My time in Korea will be a shared letter format to Hanna, who is a dear friend battling colon cancer. Without her urging I would not be here!
Dear Hanna, August 4, 2010
THE JOURNEY BEGINS…
I am sitting here waiting to embark on this grand adventure. My morning was a nice relaxed one. I finished the book my friend John lent me (Honolulu) and then Justin drove me to the airport. We arrived very early so we sat and talked for a very long time before I decided that I needed to bid him goodbye and to make my way through airport security. There are two things that make me nervous traveling, airport TSA and Customs. Today, heading through the checkpoint I had reason to be upset. I was harassed again for my ceramics. What is it about NY, do they not see the validity in the arts? Or was it the fact that my laptop had a rather rebellious sticker fixed upon it, “fire pots not guns”? In any case, my ceramic work, which was so well packed, was inspected, the packaging torn apart, the work swabbed, the swabbing material then run through some analyzing device despite being able to clearly see that they were pots, and then the bag was shoved back at me for me to put back together. In the meantime, the TSA official could not get his head around me traveling to ASIA alone. His partner told him to knock it off, which I thought would be a saving grace, but then snidely declared that he was ruining the chances for his mother to get a nice Christmas present. I want to believe in humanity, and I think I do, but I also think I know why so many hate “Americans”, I was truly embarrassed to be one today while going through security. The sting of their reactions to a female artist made me think that they must treat others that way as well. Right now I am so glad to be leaving this place.
Dear Hanna, Still August 4, 2010
Somewhere over the Great White North (Canada)
So I have been in the air now for about 5 hours, I think. I watched the plane take off on the BIG screen in the cabin. I never knew what the pilot saw on take off. Did you know that the runway looks like a road (yellow line down the middle) with BIG white arrows in the direction of travel? I wished I had my camera out so I could take a picture of it. I actually found myself thinking about my work, and the inscribed lines I use, the colors, the symbols.
So far, I have watched 2 movies, Date Night, which was funny in a cute type of way. It was a chick flick of sorts, but I think married guys should watch it. I hope never to be described as a great roommate. I also watched Invictus, which I would recommend completely to everyone. I found that this flick was inspirational. It also had me thinking about Andrew, you know Chris’s friend that used to skate. He played rugby in South Africa last year. OK, I am boring you with my endless rambling already, sorry. I guess sharing a 14 hour flight in this manner is bound to do that.
I have also spent my time reading a bit. I have saved the current issue of The Studio Potter (V 38, N 2) for just this occasion. I received it several weeks ago, and decided not to open it until I was in the air. What a surprise it was to see not one article written by a friend, but two. I enjoyed both John and Chris’s articles very much. I thought I was technologically SAVVY until John had me questioning my own skill set. It killed me that I couldn’t get online in that instant. Then there was this one article, “Embracing Change” (Richter) that left me riveted to my seat. I found myself searching for something to take notes with and on. The seatbelt sign was illuminated and my computer and sketchbook were stowed above so all I could muster was the lip-biting and rereading and reflecting, and rereading, and more lip-biting. She talks about energizing the canvas, treating each aspect of the work as its own culture and then getting those cultures to speak to each other. Who knows, maybe that is what this trip is going to do for me. I cannot wait to share with my students in a few weeks.
You and your mom were correct in stating that I would be treated well by the airline. The food/drink has flowed since boarding. I have to confess that I goofed at dinner. I thought the rice dish was the beef dish, and so, SADLY, I ended up with an completely WESTERNIZED meal. Everyone else’s smelled SO good and I was stuck with beef stew over ziti and succotash. They have been very accommodating to the language barrier, automatically assuming correctly that I do not speak Korean. They were thrilled to hear that I was traveling to Korea and not on from there. I have a good feeling about this already.
The man sitting next to me has been friendly, making sure that I have what I need. He is a school teacher. He teaches HS technology and was in the States on a 3 week vacation. I offered him my fruit (you guessed it, MELON). It was so nice to get a welcome smile. It makes me feel as if the language is only going to be a very small barrier. The immersion began the minute I stepped onto that concourse in JFK.
Hah, I scored something wonderfully tasty, somewhere just before flying clear into tomorrow. It was this sweet bun filled with some kind of meat filling. It was incredible! The plane’s entertainment system has this camera on it that lets me have a landscape view even though I am not sitting at a window. Anna told me to make sure I looked out over Alaska because it was cool. I am currently looking down at ice flows, and I must say it really is cool. By the way, it is tomorrow (August 5) and I am just about ½ there. I know this is nothing for a world traveler such as yourself, but for me, its my first time crossing the line and I feel like I should be doing this happy dance with confetti falling from the ceiling and horns blowing…Justin told me that this crossing would be difficult, hah, maybe he was just as bored as I am right now, but did not have anything to write home about. What I think is cool is that I have followed the sun, its still bright as can be outside and its 10:30 where you are. Now I am just waiting to cross over the Russian land mass. The pack ice is cool and all, but…I have been looking at it for a long while.
I hope this finds you feeling good, and that you have had a good week of rest before the next round of Chemo.
More adventures later! Love you sweetie, xoxo
Hanna, August 5, 2010
The man from the seat next to mine escorted me to the customs counter and told me what to expect throughout the country. He was from Deagu, which is one of the cities I think we will be staying in at some point. Customs was a piece of cake. I am at my hotel. Which is strangely European, though you are required to drop your key off at the front desk whenever you go out. I am not sure if I like that or hate that? We leave tomorrow on our journey to the other coast (Gangjin). Where we will be exhibiting our work.
Tonight’s dinner was fabulous, kimchi hot pot, seafood pancakes, vegetable pancakes and of course all the side fare you could ask for. We even drank a bunch of beers. Most of our group are from OZ so … ask Justin what he knows about that.
No major things to report, only that my phone doesn’t work. Hopefully my bankcard will? Well, off to bed!!! I am so beat!
Love you, XOXO