Archive for June, 2010

Glorious, Glorious Konglish

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on June 30, 2010 by kingcal

This is going to be a short post. My day at work wasn’t really anything worth mentioning. It was the last day of the unit, so I just finished any bookwork that was left and either played games or watched cartoons. Tom and Jerry is a fan favorite here. All of the kids know Tom and Jerry, but not classics like Wile E. Coyote, Bugs Bunny, etc… Tom and Jerry was a favorite of mine as a kid, too. It’s as much for them as it is for me.

It was also Pay Day for the kids. That’s just the name I’ve given to the day when I award the 5,000 won to the kid in each class with the most points. Since I started with the money last month, I’ve noticed a sharp increase in the amount of effort kids are putting in. Just like with adults, money is probably the best motivator.

Actually, I got a little upset at work today. I had meant to finish up some work with the class, but the pages were already done because Diane had assigned them for homework. I asked her why, and she said she ran out of things to do, so she just gave them my pages for homework. I told her that I’d meant to do it in class, and she realized why I was a little mad and apologized. I don’t really care about the amount of work you set aside for me to. If you need more book work to fill your classes, fine. Just don’t tell me I’m responsible for doing something and then do it yourself. It fucks up my schedule and lesson planning.

Anyway, the real reason for this post is to introduce some new Konglish. I mentioned an Excel sheet awhile back, which was full of topics that we’re supposed to make short stories for, and how they’re all hysterical Konglish. I finally found the file on the computer and e-mailed it to myself. I’ll probably post like five of them in every blog. There’s a lot, so it’ll last me awhile. However, for the first installment, I’ll double down and give you ten.

I swear, I have not invented or changed these in any way. I’m presenting them exactly as they’re written in the document we’re working with. Without further ado:

Level 1:

Field: Subject-1 (Material-1)

Society: Do clone or not? (Ethics)
Society: Do you know the English World in Korea? (Current Issue)
Society: Social problem – I don’t like to hang out with a loser friend). (Teenager Issue)
Society: I know fast food but do not slow food. What’s the slow food? (Current Issue)
Society: Internet surfing, is that really good? Internet surfing could harm you. (Current Issue)

History: Sam-guk-jee is not Korea’s. It’s China’s. (Common Sense)
History: Follow me~~!! (World History)
History: The history of under the sea. (Nature)
History: Pan-so-ri, I’d like to learn it. (Korea Music History)
History: The relationship of Dutch & France. (World History)

All capitalization, spelling, punctuation, etc… are directly from the document. Using the ~ symbol in text is basically their smiley face emoticon. They also use ^^ a lot for a happy face. I can’t find out anything definitive about samgukji, other than it seems to be associated with a couple movies and a new video game. It means three something, but I don’t know the rest.  Pansori is traditional Korean music, usually performed by one female singer, and one male drummer. Pan means “a place where many people gather” and sori means “sound”.

I’m really ready for the rainy season. It’s been overcast and threatening to rain for a week or so, but it just hasn’t let loose yet. I just bought an umbrella for 15,000 won, so I damn well better have a reason to use it. Anyway, I think I’ll cut this off here, download something to watch at home, then go watch TV/a movie, read, smoke hookah, etc…

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An Expensive Weekend

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on June 29, 2010 by kingcal

Well, the weekend was a fairly slow one. Saturday was when the World Cup games were, but both South Korea and the US lost. I actually stayed up until 6 AM to watch the US game. So disappointing. The only good thing was that when the Banana Bar closed at 4 AM, the owner went and got gamjatang with me. I got his number and said we’d hang out some time. I can’t even remember what I did during Saturday, except biking to Yawoori to get some books.

Clockwise from the top right: Obama’s The Audacity of Hope (I suppose I couldn’t be a real liberal without owning it), Pride and Prejudice and Zombies(probably the only way I’ll be able to read Jane Austen), Snuff by Palahniuk (already read it — it was okay, not great), and a Korean kid’s book. Level 1 reader. The title means “A puppy is better than 100 points (on a test)” (lit. 100 points than puppy [omit. more] good). Total: just over 70,000 won. Buying American fiction or non-fiction is crazy expensive here. It’s like 26,000 won ($25) a book.

