April 28, 2010

rabbit teacher meets his match

Every now and then the school throws these open classes. It is similar to parent teacher interviews, except they parents don't really speak english, so they watch you teach their children in a language they don't really understand. *shrug*

This can be extremely stressful. The school only runs open classes on certain courses. Treasures happens to be one of those courses. I find it pretty fantastic, okay actually thats a lie, just over a month into teaching and i'm thrown into the fire. I got nervous enough being observed by my boss, let alone my students parents.

I'd like to quantify my nervousness though. I love presenting, i really love it, i like to think at times that i'm really good in front of people. I have problems with things i can't control. I know i can handle the pressure, i know that i can do just about anything in front of people (WOW!!! that sounds cocky). Yet i feel if i have that mindset i can do just about anything. My problem is that i can't control how my kids are going to react. I can teach up a storm, i can chat your ear off. How you react and respond to that is something i can't control, only pursuade. I was not being judged on my ability to stand and shine, i was being observed to see how i can teach the information, how i get those fragile little minds to actually see my wavelength and catch it..

My lesson was on prairie dogs, yes gophers!.. The cute little rodents that eat my mothers potatoes, and the same ones that my dad snipes from the deck. Okay he doesn't snipe them. my father is a seasoned killer, i swear there are stories about him in the gopher world, legends and myths about the house with the peaked roof. Every year he kills more, sadly (for the gophers) he is becoming more efficient and his range is improving. All i had to do was to remember NOT to tell the kids this information, or that i would swerve my car to hit the cute cuddly little creatures.

My class is also amazing. The kids are pretty simply stunning (texas with a $ sign), they are smart, they are cute, and they sometimes speak in robotic voices.. HOW could i fail?..

i can't tie a tie!

The other guys that preceeded me in teaching an open class both showed up open class day decked out to the nines. I think we should force stephen to teach the last open classes. ZZ Top wrote a song about the guy for heaven's sake. (sharp dressed man.. for those of you who aren't musically literate)

For some reason i decided to bring every tie i own (three if you are wondering). I've never actually tied any of them myself,and i undid all the knots when i packed them. I'm not smart, i'm aware of this. SO the morning of the open class i spent most of my time convinced that a properly tied tie will illuminate my students and force them to act accordingly. How did i solve this problem? I googled it! 'how to tie a tie'. 3 websites 4 failed attempts and numerous curse words later, i finally got it! I tied my first EVER tie. I don't mean to toot my own horn, but i tied the shit outta that tie.

With my newfound confidence i walked in and killed the open class. I had those kids at hello, they hung onto and responded to almost every word. They performed eerily like the robotic voices they sometimes throw my direction.

I swear it was the tie, i have no evidence to the support the contrary. That was like the 'knot' in the 'tie'. I could have done anything in that tie, conquered the normans, anything, you name it!. And i did, i untied it, and i've got two more open classes in may..


April 26, 2010

twenty 5 all year..

For some reason i got it into my head that 25 is a big birthday. i have no idea why, but this concept that 25 is a major birthday hit me at some point when i was 24. It wasn't for partying reasons (for the most part i was tame when i was 24).. or any reason that would land me a better present from people. Although geiko is lowering my car insurance for the car i no longer possess without actually even switching to them!

In fact is that i'm not even a huge birthday person. Last year my birthday was small, and besides a whale sighting, really low key. I'm not huge on having the spotlight solely on me, hard to believe for some, but i can be pretty humble. Yet i still had this idea that 25 should be big.

Many ideas were tossed around in the weeks leading up to my birthday. I wanted to go somewhere new, at an area of seoul i'd never ventured to before. This place called Monkey Beach seemed to be the right fit. It's a thai beach themed bar in Apgujung, complete with buckets of booze. I figured why not, whats the harm, i said that compeletly dismissing the horror stories i'd heard about the place.

