My scholarly book The Marlowe-Shakespeare Continuum came out this month. To begin getting the word out, I upgraded my website and gave three presentations to the U.S. Embassy community, in costume, with props! Deciding not to rely on PowerPoint forced me to be creative and I came up with a theme of masks, underscoring my view that William Shakspere was a mask for Christopher Marlowe (who sometimes co-authored with others). The group who came to my home last Friday night was so well informed and inquisitive that they asked me questions for an hour. I finally had to remind them there was still plenty of food and drink to consume in the dining room. The photo of me is in English Renaissance costume, standing in front of a Korean sliding door, in my U.S. Embassy compound home. So basically I’m in two different eras and three different locations at the same time.
Last week I spent a day out and about with a VIP entourage. The visit was related to the crash of Asiana flight 214 in San Francisco last July, so the Koreans wished to impress upon U.S. government officials how seriously they took safety. Which of course they do. Their accident investigation board showed us a mock-up of a plane where they’d positioned pieces of wreckage in their appropriate places to help determine the cause of a crash. Asiana gave us a tour of their ground school, where we saw flight attendants gliding down an emergency evacuation slide, and passed a room full of dummies used to practice CPR. We boarded a flight simulator and watched two pilots “land” an airplane at Inchon Airport. And we toured a new, mammouth, glass-enclosed hanger where Asiana performs plane maintenance. The work crew accesses the aircraft via a platform suspended from the ceiling that moves on tracks.
(Inside and outside the flight simulator. The pilots are real, the view out the windows is not.)
For the first time in ages, I did not host a Thanksgiving dinner at my home. I gave myself and our maid a break. The U.S. Embassy Association served a free turkey dinner to its members in a restaurant in a building it owns, and the rent earned from the restaurant is one reason why it can afford to provide members with a free dinner. The food was good, but devised by Koreans who erred by serving the turkey and gravy cold. They partly made up for this with interesting sides, like a curried pumpkin squash medley, and stuffing that was light on the bread and heavy on flavored onions, celery and raisins. We had some friends over afterwards for dessert and a game of double dominoes. I served a yummy new chocolate chip pumpkin square recipe using pumpkin puree from our Halloween pumpkin, and a friend brought the absolute best homemade pecan pie I’ve ever tasted. OK, so I still ended up having people over.