New Slang

I hope I didn’t mislead you with the title, but there is no actual slang in this post. At least, there isn’t meant to be. I just used the currently playing song for a title since I was drawing a blank.

Anywho, Sunday was pretty good overall. I woke up around 9 AM, but through sheer power of will, managed to fall back asleep and doze until around 11 AM. Got up and put in my laundry, then biked to E-mart and bought candy for the kids and new sandals for myself, since the old ones were in really shabby shape. Came back just as my laundry was finishing, hung it to dry and had tonkasu for lunch. It was actually the first time I had it in weeks. I used to have it every couple days, but I’ve been much better about going to new places and just ordering random things off of the menu. Afterward, I chilled online at DnD for awhile, went home and watched a movie, but I still had a lot of time before meeting people for Robin Hood, so I ended up biking back to E-mart. I bought a sheet for my bed and a mouse for my notebook. I literally have been sleeping on a bare matress since I got here, so last night was the first night I got to sleep on sheets for over two months. I didn’t realize how much I missed them.

Went to Yawoori, and of course, I was the first one there, so I just sat and listened to music for awhile. Then a guy I recognized from the group came up and just started talking to me. I felt bad for not knowing his name, but it had reached the awkward point to ask, so I went on the rest of the night not knowing. Chang-ki and his wife showed up, then Ruth and two of her Korean friends. We bought our tickets in advance so we could all sit in a row, then went to Ruth’s and had some pizza. We ended up getting back just as the movie was starting. Now, I don’t want to ruin the movie by any means, but it was pretty different from what I expected. Mostly because instead of being about Robin Hood it was more about English-French conflict politics. Still, it was a good movie. It was no Gladiator, but I don’t think many movies could come close. Visually it was very impressive, but I can’t speak to any of its historical accuracy. Also, there were some parts that just seemed completely unnecessary, but I’d still give it an 8/10 so it’s definitely worth seeing anyway.

After the movie, Chang-ki, his wife, the other Korean guy, one of Ruth’s friends and I all piled into a car (Chang-ki’s car is surprisingly spacious) and we dropped everyone else off. I didn’t really say much, except once when I overheard the Korean guy say chingu eopseoyo — lit. friends don’t exist. So I just asked “no friends?” and all the Koreans were amazed. Koreans in general seem really impressed by my level of understanding. When we were ordering the pizza, I noticed Chang-ki asked his wife something and she just kind of shook her head no, so I asked if she wasn’t eating — an meokeo? — which surprised the hell out of her. She seems to be impressed with anything I say though, and laughs like it’s hilarious that I can express whichever thought, no matter how simple, in Korean. I don’t really talk to her that much because I know she doesn’t speak much English, and she’s embarrassed about it, so I do my best not to make her feel any worse.

There’s really no good place for this bit, since I meant to mention it early, but never remembered, but I made my first joke in Korean on Thursday. It sounds silly, but I think it’s pretty impressive. It was right at the end of a meet-up. Dave was leaving and Chang-ki asked him how he was getting home. Dave just said that he was going to ride the bus. Now, I’m not going to say that this was super clever or anything, but all I said was beoseuna tal geoyeyo — I’ll ride the bus or something. I literally just repeated what Dave said, but it had Chang-ki in hysterics. I had actually just learned how to say “or something” in Korean, so it was relevant, and I suppose it just hit his funny bone the right way.

Actually, Sunday night I didn’t say much of anything, really. I was in one of those more pensive, listening moods. Of course, I’d respond if people asked me stuff, but I have the tendency when I’m in a group of people to just sit on the edge of the conversation for awhile. I don’t feel uncomfortable or out of place or anything. Quite the opposite, that’s just how I prefer to spend my time. Sometimes I think it makes people feel like I am being anti-social or I feel awkward around them or don’ t want to make conversation.  

Anyway, Monday was pretty routine except some small drama in one class, but I’ll get to that later. Before class, I just spent the morning working on the textbook that Mr. Lee asked me to make. Not really a hard job, just a lot of time goes into it because all I’m really doing is copying and pasting lines from the story into the template he uses for all his books, and sometimes coming up with sample sentences with vocab words and phrases. Dave is working on some kind of weird project I don’t know a ton about. Basically, he’s got a bunch of topics for varying levels of English that he’s supposed to look up. The categories range from culture to art to food, etc… It comes in an Excel sheet, and it has little titles for each section. These titles are possibly the most hilarious instances of Konglish possible. He hasn’t e-mailed the Excel sheet to me yet, but let me just list a couple from memory:

  • Gay? I think that’s disgusting!
  • Who should pay? I? Or my girlfriend?
  • Fat People, Fat Pets
  • Why did Hitler kill so many Jews?
  • Fat Teenager Agony
  • What!? There is something translate what my dog is speaking!?

