite the size of my forearm. I was first curious as to what path it would take if I let it loose in a narrow catch-pool where the water finds a nice reprieve from its long journey. After just a few moments, I determined its path along the at first, very unpredictable route and rescued it from the stream before it was lost and gone forever.  I repeated this several times along the now (somewhat) predictable route to see how consistent the flow of water was. It wasn’t until I started experimenting with larger and smaller sticks that I heard a faint call from Toke trying to get me to come back so we could resume our voyage.  After one last calculation (okay, maybe two), I promptly made one last toss of my new found toys and bid them farewell on the rest of their journey.

What fun awaits the most unassuming of objects? When will the things we discard forever, come back to greet us again?

Addictions… a plenty!

What comes to mind with the word addiction? Alcohol, cigarettes, sex, sweets, fats, maybe even heroin or cocaine? Definitely not weed… no you can’t be addicted to that. It’s not physically addictive. “I can quit anytime I want,” they say… “I just don’t want to.”  What about those who are addicted? These are the unlucky people that lack self-control. But who are these people? Them and they, right? What if addictions played a much larger role in all of our lives than we tend to think? For the sake of argument, I will be referring to addiction as the feeling of lack we experience with a thing. I’m going to suggest that addictions are all around us and will even go so far to say that most of our everyday actions are actually rooted in addiction.

To begin, lets go back to what someone might say in defense of not being addicted to a thing: “I can quit anytime I want, I just don’t want to.” Our previous thinking of addiction came from the mindset that addiction is something experienced by someone that has a physical limitation to quitting and would experience withdrawals if they quit. For instance, what a person with a heroin addiction would most likely experience if they quit shooting heroin. So the first part of their statement may be true. They might be able to quit any time they want. The trouble is, they don’t want to. Well, what controls the wanting within us? We would like to think we do, but this simply may not always be the case.

How can we explain a craving for a particular food? Consider that most of the cells that comprise our bodies are bacterial. One NIH study (http://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/nih-human-microbiome-project-defines-normal-bacterial-makeup-body) found that bacterial cells outnumber human cells 10 to 1. Their small size accounts for why they only make up 1-3% of our bodily mass, but with cells its more about function than size. With so many more bacterial cells sending signals and competing for resources than human cells, might it be possible that they are the source of our wanting? Since bacteria thrive on sugar, this may be more true about our cravings for sweets. So when the craving for that Friday doughnut, coffee loaded with sugar or my personal favorite, Häagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream, can we really say that we intrinsically want it?
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Maybe it’s just the bacteria in our bodies sending signals that they need more sugar and we’ve associated those signals with our own particular cravings. The more we satisfy these cravings the more populous those particular bacteria become, the more connections and associations are made in our brain and thus an addiction sets in. Maybe not so extreme an addiction as alcoholism, but an addiction nevertheless.

Another addiction I wanted to speak of is very prevalent, not only in today’s youth, but also in anyone with a Smartphone. There’s an addiction nowadays to wanting to be connected, 24/7, to everyone and everything, all the time. Generally speaking this is an exaggeration, but is it really that far from the truth? Think about what happens when working on anything and the Smartphone is nearby. With all the notifications, buzzes, rings and dings, how many times is there a distraction from the task at hand? When was the last time an hour went by without some interaction with the Smartphone? This “interaction” also includes thinking about the Smartphone or anything related to it. When our true attention is neither with our Smartphones nor with the task at hand, how can we really benefit or learn from what we’re doing?

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These Smartphones are forever present in our lives, and if the bond between Smartphone and human has lasted between one month to a year, they may experience whats known as Phantom Vibration Syndrome or hypovibochondria — when a vibration from the phone is felt, but no message or alert was received. Researchers believe that before Smartphones, it may have been just an itch. Now, Smartphones have pervaded our lives to the point of literally rewiring our brains to think that itch is some notification (http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2013/09/30/226820044/phantom-phone-vibrations-so-common-they-ve-changed-our-brains). I won’t even go into my experiences of being freakily good at getting a sense that I received a message (or sensing a message is about to be received) on my phone sitting on the table even though all sounds and vibrations are turned off. Almost like my brain is somehow picking up the radio waves that are being sent to and from my phone. So do we consciously look to our Smartphone and say to ourselves, “I wonder what’s going on with social media right now, I want to check”? Or, is it more of an impulse or compulsion that we grab for our phones out of habit at this point to check our Facebook or Twitter? If the latter option seems more true, then can we not say that an addiction is present?
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Lastly, I wanted to talk about probably the least anticipated addiction there is and one that I have had a substantial experience with. One probably that most people have never directly thought of as an addiction. It is more commonly thought of as “missing someone” or “being homesick”, but I will argue that it can be seen as a type of addiction. This addiction is the company we share with family and friends. Most of us rarely realize this addiction since, as humans, we make it a point to surround ourselves with family and friends as much as possible. Because of this, our brains are wired in a way to receive feedback from these friends and family. Since we are surrounded by people we are familiar with on an almost day-to-day basis, the experience of this addiction is rare.

