Way back in 1999, before we were dating or even very good friends N and I went on a study abroad trip to Korea with our professor Mark Peterson…and a Korean film crew followed us around and made a documentary!
I have a VHS tape of it somewhere, but our professor just uploaded the whole thing to Youtube so N and I just watched it again for the first time in over a decade.
I’m not in the documentary that much, the narrative focuses on my friend Carol who was on the trip with her fiancé Doug (romance!) and on an adopted Korean-American girl, Mischa, who got appendicitis and had to have emergency surgery (drama!) Ironically, the crew actually missed the whole appendicitis incident so they later took Mischa back to the hospital and had her reenact lying listlessly in bed wearing a gown so they could get some footage (!)
The scenes I’m in include
19:15 – I am separated from the group and get lost at a Buddhist temple on Buddha’s birthday and stumble over “rocks and stuff”
21:15 – Me praying at a Buddhist temple
27:30 – We take a traditional music class (this was one of my favorite parts of the trip)
37:15 – I summarize my feelings about the trip and then N talks for a bit. We’re sitting next to each other so that must have been filmed during the few weeks of the trip when I started to get an hunch that this N guy might be kind of awesome 🙂
I’m so thankful that this documentary exists. I am fascinated to see how very young we all were–I was only 18 at the time and in the process of figuring out who I wanted to be and what I wanted out of life. Our trip changed my life: it helped me figure those things out and connect more with my Korean heritage.
And it also introduced me to the charms of a certain wonderful guy. 🙂
I thought I’d post a couple of my favorite love songs in honor of Valentine’s Day. I’m posting YouTube videos of them because Google/Blogger has gone all DMCA-enforcer on a bunch of people’s music blogs and has started pulling them down if they host mp3s. (Lame!)
“It’s Only Time” by The Magnetic Fields I’ve been a fan of Stephin Merrit’s music since I borrowed a mix tape of songs from 69 Love Songs from N back in college. Merrit’s brilliant lyrics and catchy melodies played almost constantly in my car the summer after my sophomore year of college as I drove around wondering where this thing with this boy N was going. This song hadn’t yet come out when we got married and we weren’t really wedding-dance type people, per say, but I can’t think of a better wedding song. (I have no idea about the picture (?) but this video had the best sound quality I could find.)
“In the Aeroplane Over the Sea” by Neutral Milk Hotel This is the song that N and I tend to think of as “our song.” During the ambiguous friendship stage of our relationship that lasted months and months we sent each other long, long emails almost everyday. N would sometimes include song lyrics in the signature of his emails and one day when I was home for the summer he included these lines:
What a beautiful face I have found in this place That is circling all around the sun What a beautiful dream That could flash on the screen In a blink of an eye and be gone from me
When I read those lines I squealed and proceeded to spend entirely too much time trying to analyze N’s meaning. I hadn’t heard the song before but I checked the cd out from the library and listened to it and promptly had my mind blown.
“My, You Look Ravishing Tonight” by Kleenex Girl Wonder This song is by another artist linked to our courtship days. In college N had this beat-up orange ’74 Volkswagen bug that he drove around. The thing was pretty creaky but N had installed a cd player so he could listen to music as he puttered around. One day (during our ambiguous-friendship days) N offered to give his roommate a ride to the airport to catch a very early flight home and I volunteered to come along and keep him company. We had to leave at some ridiculously hour (I think it was around 5 am) but all I knew was that I would rather tag along so I could spend the hour-ride back to campus chatting in the car with N than sleep in. (And I really like sleeping in so I think I was starting to get the idea that this may serious).
Kleenex Girl Wonder’s album Ponyoak was playing on the drive back and I remember being sleepy but almost giddy with happiness and feeling like the songs fit the occasion perfectly. I love Graham Smith’s music and Ponyoak is still one of my top ten favorite albums ever. While this song isn’t on Ponyoak, it’s my favorite song by Smith.
After having a disappointing dining experience last year on Valentine’s day at one of my favorite steak places (the service was really poor and the food sub par) I vowed not to waste money by going to a fancy place on Valentine’s day again. So instead we’re going to hit up one of our favorite ethnic dives and maybe catch a movie tonight.
Whatever your plans include I hope you have a lovely weekend!
Ever since I was a kid I’ve been charmed by nice stationary and fountain pens and various writing accouterments. There’s a certain romance about them that I’m still a sucker for. I liked to write pen pals and loved getting mail in return.
In seventh grade I took a typing class and during our free practice time I would type up these long letters to Dave Barry. Yep, I was a big Dave Barry fan as a kid and had a bit of a crush on him (Nerd!). I would carefully fold these letters and seal them with sealing wax, stamping them with an seal I had with an F on it and mail them off.
After having sent off several letters with no response I wrote Dave and asked him what was up (I guess I had a pretty healthy sense of entitlement as a twelve year-old.) I got a post card from him explaining that he had people open his mail for him and because my letters contained some sort of weird crumbly stuff (the sealing wax apparently fell apart in transit) his staff had been throwing them away (apparently he gets a lot of weird mail). After that I wrote him a couple more times and received a few more postcards back which was fun.
I had pretty much forgotten about my brief correspondence with Dave Barry but lately a few things have reminded me of it: reading this account of a girl being pen pals with John Hughes and seeing these wax seal pendents on Etsy.