Communications Update

Location: Skype

Okay, for anyone who is interested I just started using Skype and it's great. So if you're on Skype feel free to call me. My name is patmce. Talk to you soon!

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Mally Christmas

Location: Korean Bagel

That's right I skipped out on reporting about the election. In case anyone was wondering candidate number 2, the favorite won. He's a former Hyundai exec and is apparently already under some kind of criminal investigation. In other news..

This week the new drama teacher and my companion in arms for this year showed up. His name is Christopher. We taught some new classes this week. Mainly book club where we are reading different books with 2nd grade students in the morning. In the afternoon we're teaching them "Tomorrow" and helping them write a show of their own. On Thursday the school had a Christmas show for all the parents and now the kids are on break. One of the classes performed a version of the Christmas Carol that was very good. Chris and I performed a version of the "The Nigh Before Christmas". I sang and played the guitar while Chris did an interpretive dance. After the performances the teachers were invited to go out to eat at the Outback Steakhouse. Funny, I think this time last year I was at a an Outback in Montgomery, Alabama. The service was about the same...

Chris and I have been walking and taking the subway around town. Yesterday we went to the 63 building which is the largest building in Seoul. I have a picture or two in the photo album. Then we took the subway to the theatre district. Or at least that was the idea... We got off a stop early and much to our surprise and delight we ended up in the clothing/shopping district of Seoul. Everything was 5 or 10 dollars. Can't wait until I get paid! It was Saturday and the Saturday before Christmas so it was extremely busy, people were bustling along the streets and there was much street food to be sampled. My favorite so far are these cinnamon and sugar filled pancakes. Earlier in the week I made a chicken soup with some of the gigantic carrots I bought from a lady on the street. 3 for a dollar! For the carrots, not the lady.

Today I need to read and prepare for week two of the book club. I'm not sick any more and all in all it was the calmest week since I've arrived.

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What Day Is It? Or the Sub Way

Location: Peter and the Wolf

No new pictures to post this week. Unfortunately my usual weekend photo session was canceled on account of my sickness. I don't know if it was the kids coughing all over me and then giving me hugs to simultaneously share the love and the disease or if it's because I'm in a foreign country but I was sick most of the weekend. Luckily a hearty Japanese fish soup cured most of my ailments. Oh, and rest, lots of rest. Right now I'm doing my first load of laundry here in Seoul. The washer is in the apartment of the new teacher that's coming in tonight. So I've got to finish washing and clean up the bathroom. Why? Because the washing machine is attached to the sink in the bathroom and then all the water empties into a drain in the floor there. I think that the hoses were still dirty when I tried my first load because all of my clothes came out dirtier than when I put them in! Of course all the controls on the machine are in Korean. So maybe I pressed the "make my clothes filthy" button instead of wash.

Earlier this week I purchased the Korean equivalent of a Metro-Card and showed Paul how to get around on the subway. On Friday we went to Itaewon which is basically the Foreigner's area of Seoul. We ate Turkish kebabs from a real Turk and then watched Elf. Which in Korean is "El-Pu". Then it snowed at the end to prove that Seoul truly embodies the Christmas spirit. It was fun meeting some new people and hanging out with everyone. There were two Germans, 3 Koreans and 4 Americans in a group. Paul and I left Itaewon just as things were getting rowdy. Beer bottles smashing and club music pounding.

Other new developments: I now have a guitar, there should be a reliable internet connection set up tomorrow and by the end of the week maybe even a phone. Also, Wednesday is a day off for me. Why? Because it's Election Day! I'll have special election coverage talking about all 12 candidates. Or some variation thereof. Oh! And I'm officially an Alien. Thanks Korea!

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How I Became A Yogi

Location: A Bowl of Rice, Rice Baby!

