Monthly Archives: March 2006

Blue is the New Halfway to Black

Orla, Brooke and I successfully made it to Blue Belt today! Whoo-hoo! As our fourth belt, this puts us exactly half-way to our Black Belts. Get this… the Master told us that we could be Black Belts by the summer. Yes! We also each lost one mark during our test. But then he told us that I was really good at "power", that Brooke was very "smooth" and that Orla was very "fast". So he gave us each a point for that and we ended up with perfect scores. Sweetness.
Thank goodness it is Friday tomorrow folks (well, technically today is now Friday). I couldn’t handle any more of this week being this week. And just 6 more sleeps.

Longest Week in History

Yesterday for Show and Tell Ryan (aka Ryan1 aka Ryan I aka Ryan Kim aka "The Ryan King")
~Side Note on "The Ryan King"~
The kids sometimes confuse R and L. Read the above nickname with an L instead of the R. It’s actually pretty clever of the little monkeys.
~End Side Note~
Sorry… where was I? Oh yah, yesterday for Show and Tell Ryan1 brought in a pair of fingerless gloves. Now, what amused me is what he and the other children who asked "Can I hold it?" did with the gloves. But this is probably only funny if you watch Futurama.
There was an episode in (I believe) season 3 of Futurama called "Mars University". One of the main storylines of the episode is that the Professor has invented Guenter, the smart monkey. Guenter is your regular retarded monkey but the Professor invented a hat that makes him intelligent. Long story short, Fry convinces Guenter to give up the hat and go back to the jungle. The Professor is pissed, and he, Leela and Fry go looking for Guenter. They get into a life-threatening situation, and only Guenter can save them. If only he can figure out how to put the hat back on. Well, Guenter is back to being a retarded monkey so he tries to put the hat everywhere (including on his ass) before finally putting it on his head and saying "Oh, the hat goes on my head. It all seems so simple now."
What does this have to do with Show and Tell?
Well, my retarded little monkeys (including Ryan1, who brought in the freaking things) kept trying to wear the gloves on their heads. Once again, good thing I have the "smart class".
I’ve had some great surprises in the mail the last few days that have really made me hap-hap-happy.
First, a postcard from Laos. This was a total shock, but a complete happy one. THANK YOU STEVE!!! Steve and Rosemary have been travelling extensively for months now. I highly recommend checking out Steve’s website to see some pictures and read about their adventures. The postcard was hilarious, Steve, and I made everyone I work with listen as I read it outloud. Thanks so much! Hope you guys are enjoying Vietnam!
Second, I got the SWEETEST package from my moms EVER. WHOO-HOO!!! First, a birthday card from her and from my brother Brian (thanks, Bri!). And, oh good heavens… Skor bars… cinnamon gum… and… wait for it… Tim Hortons’ coffee. HOORAY! I just finished drinking some this morning, and the morning has never tasted quite this good.
The tests were yesterday, and I only have one class left to mark. Then things can go from Terror Alert "Shit Storm" to "Chaos" again. Whew! It is always a pain in the ass because it is also always a new session. Nothing funny or exciting happened in my classes, but Brooke-Teacher and Laura-Teacher had some good ones. I’m not even sure which one is funnier.
Both girls teach some lower-level classes. "Lower-level" as in asking questions on the speaking portion of the test like "What is your name?" instead of "In what ways are whales different than fish?" (a question from one of my tests). Well, one of Brooke’s kids had a priceless answer. Brooke asked "How many people are in your family?"  The little girl thoroughly thought her answer through before opening her sweet little mouth and answering, "Saturday."
Laura’s kids are also lower-level. And before I go on, let me say kudos to all the teachers who have to teach the lower levels. It is freaking hard. You have to be uber-entertaining all the time to keep their interest because they don’t speak any English. It takes a lot of energy and I’m happy that my classes are all mid- to high-level. Anyhoo, back to Laura. We were in the staff room on a break, and Laura says, "You have to see this." Yes I did. Some of her students can’t even spell their English names right, like Kelly (Klley) and poor little Chris. In the space for his name, Chris wrote "Shit". That may be the funniest thing I have ever seen written on a test ever. Thanks for that, Laura!
I think the funniest answer I have ever been given came from Robin (the boy with the bag on his head and the books in his pants). I thought he would bomb the speaking part of his test, but overall his answers were really good. Especially when I asked him "What dish does your mother make best?" The little bastard didn’t even hesitate or ask for clarification like the other children. He immediately answered, "Oh no, Teacher. My mommy can’t cook."
Well, I should officially get my ass to school. And wish me luck, I’m doing my blue-belt test in TKD tonight.
I forgot… something exciting did happen in one of my classes during my monthly tests. In my 4:00 class John’s mommy brought us pizza. SWEET!

