Saturday, May 23, 2009

나도 즐거웠어요. 주말 잘 보내요~

To preface, some old pictures:
This one was taken on my first trip to Busan. When I saw the statue I could resist wearing the hat... but I'm nervous about what he's planning on doing with that hand...

2nd grade students congratulating me on my soccer goals.

Evaluating the English Speech contest...

Halftime at the soccer game, so I'm drinking some Pocari Sweat. Yes, "sweat"... sounds appetizing, right? It even looks like sweat too.

This week has been lots of fun. Actually, we only had classes for 2 and a half days and then the 2nd half of the week we had a sports tournament, exams, and a field trip. I didn't play in the volleyball tournament on Wednesday, but after the half-day of classes were over I went to watch the matches. Our school got 1st place and went undefeated. Each team had to have one woman player... so I helped 배수진 practice a few times these last couple weeks. She was really happy to score points on a couple of serves and she made a good save on a play that nobody else could reach in the final match. And they had a picnic with lots of food and soju/beer of course.

On Thursday I practiced Korean for an hour and a half with the 주현누나 and then I went to monitor the exam for one class with 민채누나 and she taught me Korean while the students were studying. Those two help me study the most. Ju-hyeon has more free time than the teachers... she is the office secretary. She speaks slowly to me and tries to use simple words. Min-chae also helps me alot. At work I can send instant messages on the computer to practice Korean, or I can speak to them. And sometimes those two will text message me in Korean outside of work.

Thursday night I took a couple of my American friends out for sashimi and then the three of us met up with Min-chae and two of the other korean teachers at the bar. I was upset because my American friends were not considerate to the Korean teachers. Because none of the teachers were English teachers, they have very poor English but my American friends still talk quickly and use difficult words. But everyone seemed to enjoy themselves for the most part. The other Americans left after an hour, but I stayed. We went to another bar and then to Noraebong (karaoke room). I only got two hours of sleep on Thursday night...

Friday, I have to wake up early because we are taking the students to Daegu to 우방 Amusement Park. The weather is nice and hot, and all of the students had a great time. As for me, I hung out with Hye-jin, Min-chae, Heo-Min, Hee-yeon, and the new intern whose name I can't remember. Some of the rides were a little rough because I had a soju hangover and only two hours of sleep. But I still fared better than they did. Hye-jin got really sick after we went on the rollercoaster that went upside down. After the amusement park, Hye-jin, Hee-yeon, and myself stay in Daegu instead of going back to Gimcheon with the rest of the teachers and students. We all have our own separate plans, but the two ladies were kind enough to help me find the bus that I need to get on to meet with my friend.

I arrived at 게명대학교 (Kei-myeong University) and my friend met me near the gate. She is a korean girl that I met in Gimcheon. Her family lives in Gimcheon but she goes to school in Daegu. (There are no 4-year universities in Gimcheon. Daegu has good universities.) When I first met her, she was with her father so it was a little awkward because he was interrogating me. Like, in the States when you meet a girls parents for the first time the father might ask "what are your intentions with my daughter?" I think I was getting the Korean equivelant of that when I met her last time in Gimcheon. Questions like "What religion are you?" and "Will you come to church with us tonight?" and "Do you have a girlfriend or wife?" and "How long will you stay in Korea?" I guess those could be considered conversational topics, and although he was quite friendly, he was very serious about those questions. Anyhow, I detract from the story at hand... I meant to say it was nice to meet her without the father there! I got to see her campus, which is very beautiful. She said that it is a popular filming location for TV and Film because its such a scenic campus. I got to meet alot of her college friends. Some of them she called and said "come meet my foreigner friend!!" and some we just stumbled upon.

Today is Saturday. It was Jo Su-Hyeon's wedding today! I was really excited to go because she is always soooo nice to me even though she is deathly afraid of English. She is the music teacher, so her office is in the library, near the music room. Sometimes after eating lunch I will go there and she makes fresh tea for me and gives me snacks. Anyhow, the wedding's basic structure was similar to a Western wedding, but the style and mood were much different. It was much more relaxed and casual. For example, they had a machine in the front that made bubbles and fog. And people could talk during the wedding, or go eat buffet during the wedding. I didn't want to go by myself, so I asked 김수진 (Su-jin Kim, the school nurse) to go with me, and I'm eternally grateful that she did. After we had been there for a few minutes we met alot of other people that I knew, but I never could've gotten there and known what to do without her help. I got to see my co-teacher's sister again, which was nice. Also, I met some of the teachers who worked at my high school last year but are no longer working there. Ms. Lee was so nice and often translated for me and told me what to do. Most of my korean friends don't like translating for me or maybe they are nervous because they never know when I need help and when I don't. I liked her philosophy that I always need help !! haha !! She really understands me =)

Friday, May 15, 2009

and the winner is...