What happens when everything and everyone has been completely removed from reality? At first, the experience is invigorating! Jumping from place to place, seeing new things and meeting new people. After a while, though, settling into this new world begins to reveal the lack of what is familiar and comfortable. The realization that all the people that are special in life becomes more and more evident to the brain. This is when the addiction becomes clear. We are addicted to the feelings we get from spending time with family and friends. When we’re missing this physical connection we experience a type of withdrawal (being homesick or “missing someone”) that can be related to addiction. I’ve experienced this feeling twice, once on my adventures to South America to study abroad for four and a half months and now teaching English in South Korea. The interesting part is that in both occasions the most intense “withdrawals” came at around three months. This, to me, suggests that after a given amount of time of the brain not receiving these physical affections from our loved ones, it realizes the lack and therefore, an addictive type craving that is experienced as being homesick.

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A lot of my thoughts here are mere speculation, but it does seem evident that addictions are rooted in many decisions that we make. And I could have continued on about how many of the keystone habits that make up most of our actions can also be considered addictions. Or the reasons why we continue to buy the same products or brands of things even though there may be something better on sale or a newer product and get upset when the store has run out of that particular brand.

The point here is to demonstrate that much of what we do can be deemed out of our control because we are not aware of what we are doing. “Forgive him father for he knows not what he does.” When we can’t say which foot our sock goes on first, this is telling us something about our awareness. My goal here is to inspire others to identify what they’re addicted to and the habits they have in their lives. Once identification is achieved, start the scrambling process! If one is dexter-dominant, start brushing and eating on the sinister side of life. Take a different route to work every once in a while. And by all means, jump in a plane and settle a land completely foreign to the eyes. When we can start to realize the reasons we make certain choices and wake up to the fact that there are so many other factors that weigh in on our decisions, we can truly become masters of the moment.

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Just for the kids

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Meet the Cranes! One crane for every student in my class. Since then, I have added two more to my flock bringing the count to 82 for this first autumn term. Back in 7th grade, my Earth Sciences teacher, Mr. Mirandette, had this project for his 7th graders where everyone would choose an element from the periodic table and get to create one atom of their element using whatever materials they wanted. He took pictures of us holding our elements (mine was Xenon atomic #54 – tell me why I still remember this) and placed our pictures up on nails with the rest of his past 7th graders to form an entire layout of the periodic table of elements composed of his 7th graders and their atoms. He then gave you your picture encased in its protective shell upon your graduation from high school. I’ve always really admired this aspect of his class. Now, my picture hangs as an ornament on our pine tree every Christmas. This was the inspiration for the CRANES. My students shall receive their personalized crane upon completing the term and my class.

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For the kids back home: As you lay asleep each night, be comforted by the glow of the stars above. Let this be the inspiration for your dreams to soar through the vast space of the universe. Allow each star to shine as a unique example of the differences and difficulties we may encounter on our path. Know that, as they shine, they shed insight onto the benefits they can bring to our lives. Whenever you seek answers, try staying awake underneath the star-glow a little longer allowing their presence to alight upon you and your troubles. Sometimes the best answers come without words, but a feeling.

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In Chungdahm, the class schedule is very tight. There’s a lot to cover in the three hours of every class and it seems like they’re always adding things. I’m still trying to find little ways to make the classes my own and more engaging with the students. The more advanced the class, the better I am at coming up with interesting videos and activities to do with them. The hardest part are the kids who are in levels higher than their language proficiency is. One of the hardest parts about becoming a teacher that I’ve discovered is dealing with the feeling of trying to teach to a wall and trying to turn that wall into a student. With all the difficulties and business of class, we do find the time to stop and have a little bit of fun every now and again. Meet Margaret… she’s into those caricatures and apparently she thinks I have a large, funny and pointy nose.

