Tombstones and Firecrackers, Cebu Afternoon

We stepped out Palazzo’s doors after a breakfast of eggs and instant coffee, our bags still newly packed, the port a 10-minute cab ride away, our boat to Bohol scheduled to depart at noon.  A boy smiled to me from the Pensionne’s road and the cab pulled up, a figurine of Mary dangling from the rearview mirror as the driver placed our bags in the trunk and we piled into the back.  During the ride a girl holding a baby scurried from the curb where she sat to our window, tapping on it while the driver waited for the light to turn green, the baby’s hair matted to its head, the skin on its scalp red and dry and bumpy, unwashed, the girl, maybe 13, peering through the glass, tapping on it with her knuckles, her eyes pleading, the baby sleeping.  The light changed.

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Philippines Peek

We’re back in Busan, with stories to tell.

I’ve got a few scrapes from a motorcycle spill, and our bank accounts took a dip after we had to buy brand new full-fare plane tickets back to Korea following a missed flight due to a cancelled boat–but the trip was wonderful.

More posts and photos coming this week :)

Happy New Year with love!

On a “tricycle” (motorbike with third wheel, driver and passenger seats) on Bohol, Philippines

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Holiday Hello

Hello friends, family, and all my Coco Busan readers out there!

Wishing you all very Happy Holidays!  I hope this finds you relaxing with awesome people, sweet tunes, and something warm, cozy and fireplace-ish.  This week I was really craving a hangout around a crackling fire, and also remembering past seasonal festivities such as Boxing Day shenanigans in Victoria and chill-out time with my mom and bro.  Next year I will be back in my home-hood for Christmas 2012, but this year, the season is promising something a little different.

In five hours I’ll be boarding a plane to this island-filled country…

with my guy Joe…

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Dad, Meet Korea

On October 16th, around 2 am, after the last guests had left from a party Joe and I threw at my apartment called October Shindizzle, I checked my email.  Top of the inbox was a surprise message from my dad, which read:

Hi Courtney;

How are you doing?

I am thinking about coming to South Korea to visit you. It would be about a 10 day trip and I would be in Busan for 8 days and 2 days travel time.

I have looked at flights and the dates Nov. 22nd to Dec. 1st are available now and those dates work for me.

Can you let me know asap if then is a good time for you.



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Plant Life for Stu (And a Dip Into the Past)

One of my favourite people in the world is a guy called Stu.  

We met somewhere back in the Doc-Martened recesses of grade 10, circa 1994, in the parking lot or the multi-purpose room or the blue-lockered hallways of Stelly’s Secondary, the exact moment and location either erased or too far embedded in my memory to recall, but the friendship, wherever its beginning bud sprouted, destined to grow full bloom the following year, in a place where a now vague but once vivid artistic dream of mine flourished: Drama Class.

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Gyeongju Tree Heaven

Back in the 7th, 8th, and 9th centuries, Korea was ruled by a kingdom called Silla.  Its capital was Gyeongju–a city northeast of Busan and an hour and a half by train. It’s loaded with history: hilly tombs called Tumuli, a royal pond called Anapji, and a temple called Bulguksa are just a few of the sites that draw crowds in the thousands to explore.

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Joe Teacher

A few weeks back, Joe had an extra day off from his teaching gig at Sindo Elementary. Instead of sleeping in while I schlepped to work, mentally preparing to face the noise of my kindie kids after a luxuriously peaceful four-day weekend, he came into school with me.  I tell him stories about my students frequently, brief vignettes from my day along the lines of: “Albert told me he got three points in Taekwondo class yesterday,” or “You’ve gotta meet Charley. He clung to me all the way down the hall during bathroom break today, dragging his little feet behind me and saying, ‘teachuh, you have-uh foh legs.’”

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