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It seems like all the news out of Korea these days is either about
missile testing in the north (and the rest of the world's responses to
it) or about flooding fatalities across the peninsula - so I figure it's
probably passed time for some more pleasant (or at least mundane!) news
from this part of the world.  If you want to skip the written portion of
this update in favor of the picture tour, you can head directly over to
http://robertajenkins.blogspot.com to see a bunch of shots from my
recent travels throughout the country...

Life continues to be great, despite weather that alternates between
torrential rain and nasty hot humidity.  Nothing here's been dry in a
month - oh! the fresh scent of mildew in the air!  And yet, there's
something appealing about air so thick you can swim through it -
especially for a prairie girl like me who used to think that 18%
humidity was high.  Here, it hasn't been below 76% for a couple of
weeks.  Mist hovers over the ridge-line of the mountains behind my house
24 hours a day, making the dense forest lower down seem much more
tropical and jungly than normal.  Sweat rolls across the skin whether
you are exerting yourself or not.  Sexy, sexy weather.

Me and the house survived the first major typhoon of the season without
any major trauma.  A couple of the trees in the yard blew over, and
water leaked through the myriad gaps in the walls to puddle around the
base boards, but otherwise all was well.  The duck pond on campus, about
a 30 second walk down the road from my house on lower ground, flooded
completely.  For a couple of days the benches that normally skirt the
water's edge appeared to float serenely a meter or two out on the
surface of the lake, alongside stands of trees whose bases were totally
submerged.  Large koi jumped happily over what is normally a grassy
picnic area, beneath the neighbourhood ducks for which the spot is named
swimming enlarged delighted circles.  The force of the water through the
sewers was so strong that it actually picked the manhole covers right up
and made a fountain of them several feet into the air.  It was quite a
sight.  Several people died in the storm, but none here in Changwon.  We
were very lucky.

The typhoon and stronger-than-usual monsoon rains have caused flooding
over large swathes of the peninsula, both north and south.  The hardest
hit areas are my own province (in the south-east) and the northernmost
province on the same coast - I see crazy pictures of the water on TV and
in the newspapers, but otherwise haven't been touched by it.  Mostly I
have just been thankful for the constant in-flow of clear water into my
koi pond, which despite my spring cement trauma still leaks.  All the
water lilies are blooming like mad, the fish are growing fat, and the
whole thing looks amazing.  With no small help from my house-mate Erik,
who is back for the summer teaching with me at the university.

On the subject of teaching, I hadn't planned to do any this summer but
both of the English camps I find myself at(both at my own university)
are wonderful.  It's been a treat to work with all of the students and
with Erik again, and I am looking forward to the end of next week when
my vacation officially begins again for one more month.  Either eye
surgery or travel await me (or both!)...I will keep you posted.

And on that note, it is late and a person can only read so much
mundanity (is that a word?  If not, it should be...).  I hope this
letter finds each of you well and happy and immersed in your own summer
pursuits (or Sarah and Kirsten, your end-of-winter ones!)!!  Much love
to you all (and enjoy the pictures!!!!!) - Roberta