Colin Love Korea (He Don’t Love America)

Today’s blog title comes straight from the creative mind of Arianna.

Monday before her class (C2 – the best of the third and fourth graders), I was letting the kids draw on the board and mess around for a couple minutes. Sometimes they write things in Korean for me to read or try their hand at writing some English that doesn’t have to do directly with whichever story they’re on at the moment. Monday a couple of the girls wrote “Colin <3” and would put various nouns after, then look at me, for my agreement that I did in fact ❤ whatever they wrote. They wrote “Colin ❤ Korea” to which I said yes. Then under Korea they put America in parentheses, and they made me choose which I loved more. Ever sensitive to knowing what people want me to say, I said Korea, much to the glee of the girls. I told everyone to sit down, but Arianna stayed and kept writing, and ended up with “Colin love Korea (he don’t love America).” I got such a kick out of it I didn’t even bother correcting the English. I even took a picture on my phone. I wanted to post it, but I found out I need a special cable for my phone, and I then have to install a program. That shit will probably not happen. At least, not soon.

Monday after work I went straight to the language group. There were actually a lot more Koreans than foreigners this time, so two sisters helped me learn Korean. They didn’t have a whole lot of questions about English, so for the English part we mostly just chatted. Afterward, we got dinner together. Ended up having the same soup that I had for my very first meal in Korea. I learned the name of the soup, which is gamjatang. There’s even a small Wikipedia article about it (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamjatang). I ate until I was stuffed. I wanted to stop, but the girls kept pushing food on me. They said that since I’m only 22 I’m still growing so I need to eat. In Korea, apparently a person isn’t done growing until they’re 25 years old.

It was raining that night, which was a source of amusement to me. Koreans don’t particularly like the rain. When it rains, like 90% of Koreans have umbrellas. The girls asked me if I had one, and I had to explain that in America men typically don’t use umbrellas. When they asked why, I just said “Because it’s gay.” We had discussed “gay” earlier in the night, so it was just a funny reference. I also told them about all the gay stuff that Korean guys do that Americans never would. They said there’s a lot of stuff that makes you gay in America. Indeed, there is.

Tuesday I went back to Osang for the day after my first class. It was considerably less fun than my first day. A lot of the kids were being real snots, but I didn’t really feel like disciplining them because I probably won’t ever see them again, so I don’t care about laying down the law.

Today was a fairly good day. My very first class of the day has been giving me a lot of trouble recently. I think they put all the trouble-making boys in one class for me. There’s only one boy who I don’t have to yell at to stop running around, fighting, or pay attention/do his work every two minutes. What pisses me off the most is when they lie. I figured it out Monday. Most of the boys claimed not to have their books to avoid doing work. Later in the class:

Boy: May I go to the bathroom?
Me: No. You didn’t bring your book today.
Boy: Oh, I have it!

He then pulled it out of his bookbag, probably forgetting he’d lied about not having it earlier. It really pissed me off. I went around opening all the boys’ bags and there was only one that actually didn’t have his book with him. Ugh. Even still, I can tell them exactly what I want them to do, and I know they understand, but they just literally refuse to write down their work in their books.

Today I put a stop to that shit. First of all, I gave them assigned seats, which alternated boy and girl. Secondly, I brought the little wooden stick that Mr. Lee gave me to beat children with me for the first time. Mostly just for shock value. I’d stand around swinging it fast enough so that you could hear it cut the air. I actually heard one boy say “Oh my God.” They were much better behaved today.

The rest of the day was pretty normal. My last class of the day is full of crybabies. I noticed some candy wrappers on the floor, so I told them to pick it up. They said it wasn’t theirs, and I responded “I don’t care.” When they refused, I said that they couldn’t leave until they cleaned up the room. This made a huge ruckus. Apparently two boys were already set to stay after class and clean because they were late and didn’t bring their books. The rest of the class felt slighted because they shouldn’t have to clean when two others were being punished by having to do it. One boy was actually close to frustrated tears. Eventually they reluctantly cleaned up, but none of them even said goodbye when they left. I think I pissed them off. =3

The best part about today, though, is that I got paid. I went to the bank with Jieun after work and she helped me check my balance to make sure I got paid. Unfortunately, there’s no English option for my bank’s ATMs. Guess I’ve got some learning to do. Also, couldn’t print out a receipt, but rest assured. I get paid in stacks. I don’t care what the exchange rate is. Checking your bank account and seeing $2,000,000+ is a pretty damn sweet feeling. I’ve already got some plans for the paycheck.