When I was in the book store looking at the English fiction books, I noticed a Korean woman approaching me. I had my buds in and was crouched down, so I didn’t immediately realize she was talking to me. I took them out and said hello. She started asking me about what kind of books I like to read and said how people who like to read like to acquire knowledge. At first, I thought she was trying to pick me up or something. Then she asked me if I was interested in magazines, and I immediately knew something up. She ended up giving me this publication for foreigners that counseled people based on the teachings of the Bible.

I told her I wasn’t religious, and I think she could tell I suddenly became a lot more stand-offish, because she let it drop pretty quickly. After that we just talked for a couple minutes about what I was doing in Korea. She walked away, and I finished picking out my books. Then I went and found her and asked her for some help. She was really nice and helped me find the easiest kids book in the store. Haha.

Sunday I went and bought a hookah in Songtan.

It was the smallest size, but it was only 45,000 won, and it’s perfectly fine for one person. I really like the color. Also, the little blue button turns on color changing LED lights in the little glass crystal. Pretty nifty. I haven’t smoked out of it yet, because I spent pretty much all Sunday once I got back to Cheonan in Yawoori with James. I didn’t have any aluminum foil either, and I didn’t want to get it after the language meeting yesterday, so I got it tonight.

These are the four flavors I bought. Nothing crazy. Mint, strawberry, cherry, and apple. Unfortunately, the boxes are really small. This means I’m either going to have to buy a ton at a time, or make like bi-weekly trips to Songtan, which is like half an hour by subway. Of course, I also got coals, but those aren’t really worth taking a picture of. All told, it ran 90,000.

When I got back to Cheonan, I met up with James and we had some coffee. Then, on a whim, we went and got a new pair of glasses for me. I didn’t really feel like taking them off for a picture, or taking a lame MySpace-y mirror or angle picture, so I’ll suppose you’ll just have to wait for a natural picture. They’re basically the exact same as my last pair, but ever so slightly bigger. It’s nearly imperceptible unless you compare them side by side to my old glasses.

I actually wasn’t a huge fan of them at first. I thought they were too big. I only got them because James insisted that they looked good. I trusted his instincts. Part of it is also that I pretty much never like how I look regardless of what I change or how, so it was kind of moot. People seem to react to them favorably, though, so I suppose they must fit me well.

The best part about getting the glasses was the cost. I was afraid that without insurance it’d be crazy expensive. I’m just too used to American prices and methods. The frames were only 70,000 won. There was no charge for the eye exam. Then it was 30,000 won for the lenses. The frames I picked were on sale for 20% off, which also applied to the lenses, and then I got the “know the dude behind the counter” discount, because James knew someone working there. Total, it came out to 70,000. Also, my glasses were ready in fifteen minutes. It’s been awhile since I got glasses in the States, but as I remember, you couldn’t get out of there for under $150 and it usually took like a week for the optometrist to receive the glasses that were made somewhere else.

After that, I went to Leechard Pro Hair to keep James company while he got his haircut. It was like getting your hair cut in a space ship. Everything was either bright white, stainless steel, or a mirror. It was gigantic, too. Probably fifty stylists were working. Also, you got complimentary juice, coffee, tea, etc… while waiting. Also, getting your haircut at a station that had a TV or a computer connected to the Internet is a possibility, and at no extra charge. That just tickled the shit out of me. I watched some guy get his hair cut, completely ignoring the stylist, and just surfing the web nonchalantly. Also, Koreans don’t seem to have that same urge to have a conversation with the person cutting their hair like we do in America.

