May 25, 2010

The gang deals with the North Korea situation... UPDATED...

In light of recent events the situation in Korea should be a lot more tense than it is. There is a lot going on here at this point. I’m about to start another school session. I’ve shipped home pretty much all of my money, being forced to eat hot pockets out of the trash. What are your thoughts about that?… perhaps I should just talk about the North Korea situation.

If you’ve read some of the media reports you might expect the air of caution and fear in the streets of Seoul. Well, I hate to inform you that things have barely changed here. A couple teachers have noticed an increased police and military presence in the city, but for the most part its life as usual. Could CNN be lying to us, and over hyping the situation. NO WAY!!

Last Thursday I read an article on CNN that proclaimed the DMZ was ‘the scariest place on earth’. Yet I knew of a couple people on Saturday that went to visit the DMZ, none of which came back spewing tales of horror. In the end it appears CNN was doing a pretty good job at creating an online aura of fear in Korea. I wonder if people read it and didn’t care, or didn’t read it and are acting obliviously. OR just perhaps fear mongering only works in the US?

The situation surrounding the Chonan definitely does create some legit concerns, don’t get me wrong. Yet a war between the North and South wouldn’t really benefit anyone. China is the North’s only ally and they aren’t saying anything. The Americans have openly backed the South, yet can they afford to fight ANOTHER country? If there is an attack, the North would probably no longer exist and the Seoul might have some rebuilding to do. The part that makes this whole situation troubling is that the North isn’t really that predictable. THAT creates a little tension, but things are relatively normal here. There is some banter between some of the waygook teachers at work. There is however, a lack of a Korean presence in this banter, I can’t really explain that.

Read what you will about the situation; know this, I’m not really that worried. I’m reading the same articles you are, and Hey! CNN has already moved on to more coverage of oil covered birds. Also see if you can find info about the ‘civil war’ in Thailand in the top stories. Things have died down there, they will here as well.


Okay i wrote that.. and the day after the Korean teachers started talking about the situation. When that happened i have to be honest that it freaked me out a little bit. The tight lipped Korean's opened up about their fears.

Tension definitely appeared to be a little high there for a bit, things have calmed down in the recent days. ALWAYS good, but i had to mention that the situation changed a little, and the koreans spoke. my attitude remains pretty steadfast, i don't think anything will happen, and that its mostly political posturing.


May 24, 2010

one fatty for another...

Me: Hey kids do you know why we don’t have school on Friday?
Kids: no?
Me: It’s Buddha’s Birthday!
Kids: Is that your girlfriend?
Me: no
Kids: (slight hesitation) your boyfriend?
Me: What! No! I don’t have a, wha
Kids: Is Buddha your girlfriend?
Me: NO, he…, um… Buddha is a prince
Kids: ah ha ~!~ (lightbulb moment)
Kids: So it’s not your girlfriend or boyfriend?? (the lightbulb didn’t stay on very long)

Early Friday morning I slid out of bed, and into a shower. I don’t like mornings, I don’t possess the ability to function properly (although i’m hardly unique in that regards). I strolled from the bed into the shower, threw on my clothes from the night before, and ventured out into the sunlight. The reason for my early morning entrance into the world was in preparation for my first exit of Seoul.

I was booked on a bus to Sokcho, the northern most coastal city on the East coast of South Korea. The bus was a luxurious ride through the mountains, and illegally through offramps and onramps. The ride was so good it took about 5 hours to complete the usual 3 hour journey (traffic may have also contributed). Meh. I didn’t care, this bus made a greyhound look like horse drawn carriage.

*Interesting Fact* The city of Sokcho belonged to North Korea until the end of the war in 1953. I wasn’t aware of this until my last day, but hey! I found out, and I think that it kinda breaks my promise to my grandparents. I will remain steadfast on the other, I do have some duty and honor.

There is a beach in Sokcho, and that was my first destination upon arrival. Oh wait, no it wasn’t, it was E-mart. Don’t worry I bailed on the commercial shopping experience, and went straight for the beach. I chilled, I Frisbee-d. I gawked at almost every boat that sped past the shore. The boats were not particularly that nice. They were all whizzing by 20ft offshore, perfect distance to puree some child.

The boats disappeared at night and were replaced by a different threat. The beaches were loaded with Korean’s and Waygook’s drunkenly launching roman candles over the water, and each other. I can hardly provide negative comments here, I joined them (yet I aimed over the water, not people). My mother would be proud; I could hear her voice in my head scolding me, telling me how stupid it is to hold a live firecracker in my hand. I held the lighter a little further away when I lit the fuse. I humped 16,000.00\ of fireworks into the Sea of Japan over the two nights I spent there (about $15).

