Friday, March 14, 2008

Happy White Day!

Today is White Day. When one of my classes informed me of this yesterday, I was, needless to say, a mite puzzled. My students patiently explained to me that Korea has two versions of Valentine's Day. On February 14, girls give chocolate to the boy they like. On March 14, boys give candy to the girl they like. Sounds like a great plan for the candy companies!

On a completely unrelated note, it has been very cloudy here the past two days. Cate told me yesterday that this is actually owing to the pollution from China. My immediate thought was "Wow, just how badly polluted is China?" Then last night, I was watching CNN's Asia World News and they actually discussed the pollution in China. Apparently it is so bad that one marathon runner has already decided not to compete in these year's Olympics, and several other athletes are also reasonably concerned.

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"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"