Last picture of the day is something one of my first graders, Jane, gave me:

While it says “I heart love”, I’m pretty sure I’m what she hearts. At least, she said “I love you” when she gave it to me. Isn’t that sweet. I wish I only taught in one room, so I could keep everything my students give me at work and display them. Unfortunately, I teach in four different rooms. Still, I take everything home and put it next to my bed. I’ve got a small collection of things that my students either make, write, or just give to me.

Now I’m just killing time, waiting for True Blood to finish downloading. I’ll watch that tonight, continue reading Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and maybe study Korean a little. I read all of the Korean kids book by myself Sunday, and I understood the basic plot, but most of that was pictures coupled with the verbs I recognized. It’s an interesting thing going from reading classic English literature and analyzing it to walking around a book store cluelessly trying to find the easiest book possible. It’s really weird opening a book and going “Ten lines per page? This is WAY too hard for me” and putting it down.

Monday night I took it to the group Monday and just spent the whole time reading the book aloud and having the Korean guy explain all the words I didn’t know. The book is only 31 pages long, but I only got to page 16 in an hour and a half. Haha. Still, it was really helpful, and for grammar, too, as well as vocabulary.

I’m already dying for the weekend. There’s a scavenger hunt/going away party/kegger at the RnB. Looks to be an event filled weekend. Sunday night we’re having the barbeque at Ruth’s apartment. I guess there’s a nice balcony patio area we can grill on.

I want to do another blog about Korean oddities, but I keep forgetting all the stuff that occurs to me. I also want to take my camera with me to  a couple dinners and get shots of all the different food. I’ve posted some pictures, but I want to dedicate a whole post just to traditional, popular Korean food.

The Strangest Dinner Yet

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on June 26, 2010 by kingcal

First of all, some pictures from Wolmido:

Just two shots from a hill in the middle of the historic village.

A very hazy day by the sea, which claimed a man’s umbrella, and very nearly his shoes and coat.

Despite all his jazz-y looks, it sounded kind of like he was playing a cat.

Some ajumeoni playing traditional Korean percussion instruments.

This lady was dancing by weaving the cloth around her head. I thought she was going to choke herself. She was also weeping pretty hard. Shamanism is very emotional.

The last dancer. Yes, that is a fish in her hand.

That’s pretty much all the pictures I had left. I’ll be sure to take more soon.

So, Thursday, Mr. Lee asked if I’d ever had deer meat. On one occasion, I had deer jerky and really liked it. He said there was some kind of barbeque on Friday night and invited me along. I said sure, so Friday after work, he picked me up and we went to the barbeque. On the way, he asked if I’d ever eaten deer horn, which really confused me. I’d always been under the impression that horns were made out of the same stuff as fingernails, and wouldn’t be particularly worth eating.

Still, Mr. Lee insisted that you could eat deer horns. He said that it tasted like tuna, and was good for virility. “Make penis (pronounced “peh-nis”) strong!” He also told me about some of his recent health trouble, which I don’t really want to relate. Mostly because I had the opportunity to teach him the world “asshole”, (in retrospect, perhaps “anus” would’ve been more appropriate), and that should give you a fair enough idea of what kind of health problems he’s having, which relieves me of the responsibility of repeating it.

Anyway, after getting slightly lost, we pulled up to this small farm. The first thing I saw was an absolutely gigantic animal. It’s horns had been cut off, so I wasn’t entirely sure what it was. It was certainly not a deer. A Korean woman asked me the English name, and I said moose, but I honestly had no idea. It’s just the only animal of that kind that big, though it clearly didn’t look like a moose.

We walked further back to a small patio, which lead directly into the stables towards the left. The first animals I saw made me immediately think “Holy shit! Reindeer!” It was a caribou farm. Still, the first thing was even bigger. It was at least six or seven feet at the shoulder. I’d have to look up into it’s face, where the caribou were much more on an eye-to-eye level.

One of the caribou in the first stall was on its side, with a cloth over its eyes. It seemed mildly sedated, but not completely under. They started tying up its legs. I thought there were three possibilities for what was about to happen. One, they were getting ready to cut its horns off; two, it was birthing; or three, they were straight up about to slaughter it. My curiosity got the better of me, so I stayed to watch. Sure enough, they busted out a hand saw and started sawing off the thing’s horns.

