With only three weeks left in Seoul, we are now busily wrapping up loose ends before heading off for new adventures. Doctors and dentists to see, accounts (internet, phone, bank) to close, furniture to sell, storage and shipping to arrange, and many good friends to wish well over farewell meals and drinks...

The plans are taking shape nicely. We have secured jobs for August 2011, and are excited to be getting back to both the Canadian school system and the high school classes we have been away from for half a decade. We'll be moving to an offshore BC school just outside of Shanghai, a city we've visited and loved. Moving back to China is an exciting prospect, as we feel we've only scratched the surface of all the Middle Kingdom has to offer a couple of wayward prairie folk.

But that is nine months from now, and peregrination looms. Yesterday we flexed the credit card to book flights, buy travel insurance, and reserve our spots in a month-long Mandarin course. There are many finer details to work out - some soon, some as we go - but we do know roughly where and when we'll be there. We leave Seoul for Malaysia on December 17th to trek in the highlands, rest on an island or two, and loll around Kuala Lumpur. We'll spend January stumbling through tonal phonemes and doing tai ji at a language school in Kunming, China. In February we'll take our new speaky-skills on the roads of Yunnan and Sichuan provinces, and maybe even dip down into Vietnam.

March and April will have us in Nepal. We have long wondered which of the Annapurna trek or the Everest Base Camp trek might suit us best, and have time to do both if that's what we decide. At the end of April we'll take the short flight to Delhi for five weeks in India. If we think we haven't yet had our fill of yaks and yetis, we'll head north to the Himalayas of Himachal Pradesh. If we're feeling mountained-out, we'll head south to the backwaters and houseboats of Kerala.

Then it's back to the people we love...Boston for a week in June, and seven weeks of Western Canadiana...long enough to bore you all silly with tales from foreign climes. Of course, you'll likely already know the stories, as we have high hopes for frequent dispatches from afar [FOFALWO?].



This weekend saw us road-trippin' south with many of the wonderful folk we work with, plus friends made while running, for the Sangil Marathon festivities. A four hour drive on the school's bus took us to the mountains of Uiryeong County. A bit of evening-before shenanigans at a prototypical Korean love motel, bibimbap in lieu of pasta for a pre-race carbo load, and a good night's sleep found everyone ready to go on Sunday morning.

There were three different distances, all of which headed straight up the mountain to a halfway point, then turned around and came all downhill from there. Except for the last kilometer, which somehow managed to be uphill (and against the wind) both ways.

A fantastic day for the Sea Bass Running Club...Shannon, Marcia, and Kimberley dusted off the 5k race in great times. Ian, Volkan, and HyoIl found great success over 10k. Kevin, Mark, Tonya, Bokhwa, Deanna, Rebecca, and Michelle all took on the 23.6k to the 800m summit, and all came in with big and well-justified smiles on their faces. I acted as official photographer, but ended up spending much of the day being greeted and photographed by gaggles of giggling teenagers.

In great Korean race-day fashion, an odd assortment of door prizes were claimed at the end. Deanna won a 4kg bag of rice, which she promptly regifted to an elated Bokhwa, the world's smallest most prodigious rice-eating human. A quick trip to the 7-11 for beverages and snacks, pizzas delivered to the bus, and a ride back to Seoul with a lot of laughs and some great new memories wrapped up a highly enjoyable weekend.