Jeju Island from the plane

Leaving Jeju Island

Yesterday morning I left Jeju Island, South Korea, my home for the last two years. I sat in a vinyl airport seat with a notebook on my lap. The mountain rose to my back, unseen, and the ocean spread at my front, unseen. I sat wrapped in the love that I was leaving, in the […]

Seashell arrangements by a Cambodian girl

Packing My Seashells

This Tuesday, I packed up my seashells. I sat in bed at 2 pm with a gentle fever, popping bubble wrap and catching up on John Oliver. In the far corner of the room sat two open boxes, like the dead bug in an old still-life painting. The memento mori of my time left on Jeju Island, South Korea. Two and a […]

Bibimbap lunch at my Korean Elementary School.

School Lunches in Korea

I sat down yesterday to write an awesome post about swimming to an untouched island, and the texture of light, and banners of squid drying alongside the fields, and three giant awesome sea caves, all full of tasty details so that you could find all these places yourself. This is not that post. Instead I’m sitting at my desk […]

The Haenyeo Dictionary

Muljil means “water-work.” On Jeju Island, South Korea, this word refers to the work of the haenyeo, the elderly diving women who live as the real-life mermaids of Jeju’s volcanic coast. Or so muljil means on Jeju, at least. Dropping the phrase 물질 (muljil) into google translate, I get the word “substance.” The same phrase in google images brings […]