Now, the thing wasn’t completely under, and it moved a little bit. I’m sure it was in some discomfort, and wasn’t all too pleased at the prospect of having something sawed off, but it didn’t seem in a particularly large amount of pain either. They had tied the first horn off, so it didn’t bleed at all really, which surprised me. Just before they started working on the second horn, some of the Korean guys we were with and Mr. Lee, started going into the stall. Mr. Lee was like “Colin, come drink the blood. It’s mixed with soju.”

Now, my initial reaction inwardly was something along the lines of “Aw hell naw, that’s vile”, and outwardly my reaction was one of plain disgust, but once again, curiosity got the better of me. I went in to watch them cut the horn off up close, and they didn’t tie it off, so it bled quite freely. They then started collecting it in bowls, and had a little pot of something they poured into it. It wasn’t soju because it wasn’t clear, and it never comes in a teapot. It may have been the traditional Korean wine, makgeolli. They handed me a bowl, and after a little hesitation, I started drinking the blood.

I expected it to be really copper-y and blood-y tasting, but surprisingly, it wasn’t. It wasn’t delicious, like they insisted it was, either, but the taste didn’t bother me. It was the temperature. It was still quite warm. That’s what bothered me. I’m standing right next to this poor animal that’s just had its horns cut off, drinking it’s blood. I wretched very slightly once or twice, but never felt in serious danger of chuffing. I finished about 3/4 of it, before I stopped and tried offering it to the Korean dudes. I noticed they had politely finished what they had been given, but none of them liked it so much they wanted to finish mine. Methinks they weren’t crazy about it, either.

I went to try and finish it, but when I tipped the bowl, the blood just hit me in the lip. It was no longer liquid. It had cooled enough to congeal and become blood Jell-o. It was at this point that I said “All right, I’m done. No more” and put the bowl on the ground and just walked away.

After that, there were two small dishes of raw caribou meat with small slices of vegetables and Asian pear. It was just okay, but the texture wasn’t my favorite. Just a little too smooth and slightly slimy. The rest of dinner was much more normal. We barbequed pork and had normal Korean side dishes. I drank a fair amount of soju and talked in Korean a little with the other businessmen and businesswoman that were there. They all seemed really impressed with my knowledge of Korean table and drinking manners. I didn’t always understand the questions they were asking me, but when they rephrased them in English, I was generally able to answer in Korean, so I felt pretty good about it.

Today, I’ve got nothing to do. Just wasting time until the World Cup games. Last night I played pool at the Banana Bar and watched soccer, but it was a bad night. The Brazil-Portugal game was a boring as fuck 0-0 draw, and Spain was up 2-0 on Chile at half-time. I was playing so poorly at pool that I felt I was in danger of getting frustrated enough to break something, so I just left. It’s already rained today, and it threatens to rain tonight for the game, which starts at 11 PM local time. The US game isn’t until 3:30 AM, so I’ll have to stay up late for that one.

World Cup Miracle

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on June 24, 2010 by kingcal

Korea V Argentina

One of the dancers came up to our section to lead us in a cheer.

An unsuccessful attempt to get a picture up close of one of the male dancers. He was quite manly in his bedazzled matador outfit, complete with light up reindeer horns.

The only part of the stadium that wasn’t standing room only was the part roped off just under the jumbotron. The rest of the stadium was packed, as you can tell from the fore- and background of this picture. This is also pretty much the last picture that isn’t terribly blurry, uninteresting, or a repetition of already posted.

Wolmido

A statue of traditional Korean wedding dress.

Wolmi Park was full of these little things. They’re basically miniature recreations of historical or strikingly beautiful monuments around Korea, that are collected in one place. The photo is the place that the Wolmi recreation is modeled after. They did a pretty good job.

