Doris Lessing, last year's Nobel laureate in Literature and no spring chicken herself, wrote "The great secret that all old people share is that you really haven't changed in seventy or eighty years. Your body changes, but you don't change at all. And that, of course, causes great confusion." But somebody forgot to tell Mr. Kim that there is meant to be some confusion. At 79 years old, he is a fixture of Seoul road racing. He seems well-known and adored by the running community, chatting and waving to all he passes, and saves enough energy to cross the finish line with a huge smile. Oh, and he's fast. On this very hot day, he finished the 10km course in 70 minutes.
On Saturday, we went to Nanji campground with some Korean friends. It's possible to camp and picnic right in the middle of Seoul, with all the amenities available for rent. Helpful staff set up the tents, ready the grill, and carry rented coolers. All we had to do was bring food and prepare it over the fire, which left lots of time for flying kites, playing soccer, and enjoying the cold beer.
The summer monsoon season has officially arrived, according to the trusty folk at the Korean Meteorological Administration. Actually, it arrived yesterday, four days earlier than it reared its highly humid head last year. For us, this means some treadmill running, laundry that won't totally dry, the very pleasant smell of foliage, and honing our skills at wading through a sea of umbrellas.
Well, greatest school day ever - hands down. As our final field trip, uh, educational sojourn, three teachers and nine students visited Lotte World, a strange amalgam of ersatz Disney and local flair. With rides and games both inside a giant mall, then outside on Magic Island, great times were had by all. When you factor in the gratis Turkish kebabs and ice cream provided by the uncle of one of my students, and the genuine wonder and thrill on the faces of nine, ten, and thirty-six year olds, it seems an ideal way to wrap the school year.
I believe it was Marcus Fabius Quintilian, everyone's favourite first century Roman rhetorician, who declared "That which prematurely arrives at perfection soon perishes." After finding my first Asian package of Toffifee in a swanky department store last night, then having an empty box to recycle moments later, I must concur.