I spent the rest of my time in awe of the fireworks and the carnage that ensued underneath their short arcs into the sky. People were firing them off anywhere they damn well pleased. Drunk people aiming fireworks into the sky is not a smart idea. I’ll give one example, when you are drunk you think it’s a good idea to attempt to pee your name in the snow or sand (whatever is available). The end result is usually gibberish and piss on your feet. I hope you see where things are going here. Fireworks were launched in just about every direction, including other groups of people and children. It was a battle zone of sorts. I’d imagine these firecrackers have more firepower than the majority of North Korean army, I hope this creates an interesting scene in your mind

Sokcho is also a city closes to the first ever national park in Korea. Soraksan National Park, the original plan was to hike this mountainous park on Saturday. However, our sleeping arrangement on Friday night prevented this from occurring. 1:30am is not the best time to attempt to find accommodations, especially on a long weekend. I ended up curling up fetal position on a hard floor without pillows or a blanket in a jimjabang. I was occasionally woken up by naked Koreans attempting to get their clothes from their locker, which I was blocking. I’d have to put that sleep into the top 5 worst sleeps of my life.

My journey back to Seoul was pretty straight forward. Ha, that’s a lie, I felt car sick. The bus winded it way up and down the mountain passes. I’ve never been remotely close to getting carsick, yet I was taking deep breaths to calm myself down. The 3 hour bus ride did actually end up taking three hours, this was a pleasant surprise. My lungs threw me a party when we arrived in Seoul, I could feel them constrict. Kind of like a welcome home bear hug!

May 17, 2010

Canadian porn...

There is a point in life when you get tired of updates, and when you reach that point you just want to see things for yourself. Well the past three years i've lived off of updates on the NHL playoffs. I would follow the playoff race via boxscore windows on my computer, and occasionally the office computer (sue me.. whatever). For the case of malaysia i would listen to the live play by play on the computer (while supposed to be working). I would sit down and find the web feeds of the audio. I'm strange, yet that fact almost landed me a hockey dream job.

Well i got tired of all that, i got tired of living life behind. Streaming video seemed to be the answer. It took me the better part of a day to find a site that regularly worked for streaming hockey video, and not just any stream. CBC, The holy grail of hockey broadcasts. Versus does a good job, but CBC makes Versus look like a bunch of amateurs screwing girls in a van (the porn analogy at work, ANYWHO).

The day i found this site i had two games streaming AT the same time on my screen.. i was simply in heaven, giddy like a 5 year old child, i felt a massive sense of completion. I really don't need anything else now, i can watch the hockey games live before i go to work. I get my fix, i'm a satisfied junkie.

My excitement for hockey has been forced into a corner. It has become the little dirty thing i do behind closed doors. For the most part my coworkers could care less about Hockey. At first i would constantly attempt to start conversations based around my addiction. I've settled with simply spurting out results as we eat lunch. It probably falls upon deaf ears, who cares, i'm entertained.

I really don't mind the comparison to porn. This year's playoffs have provided me with a ton of 30 second clips to loop, and supplied me with enough pleasure and glee to have me jumping around my apartment.

May 14, 2010

Rabbit Teacher pt.II

It's been a while since i wrote about my kids. I've become quite comfortable with my classes, and my kids have become quite comfortable with me. I think this is a good thing. This has created some more interesting moments.

My kids really don't like it when i wear my glasses to school. One class says i look about 90 years old, and they call me grandpa the entire class. I had an interesting conversation with one of my other classes.

(i enter the class)
Girls gasp!
Amy: Sean teacher why you wearing glasses?
Me: Because i can't see without them
Amy: Well you are ugly, and your hair is ulgy, so you are ugly ugly teacher.

(next day i walk in without the classes)
Me: Amy is this more acceptable?
Amy: Yes, its better, but you are still ugly teacher... just not as ugly teacher..

One of my girls acts likes a hamster, its rediculous. She LOVES hamsters, including her own. which is dead. This is a chat i've had with her a couple of times. Larry is the perfect peanut gallery. he only talks when he needs to, and throws out relevant comments.

Sean: (Directions given) okay guys start writing..
Grace: (Hand up) Can i write about my hamster?
Sean: Why do you always want to write about your hamster?
Grace: Because i love my hamster.
Sean: But your hamster is dead.
Grace: I know.
Larry: You killed your hamster.
Sean: Did you actually kill your hamster?
Grace:(sheepishly) hmmm..

(grace goes quiet for about 5 seconds)
Grace: So can i write about my hamster?
Sean: (sigh) fine...