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The summer is a natural time to reflect on one’s life, to see all kinds of forwards and backwards, successes and failures and all that. I will be doing none of that in this post, however. I will be reflecting on sumer itself.

1. Princeton is beautiful in the summer. I have been raving about this little town for going on four years in this blog, but I can’t help it. It is beautiful. The students have all cleared out for the summer and so basically it is just my wife and I and a bunch of international students roaming around with the full run of the campus. I can go to the University Art Museum (apparently all Princeton graduates are Indiana Jonesing in their spare time judging by those contributed collections), linger around the Firestone Library, hang out on the grass in front of Nassau Hall with nobody in the world around me. Except an occasional tour or two of high school seniors. Very intelligent high school seniors. How often do I do these things? Not so often, but I love knowing that I can. That this is my town for the indefinite future.

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Nassau Hall of Princeton University, once the home of the U.S. Government in 1783. Princeton was also the alma mater of James Madison, the writer of a good portion of the Constitution. So there.

2. I don’t miss Korea in the summer. I lived through nine summers and each were brutal. I only had air conditioning in the very last summer as we were leaving (2006) in August. Every other year it was mogi coils, little mosquito heating pads, and heat, heat, and more wet heat. The monsoon rains would roll in and Sinchon in particular would suffer from heat, humidity, and general deprivation. I do not miss the heat. Let me stress that.

Our apartment window from Seodaemun, Seoul, Korea. Our home from 2003-2005.
Our apartment in Seoul (서대문구) from 2002-2005, aka the hottest place this side of Hades.

3. Sunlight=energy. The older I get, the more I seem to suffer in the winter from a lack of sunlight. I fight it as best I can (I often walk to and from the work in the middle of winter if only to be outside). Starting from April, Princeton is sunny and so am I. I need sunlight more and more in each passing year. It becomes harder and harder to imagine moving to a place without it.

4. The future is exciting. It always has been and always will be. I have foregone many trappings of adulthood for a certain flexibility.  My wife and I have the ability to nimbly dart from one place to another. We have few ties to any one place, our family is scattered all over the place, and I have friends in countries around the world. None of that is inherently a positive or negative thing, just rather a factor contributing to my legendary wanderlust. How often do we nimbly pick up and move? Not that often. We have basically lived in two places in the last twelve years, but at least they were two different countries. And in my dreams, I have lived in at least a thousand.

And the song? It is Bright Eyes’ Four Winds. Why? For some reason, the carnival atmosphere of the video makes me think of summer in Ohio. So there you have it. Get out and enjoy the weather if you can.


By Michael Gallagher

My name is Michael Sean Gallagher. I am a Lecturer in Digital Education at the Centre for Research in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh. I am Co-Founder and Director of Panoply Digital, a consultancy dedicated to ICT and mobile for development (M4D); we have worked with USAID, GSMA, UN Habitat, Cambridge University and more on education and development projects. I was a researcher on the Near Futures Teaching project, a project that explores how teaching at The University of Edinburgh unfold over the coming decades, as technology, social trends, patterns of mobility, new methods and new media continue to shift what it means to be at university. Previously, I was the Research Associate on the NERC, ESRC, and AHRC Global Challenges Research Fund sponsored GCRF Research for Emergency Aftershock Forecasting (REAR) project. I was an Assistant Professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (한국외국어대학교) in Seoul, Korea. I have also completed a doctorate at University College London (formerly the independent Institute of Education, University of London) on mobile learning in the humanities in Korea.

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