Little buildings and big ponds are kind of Korea’s thing.

Esther: Do you know what those gazebos (structure on left) are for?
Me: Not really.
Esther: Well, sometimes the fields would have watermelons, so people had to watch them…
Me: Oh, because of birds and stuff?
Esther: Hah, yeah birds, but also sometimes people.

Watermelon crime is popular in Korea.

Last night was America’s World Cup game against Algeria. I went to the Banana Bar around 8:30 PM. I shot a lot of pool. Some with James, some by myself. The game started at 11 PM local time, and I stayed for it all. I would’ve kicked myself if I hadn’t. Algeria’s only true threat came in the seventh minute. Two American defenders misplayed a ball, which came down to an Algerian player. Chested it down beautifully, then tired an absolute laser that blasted the crossbar. After that Algeria played quite hard on defense, but their offense lacked any real teeth.

America, in contrast, played quite well. Well enough to have two perfectly legal goals disallowed for non-existent offside penalties. The way the game was going, with as many good opportunities as we had, I felt like it was only a matter of time before we scored. Algeria seemed nearly content to play it out to a 0-0 draw. I would’ve rather outright lost than played to a 0-0 draw. There’s no pride in a 0-0 draw that advances neither team.

However, the longer the game went on, the longer the Americans went without scoring. Indeed, it seemed like fate was working against them. A combination of fine goalkeeping, sloppy execution in the box, bad refereeing, and plain old bad luck was keeping the US team from hitting the back of the net. Full time was reached, with four minutes of injury time left. The American players were visibly desperate the last 20 minutes of regulation, and it only doubled in extra time. Fortunately, persistence pays off. After 92 minutes of hammering away at the Algerian defense, Jozy Altidore screamed up the right flank, beating his defender and bringing three more Americans with him. His shot was punched lamely away by the Algerian keeper. As the ball failed to clear the box, Landon Donovan ran up for the tap into the open net and the glory goal.

I have to set, I went as crazy as being the only American in a bar with three people in could allow. All tournament, the American games have consistently been the most entertaining, memorable games. For all their hard work, they’ve earned the top stop in Group C, and are destined to face Group D runners-up, Ghana on Saturday.  This is also the night Korea plays Uruguay. I may be mistaken, but in the event Korea beats Uruguay and America wins, they’d be headed for a clash against each other. An interesting game indeed.

After the game, I was pretty stoked. I went to catch a cab ride home, which immediately ruined my mood. I got in and asked him to go to Buldang Elementary (in Korean) and he just looked at me like I was retarded. I said it over and over and he kept repeating it over and over, like I was speaking Greek. He even called someone, who apparently had as little idea. I contemplated getting out of the cab to find another, but I just told him to go straight and guided him the entire way to my apartment. When we stopped, he seemed to suddenly understand, and gave me a lecture on pronunciation, which really pissed me off.

I understand my pronunciation is far from native, but the difference between Buldang and Bulddang is so goddamn minimal, that it’s hard to believe that it was hardly the cause of the confusion. I honestly think he was giving me a hard time just for being foreign. I get the same thing a lot at the bus station. I’ll ask for Bucheon, and they either give me a ticket for Busan, or have to check several times that I really mean Bucheon. I really hate having to repeat myself. Koreans from the language group say my pronunciation is pretty impressive, so I don’t know what these people’s deals are.

In other news, I had a huge weekend planned, but it’s falling apart piece by piece. I have literally nothing left to do anymore except watch the World Cup games. Not that that’s bad. Just not at all what I had planned.

Had a meeting today at work. Just covered all the stuff around the period we get for vacation (July 26th-Aug. 3), the English camp, all the extra work we have to do, and how we need to improve as teachers. I won’t pretend to be perfect, but when my boss tells me to do a different thing every day, often conflicting with things he’d told me previously, it’s hard to take his criticism to heart. I gave up really on trying to figure out what he wants a long time ago, and just started doing the best I can figure out how to do them. The best news of the day was that they’re considering cutting the class time from an hour to a more conventional 45 or 50 minutes. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s a huge change. Tons of days I just run out of shit to do for the last 10-15 minutes of class.

