Wednesday, December 29, 2010

English Tests

I gave one of my beginner English classes a final exam today.  One of the sections of the test I wrote was a 'fill in the blank'.  Choose  a word from the word bank and complete the sentence.  One sentence was:

A zebra is _______________ and white.    (black)

Another sentence was:

A boy is alone. He is _______________.     (afraid)

One of my students answered the last sentence like this:

A boy is alone. He is black.

Monday, December 27, 2010


Hello Hello, Hello

My absence deserves explanation.

I freaked out a little bit.  This last month pulled me into a semi catatonic state. I did not feel like doing ANYTHING. Not because work became busier, or life became more demanding, or sickness forced me down. I was trying to live with the pause button pressed. I had gotten over the novelty of living in a new country and had yet to accept that this new place was really my home. My mind hadn't accepted that this Korean lifestyle was permanent. I have had so many distractions adapting to a new environment and working full time that I never fully mentally gave myself the space to move into Asia.  I know it sounds strange, I mean, I knew I was going to be here for a year, but I hadn't really accepted that idea fully. I stopped cleaning my house, I stopped writing, I stopped going out on adventures into Seoul, and  I really missed my friends, family, and lifestyle back home.

Then I was offered a promotion. But it would require me to stay another 6 months longer then anticipated.  I took a few days to think about it but after some mental debate, I accepted it; with enthusiasm.
I finally started to realize that this is my home. This is where I live. This isn't a vacation. There is no thinking about doing this or changing that when I get back home. Its time to actually make friends, go to the gym, write everyday, decorate my house, fluff out my life a bit. I totally fell into the lonely tourist role. I was thinking short term. It took me a bit, I guess I thought I could escape these long drawn out (stupid) adjustment periods, but  I guess not. Apparently not.


I joined the gym that I live right next to, put up a fabulously colorful doodle by yours truly on this one huge bare wall, bought a semi-nice fountain pen, warm boots, and I am going out this Thursday night for Ladies Night with some friends from the office.

I'm not coming home anytime soon.

except for that visit I have planned for May....

A Pause in Time

A pause in time
Is where I want to exist.
That moment
When the world around you is quite,
When the breeze lifts itself off the wave
Rolling into the shore and
Brushes up your face
Leaving your skin damp
And salty
Bringing to your soul
Memories of the endless ages and ancient times
On the bottoms of the seas.
That sinking sun
Into the ocean
Fills your eyes
And still without sight
You feel safe and warm
On the edge of reality
Fully immersed  in the wildness of living.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Green Food Zone

I drove...well...I was on the bus that someone was driving when I noticed a sign outside a school playground that said "Green Food Zone". Now I can only imagine that what was meant to be said was that they recycle and compost their food, but if not, that school's cafeteria is where I am going to be on St. Patrick's Day for sure. Even if I'm the creepy older person there trying to get at all the kids greasy green cafeteria food in their loudly marked Green Food Zone.

On the off chance, what was meant by that was that they compost, you may want to know that composting is a really big thing over here right now.  Coffee shops leave their used grinds outside their store for other people to use and in that way 'recycle'.  Hey, free once used coffee grinds? I'm there!

I went to the grocery store the other day and wanted to buy bananas for my cereal. So I went to the huge bunches of bananas in the produce section of the market, and broke me off three bananas. No one ever buys a huge bunch of bananas. For obvious reasons: A. they go bad quickly and B. they make your bread taste like old banana if your not careful and C. you usually only get around to eating one banana of the three you bought and then you wait so long to eat the others that they turn black and then you wait even longer past that to throw them away because you think that you may still may be able use them by making banana bread, but deep down you know thats really just a lie and your bananas have been doomed since day one, but sometimes you really want a banana so you buy them anyway thinking you will beat the viscous banana death cycle. So I went to buy my three, huge by the way, bananas, broke off three from the bunch - And suddenly people started to freak out. Oh no no no! Ahhhh what is she doing? She can't do that! (Again, I don't speak any Korean so I can only imagine that this is what they were saying)


I ignored the outburst because I just wanted three bananas and went to pay at the register. At which point a produce lady followed me with the rejected bananas of the bunch. I put my items down  in front of the cashier and separated three bananas. Held up my fingers and said "Three". I got the whole bunch pushed towards me. "No. I - only - want- THREE - bananas." Then they started laughing, a lot, and rubbed their bellies which I came to interpret as "Oh you better get hungry for bananas because your buying the whole bunch today" sort of belly rub.
I bought (wasn't forced or anything) the whole bunch of bananas.
They are turning brown.
I would make banana bread if i had an oven.
I'll make sure I put them on the street tomorrow and 'recycle' them.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Taxi Notes