This was my first week teaching in Seoul. Everyday it seemed like the classes where going to be different. Monday was Drama with 5 year olds, then 7 year olds. Earlier in the day story telling. Then story telling was canceled. And in the afternoon my class consisted of only 2 seven year olds. During all this schedule shifting there was still a curriculum that needed to be developed. Every class was about finding out what worked for the students and what didn't. Group activities are best for the 5 year olds and the children that are a little bit older can start to improvise. My 2 person Drama Troupe performed the Princess and the Pea. Everybody LOVES the accordion. Well... almost everybody, there are a few children who think it is probably sent from the devil. Maybe those kids have been creating all those accordion hate websites... By the end of the week though another big shifted happened. The yoga teacher split Seoul and left her students hanging in Downward facing Dog. The school director quickly recruited me to take over. He even made some kind of appreciation video for me, which I'll post if he ever gives me a copy. This is the point in which I invite anyone pedagogically interested to engage on a debate about whether or not Yoga is even an appropriate "skill" to teach young children, let alone adults. That's right, I'm going against the grain and saying yoga (typically) is not a good idea. But back to Seoul and away from inciting comments.

The work out plan is to run along part of the Han River ever other day. The North Shore is about 5 minutes away from the elevator. It's a really gorgeous view in the morning. Maybe I'll bring my camera tomorrow and take some pictures of the sunrise for everyone. Speaking of pictures... I added a few more to the slideshow. If I walk north, away from the river and underneath the subway station and I come up very close to some kind of government park. I think it might be part of a US military base.... or maybe not... hmm... that's where the picture of the hand and the man and the birds are from. I also managed to make it to I-park all by myself!

Saturday afternoon was spent at the Dragon Spa! $10 and you get up to 12 hours in this place. Saunas, hot tubs, pools, restaurants, movie theatre, sleeping rooms the works! I loved it. I'm definitely going back at least once a month. Maybe once a week! Depending on how this yoga thing goes. Today I went to the electronics market and figured out how to get there on the subway. It's only about one stop from where I live. I bought a pair of headphones and they sound great. Other than that I've been reading the Korea Herald which has a lot of postings for language/friend exchange. Where you exchange a friend of yours for the Korean Language. Err.... I mean you exchange your language and friendship for someone else's. Sounds like a plan!

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Seoul Week 1

Location: My Apartment In Seoul!

OKay! First of all I've set up a slide show on the page that I'll continue to update with pictures. You should be able to just click on the photo if you want to see a larger version. If the slideshow doesn't work for you try this link: Photo Album

After arriving here at Inchon International Airport I spent some time looking around for whoever it was that was going to pick me up. Owen said either he would or someone from the school. So I didn't know who to expect. All I knew was that none of the people waiting with signs had my name on it! Instead of panicking I went to the currency exchange area and got some won! It was bout 930won to 1 dollar. Then I walked back to see if anyone new had shown up. Nope. Maybe a phone would be a good idea. There was a prepaid phone area, but that seemed like too much. After all, I just needed to make 1 phone call. Looking around I saw some public phones, but it looked like they only accepted coins, which I didn't have. Maybe a phone card would do the trick. Wouldn't you know it! The phone card machine was broken down. Hmm.... so I walked back again. Every time I walked back and forth there were cab drivers asking people if they needed a ride. I kept running into the same one. Finally he let me use his cell phone. Soon after that Lee, the co-founder at Starters (the school I'm teaching at) showed up. Lee is a very friendly man and we talked about the city as we drove into it. Seoul is about an 1hr and half drive from Inchon. As we approached Seoul traffic really began to pick up. Lee said it was too bad though, probably because it was only Wednesday. As we were bringing up my bags there was another Caucasian guy in the stair well. He was Paul! Another new teacher, he had arrived the day before. He was very tired from the jet lag so he retired for the evening. As Lee was showing me my apartment, which is like a penthouse/studio, his wife and daughter showed up with Owen. They had all gone shopping and brought some essentials like: Frosted Flakes, Milk, a cutting board and knife, toothpaste, soap, some shower slippers (I think...) air fresheners and a small metal pot.

After that we went out to eat. Downstairs from the apartment is a fried chicken restaurant. So we had fried chicken and beer and some fried potatoes too. A delicious first meal! As we were talking it came up that Mrs. Lee has an accordion. AH! All that time spent on "Patrick McElwee's Fun Time Happy Hour Half Hour Comedy Hour Super Crazy Accordion" Time is about to pay off, I thought! And sure enough, Mrs. Lee asked me to teach her to play the accordion for about the equivalent of my over time compensation. Owen also thought this was wonderful and asked me if I could incorporate it into my classes. SURE!

