Recently, I heard an American resident of Ukraine talk about the sympathy expressed by Ukrainians after 9/11. I’d also felt a lot of sympathy even from left-wing university students in South Korea, usually indifferent or hostile to the US. I used it as an opportunity to insert some National Public Radio coverage as listening materials. In Korea, the sympathy ended when the first US bomb hit Afghanistan. On the 9/11 anniversary, I posted on Facebook, and Michele responded that she’d been concerned about what effect the news would have on foreigners in the Middle East, where she was at the … Read More
This is a story of being caught in a period of uncertainty between three SE Asian countries during the pandemic. The people are kind and friendly, the scenery is gorgeous, but inner turmoil and perhaps isolation keep the mind a prisoner.
In March 2019, Virginia and I posted an account of her teaching experience at one of the most prestigious high schools in China. Basically, she credited her students with giving her the most rewarding teaching experience she’d ever had, but she liked little else about the job or China. (Link)
The first of the posts about Amy’s life, “Two American Teachers in China, Part 2,” is basically positive (Link); the second, “Escape from China,” deals with some disappointments after her return from vacation and particularly with her flight from the toxic air pollution (Link). Now the third details the happy events which followed. I’d like to add that on my four trips to Thailand I found many people and places extraordinarily friendly and helpful. There were those who were out to gouge tourists, but they were easily avoided.
When I arrived in Asia in 1984, everything was so new that my mind simply would not take in what it saw. I wandered around bug-eyed, marveling at everything but feeling content. I thought, “Isn’t it wonderful that I’m not experiencing any culture shock.” Two things I was ignoring were the fact that the actual shock was not due until later—when it did come—and the fact that my nightly retreats into British murder mysteries certainly qualified as trying to escape from my environment.
Lisa and I met twenty-some years ago when both of us were teaching English as a Foreign Language in Seoul. While I stayed at my university, she moved on to teach in several different countries, earn a doctorate in Australia and do research in educational issues. She is now the director of the English Language Institute in Jackson College in Jackson, Michigan. We spoke via Skype. During the interview she frequently chuckled at memories of past difficulties.In part one she talked about teaching in a private university in Kabul, and in part two about girls’ education and her research on … Read More