Better Than Yesterday

Well, the funeral thing last night wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. Having seen Korean funerals on television, I imagined there’d be all manner of weeping and wailing, which I’d be super uncomfortable around. Actually, the funeral wasn’t until this morning, but it was just a time for people to come together in the woman’s memory, give condolences, pay respect, and even donate some money to the family, as well as grab some free grub.

Giving money here is very common for tons of things. Chang-ki once mentioned that every three months he meets up with guys he went to elementary school. I asked if they had been really close friends of his at the time, and he said not really. They just meet to catch up and donate money into a communal pot. If anyone loses their job, has a family member die, gets married, etc… the whole amount will go to them to support them, and they start over next quarter. I think it just demonstrates a gigantic difference between South Korean and American culture. It’s not just about being nice to someone when they need it, but they justify it by saying it’s what they’d want someone to do for them. That may initially sound at least slightly selfish, but I don’t think so. I think the entire world could be a much better place if people would just treat each other how they’d want someone to treat them.

Anyway, Mr. Lee, Diane, David and I stayed for awhile. Ate some food. Met the family (awkward as hell). I noticed in the corner there was a group of six or seven older gentlemen who’d pulled out a little mat and had money in their hands. Then they started dealing out cards and gambling. I think Amy noticed my looking, and said that since the guys had to be there for so long they often played games to keep from getting bored. Also, they didn’t feel bad about having fun at such a somber occasion because you don’t want to be too sad. I  wasn’t offended by it or anything. After all, it wasn’t my funeral to find offense at. But if we were in America at a funeral in my family, I don’t think that shit’d fly.

Since today was Thursday, it was already a better day than yesterday, simply by virtue of being my shortest day out of the week. Two of my favorite classes on Tuesday/Thursday as well, so that helps. Unfortunately, I still had to sub for Amy, so I didn’t see one of them, but her classes are pretty fun, too. Recently I’ve taken to showing my classes this Kiwi! video as a part of class and getting them to discuss it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdUUx5FdySs

All the kids are pretty sharp and immediately understood what it meant. Still, when I asked whether they thought the kiwi was happy or sad, they seemed split down the middle. I tend to think the kiwi was happy, but it’s honestly pretty open to interpretation. After watching it like ten times, I can see more and more why you’d think he was sad, too.

Anyway, tonight I’m probably heading to Pool Night in Yawoori. I’m hoping it doesn’t rain, because I’ll be riding my bike. Last week, I finished fifth out of 18 players. Not too bad if I say so, myself. The guys who finished in the top four were all really good, too, so I don’t really mind coming just short. I was pretty close, though. I was one ball away from playing a game for money. Maybe tonight will be my night.

Anyway, the only other new stuff on the docket is I’ve started planning for my vacation. I’m hoping to start in Jeju Island, then to Busan, on to Gyeongju, then Seoraksan National Park, and finally Ulleun Island. Those are at least the stops on the list so far. I’ve got ten days, so I’ll probably spend two days in each place. I’ll mostly be hitting up scenic areas or historically significant areas.

Next weekend is the Boryeong Mud Festival, and I’ll be going with people from the language group. I’m looking forward to that. With a trip next weekend, and a ten day vacation the week after that, I’ve decided to take it easy this weekend and stay in Cheonan. I’m planning to go hiking somewhere with Chang-ki, and that’s about it. Probably Banana Bar for drinks and pool on the nights.

Last issue, Konglish. I forgot last time, so another double dose today:

Level 1:

Culture: You know? Love is moving~ (Teenager Culture)
Culture: Can’t I love her? (Teenager Culture)
Culture: Yo! Summer vacation has started!! (Teenager Culture)
Culture: Wow. There is a secret in tomatoes (Science Common)
Culture: Shopping could be a sick? (Social Culture)

Society: I have heard about “academic” but I don’t know “hacademic”.
What is the “hacademic”? (Current Issue)
Society: Do you have breakfast every day? (Health)
Society: I make habit, habit makes me. (Common Sense)
Society: How do I sleep now? (Health)
Society: What is your position to death penalty? (Current Issue)

You know, I don’t believe I know what “the hacademic” is either.

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