A Travellerspoint blog

i wish i knew how to make my washing machine work...


I teach ten different classes throughout the week; different kids for speaking, writing, CNN (a news/debate class), and intensive writing. I’m pretty impressed with the kids so far because they all have a good command of the English language. A lot of them have lived or traveled abroad extensively and are able to put complex sentences together.

There are three types of students: 3-day students and 2-day students and Intensive students. Obviously the 2 and 3 day students come for 2.5 hours two or three times a week, but the Intensive kids come two days a week from 1730 to 2340.

Every time they come, they have a vocabulary and book quiz. The quiz is 30 vocabulary words (chosen out of 70) and five book questions, and they have exactly ten minutes to complete it. Most of them finish in about five. I’ve never seen pencils move so fast! If they miss six or more on the vocabulary, or two or more on the book quiz, they must stay for detention. Their last class (and when the foreign teachers leave) gets done at 2240...all I have to say is that I’m glad I didn’t go to school here! I probably would have dropped out at age seven.

As I’ve been meeting with the students, I’ve had them fill out a piece of paper saying their name, age, and five interesting things about themselves...I’ve gotten some pretty funny answers. I’ve learned that most of the girls think about boys all the time, they all love their friends a lot, they love the music groups Big Bang and G Dragon, and most of the students have pets. This one boy told me that he likes to listen to Christina Aguilera when he’s depressed, and another one told me that he didn’t want to be pompous, but he likes to read essays written by prominent historical figures like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Abraham Lincoln. I told him I was kind of pretentious too and suggested he read some Ralph Waldo Emerson, Thoreau, and The Federalist Papers.

I sat in on Kim’s CNN class Tuesday (I taught my first CNN class Wednesday) and there is a girl named Diva and another girl (whose name I forgot), but they both speak English very well. They both say ‘like’ every other word, just like an American! ^^ You’ll probably see me do that a lot too...it’s the Korean form of =) The little buggers are rubbing off on me! Anyway, back to these papers....I’ve left a place for comments at the bottom, so I’m writing each one of them back, and when I see them again next week and hand those papers back, I’m going to give them the option of writing back to me...kind of like a pen-pal thing, except with me to practice their English and make it more personal. I can see how they might easily get lost in the crowd.

In my speaking class Tuesday I had them write down these certain types of questions (they are called Independent Questions) and then go back and forth asking the other side of the room their questions. This poor girl in the front about had a heart attack when she realized someone had said her name. She spoke very quietly and in the 45 seconds she spoke, she did a great job! I had to ask her and her friend like ten times to tell me their names because they’re so awfully shy about speaking English! It’s cute in its own right, though.

The man who sets up things for foreign teachers is named *insert sexually suggestive Korean name here* but I’ve started to notice that no one really calls him that...they call him 'that guy.' Heeju (the head of the foreign teachers) said to me, 'That guy will call such and such to do so and so.' I’m sure it doesn’t sound as funny to them as it does to us...or maybe just me...They also call people by their professions. I am 'Teacher,' but I told them they can call me 'K' or 'Kelsi' or pretty much whatever they want IN ENGLISH, so long as it’s not too mean! Some of them actually called me 'K' and I was excited about that! It makes me think of Brian Ray! He started calling me that probably junior year of high school, and still calls me that to this day. *awww*

These kids think they’re slick with their wandering eyes...I told them if I catch them next week, I’m taking their papers and they’re failing that quiz. I also told them I invented all the tricks they think they know ; ) Oh middle schoolers, they don’t know nothin' yet! I also found out Tuesday that they have CCTV here! I know, I’ve been here how long and I just noticed? The cameras aren’t in obvious places like they are in England, it took me a while to notice! Oh, and what about the signs that say 'CCTV' on them? Well, I’ve got no excuse for not noticing those...


Me and Kim are going to the DMZ in a couple weeks! Hell to the yeah!!!! I don’t think I’ll ever eat sweet pumpkin porridge again and I'll miss pizza with corn on top of it and pickles on the side! I know it sounds weird, but the pizza is surprisingly good! The sweet pumpkin porridge...it's just rich. I’ve mostly stuck to dolsat bibimbop kogi ppaego, and I will probably eat mostly that the entire time I’m here.