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A night in Jangyu

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As I sit aloof on a bench atop the fourteen-story high-rise, I am suddenly captivated by the sheer awe of the city in the night-time. The amber lights beam brightly from all four angles. Then I widen my gaze. The brilliance of the waxing, yet nearly complete moon casts a dominating presence over the sky. The stars become few, yet Cassiopeia is still visible. I peer my head over the edge and bear witness to the great space below. With a brisk gust of westerly wind, I contemplate the frightening fall. How alive this makes me feel!

Now, night tucks the day away with the splendid comfort of the cotton candy clouds, covering the candle substitute of moonlight. As one drifts dreamily to sleep, another world awakens… the senses suddenly spark a new life.

The shockingly sour stench of the pooling stagnant water left by a rainfall just a couple days prior leaves my nose hairs leaping with confused excitement. Fortunately, the music of the crickets rubbing legs together gives me a familiar feeling of calm and quietness that I forget about the smell.

I start to think about Scott Kelly on the ISS. In a way, I owe part of my adventure to him. I wanted to experience a similar feeling that he’s going through. Somewhere, up there, he’s circling ’round bringing his one year in space closer to a close. How is he coping with being so far from home? Not only family, but home being the only rock humans have even been able to call home. In a sense he’s away from two homes…

While I am the farthest from home I have ever been, I contemplate whether I can really feel the distance. If I feel farther away from home now than I did when I was in Argentina or Peru. When the distance that’s being compared surpasses the point of familiarity, what difference does it really make? For Scott its different. Not only is he living farther than any other human has ever lived from home for as long as a year, he has the uncanny experience of passing by his home 15.54 times every day. It’s as if the closer you get to getting what you want, that exciting feeling brews a lovely batch. In the blink of an eye, suddenly you start moving further away, only to repeat the process again and again never having received your bubbly brew. Not only does he have to deal with being away from home; he has to cope with his home constantly coming within reach and then going away again. What does this do to a human-being?

Although, Scott is allotted one advantage over the rest of us. An advantage, I would argue, that makes all the pain of homesickness worth its while. That is the ability to look back at the place we call home and bear witness to its entire beauty. How often have you sat across your street to view the house you grew up in? Not only see it with your eyes, but really see it for everything it has made you become? Scott gets to do this not only 15.54 times in a day, but every moment he gets a chance to look out a window. He gets to do this not only for himself, but for every human-being that has ever lived.

So as I sit atop the fourteen-story high-rise, I look up at the moon and stars, lightly covered by patches of clouds; slightly intoxicated, but alive as I have felt at the peaks of Machu Picchu to the peaks of the Pacific Crest; I think about time in the context of the mountains and the stars. The entire human existence passes by like a rain drop on a puddle. Everything is moving so fast.. spinning out of control… flying this way and that… and then nothing.

In a flash, I am transported back to this moment. The stench of the water on the ground greets me with a comforting calamity. The song of the rubbing legs enlightens my ears. The subtle spinning of the air vent towers reorient me to the city below. And as I gaze back at the changing aperture of the moon, I am reminded of the beauty of life once again. The human perspective is but an insignificant blip in the course of the universe. From here, though, we can witness all the beauty that passes within a single flutter of a butterflies wing.

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Waking Up

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Have you ever woken up and felt like you were still dreaming? Like the times you sleep in a different bed and wake up expecting to find the bed you’re used to lying underneath you. Then suddenly, as if in a frantic, you realize it’s not your bed. Not only is it not you’re bed, but it’s not your room, its not your house. “Where am I?”, you might ask. You might think you are dreaming, and then you realize, in a half-dazed stupor, “oh yeah, I’m in ________.”

Usually this would only happen once in a new place, maybe twice, but then you start to get used to the new place. This has not yet happened for me. Maybe it’s starting to, but its still too early to tell.

As I wake up in my new bed, I feel normal. This is what I’ve been doing now for the last few weeks, nothing strange here. When I look outside my bathroom window that’s when a veil of mysterious confusion comes over me. “Where am I? Am I really in Korea? I see Korean on the buildings and mountains in the backdrop, I must be.” It still does not feel real. But what is real?

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Many of you might have been thinking about the Matrix this whole time. There is an uncanny truth to what the Wachowski’s so cleverly came up with in that film. The way our senses and our brain play a sort of game to pull a certain kind of reality over us like a warm blanket. To make us feel like we have some kind of control over what we do with our lives. Masking the severe lack of control we have over matters of the universe.

There’s something that waking up on the other side of the world does to you I can’t quite put into words. Something about the air and the trees, the flowers and the birds, maybe just the general atmosphere.