The next day Lee said that I should come to his apartment around 11am for breakfast and then I'd go to Starters for my first day. Our apartment buildings are set up like 3 identical towers built right next to each other. When I went out to go to Lee's apartment I couldn't quite remember which one was his. So I think I rang a couple of wrong door bells. Finally, I found it though and instead of breakfast we just walked straight to the school! On the way there were mother walking with there babies and I noticed how clean everything was. At school I read to a class and met some of the children, and ate lunch in one of the classes. The school is delightful! Also, Mrs. Lee took me and Paul to set up a bank account. Turns out Daniel was right, though. I do need a power adapter for my computer to work in the outlets here. After work Paul took me to a store right in one of the alleys near the apartments. I bought to adapters for about a dollar. We were hungry and went to a restaurant near by. Turns out it was a Chinese restaurant! Paul and I were pretty much hopeless trying to figure out what the menu said. A woman in the restaurant turned out to be the owner's sister and a travel agent and an English speaker. She helped us order some excellent dim sum.

After dinner I was ready to drop. 4 O'clock in the afternoon still felt like midnight to me at that point. Just as I was about to fall asleep Lee showed up and invited me and Paul to dinner. Well, I'm never one to refuse a meal. We had a great meal in Lee's apartment with his wife and daughter. All the traditional foods, bulgogi, kimchee and rice, with some fried fish too! And a soup made from kimchee. Delicious! I almost fell asleep at dinner though because I was so tired. Mrs. Lee noticed and laughingly said that she "released" me.

Next day at school I went to 4 classes ranging from children that were only 36 months old to about 7. I brought the accordion with me and sang and made up stories for them. Last night we went to the Hilton for an amazing buffet. There's now a TV and a refrigerator in the apartment and later today Owen and Paul and I are going to go grocery shopping I think on Sunday we're going to get a tour of some of the city too!


The Journey Continues

Location: San Francisco

I've made it to San Francisco. I think I slept the whole way here. Or maybe I woke up somewhere around Las Vegas. All I know for sure is that I almost unintentionally exited the airport trying to find the International Terminal. So I had to go through security for a second time! Thank goodness I have about 4 hours to kill. And the security check point was surprisingly fast. I was in and out of a gigantic line in about 15 minutes. Not bad. But still 3 hours and 45 minutes to go... In the check point one of the security guards mentioned that the international gate access point is located behind some discretely placed pillars. Naturally. So after refastening my belt and otherwise suiting up after the speedy safety exodus I stood in line for he International Terminal Shuttle. There's basically a secret door that you're led through to let you on the super secret shuttle that takes you to the even more super secure and secret elevator that you can take to the very special privileged (and secret) terminal area. And thankfully my gate exists and so does my flight! Some day I'll have internet access and I can post this until then...

Location: Somewhere over the Pacific... I think

Flying Internationally is awesome! I think I've already been fed twice and I just received another glass of water. Watched some of the Transformers, took a nap. Had some pot roast, whice was really quite delicious and one of the largest ice cream sandwiches I've ever had. Singapore Airlines is great. The check in guys at SFO switched my seat so I could have a row all to my self. They said it was a very light flight. And they're right! I think that maybe half of the coach rows are filled. That's three seats to a row and maybe 15 of the 45 rows or so have an occupant.

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And the Journey Begins

Location: ABQ International Airport

OKay! So far so good. My flight leaves for San Francisco in about half an hour. Daniel drove me to the Airport this morning after a whopping 3 hours of sleep. I think I have everything I need. *Gulp* I'm impressed with the free internet at the Airport right now. Still dark and cold. Had my last New Mexican meal for a while at Los Cuates last night. Thanks Mom and Brendan! Delicious. Talked with Owen last night and he said someone will definitely be in Seoul when I arrive tomorrow. Gee, I hope my bags are there. Guess, I'm still in groggy travel mode.