On the docket for Friday: not much. Probably Banana Bar for pool. Saturday during the day, I may go to Songtan to buy a hookah. It’s something I’ve definitely missed. I’ve had it two or three times since I’ve been here, and it’s about the same price as at home, but it’s just much more inconvenient. Especially after growing accustomed to just going to a friend’s to smoke. I’m trying to decide if I should take a Korean with me to buy it, or not.

World Cup Madness

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on June 23, 2010 by kingcal

These are the last pictures from Buldang:

All of the pebbled glass windows in the school are covered with plastic with drawings. Most of the kids are better artists than I will ever be.

More arts and crafts. My favorite is easily Bart Simpson. Lots of kids have Simpsons school supplies or phones, but none of them have actually seen the show. Perplexing.

Haesong:

This team insisted on practicing the game before we started.

Get through that hoop, girl!

This large stack of books was for each kid, plus extras for kids that won a lottery drawing. Four of my students got extra books.

Front to back: Tony, Seung Mu, Ashley, Selina, Yun Sung, Julia, Sofia, Yun Seo, Angelina, David, Hunter (extreme background towards the left in blue hat). This is pretty much the last of the pictures from Haesong worth posting.

Korea v Argentina:

A motorcycle motorcade before the game. Not police, but just badass Korean dudes on Harleys.

Who likes short-shorts? Collander Man likes short-shorts!

Wolmido:

This was on the boardwalk by the ocean. The older guy in the polo was dancing as the music played (no one else was dancing). When he saw me, he got super excited and waved the victory sign at me. I smiled and waved one back, then he blew me a kiss. I got a kick out of that.

Wolmi My Land. I don’t really know. I guess it’s got food and games and sich. The entire area was like a Korean Coney Island.

The ferris wheel and the largest Viking ride. There were easily like four or five different Viking rides there. I guess they’re big in Korea.

This kid digs fountains.

Well, last night I couldn’t justify staying up late enough to watch the South Korea v Nigeria game. After going down 0-1, South Korea managed to go up 2-1 early in the second half, only to see Nigeria equalize on a penalty. Fortunately, South Korea held on for the draw, and with the help of an Argentinian win over Greece, South Korea marches on into the round of 16. If you’ve seen my Facebook statuses lately, you may’ve seen some Korean in it. 대한민국 (daehanminguk) is the official name for South Korea in Korean. It’s an extremely popular chant around sporting events. Kids even chant it during games in class. Think the “U-S-A” chant, but less drunk and redneck.

Tonight, America plays Algeria. We’re fairly favored in the match, but we also have a habit of playing below our level and falling behind early. As long as we win, the other game doesn’t matter, so for the most part we’re in control of our own destiny. It’s possible to tie and progress in some situations, but it would require a lot of help from the other game, so I think it would be best to just win and get it done ourselves. I’ll be heading to the Banana Bar to play some pool around 9 PM, then stay for the game.

I had Saturday plans, but they fell through, which sucks. Now I have nothing to do Saturday. I had kind of a full weekend of stuff planned. Oh well. Sunday, I’ll be heading to Gongju, the capital of Ancient Korea, to visit a fortress there and learn history and junk. The weekend isn’t a total loss, but now I need to find something to do Saturday.

Next Sunday, being the Fourth of July, and arguably one of my favorite holidays, the language group is going to the nearest beach in Daecheon, about an hour away. We’ll grill hamburgers and hotdogs and light off firecrackers, etc… A cheap transvestite imitation of Fourth of July in America, but I’m sure it’ll still be awesome.