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I recently saw a video of a man, Alan Eustace, getting lifted 135,000+ feet into the air by a helium balloon and spending several moments in the stratosphere before dropping back down at a smashing 800+mph velocity. He survived with a graceful crash and tumble, in case you were wondering, with zero injuries. But I can’t help but imagine the sense of awe he experienced. To be able to see the entirety of the Earth, the blackness of Space and a special brilliance of the sun those of us on solid ground don’t have the privilege of experiencing.  Maybe he felt like he was dreaming. Maybe the whole experience was very overwhelming at the time.  He mentioned trying to focus on staying calm and keeping his heart rate low on the way up. The two hour and seven minute journey to the stratosphere he mentioned was very peaceful. I imagine he could only make sense of the whole experience during the several months that followed.

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On Earth, if we want to experience another part of the world, we get on a car, boat, train, or plane or some other kind of vehicle and travel there. Then we can experience the differences and weirdness that is the place we decided to go. The further away from home you go the stranger it gets. However, some unique places have a particularly innate strangeness that you might not need to travel very far to get to. Like Las Vegas, The Grand Canyon, the top of a mountain or a large body of water. When one goes to the other side of the world this strangeness is not merely multiplied. It is amplified. The whole of your experience is transformed into this gooey, malleable conglomeration of a reality that can so easily be confused with dreaming. The way it drips and rolls and changes form. Walking down the street you might think you dropped a little Lucy as the signs and and buildings start to give you strange looks.

For Alan, he experienced a whole new kind of strangeness. One that nobody in the history of man would be able to say they knew what he went though. As the first man to not just pass through the stratosphere, but to stay there, he can say he’s experienced a kind of reality that to anyone else would feel like a dream. He can speak of things about the Earth and how it breathes that no one has ever seen before. Finally, we can learn from his courageous expedition certain properties of the Earth that were before unimaginable.

This experience, after all, is why us travelers decide to pack our bags. To explore the world and see what’s out there. To change our angles and perspectives. To meet new people and learn their culture. This includes learning a bit of their language. At least enough to say “Anyeong-haseyo” (Hello, Are you peaceful?), to order food: “ch’in mandu juseyo”, and “An

nyeong-ga/geseyo” (Goodbye,go/stay in peace).

In my expeditions, I hope to learn, as Alan and many others undoubtedly have, more about myself and human nature. Why we dream when we’re awake and why we don’t remember our dreams after we sleep. Maybe I need to wake up, in the less literal more abstract sense of the word. Wake up to the reality I’m in, where I am, what I am doing and the beauty I can find here. Or, maybe I just need more sleep…

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Lets Begin the Adventure

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Knowing how to begin a thing is always the hardest part. Eventually you end up needing to just do something, ignoring whether or not it turns out how you wanted it to. I’m finally getting this thing started. It took me a while to figure out how I wanted my voice to be, but I’ve decided that this being my first blog, my voice will develop as I go.

A view of the perspective I stumbled into from my first adventure in Gimhae, South Korea to mark the occasion of my first blog post.

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My goal will be to first introduce living in South Korea as it is my first adventure as a blogger. From there, my endeavor will be to continue sharing these anecdotes as I move freely about this world from place to place, wherever the wind decides to blow my curious wandering mind. I will do this by the best means I know how: sharing stories and pictures of my adventures, food, hang outs, teaching experiences and little blips that could help a fellow traveler should they ever decide to step foot on this side of our wandering blue rock.

I will also preface by giving the reader some insight about why this adventure has even begun in the first place. Amidst my journey of finding my passions, my dear friend Max came to me with the idea of teaching English in South Korea. Right away, I was enticed. The more and more I wrestled with the idea becoming a reality, it started to dawn on me how scared a trip like this made me become.  My final decision was based solely on the fact that it terrified me. So I set off to a foreign country to teach English, not knowing how to say more than “Hello” and “Thank You” and not having any significant experience teaching. The adventure would pave the way for me and my flexible eagerness to experience new things will give me the courage to see it through.

I determined that this trip would be extremely difficult, and so far it has not disappointed. My justification was that in the end I would come out with some skills that I want: knowing how to communicate with children of another culture, going face to face with the unknown and coming out of it with something to share and to bear witness to an entirely new world. I would also discover that I learned things that were previously unimaginable. This is the fruit at the top of a tree you decide to climb in the shade of night because the canopy was a blanket to the moon you so desperately cared to witness.

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