We'll, see how the internet is in San Fran...

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Prep Work

Location: A Suitcase

Okay, here's the low-down: I'm packing today for my year long journey to Seoul, South Korea. I'm not taking much, because I don't have much. Just a couple of suitcases full of clothes and teaching materials and my trusty carry-ons: laptop and backpack. I'll be keeping everyone posted on my travels and excursions in Korea via this blog. So check back often and feel free to leave your comments.

What I know so far: I'll be living in Seoul and teaching at a private school for Korean American Children called Starters Academy. I'll be living on the top of a 14 floor building, in a small studio apartment. There are some other teachers coming from the US and Canada to help develop the program and teach the students. I'll mainly be teaching kindergarten children. Sounds like fun! Hopefully they won't exhaust me too much. We'll see if I get any sleep before my flight tomorrow. My excitement level is at a Spinal Tappish ELEVEN! Early in the morning the first stop is San Francisco, where there's a 5 hr lay over. Next stop Inchon International. And from there.... who knows!

Thanks to everyone for all the well wishes and support. May your lives be positive and fruitful.

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Location: The Information Super Highway Baby!

Okay so this is like a mini-blog post that I started a while ago but didn't flesh out. Here it is anyway.

Fanfare! and the Sansa TakeTV. This is an interesting idea that allows you to utilize a usb memory key style device and upload video content to it then watch it directly on a tv screen. Of course with things like Hulu
coming out and full line ups of TV programs on the ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX sites it doesn't seem like a necessary gadget. Of course Gadgets rarely are. Right Inspector?

Really expensive Fish & Chips! Okay, if you have to go restaurants that don't serve anything under $8 try this one. Here's their menu.

The Free Way!

Why Opensourceshakespeare Rocks. For those of you who don't know, I'm sometime a Shakespeare nerd. This site is one of the best, if not THE best on the net for searching through the Bard's brilliance.

And Don't Forget to NOT reserve your copy of: Guitar Hero III. Yeah, that's right. The game is lame. If you liked playing Guitar Hero II you probably own it and well get as much satisfaction out of that as if you bought the new game. Which is lame. Save your money for Rock Band. Now, this game is going to be awesome. I like to think of it as Karaoke Band-in-a-Box. Reserve your copy of this mega-gaming-goodness NOW.

Download the internet!

Extremely nerdy. Which is why I laughed when I saw it.


Twin Poles!

Location: Work and Elephant Walk with Liz Taylor

In case you don't know about one of the coolest/strangest/best potential political plot lines ever. Get on over to this story and learn a little bit about these kooky twins. Where we have the continuing Saga of Poland's President and Prime Minister. 2 men who could easily switch jobs and no one would ever know. Why? Because they are twins. Hey Shakespeare!

S: What?

Are you busy?

S: Kinda...


S: Cause I'm dead but people think they've found out what I really look like!

Awesome... so if you were a playwright (wink) and you wanted to write about these two Poles what kinda play would it turn out to be? A comedy a tragedy? A romance perhaps.

In other new: Don't you LOVE Jack Handy?


Blah, Blah, Blog

Location: The Outskirts of Kid Nation

It's a lonely desolate Kid Infested Nation on the couch tonight. It's Election night! Who's going to stay on the council and who's going to be voted off? Who gets the Gold Star? Oh, they just told me... awesome. Which is one of those banned words.

I don't know if this is still relevant or not, but it seems like a good idea:
Passionatley pink Flickr Pool.

I met with Azra earlier today to work on a film/digi-vid she's working on for a production class. It's about a relationship destroyed by drunkenness and miscommunication. Just like why our relationship with Iran is running afoul. Lay off the sauce Bush and Ahmadi-Nejad. Great now the Secret Service is checking out my blog. Well, NOW they are. Speaking of which some of you might be interested in Henry Kissenger. Or maybe not. Maybe you're more interested in why Windows XP's built in Wireless Zero Configuration service pretty much... hmmm... how to put this politely: Destroys Any Semblance of maintaining a Consistent and Reliable Wireless connection. Use your wireless adapter's, or built in wireless adapter's configuration utility and you will enjoy uninterrupted wireless access. Okay, that's enough abuse of the blogging pulpit. What was I talking about? Oh, yeah that's right. The 6 Degrees of Separation. Not the Kevin Bacon Game. The Game where you find out in Albuquerque that every (Kid Nation just ended. Show me the previews for next week!) one you see is removed from you somehow by at MOST 6 other people. This rule is proven to me on an almost daily basis now. Hooray!