Summer Doldrums

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on June 22, 2010 by kingcal

Pictures first:

The hallway leading to fifth and sixth grade science labs. They look a lot like chemistry labs in high school. I couldn’t take pictures of the rooms because classes were in session, and I didn’t want to distract them. My fifth and sixth graders are always bringing weird stuff to class. Paper they made, moth eggs, ducklings, etc… Ducklings were the best. I had been teaching for maybe 20 minutes before I was like “What the hell is that cheeping sound?” and then noticed the boxes in the back of the room. Needless to say, the rest of the day was pretty much playing with ducklings.

The school’s library. The cool place to be.

Unknown, Kevin, and Moses Joe.

A dance act just before the game with fire.

Asian Elvis is in the building!

During half time, the dance act came back on, and the ajumeoni joined them. She got quite jiggy with it.

A pretty landscaped waterfall at Haesong Seashore Camp.

The busiest moment of the day at my gazebo. Rather than helping sort the children out, I decided it would be more beneficial to take a picture.

More of the quiz game.

A shamanistic sacrifice to the god of wind at Wolmido.

This little piggy went to the market, this little piggy was sacrificed to the god of wind…

Sucks to your asmar, Piggy. Name that reference and collect ten cool points.

After a couple minutes, a couple of the audience members came up and put money in the pig’s mouth. Why does she look so happy? Ajumeoni just made $20 for dancing with a pig head, is why.

So, today was the summer solstice. Longest day of the year, apparently. At least in America. I’m not sure if it’s different here. It’s 8:16 PM here and almost completely dark. I can’t believe it doesn’t stay light longer than that during the summer. Especially since Cheonan is slightly south of Columbus. It wasn’t even hot today. Nor that humid. The rainy season should be coming any day now, from what I’m told, thought most people are now saying it only lasts like two weeks. How disappointing.

School has been pretty boring, hence the title. After the open classes, we’ve switched to a new schedule. I guess parents think that switching every class at the half hour wastes time. Now I teach on the third floor every Tuesday and Thursday for an hour, fourth floor Monday and Wednesday for an hour, and the normal half hour switch on Friday. The fact that we’ve basically got a week and a half left of the unit, and the large amount some classes have left to do in their books, added to the fact that I’ll only see each class three times a week, means that some of my classes will be doing almost nothing but book work for the next week and a  half.

When reading the stories, one of my favorite things to do to joke around with the kids is respond to them reading as if it was a conversation.

David: “She is beautiful. I want to marry her.”
Me: Marry who?
David: :: Points to me ::
Me: Me? “Her”? No! I’m a boy!
David: Marry “he”! :: Points to me ::
Me: Marry “him”.
David: Marry him.
Me: No thank you.

Monday I had to stay late and teach the last class, though it was my day to leave early on the new schedule, because Diane had to go do something at Oseong. I acquiesced and taught the class, with the understanding that I’d leave early today. Then, right after my “last” class, Diane said she had to go to Oseong to teach because I guess they didn’t have anyone for the last class. I was so upset, I ended up walking into my last class and just saying “No Diane today. Free time!” It wasn’t like I couldn’t just do what I had planned to do Thursday, which would make completing the work on time a little easier, but I was kind of unpleased with once again being told I had to do something literally two seconds before I was meant to be doing it.

I also found out about the plans for July. We’ll start a new unit, obviously. The third week of July is going to be hell. School will be out, but we’ll still be teaching, because it’s after school. Schools get breaks, but hagwons don’t. However, the third week of July, there’s some kind of “English camp” which no one knows anything about. It’s something the school is offering, so it has nothing to do with my program, but I’m apparently obleeged to be an instructor, though no one knows exactly who or what I’ll be teaching.

The kicker is that it’s from 1-5 in the afternoon. Not that that’s bad. Diane originally thought that meant we had no after school classes, but Amy corrected her to let her know that we would in fact have them, starting at 8 AM and going until noon. Harsh. The only good news is that after that week of hell,  I get my ten day summer vacation. I have literally no idea what I’ll be doing. I’ve got a very romantic idea of just taking a KTX to Busan and spend the next ten days wandering my way home however I can manage it. I’ve always thought it would be a fantastic experience to go to Europe by flying into a random city, then just going wherever without planning any specific trips, hotels to stay at, etc… I guess this could be like a dry run. I suspect I may be sleeping in jimjjilbangs the entire time, as they’re cheap and offer a shower. It’s either an 8,000 won jimjjilbang or a 40,000 hotel room for a night.