Today was Teacher's Day, so instead of 7th period classes we had a soccer game Teachers VS Students. Elementary and Middle school teachers did not have to work today... but High School is very serious and we have to work almost every day.

One of my students let me borrow his shoes for the Teachers VS Students game today when I mentioned that I don't have soccer cleats. Even though he said we were the same size, they were a little small so it was hard to use my toes for balance. I fell over twice when chasing balls and it was hard to stop anyone on defense because I couldn't use my toes.

I played forward because I promised my students that I would score two goals. I wanted to play goalie but a teacher with a knee injury had already claimed it, which is quite understandable.

I led our team to a 4-0 lead, but the teachers got tired in the 2nd half and the students almost made a comeback. The final score was 4-3 and I was MVP with two goals. In the post-game party (yes, we had a party for defeating teenagers) the Principal offered me a toast. Anyhow, the game was great because the students all cheered for me when I had a goal or an opportunity and they felt my pain when I fell over on the dirt. They gave me congratulations and high fives after the game. I think some of the teachers in their 30s and 40s had a lot more energy than I did... but it was hard for me because I am sick and was only able to get 2 hours of sleep last night. That's my excuse!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

오늘 따뜻해서 나는 행복합니다. (Today the weather is warm, so I am happy)

been studying some korean at work today... though I should be making lessons instead in all honesty.

There are optional summer camps that the native teachers can do to make extra money (about $400 per week) but my school will not let me do it. Considering that I get paid my normal salary in addition to the extra money, i would've been making about $850 in a week (with no expenses). It's a little harder work than I would be doing if I stayed in town. But they are forcing me to stay, except for my 10 days of vacation. However, I will get to teach English to the other teachers which I think will be great. We never have time during the school day so during summer I will actually be able to teach them for an hour every day. I think it will help alot because they all learned English in High School. It's just that they forgot it and they have no confidence now. Once they hear me speaking and are forced to speak they will have words that they are confident in using.

Next month I will do 4 evening classes for adults. They have good English language skill so I can have fun doing conversations and expressing ideas and opinions. Each class will be two hours long. So it will be a good change of pace, but I don't like the idea of having extra classes to plan. They start the week after my birthday.

Tomorrow we have shortened classes and then after class we will have a soccer game of teachers vs. students. I'm playing in both games, but not sure what position I will play yet. Hopefully, I can play defense of goalie because my stamina isn't what it used to be when I would play midfielder. The games are only 15 or 20 minutes long, though.

Monday, May 11, 2009

내 비말요

Today has been a horrible day. I am going on zero hours of sleep and got into a big disagreement with the person who matters most to me here.... not necessarily in that order.

But even though today is awful, I wouldn't trade it for anything. I think people are always in a hurry to get through their lives. Humans always tell themselves that tomorrow will be better than today. But I don't ever want to skip a moment. I think I've learned alot about myself and what/who is important to me.

Tomorrow is uncertain, but why should you fear it...? And how can we expect a better tomorrow than that which we create for ourselves?


Finally I have uploaded the video that Sujin and I made for our special presentation class to the man from the provincial office of education. check out the link below. The cute waitress is Hyejin, and the other actress is Sujin.

I had a great weekend visiting far-away friends... but I have to get ready for work and plan today's lesson. More to come later !

Friday, May 1, 2009

Hey Mr. Big

I neglected to mention that last weekend I went to Seoul for the second time. I met some new friends, and some people I hadn't seen in two months. The club in Hongdae was great, but my favorite part was just meeting new people, such as I did on Friday on the bus to Incheon and on Saturday before the clubbing. Also, I was able to find a CD shop and get a Regina Spektor CD as a gift for a friend in Gimcheon.

Today, I had a short day of school so I came home and did some Chinese calligraphy for the first time in 4 months. I'm not used to using rice paper... it wrinkles very easily when it gets wet... but I think it is better than the newsprint I was using back home. It turned out pretty good, besides the writing in Chinese.

Tonight I went to a classical/opera concert in Gimcheon. It was free... I think because people will not perform in our city... so the city has to completely pay for the event to get them to perform here. It was actually pretty entertaining, much to my surprise. I liked the Phantom of the Opera song... and there was one song in English from a famous musical. Also, there were three songs in German which I was able to understand a little of. The orchestra was quite good and there was a famous singer who did two songs. It was more than I expected for it being free. I went with 민채, and also with the Health teacher(I can never remember her name) and her 8-year-old daughter, 해은(Hay-une). The daughter was really cute and after the concert we went to a popular cafe/restaurant that I had been to once before. It was easy to entertain 해은... usually just speaking korean or giving her food seemed to work well.

This is where the concert was.