Did I mention I'm moving to Korea?

Hey Folks! Don't forget to check out the blogs that I've linked to:

My Good Friend and Mentor Scot Key's: 'Burque Babble
And my Crazy Friend and Nemesis Hung Truong's solipsistic: Hung Truong: The Blog

Well, HELL's Kitchen is on right now. Which reminds me: I'm Hungry. Time to get some real food. Not this TV Dinner fare...

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Reconnecting with My Fomer Self

Location: Next to the Cat

Today was: Having fun with Jeff. Making movies, eating, and watching old videos that I made.
Earlier I made Potato and Leek soup and cake and had a fun lunch with mom and Daniel. So, it was an overall delicous day. Thanks to the people you commented on the Balloon Fiesta Album. The IBF is always an ocular treat.

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World Travels and More

Location: Mom's House

It's been a while and there's been a lot going on.

It's the International Balloon Fiesta this week and I can't wait to make it out there. Of course the Park and Ride Bus starts service at 4:30am and ends service at 7:30am. So it's early rising time. My brother and I are gonna head out there on Friday. And I will be taking plenty of pictures. I'll use my trusty Canon PowerShot A80, but I'll be thinking about using the new Cannon PowerShot M9 the whole time.

I've been spending much of the last week getting my dad's Pontiac Tempest in order. Now it's running great after a new alternator and ignition setup. Thanks to the guys at Tokyo Auto 6 on Central.

This week as also started some Fall type weather, which in my book, means making soup. Rachaelle and I made some great Soup a pistou a la Julia Child and I'll continue to Master the Art of French Cooking by Making some Potato and Leek soup later in the week.

Last night I went to the Coronado Center and had a great massage then spent some time with my father and watched the GOP Debate on MSNBC. Is it scary that the Republic nominee's seem to be... um... cooler and with more personality and personability than the Democrats? I guess I'll have to watch the next Democratic debate to see how that theory holds up.

Of course I might be watching the debate from Seoul at that point. That's right Seoul! The major development of the last month or so is that I'll be going to Seoul, South Korea and assuming a position at Starter's Academy as Drama Teacher for pre-schoolers. I'll be there for a year and can't wait to keep everyone updated on the adventure.

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Guitar Hero II Freakin' ROCKS

Location: My Living Room

Alright, I'm just going to praise the most AWESOME game ever (awesome is apparently on Lake Superior State University's list of Banished Words). I love Guitar Hero II
, some of my friends don't get it though. They think that because I play the real guitar that there's no need for some Playschool toy version of a an audio sampler to mar my hands and soul. I must protest, hopefully not too much. The game gets your fingers moving in ways that can break your normal habits, hence enhancing your creativity when you pick up your six stringed battle axe (is that even legal terminology for a guitar?). Plus your observational skills are really put to the test, when all the note triggers come up you'd better be paying attention (or I suppose alternatively you could memorize how the song goes) either way a mental work out, that can help you with not only playing an actual instrument, but also your LIFE!

Oh, also I drove all the way to Montgomery, AL and back to ABQ with my friend Tim in about 4 days.

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All Across the Universe

Location: Somewhere Outside of Littlerock

1600 Miles away from ABQ and back. I'm traveling with Tim and a Nissan Altima full of my stuff. Why do I have so much stuff? Does anybody want some STUFF?