Eight More Sleeps

I’m not even sure where to start with today. Oh wait… yes I do. With that weird-ass play we saw with the kids.
The most beloved and dreaded words you can possibly hear as a kindergarten teacher is "field trip". It means not having to teach all morning, but it can also mean monkeys running loose and throwing… well, running loose at any rate… God knows where.
Today’s field trip took us to a small theatre in the "2001 Outlet" which is a department store. Which meant we had to walk through a department store to get to the small theatre, but that wasn’t as bad as it could have been. Once there, we watched a surreal play with live actors and puppets about the Big Bad Wolf trying to make friends. He was very misunderstood byeveryone… the three pigs… Little Red Riding Hood… those two rabbits.
~Side Note On The Two Rabbits~
I don’t know what the fuck was up with those two rabbits. But they didn’t like the wolf either.
~End of Side Note~
The kids enjoyed the show, and they were pretty well-behaved. My two favorite parts of the show were a crowing rooster (hard to explain why) and when the wolf asked the kids to huff and buff and help blow down the pig’s house. This made the kids spit all over the place. "Blow" means "blow", you know.
I actually forget what else I was going to say, and I should start typing out the last monthly test. But I will leave you with this as an apt analogy for how my day is going… when I came home from TKD tonight someone in my building had let their dog poop on the apartment stairs and didn’t clean it up. Sigh.

Most Painful Monday in History

Partway through today I realized that it was still Monday and I wanted to shoot myself. What a long fucking day. And to make matters worse, I had to create monthly tests tonight. They aren’t too bad… although I’m not being paid to make them right now. But I couldn’t start until after 11:00 (I had TKD) and then I pissed around for awhile. Reminds me a lot of uni and having to write papers. All of a sudden, getting everything else in the world done instead of the paper due is the most important shit you have ever had to do. And then after I completed two of them, I had to do up a schedule for my 4:00 class because the Korean staff who does it is a bit daft and doesn’t actually look at the amount of work she is giving the kids. BOO! HISS!
So, it is now 1:17am and I’m getting cranky. I’m going to bed without doing the last class. Good thing the tests aren’t actually until Wednesday…


Today Orla, Joe and I went and saw Sam Beckett’s "Waiting for Godot". It was really well done and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I am going to sign up to the company’s mailing list to make sure I catch their next show. Once we got home, Joe, Brooke, Chad, Woody and Aaron came over and we watched Crash. I really liked it. It made me think of Magnolia but with a completely different story. And now I can’t believe it is already time to go back to work tomorrow. Sigh. I need a double-weekend soon. Or something.

Show and Taste

It was Monica’s Show and Tell yesterday. She brought in a picture frame shaped like a heart that she had made. It was shiny and blue, and she had glued sour gummy candies on it for decoration. Typical kindergarten deal. What was funny about this was that she kept licking her picture frame as she stood in front of the class and they asked her questions about it. "Do you like it?" Lick. "Yes, I do." Lick. "Who bought it for you?" Lick. "No bought." Lick. "Make." Lick. Probably the tastiest picture frame in all of Korea.
Good thing I teach the "smart seven year old class".
Friday night we went to the Wa Bar as it was supposed to be the last night it was open. That may very well be true, but it didn’t make the Wa Bar any more interesting than any other Friday night. Except that I managed to steal a glass. And I do wonder now where the white people will gather on Friday nights in Suji.
Today was a quiet day, but a good day. Woke up and watched the NCAA games with Joe, and then Orla came over and we watched a few episodes of The Office. Then the three of us went to have a couple of beers in the park – feels like spring is finally here. Then swung by Woody’s place to see if he and Aaron wanted to join us for galbi (Korean BBQ). They were in and it was delicious. Then back to my house to watch Wedding Crashers (pretty funny – Vince Vaughn is a riot). It is only 11:00, but I’m seriously considering just going straight to bed at this point. It would be nice to have an early night after how late last night was.
Tomorrow we are going into the city to see "Waiting for Godot". I’m pretty excited, as I have read the play a few times and did a scene for acting class. And it is being done in English, so we can all not-really-get-it in our native language.

Rock, Scissors, Paper

This morning I got an email from Julie that made me laugh. Please understand that they use rock, scissors, paper to solve everything in Korea. I’m sure that if you went to court and the jury wasn’t sure they should convict you "beyond a reasonable doubt", they would use rock, scissors, paper to determine your guilt. The great part is that the children don’t question the authority of rock, scissors, paper. Whatever the outcome is, that shit is gospel.
Here’s the email:
I understand that scissors can beat paper, and I get how rock can beat scissors, but there’s no fucking way paper can beat rock. Is paper supposed to magically "wrap around" rock, rendering it immobile?

Why the hell can’t paper do this to scissors? Screw scissors, why can’t paper do this to people? Why aren’t sheets of notebook paper constantly suffocating students as they attempt to take notes in class?

I’ll tell you why – BECAUSE PAPER CAN’T BEAT ANYBODY! A rock would tear that shit up in 2 seconds. When I play rock/paper/scissors, I always choose rock. Then when somebody claims to have beaten me with their paper, I punch them in the face with my already clenched fist and say, "Oh shit, I’m sorry. I thought paper would protect you, asshole."

