26 June, 2014

Mother's Day and Memories of Korea

Jeju, March 2008
In February/March 2008, Viking Man went to Jeju-do, Korea on business and I joined him later in a last minute decision. It was a beautiful and unique trip and a fitting way to say goodbye to Korea (see the original post). Ever since, we have regretted not buying ourselves a souvenir dolharubang, a mushroom-like statue made from the porous volcanic rock of the island.

This Mother's Day, Viking Man announced a cryptic present he said I would never be able to guess. When two large crates showed up in the carport last week, I was still stumped. I have to admit that I was pretty stunned to see a giant dolharubang when we hacked open the first crate! Six years and three countries later, we have our Jeju souvenirs.

The packing slip declared each crate to be 400 kg. With one stacked on the other, it looked like a good chance that we now had a pair of decorative crates for the carport. Even my handy Viking had to think this one through for a couple of days. Today, he was finally able to execute 'Plan D', in which he rented a chain hoist, pried a board out of the carport ceiling, manipulated a couple of straps around the statue, then lifted it like it was nothing. The bottom crate followed easily. A quick jaunt on the dolly, and they are now guarding our house and garden.

Thanks to our friend Ho in Korea for arranging the shipment, and happy Mother's Day to me.

23 June, 2014

We move to Denmark, and I start Language School

I still have a monkey eating my brain. I've asked her to stop, but she just laughs and throws a handful of squashed brains on the floor. Darn you, Monkey Baby.

I originally started this blog so family and friends could keep up with what I was doing when I moved to Korea. To date, my years in Korea have been my best blogging years. China's disapproval of free speech slowed me down, and I've never really recovered.  Whether or not to continue is always a question, but I'm going to give it a go. We've moved yet again, so I have decided to continue documenting my life as it goes 'here, there, and everywhere'.

We moved to Denmark, by the way. It's windy and cold. People are nice but reserved. I ride a bike and am still trying to figure out what life here is all about. Eight years in Asia did nothing to prepare me for life in Scandinavia.

In May, my application for social registration was finally approved. I am now under obligation to 'integrate'. I have a case worker who is in charge of my integration program, and I have to check in with her now and then to assess how things are going.

In order to retain permission to stay, I have to pass several language tests. They are not hard, but I've enrolled at the language school all the same. It's a good way to meet people, it gives me something to do, I'll acquire a skill, and it's free. Good deal all around.

The school has more than 500 students from more than 60 countries. Study is broken down into three different education levels, each with six modules. I have started in module one of the third and highest education level. As of now, I have four classmates who come from Syria, Ukraine, Hungary, and Ghana.

Last Thursday, all the education three modules went on a field trip to Himmelbjerget (Sky Mountain) and the Asger Jorn Museum in Silkeborg. At 482 feet, Himmelbjerget is one of the highest points in Denmark. We 'hiked' to the top and enjoyed the view in spite of a biting wind. The museum was interesting though slightly tedious as I maybe understood 5% of what the docent was saying. Thanks to one of my classmates for the photos. Some blockhead forgot to put the memory card back in my camera.