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Donna N. Murphy
Nov. 23, 2012

Moving abroad is a bit like giving birth. A veil of forgetfulness descends over what a messy, painful procedure it is so that you’ll do it again. We moved to Seoul this past summer. Tom is a Minister-Counselor who serves as a special advisor to the US Ambassador in S. Korea on Regional Affairs. Donna’s now employed full time at the embassy as an assistant to the Minister-Counselor for Public Affairs. Public Affairs does happy things to promote happy US-Korean relations and is a happy place to work! Her activities have so far included dressing up as the Statue of Liberty for a program at the President Hotel where hundreds of Koreans watched US presidential election results, planning a Thanksgiving dinner for US high school students studying in S. Korea, and editing documents written by fellow Korean employees. Favorite blooper in a report about coursework: “I take a refreshing course every year.” Tom and Donna are studying the devilishly difficult language of Korean, and undoubtedly make bloopers Koreans chuckle about.



Daughters Clare and Andrea recently visited us, and in our holiday photo, they’re standing in front of a baby elephant at Yogyesa Temple’s Chrysanthemum Festival. Together we explored Seoul, including the ritzy, south of the Han River area made famous by Korean pop star PSY’s must-seeYouTube.com video “Gangnam Style.” We also visited the Namhansanseong mountain fortress where Korean kings hid out when the country was under attack. This leads me to three points.  1) Korea’s history is as tragic as Ireland’s. Geographically it is a shrimp between two whales, China and Japan, but once S. Korea escaped from colonial status and recovered from the Korean War, it became a modern, developed country in record time. 2) Hiking’s quite a popular activity in S. Korea, but Koreans almost never warn you that the hiking paths will be steep. That’s because in this mountainous country, almost ALL hiking paths are steep. You don’t waste flat space where you could be cultivating rice, gingseng, red peppers, or cabbage. 3) They use the red peppers and cabbage to make kimchi, which most of them eat EVERY DAY. They are surrounded by spicy amniotic fluid in their mother’s womb, and by age two, they’ve burned out their taste buds, so they don’t notice how FRIGGGIN’ HOT kimchi can be. However, lots of walking and being addicted to kimchi is healthier than addictions to french fries or candy bars, and overweight Koreans are rare.


We hosted Thanksgiving at our home for friends as well as four US service members stationed at Yongsan Garrison where we live. We have much to be thankful for. Tom is busy working on fascinating North Korea-related issues with a great group of folks at the embassy.   Andrea did a wonderful job as senior story editor for a series that’s now airing on National Geographic: “Highway to Hell,” about tow truck drivers in the Donner Pass in Nevada. Clare and her boyfriend Kyle are off next week on a Caribbean cruise, after which Clare begins an exciting new job within the State Dept.’s Bureau of Energy Resources. Donna’s scholarly book just came out: The Mysterious Connection Between Thomas Nashe, Thomas Dekker, and T. M. An English Renaissance Deception? She also earned her Competent Communicator award from Toastmasters.

May 2017 White Privilege
April 29, 2017 Climate March
Jan. 5, 2017 Williamsburg
December 5, 2016
May 30, 2016
Feb 15, 2016
Dec. 31, 2015
Nov. 29, 2015 Mexico and England
Oct. 31, 2015 Colombia and Peru
Sept. 23, 8015 Pope Francis
June 28, 2015
May 24, 2015
March 20, 2015
Feb. 12, 2015
Jan. 1, 2015
Nov. 30, 2014
Oct. 15, 2014 Clare's wedding
Sept. 29, 2014
Aug. 16, 2014
July 4, 2014 Farewell Korea!
June 24 Empowering Women
June 8, 2014
April 30, 2014
March 29, 2014
Feb. 17, 2014
Jan. 30, 2014
Dec. 28, 2013
Nov. 27, 2013
Oct. 27, 2013
Sept. 18, 2013
Aug. 19 Bali
July 7, 2013
June 6, 2013
May 5, 2013
Apr. 1-12 North Korea
Mar. 14 - New Zealand
Feb. 2, 2013
Jan. 10, 2013
Dec. 19, 2012
Nov. 23, 2012
Nov. 8, 2012
Oct. 2, 2012
Sept. 3, 2012
July 25, 2012
July 15, 2012
July 4, 2012
Copyright 2017 by Donna N. Murphy