St. Patrick's Weekend

It was certainly a long weekend, even without an extra day off. Maybe ESPECIALLY because there wasn’t an extra day off.
With the start of the new session, a most glorious thing has happened. Aaron, Frances and I have Che-yuk (PE) from 12:00 until 12:30. This is grand news, because we have lunch from 12:30 until 1:30. Essentially, every Friday the three of us have lunch for an hour and a half. Most excellent. Well, this Friday I suggested that we go to T.G.I. Fridays to get something better than our usual lunch-time fare… we had the time. We almost DIDN’T have the time though – the service was terrible! They were really, really slow. After 50 minutes, our waiter walked by our table, did a double-take and said "Oh". Definitely sounded like we were forgotten. Even the "repeat" on our drinks was slow in coming. Next time I think we should go with Aaron’s plan: KD and a nap at Aaron’s house.
Sometimes the kids don’t really bother to read – they look at the first letter or so of the word and make up the rest. Sometimes this works. Sometimes it does not work. Like on Friday. One of my kids, instead of saying "our trip to the Grand Canyon was…" said "our trip to the Garden Cereal was…." Poor fucker, not even close. And it was pretty funny, but not nearly as funny as one I had before Christmas. One kid was telling me how much he knew about America… and that he had even been to visit the Vampire Stake Building in New York. I didn’t bother to correct that one.
Friday night most of the group was planning on going to Joe and Orla’s (which would have been good times) but I felt like going out. Good thing Woody wanted to go out too. We headed into Itaewan to see what the craic was. It was fun, but pretty quiet for a St. Patrick’s Friday. Well, Gecko’s wasn’t quiet. It was actually pretty packed. Earlier in the night we met up with Sarah, and later at the Rocky Mountain Brendan and his friends joined us. Woody and I headed home at 4:00am… an early night really. The cab driver was amazing. His English was fantastic and he and Woody talked about baseball all the way back to Suji while I tried to nap.
After waking up late on Saturday, I agreed to meet Brendan at the Coex to see a movie. I was pretty excited – it was the first movie I have seen since I moved to Korea seven months ago. Too bad the movie was so shitty. But I’m getting ahead of myself. I finally put on pants at 4:00 to go out in public and headed to the Coex. I was early, so I hit the bookstore.
~Side Note on the Bookstore~
Bookstores are evil. I should not be allowed near them. I bought three more books and have read one since Saturday already. And I still have not finished W&P. I should ban myself from any and all bookstores.
~End Side Note~
We had been hoping to see Munich, but it was not playing anymore. The only English movie playing was Brokeback Mountain. Apparently it has won some awards, and I didn’t know anything about it so I decided I would bite. Didn’t have much choice, really, and it sounded like it could have potential. We bought our tickets and walked around Coex until the movie started. I didn’t care for it. There were some good moments and certain aspects of it were well done. But over all I thought it was pretty stinky. The best thing I can say about it: gay cowboys are hot.
Good thing I wasn’t out drinking on Saturday, because Sunday morning came bright and early as it was. I had to be at Orla and Joe’s for 11:00am in order to catch the gang going out to… wherever it was we were going. Our final destination turned out to be not hard to get to – one bus and one subway transfer – but these things are always less hair-raising when you are in a crowd. We got to where we were supposed to be early (which was a nice change), so we sat outside a convenience store and started drinking. At 1:00 in the afternoon. It was a nice, sunny day, but a little chilly in the shade. We kept an eye out for the Japan-Korea baseball game (Korea lost) and waited for the parade. The parade was really good (there will be pictures on Flickr soon) and it was cool to see all the Irish flags hanging beside the Korean flags. After the parade there was live music in the park.
~Side Note on the Beer Hut in the Park~
The guy we were buying our beer from was also selling silkworm larvae (for eating, they are the stinkiest shit ever). That, in and of itself, is not strange in Korea. What tickled me was that they were being kept warm in a crock-pot. Would have reminded me of home, if they weren’t fucking silkworms.
~End Side Note~
After the park, we went to a pub called "Santana" and continued drinking and singing with the band that had played in the park. Headed home rather early (at 10:30 or 11, I believe), had a late dinner with Woody before going to bed. Monday was less rough than I had imagined it was going to be.
That last bit was bullshit. EVERY Monday is rougher than I think it is going to be. Whether I am out drinking on Sunday or not. It IS Monday, after all. 
First, I would like to say that W&P has an epilogue that is two parts and eight zillion chapters. That is shitty bum.
I hope everyone had a fantastic St. Patrick’s Day. This was the most fun I have had in a while (even though there was green beer in Korea too) for St. P’s. I don’t think I’m going to have time to post my photos tonight, but I did take a lot and they should be on Flickr soon. Cheers!

St.P's Weekend News to Come

I will hopefully find the time to blog tonight. It was a busy weekend and I had to use yesterday to clean up around my apartment instead of blogging. In the meantime, I have been reading Palahniuk’s "Diary" (again… and instead of W&P) and found this quote that I like:
"You’re always haunted by the idea you’re wasting your life. The truth is, wherever you choose to be, its the wrong place."


If I ever have my own children, I would definitely do to them what you see in the attached picture. Which is why I should stick to simply corrupting the Korean’s children and not actually procreate.