Even though money is something I don’t have to worry about  at all, it’s impossible for me to shake my cheapness.

Pictures Galore

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on June 20, 2010 by kingcal

Some foil arts and crafts. The one on the bottom left area with “Why” on it is actually a recreation of a book cover. I swear at first I thought it was some kind of educational book about science or something, but it appears to be nothing more than a popular comic book tons of my kids read.

Various recreations of famous paintings.

This is the last Van Gogh, I swear.

What’s cooler than a guitarist jamming with a saxophonist? Jamming with a saxophonist and fire.

Let’s play Find the Foreigners.

This ajumeoni (polite term for an older woman, like ma’am or Mrs.) was down on the track celebrating every Korean feat. Unfortunately, there weren’t many, so she generally had to settle for the fact that a South Korean touched the ball.

Action shot! Angelina shooting through the hula hoop on the way to a glorious Seagull 1 win.

The unfortunate Seagull 2 team. Just can’t compete.

A rare moment of calm during the day when the kids were listening to quiz questions at the station next to mine.

Saturday I met up with Esther around 3 PM, then took a short subway and bus ride to Wolmido. It’s not actually an island, but it’s right on the ocean. It’s like half historical Korean stuff and half Coney Island.

A traditional Korean kitchen. On the right under the black lids is the stove. When lit, it would actually heat the floors in the rest of the house. Now I understand why all the floors here are heated. It’s not just a comfort thing, it’s traditional.

Now, back in the States, as a kid, the see saw was one of my favorite playground piece of equipment. However, I wouldn’t go near a Korean see saw. They’re not to be sat on; that would be too safe. Instead, Korean see saws are meant to be stood on, and you jump up and down to launch the other person upwards. I’ve seen things on TV where little 8 year old girls were launching each other like 15 feet in the air. Absolutely insane.

A traditional Korean board game. Instead of dice, one threw sticks to land either up or down, which awarded you points to move your piece around the board.

I’ll continue to post pictures gradually. I don’t want to say a whole lot about the rest of Wolmido, because I’d rather let the pictures speak for themselves. It was a good time though. One thing I can talk about, since it never dawned on me to take a picture of was this one really upset Korean man. He was late fifties and wearing a full business suit and sitting on these rocks near the water. Esther noted he was crying, then a couple minutes later, he took off his shoes and coat and threw them away. They didn’t quite make it to the water, so he retrieved them and put them back on, but decided he didn’t need his umbrella anymore and threw it into the ocean.

He then proceeded to sing really loudly and badly for maybe twenty minutes. He left for awhile, then came back and was just screaming non-stop. Esther and I were sitting there talking and kind of half-watching him. I asked what he was going on about a couple times, but she said it was really hard to tell because it didn’t make sense. She said that he was really drunk (not a surprise) and he was preaching about the Bible and St. Peter and Jesus and how people should “wake up”.

Unfortunately, I missed the last bus to Cheonan, so I had to take a bus to a nearby city, then ride the subway three stops to get home. As soon as I left the station, it started absolutely pouring. I waited in line for a cab with no umbrella for maybe two minutes and got soaked. Almost as soon as I got in, the rain really let up and completely stopped by the time I got out in Yawoori like five minutes later. Just my luck.

Played some pool with James (sucked of course, I can’t break out of this slump), drank some beers and watched the World Cup. A slow Saturday night. Tonight I’m meeting up with the Sunday group to study Korean, go out to dinner, then we’re going to Ruth’s to watch a movie.

Lastly, the pictures of my World Cup get-up:

Andrew and I.

Joel in back, J, Ruth, Q, Andrew, and I.