  • New shoes: I need at least one pair of shoes for hiking/soccer, so I don’t completely destroy my Chucks, which are still usable for simple every day activities. Possibly a new nice pair of shoes, since my work shoes are getting beat up. Not for work, but other occasions on which I want to look particularly fly.
  • New clothes: If I can find any that fit, that is. I would like at least one more pair of pants, a couple shirts and a couple ties. I’m sick of wearing the same two pants and five or six shirts to work every day.
  • A haircut: It’d be a good excuse to learn a couple new vocabulary words. Plus, whenever my kids draw a picture of me, they give me a Jewfro. It’s not even that long yet. How do they know?
  • New glasses: There are shops everywhere for glasses, and I’m told they crazy cheap to buy. Possibly as low as $20, but probably a little more than that. I might need a Korean to help me with that, particularly the exam part.
  • A bike: There’s a small bike shop near my house, so hopefully I can get a bike cheap there. It’d extend my mobility and reduce my dependence on the bus. I’d still take it in bad weather and such, but it’d be a good excuse for even more exercise.
  • Go to a soccer game: The next scheduled home game for Cheonan City FC is April 24th at 7 PM. Sounds like a fantastic way to spend a Saturday night. Plus, the stadium is only about a five minute bus ride away. They’ll be playing Incheon Korail. CCFC is in the National League, which is the second highest soccer league in Korea. The first being the K League.
  • A scooter: This is a really long-term goal. Scooters are really common in Korea. Particularly for delivery of food. I’ve seen lots of different people on scooters though. Some are mailmen, some are delivery guys, I even saw one guy in a full business suit with sandals and no socks on driving a moped a couple days ago. The look is particularly amusing when I see them puffing away on a cigarette jutting out of the side of their mouth while they weave through traffic. It looks exciting as hell. Also fairly dangerous. This blog (http://dagseoul.blogspot.com/2010/04/scooters-riding-in-seoul.html)  just had a post all about driving scooters in Seoul. It won’t be quite as hectic in Cheonan, but pretty much everything still holds true. Taxi and bus drivers are maniacs.

I’ve got a gigantic weekend planned. It’s even further stimulated by my payday. Even with my monthly expenses in Korea and the States, I have way too much money. It’s great not to have to worry about money. It makes life about a million percent easier. Friday will be my first chance to really cut loose and celebrate without worrying about my money lasting. I’ll probably be a wreck.

Saturday I’m heading to a district in Seoul called Yeouido. It’s the last weekend for the famous Cherry Blossom Festival they hold there every year. I think the fireworks are canceled because of the Cheonan disaster (I guess it’s in bad taste to celebrate so freely after 45 South Korean sailors have recently died), but it will still be beautiful. At night they light up the trees and I hear it’s really great. I’ll be going with Lawrence and meeting Sid and some other people, Korean and foreign, that I’ve never met before, so it’ll be good. Saturday night I’ll probably be clubbing in Seoul. But this time with money. I’ll actually be able to enjoy myself without worrying about other people spending money on me.

Sunday I have no idea what other people are doing, but I plan on trying to make it to a place called Insadong in Seoul. It’s a very historic part of Seoul. It’s got tons of antique shops, 90% of the country’s traditional stationary stores with calligraphy demonstrations every day, lots of art museums (including the Asia Eros Museum – South Korea’s first museum dedicated to sex), traditional Buddhist temples, and palaces built during a dynasty that started back in the 14th century. Jieun recommended it to me, and it does sound pretty cool. I’m kind of in the mood to be tourist-y. Plus I don’t have anything that needs doing here in Cheonan, and coupled with my pay day, there’s not any reason for me not to stay in Seoul longer and learn some shit.

Right now I’m just wasting time in the DnD. I’ll probably go home and make dinner soon. Either ramyeong – instant noodles, like Ramen but 100% better – and eating it out of the pot I boil it in, or frozen dumplings with rice and kim – or seaweed. I like Korean seaweed better than Japanese seaweed. It goes great with rice. It’ll be good practice to put the seaweed on top of the rice and try to pick up rice in the seaweed with my chopsticks.

I just had a good little conversation with the DnD shop owner’s daughter. Her English name is Julia. She’s in the fourth grade in Buldang. She’s not in any of my classes, but she knows me from DnD and seeing me at school once or twice. She’s a really great kid. I wish she was one of my students. She’s very excitable, but not in an annoying hyper way. Just a really good energy. Her English isn’t great, but oh she tries so very hard.

Also, news travels fast around Buldang. For instance, students who aren’t in my class know my name. A lot of time I’ll hear a kid scream “COLIN TEACHER!” (the teacher title, sansaengnim, comes after a person’s name) and I have no idea who they are. I’m assuming my students talk about me in their classes at least some small bit. About two weeks ago, I was walking home after work, and I was in a particularly good mood. One of my students was milling around the little shop that sells school supplies, small toys, and fried snack food aimed at kids. He saw me and came over and said “obaek won juseyo!” – “Please give me 500 won,” and I obliged. Now almost every time a student sees me, regardless of whether they’re in one of my classes or not, they ask me for money. Haha.

Anyway, this is getting super long and I’m getting hungry as hell. Besides, I need to go home and wait for Mr. Lee to call because he needs to pick up a textbook that he had me revise. I probably won’t have the time to write another blog until at least Sunday night, but I should have lots of pictures, so stay tuned.

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One Response to “Colin Love Korea (He Don’t Love America)”

  1. kyong ok hibbler Says:

    Having a very detailed shopping list . Seems veeeery ….ga…… 🙂

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