James Batcho, PhD

jimbatcho.com

August 28, 2013

BUSAN. I have just returned from the European Graduate School to Busan—from one community to the other. In a few days I will leave Korea and move to Chiang Mai. I used to think of Korea as my bubble, a semipermeable one. It is my alternate reality with its own integrity, rules, lifestyle, and experience of time. No one outside the bubble—that extended void one might call “proper home”—understands it. But these days a new bubble has formed inside (adjacent to?) this one. That is the world of EGS. No one in Korea can understand this one (except one, my friend George, who lives in both). This new bubble makes me question the validity of the idea of bubbles. Regardless, both of those separate realities are fading (popping?) in a week. I’ve left EGS and on Sept. 4 I will leave the place that I have made as home for the past six and a half years.

I am ABD, all but dissertation. Classes are finished and now I need to just write and read and write. And write. I’ve developed a dissertation group with five other students. Over the next two years, we will read each other’s material, provide critiques, suggest possible readings, and learn from each other. I’m very excited about all of this.

Being jobless and leaving friends is not an easy decision. (I could have stayed at Kyungsung, but I decided not to.) But this move to Chiang Mai comes in just the right point in my life and career. I will be looking at new university positions as I write and research, and hopefully find something new by next year. And if not, I will keep working. We shall see. Regardless, I feel great about where things are headed.

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