Why I love teaching…

29 10 2010

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And Here.

 

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A day in the life…

14 10 2010

Friday

7:30AM

First alarm goes off.  Hit snooze.  Second alarm goes off.  Hit snooze.  Third alarm goes off.  Hit snooze.

8:00AM

Roll up out of bed to put on water for coffee and check the interwebs for news from the other side of the planet.  Find that not much has happened since 8 hours prior during the last check.  Get on Skype for a chat with Mom, then put down (at least) one full french press of black coffee.  Kill another hour mindlessly meandering social networks and travel articles on the laptop.

9:30AM

Leave the apartment to catch the bus downtown for weekly language exchange.  Arrive at the Western chain coffee shop just in time to wait an hour resulting from his ‘faulty’ alarm clock on a newly purchased smart phone.  Twiddle my thumbs in secret gratitude for the delay as I can now enjoy the beautiful fall weather, $6 Americano, and my iPod instead of struggling with a Korean lesson.  Him – “How can I make it up to you??”  Me – “Hmmm… I guess you can just owe me lunch.”

12:00PM

Head to the restaurant for lunch of beef rib and rice noodle soup.  Kick my shoes off, step up to the eating floor and sit on a pillow at the shin-high table.  Try to avoid sticking out more than I already do being the only white person in the restaurant by graceful use of the eating utensils, with no such luck.  Eating wet, tough ribs off the bone with flat, metal chopsticks is no easy task!

12:50PM

Stop at the corner mart on the way into work to purchase good-behavior-bribe candy for the otherwise hellish kindergartners, and bananas to try to share with my Korean co-workers, though knowing they will most undoubtedly be refused.  No matter how much observation I commit to the curious habits of this sharing-oriented culture, I always manage to make the wrong choice.  Knowing I will more than likely leave work today having regretfully eaten 4 bananas out of guilt of letting them go bad overnight, it’s better to offer and be potentially refused, than not offer at all.. right?

1:40PM – 8:20PM

At work.  Chase a few kindergartners around the desks to physically drag them out of class by the arms and position them arms-up, facing the wall near the teachers’ room.  (Still getting used to the necessity of physical discipline here..)  Next class am told I have “good fashion today” by one of my 3rd grade girls, and soon after, that I have “strange fingernails”.  Next class I must, once again, try to contain my immaturity and inner desire to screw around and talk about video games, hierarchy of cuss words, and words I do and do not know in Korean and keep these three 5th grade boys on track.  Me – “DOES she have black hair?”  Boys – “Yes, she do.”  Grrrrrrrr…

8:45PM

Head out to the little hilltop park near my apartment for a workout.  While using the rope/pulley arm workout thingy, can see the only other patron of this outdoor makeshift gym, an older Korean man, out of the corner of my eye trying to get my attention.  Here we go..  I hesitently pull out my earphones to a barrage of Korean.  Me – “Uhhh.. Hangu mal, choko..” (I don’t know what the hell you’re saying to me!!!)  Didn’t solve the problem.  Me – “Uhhh… Migook?”  (America?)  Him – “Ahhhh USA!!”  Me (in my head) – “Success!!”  After exchanging broken English/Korean life stories I am given an extensive tutorial on how to use the rope/pulley arm workout thingies ‘correctly’.

10:00PM

Begin receiving the usual Friday night texts to head out to PNU for drinks.  I crack some soju while getting ready then head out to catch the bus.  Arrive at one of the many “foreigner bars” of the area to mingle with foreign counterparts and a plethora of Korean women presumably looking to catch a line outta this place.

11:45PM

Usual weekend-night dilemma left in the wake of my refusal to take $20 cabs home: either finish my last drink and dip out before public transit closes, or commit to stay out till 6AM.  Again.  Ehhh, you guessed it; I’m in for the long haul!  Few drinks here, few there, time for second dinner with the group, then norae-bang!  Nothing like a private karaoke room to speed along the sunrise.

5:45AM

Hop on the first subway, haggard and exhausted among beautiful Koreans already crowding the surrounding seats.  Arrive home to a sunlit room and lay on my rock-hard mattress for sleep.





Korean Pajong

10 10 2010

Octopus pajong and mek-ju at a plastic picnic table in the mountains. Mmmmm...

Who knew pancake batter could be so versatile?  Pajong, which Koreans like to call “Korean pizza” is a popular snack or appetizer throughout the country.  It is basically pancake-like batter and egg with a medley of ingredients mixed in depending somewhat on the area of the country you are in.  For example, if near a port there will likely be octopus tenacles, squid, or other unknown sea creatures.  Other places are famous for kimchi pajong, others for special spices and sauces, and so on.  You will never eat the same pajong twice in two different places.  It is sold in restaurants, at street carts and tents, and at festivals, like the ones being concocted at the Jinju Lantern Fest in this video: –Click Me–





For lack of a better word..or any words, for that matter.

7 10 2010

I am a little worried that one of these days I will get a knock at my door to deliver notice of fine for all the banana peels I throw out my 8th story window.  The thing is, I wouldn’t know it if I were holding it in my hands anyway, so I continue to throw them out to avoid the evil little fruit fly infestation around my college dorm room style trash can.    I received an unintelligible notice about a month back, which after staring at quizzically and in slight frustration for a good while, decided to snap a camera phone picture of and send to a Korean friend.  My hope in this was to dodge bringing the mystery notice to work for translation in fear it may be in respect to my garage can window (only biodegradables, of course) or constant stream of houseguests.  Or possibly it may be regarding my failure to respond to the 1984-style announcements that blare through the speaker in my kitchen every so often, never failing to coincide in perfect inconvenience with my sleep schedule.  Either way, I would like to keep my work oblivious to any of these if at all possible.  My friend promptly responded via text message that I should consider paying my utility bills to avoid such future notices.  (Which is my boss’ responsibility, FYI, just to clear my name…)

In other news, my toilet has been broken for about a month now, and my fix for this is to lift the lid and pull up the little black plunger at the bottom when the “if it’s yellow, let it mellow” rule has worn out its welcome.  I am not quite sure how to turn on the floor heater, which might be a handy thing to know real soon considering the evenings are already becoming quite nippy.  I am also pretty sure I am misusing the trash and recycling system as well, but haven’t been scolded yet so I continue on my merry way.

Ahhh… makes me feel young again!





Sexual Soju Korea

5 10 2010

I would like to welcome myself, once again, to the 21st century.  I just uploaded my very first YouTube video!!     …Wooooooooow.  Since I don’t yet have the capability to upload videos directly onto here (because I am too cheap), I will prompt you to click the link below if you would like to see it.  As they say in Korea, it’s “nothing special”, but I found it rather hilarious at the time.  Enjoy! 

–Click Me–