Technically, I mean, some it is perfect English, but I think it’s the tone and nuance of it that make it Konglish. They’re things that no English speaking person would say. After lunch, I had a hard time working, because I just kept reading these over Dave’s shoulders and putting myself into complete stitches. Once he e-mails it to me, I’ll probably post a couple a day, just for your enjoyment. There’s literally like three hundred of these titles, and they’re all gems.

 Teaching was fairly normal for the first couple hours of the day. My first two classes just practiced reading. The older classes practiced speaking. I’d ask them about their weekend, then use the Speaking portion of our program, which lets me choose which character’s dialogue to blank out, and the kids have to fill it in. It sounds pretty easy, like they can just memorize the story and do it, but it’s a lot harder for them than you’d think. A lot of times they’ll have all the right words, but they put them in the wrong order or forget particles like “a” and “the”, so it’s good practice for them to just speak from memory.

However, when I got to my F class is when shit hit the fan. My F class is the class with the two girls that really despise me. I honestly don’t even know why. I have the feeling they just don’t like teachers in general. They like Lawrence, but they also never see him. I know for a fact that they don’t like me, they didn’t like Jane, and they’ve come close to saying some very disrespectful things about Diane. Anyway, I was going about class normally, asking them what they had done over the weekend. One girl, instead of responding to the question, told me that she was in a good mood because she would be camping Tuesday through Thursday and wouldn’t have to see me. She actually said that to my face. It wasn’t what pushed me over, but it got me pretty close to the edge. They continued having a real bad attitude with me, listening to their .mp3 players (they literally sit in the first row right up against my desk) and being generally disrespectful by talking to each other while I’m trying to teach. I ended up moving one to the back of the room away from her friend, then kicked the friend out of class a minute or two later for even more misbehavior.  When I went to take away a girl’s .mp3 player, she hurriedly put it away:

Her: It’s expensive! It’s expensive!
Me: So?
Her: I’m rich.
Me: Good for you.

That’s really all you need to know about her. She’s one of those kids that thinks her shit doesn’t stink because she’s rich. Just a rich, spoiled brat. Later I took her book away because I had told all the kids to close their books while we did the Speaking exercise. She comlained that she was doing homework, and I just responded “So do it at home” and took the book. Then she asked to go to the bathroom and I wouldn’t let her, so she sat there and pouted and cried for like ten minutes until I finally let her go. While I had the one girl sitting outside of class and the other was in the bathroom, I asked for their Korean names. That’s the great thing about teaching kids here. There’s never a lack of kids that will gladly sell the other students up the river. I asked one boy what their names were, and he didn’t know, so another girl that actually seems to be good friends with them told me their names. I e-mailed Mr. Lee and asked him to call their parents and tell them what kind of problems I’ve been having with them. Hopefully he will, but at least for the rest of the week I won’t have to see either of them. I feel kind of bad pretty much just shit talking these kids, but I’ve honestly never seen two more disrespectful little kids in my life. I’d expect it from someone in high school, but not fifth grade. My last class, G, is usually the worst of the day, but they weren’t too bad today. I’ve been making the really bad boys stay later and clean the room after class, which has drastically improved their behavior and gotten them to participate a bit more in class, but they still spend a lot of time jabbering on in Korean, but that’s the least of my worries for the most part.

After work was just my language group as usual for Monday. I worked with Mi Suk again, which I’m conflicted about. She’s nice and all, but I always find myself questioning what she’s telling me. I actually corrected her Korean today. Like, we had a small argument about it, and she asked the Korean girl next to her about it. She just kind of looked at her like she was retarded and said I was right. Teaching her English is pretty easy though. Today all we did was help her with commands she can use for teaching yoga. Mostly body parts and verbs like bend, touch, point, raise, twist, etc… Afterward, it was raining, so there were tons of Koreans either under umbrellas or hiding in buildings. I was just wearing a dress shirt and shorts and sandals, but the rain was super light, so it was okay. Ate at tomato kimbap, which was fantastic as usual, then came to this PC Bang to waste some time.

The rest of the week should fly by, hopefully. Last week seemed to drag on forever, which is pretty rare. Time usually goes quite quickly here. I’ll just be working on the textbook in the morning, and then deciding about ten minutes before I start teaching what I’ll be doing for the day. Mr. Lee is always give Lawrence and Dave shit about preparing to teach, but I don’t think he realizes how little I prepare. He’s always telling me he thinks I’m a fantastic teacher, too. He actually said he recommended me to someone for a language camp one Saturday in June. It’s just off the coast of Incheon, and apparently I could make 400,000 won for one day’s work. Friday I get off because it’s Buddha’s Birthday. I’m going to be taking a bus up to a nearby temple that has the second largest Buddha statue in the country. At some point, either Friday night or Saturday I’ll be heading to the town of Gunsan to meet a fellow blogger and spend some time outside of Cheonan, since I’m feeling a bit bottled up after spending the last two weekends really slowly.


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