The weekend started extremely odd. Gillian, perhaps one of my best friends in korea, was sidelined with a random attack of bladder stones. I celebrated my birthday on the 10th, the day happened to be a saturday, NOT my actual birthday. I really don't know why i included that in here, i mean it only makes sense, why party on a sunday when you can party harder on a saturday. Yet a co-worker told me you can't party on a day thats not your actual birthday (i think it was an excuse not to come out, they didn't). The way it was mentioned to me though, like its an asinine concept, partying on a day thats not your birthday, i mean in that case you could invent make up birthday party days, like everyone getting older on new years, shit like that. OH......wait the koreans do that, (i am really starting to wonder how i didn't know they drink a lot here??) Even jesus is always born on the same day! he just dies on different days every year..

off topic i know, ANYWHO. The night progressed pretty swimgingly at first. i was dancing on tables, it was the first time i'd had rum since entering Korea. I really miss rum, its my power drink, if you can have a power animal i figure you can have a power drink. There was even this special dance stand, yeah i went up i danced my heart out up there. i felt like a glorified chip and dale's dancer, minus the whole no shirt thing, but either or. i was getting looks, i considered them 'good' looks because neither buckets nor bottles were thrown in their wake.

The night took a quick turn for the worse, i ended up feeling sick and was forced to retreat to an alley near the bar. I spent a while out there, i was seriously contemplating ditching my own birthday party. When i returned to the bar, i returned to chaos. One of the girls' jacket and purse was missing. Really messed up. The purse and jacket were never found. The night of celebration quickly became a night of terror!.. haha.. okay it wasn't halloween, but i felt sick, like a piece of shit, and sparta was out a purse full of belongings and her jacket.

it really led me to the reason i'm posting this. The following day, my actual birthday. I spent most of my day alone, i went for pizza with tex. But my overwhelming thought was that i'll be 25 all year. Although i was quite pissed that my night seemed to be stolen from me, similar to the purse and jacked that grew legs and walked away. But one day is simply that, i'll be 25 all year, and i will be spending most of that year in korea. I have the ability to make anything big myself, i don't need the den of theives to make my night/day. perhaps 25 is my year of philosophy.. wait.. who am i kidding...

April 15, 2010

return if seal is broken..

When the preschool kids show up for their first day at SLP their parents have to supply the school with a spare change of clothes. This is for numerous reasons, what if the kid gets dirty? or, well, who am i kidding. The change of clothes is in case of 'accidents', either the kid shits or pisses himself. The morning teachers do not change the kids, the kids are ferried off to the kitchen teachers who have mastered the art of poop and pee cleanup. I think this is a smart concept, although i don't think i was ever sent to daycare with an extra change of clothes. This would kind of be interesting to know (mom & dad), perhaps a cultural difference? If i'm aware there is a change of clothes would i be more or less likely to defile myself??.. since i was not aware, i am going to safely assume i was an angel*

The trains in Seoul run on very interesting schedules. They are open longer during the week than they are during the weekend. Its an interesting debate, although not one i overly care about. I more or less want to get home at a respectable hour during the week without dishing out money for a cab. Tuesday nights are wing night in korea, well at Rocky Mountain Tavern (the Canadian Bar).. i can leave work at 9, be in Itaewan by 9.40.. if i want to make it home on the train i have to leave within two hours. (11.40 for those of you who have difficulties or, don't want to add). 11.50 is pretty much the last train home for me, i miss it, i'm cabbing it..

Last tuesday my schedule basically looked like that. i popped into Itaewan for a quick in and out, wings and beer. Well everything was fine until the train station on the way back. (this is where i start to link my two thoughts!). As we are all standing on the train platform i start to have this urge to pee. I figure at this point i can handle it, its nothing. I did however debate whether or not i could quickly go and make the last train. I decided against it. Well trains aren't the smoothest form of transport, you hit every light, you don't miss stations. there is no quick sneaky route home to avoid the usual traffic congestion. About 20 minutes into the trip home i was totally uncomfortable. Things were not looking good, i started to get cramps, yes physical pain started to manifest. This started to occur at the halfway point, i was still nowhere near home.