Friday I ate caviar. Omg. We went out to dinner as a group of foreign teachers, and I had my first real huge Korean meal. They just kept bringing food!!! I tried dried seaweed too, they usally wrap raw fish in it and eat it or they eat it with rice in it to add a little flavor to the rice. But I just ate the seaweed; wasn't too shabby. The waitress put the bibimbap (it was cold, not hot) in front of me and it had caviar on top of it and so I tried to eat it by putting some on my chopsticks. I tried a few times to eat it, but the waitress finally brought me a smaller plate and actually scooped the caviar off for me. I'm so lame. Obviously she didn't get it all off my bibimbap and I did eventually try what was on my chopsticks. Also with my bibimbap came smaller plates of stuff to add to it: fish skin, mashed fish, and kimchi. I tried a bite of the mashed fish, forwent the fish skin because that's worse than caviar, and added the kimchi.

And it was white day on Friday! That's like the Korean Valentine's Day. So, in case I'm not reminded every day at school that I'm not married, or if I'd forgotten how crappy Valentine's Day was in the States, I got to experience it again. It wasn't that bad though, I got candy from people, and traded suckers and one of my students also bought me a pop! How sweet!! I mixed it with soju later =)

I also had my first Korean class on friday. Two things stuck after the class: bahbo and kelsi yay-oh (phonetically that's how it sounds). Bahbo means stupid and the other one means 'my name is Kelsi.' I have a test on Friday. CRAP!! I'm a month behind all the other students in my class, so this should be interesting!

On Saturday, me and Kim went to Insadong, which is a cultural district in Seoul. It was pretty sweet, I got a lot of Korean stuff. I got two scarves, placemats and chopsticks with matching chopstick holder, pewter thing and that delicious candy the guys in the movie are making. After they have all that honey finely strung, they take a piece and put some nuts in it, then wrap it up. They are soooo good!! I have a feeling I'll be going back to Insadong, and when I do, I'm going to get some other awesome stuff to decorate my apartment with. After Insadong, we went to Itaewon. I wasn't impressed with it; too much American stuff and too many Americans. Literally I felt like I wasn't in Korea anymore. But I found a Hanbok (한복) to get Tiara, and before I go home, I'm gettin one too! Hanbok is the traditional Korean dress.

That night we went to the bars. I met Kim's friends: Jen, Maurice, Grace, and Duke. We went to a place called 'Lose Control' in Bundang. Koreans just kept talking to us! We also ran into this guy that Grace and Maurice know, and he asked me and Kim if we were in Itaewon earlier and we said yes, and he told us that he thought he saw us and asked if one of us was wearing blue. We both said no, and he said that he whistled at somebody earlier and I asked him if the people were standing on a corner by the Hard Rock Cafe and he said yes (that WAS us because I told Kim that some guy was whistling at her across the street)! I also saw two guys that were walking down the street in Suji at the bar. Steve met us out later and brought his friend. They had their baseball jerseys on, it was adorable! His friend was pretty tall, at least 6 feet. I was dancing with him most of the night. He told me that he'd learned English for 10 years in school but couldn't hardly speak it! He understood everything I said to him though haha!! He sells life insurance for Samsung, and doesn't hardly look 25! I turned his baseball hat around for him and told him that was definitely the way to wear it! Adorable.

Sunday hasn't been too exciting. I cleaned my place up a little bit, tried to figure out how to make the washing machine work with no success, and I went to Lotte Mart. At the Lotte Mart, I heard a kid say 'Migukin!' (It means American.) And some little boy about four walked by me and waved and said hello; the kids here are just so cute!

I got my groceries and on the way out decided to hit the Food Court for some good ol dolsat bibimbap. I'm glad there are universal hand signals because I wouldn't have gotten my food without them. When you buy your food it has to be at the main counter, then you go to the appropriate food stand and ask them for your meal. So after I bought it, I had no idea which stand to go to! But the nice lady helped me find it. Then I had to ask this girl which thing to get the cups from, she thought it was funny, and it was, but I felt really stupid. I'm never leaving home without Kim again!! As I walked by her and her parents' table I knew they were giggling at me, so I giggled too. DUH. I got some speakers for my computer, a Hello Kitty notebook (don't laugh, it rocks!!), and some more marshmallow and cake covered in chocolate. Maybe as my Korean gets better I'll know what they are called.

When I was getting into the elevator, I held it for some guy. He said thank you, then he asked me where I was from and he told me he hadn't been to the United States for about five years and asked me if I am a student and I told him I was a teacher. His face about lit up and I thought he was going to explode with excitement. He said his English has been getting worse and he wanted to know if I'd practice with him sometime. So I said sure, I didn't see why not, and he gave me his business card and we went on our merry ways!

Oh, and I also found out that the thing I thought was a subway opening soon is apparently just a bike underpass. Language barrier. There is a subway station 10 minutes by foot from my apartment, I just found that out on Friday!

On that note, I think it's time for bed. It's been a long, long weekend; but it was a fun weekend!!!

Posted by flaminko 21:17

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