On the way out to Montgomery, Tim and I were fortunate enough to stay with my Uncle and Aunt in Plano. THANKS! It was a blast seeing my cousins before my mother's wedding. I can't wait to see them all again. So far Tim and I have had fun scanning the radio stations to see what's interesting to people in the region. Most people like radio stations that drop the "J-bomb". You know... like the son of god. Our favorite city so far is: Demopolis. Which has a sign outside reading: City of the People. Maybe it's just our nerdy knowledge of Greek that makes it so hilarious, maybe it's that fact that we've been on the road for about 3 days straight and we're delirious. Either way, Demopolis is hilarious. Last night we packed up the car and got the hell out of Alabama. (Excuse the language, but it's for a set up.) Speaking of hell, as we left Montgomery, Tim and I saw my favorite bill board. In big red letters it reads: Go to CHURCH or the DEVIL will get you. Man I'm gonna miss that place...

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Travel and Gadgets

Location: Albuquerque, NM

Okay, so after 3 plane rides, one lost bag of luggage a week in Vermont I'm back in ABQ.

Cool extensions for Firefox: Cooliris. This is one of the most fantastic web browsing tools I've ever used. Check it out if you're a Firefox user. If you're not, get FireFox!

OKay so that's a very brief update.

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Moving Around

Location: Streets of Montpelier

As I type I'm in a
car driving downtown in Montpelier. The day was great. Everybody did
wonderful work. We just finished hanging out at the Culinary
Institute's Bar. Will thought he was being attacked by some coyotes
last night so I moved my tent close to his. Okay I think we're out of


Location: Some Rural Road Heading Into Montpelier

Alright, it's around lunchtime now. It's a rainy day. And now I'm
eating a PB&J with some hot chocolate checking my e-mail at the
Langdon street Cafe. Onward on this wet wonderful afternoon.


Bears, Dogs, and Smoothies

Location: Capital Grounds Montpelier, Vermont

Well, we've entered day two, or three of the workshop. Will had an early morning encounter with a bear yesterday. We think it was a black bear. Of course some people just don't think he saw a bear. Last night some people heard deer. They didn't herd deer but they were heard... So in addition to the 7 people taking the workshop we've also got 3 dogs. Bear, Wesley and Moxy. Right now, as I'm writing this, I'm sitting with a smoothie at Capital Grounds, waiting for my internet connection to work. Okay, I think I got a line... or a wireless line. Wait no, okay. So here's the Mac advertisement: there's 4 of us attempting to connect to the internet in the cafe right now and only the guy with Mac has any kind of connection. And the router reset seems have done nothing.... oh well. I'll post this later with whatever other update I'll have!

Location: Capital Plaza Hotel

Okay, so now I have a solid internet connection... and it only took a day! This morning a group of us sat at a Buddhist Temple and now we're out down town. There were some cute bunnies in the forest :) Or... graceful rabbits... or furry forest creatures poking about. Last night something was in the woods... who knows what? Will's on the phone right now talking about how much space he takes up. Just had some delicious Chinese food. I'd better post this before my connection goes out!

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Pictures, Dogs, and Trees

I've posted some pictures of Staunton and my recent woodsy travels in Vermont. The past couple of days have been very mellow and relaxing. I don't think I've stayed in a tent since Highschool so some fond memories are popping up. Beans and canned creamed corn. YUM! The Kest workshop starts later today, so we'll see how often the updates happen. Pictures speak louder than words this time: Photo Album

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Virginia to Vermont

Well, it took about an evening and a night... and a morning of NON-stop driving. But we made it! Denise and Wesley and I went through let's see: Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York: 6 states. Before we made it into Vermont as the sun was coming up on Sunday morning.

I had driven us up to Albany and Denise drove the rest of the way. Wesley, didn't do any driving... :) My first sight when I woke up was the fog coming up over the mountains in Vermont. We drove to some park, that to my New Mexico eyes resembled something like a mountain and met up with Robert Kest and his dog Bear. To which one of our morning hiking companions exclaimed: Bear?! But it's a dog... Later that day Robert and I set up a tent behind the barn of his mountain home. Which, again, this whole area is something foreign to my desert palate, was so green and moist that I was in forest-shock. I went out today on one of the trails and took some pictures which I'll post either this week or next week. People start arriving tomorrow for the week long workshop led by Robert. Can't wait!

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