By the time i'd reached 30 minutes, i was extremely uncomfortable, at this point i had let it slip to my coworkers that i was struggling. The quick stops and starts of the train felt like tiny kidney shots. I didn't even want to do the pee dance, that would have opened the floodgates. i was trying to focus, pull some jedi mind tricks or something. About 4 stops from Gusan i couldn't handle it anymore. I was done, i was about 7 minutes from home, SO close. I couldn't do it.. i hastily said my goodbyes to my coworkers, and bolted off the train. Okay i did not bolt, that sudden of a movement would have caused me to require a spare set of clothes. I can simply describe my walk with a childhood game.. Remember that game where you walked with an egg on a spoon. the whole point NOT to tip the egg off the spoon.. think of that kind of concentration mixed with a penguin shuffle. That about sums up my abilities at the time..

i finally made it to the bathroom.. they are quite easily marked in the subway stations. The signs even have distances to the bathroom, 50m, 20m, and so on. This is both a good and bad thing, because when you know the bathroom is close, your body relaxes a tiny bit (and that tiny bit is usually the straw that breaks the camel's back). I've always come the closest to shitting my pants in my own house cause i know how close the toilet is. Because i had nothing better to do, i timed my piss.. i peed for over a minute straight. i'm talking full stream, for over a minute.. thats seriously fucked up, i didn't know i could hold that amount of liquid.. i am not a camel...

I ended up taking a cab the rest of the way home.. i felt like it was some sort of walk of shame... i mean i had to get something out of my system.. i was returning to my apartment with a sheepish grin on my face.. actually in that regards it wouldn't be a walk of shame.. it would be a victory lap.. complete with the 'yeah i did it' swagger..

Everyone knows that when you break the seal you're fucked.. you will pee every half hour for the rest of the night.. my problem is that peed when i got off the airplane two months ago... i just wonder who will carry my spare set of clothes for me the day i don't make it.. i'd kind of be afriad if a kitchen teacher shows up at that moment..

April 05, 2010

sean cooks baby's...

When i was given the task to create my first ever full sentence in korean, i made the best of the oppertunity. I learned a list of nouns and verbs, i also learned the framework to create the sentence. Most of the people in the class created normal sentences.. and i wanted to create an interesting one.. i created 'seanin ahgeelul yourihamneda' (well that's it phonetically cause i can't type out korean).. haha.. the korean teachers gasped as i said it.. the other waygook's in the class looked at me blankly, i asked if it meant 'sean cooks babies'.. there was a couple seconds of silence before some people laughed.. i laughed the whole time.. i was curious if the sentence worked and made sense.. apparently it did... i did make sure i told my teachers that i don't actually eat/cook babies.. it was simply curiosity.. i swear i will not go ed gein on people.. i also didn't learn korean for 'bunny' or 'bilby' 'sean eats bilbies'.. would make more sense... (and a fitting intro to the next line of thought, or paragraph...)

This country doesn't really celebrate easter.. That fact alone does not really bother me, i miss the chocolate.. a couple teachers at work have had care packages sent to them filled with chocolate, and well other things.. one teacher had fuzzy bunny ears sent to them... i couldn't help but shake my head at him when i saw them.. it looks like something right out of adult source.. i'm fairly sure strip clubs had the same ones dancing around their stages this weekend.... which is just creepy, a mom sent this??. ANYWHO.. chocolate!! more specifically mini eggs.. thats what i crave this time of year.. especially the dark chocolate ones.. or the ones with pop rocks in them..mmmm.. drool..

speaking of drool.. This has been the most laid back week i've experienced so far in this country.. i've never spent so much time in my apartment.. i am trying to establish that as a good thing..although i did wake up passed out on my computer one night.. that is the connection to drool.. my first weeks here flew by, in fact i barely feel that i have been here 7 weeks... i think that may be in part because of the amount of i've alchohol consumed.. i really like the statement time flies when you are having fun.. i've made an amendment to it.. time flies when you are HAHA... its a glimpse into life in korea... ANYWHO.. i have now lived in seoul longer than any other city outside of north america. Yet i feel i spent longer in KL, not really germany.. germany was a flash in the pan..... i think its strange about KL though. i feel that i know KL more than i do this city.. crazy??

i need to explore more...