I took a couple days off from blogging. I spent Thursday evening drafting my career evaluation, and on Friday evening we went out with some friends to celebrate one of their birthdays. Writing my own evaluation has been an agonizing experience. It’s easy to blog about life in general; it’s much more difficult to evaluate your own job performance and anticipate what your supervisor and reviewer will write about you (good, I hope). I have to give both of them material they can use to write their evaluations of me. This annual ritual is one aspect of the job everyone seems to dread but knows is critical to career success. Perhaps I should recommend changing the format of evaluations so that they’re more like blogs, or online journals. That would never happen!
Last night my wife and I dined with friends at a "French" restaurant called "Pishon." Marginally French, it actually served Italian-Asian fushion cuisine, although the ambiance invoked a districtly French aura. The food was exquisite, and I was experience happy to see that they did not serve sweet pickles. This is the first European restaurant I’ve patronized in Korea that did not serve sweet pickles, a kimchi substitute in Western restaurants. The restaurant is cozy. Seating is only available for about 30 people. The kitchen could not have been more than 10′ x 8′, much too small to prepare multi-course meals. I suspect that the restaurant prepares meals in another kitchen. I also thought it interesting that the gentleman playing classical guitar (which was very nice and romantic, by the way) also doubled as a dishwasher. At least the restaurant offered valet parking. All in all, I would recommend "Pishon" to anyone living in Seoul who’s looking for fine dining.
My son and I spent the morning together while my wife caught up on her beauty sleep. My son really missed us last night, so at 5 a.m. this morning he woke up, looking for mommy. When she went to see him, he became so excited to see her that he couldn’t get back to sleep. I took over at about 7:30 a.m. and was with him until he went down for an early nap. I fed him some cereal and noted that he ate it with his right hand. Later, when we went outside and played in the sandbox, I again noticed that he used his right hand to shovel dirt. I realized that my son must be right-handed. I’ve wondered for awhile whether he would be right- or left-handed, because I am left-handed and my wife is right-handed. When he was younger, he used both hands equally, but now he’s growing increasingly right-handed. Right-handedness is a dominant human trait, so I believe it likely that my son would be right-handed.
In Chinese culture, children are still taught to use their right hands regardless of whether they are left- or right-handed. As a left-handed person, (a.k.a. leftie or southpaw–not to be confused with someone who leans Left politically), I am critical of this practice, although I know that it is a manifestation of cultural tradition. In certain countries, I will have to learn to use my right hand to write or eat, or I will risk offending my hosts. Chinese and Koreans do not generally take offense when one uses their left hands to write or eat, although they still require their children to use their right hands. In other areas of the world, especially in South Asia and the Middle East, locals can be very critical of people who use their left hands. I maintain that lefties are essentially a "persecuted" minority, even in the West. I learned long ago as a student to using scissors with my right hand, because no left-handed scissors were available, and I learned to study in undersized classroom desks designed for right-handed students. I am dreading the day when I have to eat with my right hand to be polite, because it’s an offensive practice necessitated by protocol (it’s better to do it than offend your host). Perhaps less malicious than forcing a vegetarian to eat meat or a non-drinker to drink alcohol, it still is offensive to lefties. I cannot help but lament over the many left-handed people who are forced to use their right hands, stifling the benefits that come from being left-handed. Left-handed individuals use the right half of their brain, and they tend to think and perform differently than right-handed individuals. They are well known for being creative and talented, although these traits are not universal to southpaws, nor are they exclusive to lefties. I would have been very proud if my son were left-handed, but considering that we may live overseas for a long time, I’m happy that he won’t have to worry about which hand he’s using.
I digress. Let me go back to talking about my son. Lately I’ve noticed that my son’s speaking has become more nuanced. For example, rather than simply answering "yes" or "no" in English or Chinese, he now says, "I think so." I think it’s cute to see this little guy answer questions with more than a curt reply. I think it’s a phrase he picked up from one of us. I don’t think he grasps the concept of "I think so" other than that it’s a positive way to answer a question.
Blog Notes: I talked to my colleague, the community choir director. He said that he’ll try to accommodate my schedule so I can remain part of the choir. I will continue to be part of the choir. It should be fun…and a lot of work. I’m glad the schedule is flexible.