I have to wake up every morning at six and there is no day light savings time and having to start your day in the dark just totally sucks. Why, why, why am I even awake right now? Oh, yes, so that I can wait in line to get on an over crowded bus with no sitting room for the 40 minuet commute I have to make to get to the recording studio by 9 am.  How fantastic! To do all this commuting and to make sure I don't get lost, I have been given a Korean dog tag, that I can give to anyone I see and they will know who to call to get me home all safely. I also have a card that I give to the bus driver  of whichever bus I am on, so that he can let me know when to get off the bus at the right stop, one card to give to strangers I see on the street so that they can point me in the right direction, and then my most valuable cards, which I have had laminated:  the Taxi Notes. One Taxi Note has my home address on it, one has my school address and another has the address of the school's office in Seoul  that I sometimes commute to. I'm thinking I may have lost some pride. I no longer look at my cell phone and pretend to have a call when I turn around in the middle of the street and start walking back the way I had been going. If I really look lost, I totally have a help-me-card in my pocket to give to anyone who asks me if they can help me. Really. I do. It's even laminated. (I LOVE the lamination machine at work!)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Hippies in Korea

At work, we have "open schools" which is when we invite people to come in and sit through different classes we offer so that students can see if they like our school or not. We had such an open school last week. The students that I taught for this open school were named : Peach (a boy), Snow (a boy) and Jessica (a girl). Peach and Snow are twins. Really? Twin boys named Peach and Snow? They must have been named by the only hippies in Korea or else some English teacher was getting a huge kick out of naming these clueless korean children. I'm going to name my next kid Lamp. Or Sprout. Dip Sauce. I know I thought that almost anything went when naming new kids, but really, apparently ANYTHING goes. Good to Know.

Since we are a new school, everything from the curriculum to class tests has to made from scratch and it is really demanding. I have just been asked to do the voice recording for the english workbooks for our school. It is way harder then it seems and I am not a voice actor by any means and saying things like "Animals are living beings, too" over and over and over again is tortuous. I was told I had to talk in a higher voice, a slower voice, and end each sentence on a high note. So, I sound like a prepubescent robot. On the upside, I get to be the voice on the CD. On the down side, there is no way I'm walking away from this without sounding like those off hour television hosts for children that everyone hates and wants to throw food at.

Monday, November 15, 2010

meat eating pets and tight jeans

I saw my first Korean gay guy! I went to this hair salon next to my house in desperate need of a trim (my hair had grown down to my bellybutton and it was kinda gross) and this dude was standing there in all his fantastic Asian glory beckoning to me to take a seat. He was wearing tight acid washed stretch jeans, a tight red and white three quarters length sleeves baseball shirt with the number 24 on it.  Team name : The Slashers. Rawrrr. Some cool kicks with neon trim, and then, his hair.  Hair down past his shoulders, straightened with full on side bangs and dyed that really dark yet shiny purple color. It was actually quite stunning hair. I wanted to creepily reach up to him out of my plastic bag haircutter's shawl and stroke it. But I didn't. And the only reason I didn't was because he had an equally creepy mustache trying to survive on his upper lip and I wasn't sure if the small space between us would be able to handle two such creepy moments to exist at the same time.  
The moment passed and he ended up  giving me the most fabulous haircut, and then charged me... thirteen dollars.  What? Yes. I got an outstanding haircut,  got it blown dry and curled,  got to see my first gay, watch him work in those tight bleached pants,  and have it only cost me 13 dollars.  What a day.

on a different note-
In my reading class, we read about animals today, and I had the kids write down a pet they had or an animal  they would want as a pet and here is what happened:

Joshua : (picture of a hamster with a mouth and teeth you would find on a shark) This is my hamster Sars. Sars eat door and die. He eat my skin. Sars is cute.

Max : (a picture of a black dot) This is my pet Virus named Virus 1. Virus 1 eats space. He is the color I don't know.  Lions scary my Virus 1.

Hold up. One of my students owned a carnivores hamster named Sars? Awesome.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Ok. So I know that listening or reading about complaining is just boring. And I also know that everyone who has a salary, or doesn't for that matter, also has a lot of work to do and stressful months and six day work weeks, so that all my complaining falls on bored deaf ears. So I have been searching and searching for some things to say that don't fall in either of these categories and of late, I have come up with nothing.

Hence my lack of blogger postage.

How horrible is it that I really don't have anything to say that's exciting or strange in my new home. I am even writing a post about how I have nothing to say. No funny comments from students, No awkward grocery shopping stories, No new adventures in Seoul. Just lots of work. Although on the bright side, I am noticing that I am getting to be a better teacher. I am learning (wow), and I am becoming more confident in myself. So my classroom hours are paying off and that's good.
I was in a photo shoot today. Well.... that's what I'm calling it. It would probably be more accurate to say that I taught a class that a photographer for a magazine took pictures for 40 minuets. Had I known that I would be photographed for a magazine, I probably would not have worn the shiny blue eyeliner I put on this morning. (OK I totally would have worn it anyway! If I have to be photographed as a kindergarten teacher, I want to seem at least a little bit out there.) After some of my more ... degrading classes,
ie. having to sing the song lubby loo and dance and then repeat to the students the new vocabulary words in a robot voice and then a doll's voice type of class...
(Yes, I actually do this. I did not make this up. Those are my directions. I have to teach and I have to teach like that.)
...I just want to wear black hard rock tee shirts and drink a beer!
Whenever there is any PR to be done for the school, guess who gets to be the Face of the School?! yep. thats right, the two white girls.
Apparently we are a big deal.
Although I wish we weren't because then I would have free Saturdays and I really really miss them.