Saturday, 25 February 2012

Dec 30, 2011 & Jan 12, 2012

The secret to calming down a rowdy class has at last been revealed to me!
Don’t yell, don’t glare, don’t stare silently and wait for quiet, or lose your shit on them.
Just walk out of the room and cry.
The shock of learning that the silly foreign teacher is a human being sends them into a stunned silence that could rival a fucking graveyard.
On the downside, you feel rather stupid afterwards for making a weepy ass of yourself, and next week’s class should prove to be rather interesting… but, hey, they did their work, and I think some of them actually felt kinda bad about it since they were super-nice to me for the rest of class.
Still. I used to enjoy Fridays. Of course Saturday also used to be a day off.

Jan 12, 2012
I made a random friend tonight. It was kind of awesome and unexpected.
[edit: found out later that she wanted me to become a Jehovah’s Witness. But she introduced me to ddak galbi which is amaaaazing!]

Monday, 20 February 2012

Dec 22/11 - Or, alternate title: 'I fucking love this kid.'

Today one of my writing students and I talked about cannibalism. It was possibly the most priceless conversation ever—as well as the grossest, judging by how Mom reacted to the conversation when I told her.

The conversation came as a result of the writing topic for the week: “What foods are popular in your culture?” and it got really hilarious, really fast…

Me: “Liz, can you tell me what kind of food is popular to eat in Korea?” (I’m expecting her to say like, kimchi, ddokbokki, or dak galbi, maybe, but…)
Liz: Hmm… human meat. Very popular in Korea.
(somewhat taken aback—can’t IMAGINE why): “Oh! Uh, really? Human meat? So you’ve eaten it before?”
Liz: “Yes, teacher. It is very delicious.”
Me: “So what does it taste like?”
Liz: “Hm?”
Me: “Is it like beef? Or does it taste like chicken or pork?”
Liz: “Oh! Is like beef.”
(by this point she knows I know she’s messing with me, and we’ve both started to giggle) “I see, I see. So how is the human meat served then?”
Liz: “Hm?”
Me: “You see beef at restaurants—sometimes it is a little bit pink inside, sometimes all brown, sometimes it is very red—”
Liz: “Serve raw, teacher! Bloody. All over face.”
(we are pretty much helpless with laughter now) So—so, heh, um, what do you have with your raw human meat, Liz?
Liz: “Hm?”
Me: “Burgers, you have with fries… ”
Liz: “Oh! Have with rice. Is a Korean rule!”
(both of us are dying now) “And for a drink?”
Liz: “Um…Coca Cola.”She added afterwards that French fries are an acceptable side dish for a platter of raw human meat as well.his kid is thirteen years old and she is now my hero.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Re: The List – Naming one of my students Princess Gigglepants

That’s pretty much how things went down, I’ll be honest. The kid just does not stop giggling for even a second. I thought giving him the name of ‘Princess’ would end it.
Sooo, because this list went and got crazy long without my consent, pretty much everything I wrote down happened, oh, months ago. And I’ve pretty much accumulated a whole new list, containing items like the joys of the changing semester, brand new textbooks, and the fact that my immune system, so strong and reliable in Canada, is absolute and utter shit here in Korea.
Furthermore, I know more K-Pop than I thought, thanks to car commercials back home.
…but I have no idea if they were Hyundai cars.
By the way, Canada, you’re saying it wrong.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Re: The List – Making friends with the shy, quiet co-worker and getting unexpected Adventures!

Because I move slower than the second coming, the following events took place in like… November. Sometimes I like to sleep.
Not long after starting at my school, I noticed that one of my coworkers arrived later than the rest of us and departed before us. I knew her only as “The Assistant”.
She was very quiet, clearly a hard worker—and not knowing her name was driving me batshit insane. This was of course after I had settled in and had the energy to obsess over such things. So, one particular day, I decided to remedy the issue.
One minute I was sitting at my desk, and the next minute I got up and walked over to explain my plight:
“Hi. It’s bothering me that I don’t know your name. I’m Megan.”
Then I stuck my hand out for her to shake.
There was a second of silence, wherein she just blinked in surprise at me, and then shook my hand, smiled, and told me her name.
And that was that. Or so I thought.
Work resumed, and for at least a week or two, there were no words between us, other than an occasional hello or a wave.
Then this one night I was, dunno, marking essays or putting together some handouts, when I felt a tap on my shoulder.
There was H sitting in the chair next to mine, and she said she wanted to ask me a favour: she has a younger sister (S-H) who is studying English and Literature, and would I mind meeting up with her and her sister on the weekend to give some outside the classroom speaking practice?
I think I agreed to it before H had even finished the sentence. Weekend adventures and the chance to make friends? ABSOLUTELY OF COURSE YES.
We met up at AK Plaza for lunch (I was kinda nervous about the meetup and could hardly eat as a result) and spent the day just talking, wandering around, and asking each other all kinds of questions about life in Korea, life in Canada, and I think they had fun showing me around Pyeongtaek as well. We also decided afterwards that it should definitely happen again sometime! (edit: and it has! A couple of times!)
The lesson, boys and girls, is say hi! It can lead to incredible amounts of awesome! These women have since become two of my best friends here, and I already know I am going to miss them heaps and heaps when I go back to Canada. I’ve already said they should come visit me. And they’ve already said I should come back again.
I hope so.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Re: The List – Kimbap for Kids!

So during my first semester here, I had a class that was made up of two whole girls. On the first night we immediately became friends thanks to the magic of food.

A lot of these kids come right from their regular school to hagwon—or they go home and study—and miss dinner as a result. So these kids are often staaarving when they’re supposed to be attempting to learn a whole other language.

Anyway, remember how in my first week, the only thing I could seem to stomach were oranges and Pringles? It meant I had a can of chips and a bag of oranges on me pretty much at all times, and so when I entered the classroom and met these girls, and heard their heartfelt plea of “Teacher, I am very hungry!” I brought forth the snacks and told them to have at it. Such treatment ensured that these two were totally awesome students from day one, and I decided that when holding time approached, I would give them a treat. Most weeks I brought them chips or cookies—they really liked the jelly beans I forgot to eat on the plane (thanks, Ian!), but I thought the last night before holding merited some real food.

Have I mentioned kimbap yet? It is possibly the greatest thing ever. Sticky rice, ham, pickled radish, egg, and other vegetation, wrapped up in seaweed paper. It’s so easy to get here, and so very cheap! AND DELICIOUS.

As you probably guessed from this entry’s name already, kimbap is what I brought for the girls. They wrote me a giant thank you mural on the whiteboard and told me I was the best teacher ever. They might also have written out 사랑해요 (sarang hae yo), which means “I love you”. The students often say this to me when I give them sweets. And then, because these two aren’t awesome enough already, they shared the kimbap with me!

I am very happy about the fact that I teach both of them again this semester, albeit in different classes now.