A Travellerspoint blog

March 2008

don't eat walnuts while driving...hazelnuts are fine though


it's been a while, eh? i've been pretty busy with work and exploring and watching tv...there have been some pretty good movies and tv shows on...

anyway, i've been learning more and more korean and even got 22 out of 100 on my test =) not too bad for being a month behind everyone! sorry to say i actually did better than some of the people who have been in the class for the last month...yikes...

we went to suwon a couple weekends ago to check out the nightlife and i saw a palace there that i'll have to check out soon...it's flippin huge! it's called the hwaseong fortress and the perimeter wall is 5.5 km...i think we'll be going to that within the next month or so. last weekend we went to seoul to shop...at the express bus terminal! i know what you're thinking...shopping at a bus terminal? yeah. so many stores, all with different stuff that's cheap and some of it well-made...i got about five shirts...we also went to abc mart and i got some sick new vans...i can't wait to break them in!!! other than that, haven't really been out too much...it's been raining a lot and that is kind of a turn off from even leaving the apartment. apparently it's almost monsoon season...i'm gonna get some sick rain boots too...hopefully bright pink ones!!

school is going well...the kids are having a little trouble focusing because in a few weeks they have finals at their regular schools...i had my first review and it was great! i also spoke with the director of our campus who told me that the kids like me and they think i'm strict =) good! there's one class in particular though that drives me nuts! they talk and talk and talk...i tried to kick one of them out of the class last week, but the lil bugger just wouldn't leave! i talked to heeju about it bc if he weren't in that class, the rest of them would be just fine...so she talked to his mom and let her know if he can't clean up his act, he's outta the school. sweet! it's great because here in korea the teachers have control of the students, the students don't have control of the teachers. i try not to give detentions or extra homework because i know how much other stuff they have to do, but i'm definitely not afraid to give them a detention for acting up. i told them all the first week that i better not catch them cheating on their vocab tests...well, sure enough a few of them had to do it! i don't know why they think they're so slick...putting up their hoods or tilting their heads slightly definitely catches my eye...when i catch them, instead of just ripping up their paper, i make them erase a few answers so there's a SLIGHT possibility they might not have detention, but if they miss enough that i didn't make them erase, they have detention. they try and tell me, oh no teacher! i wasn't cheating! ha! bull! and that's the beauty of it...if a parent calls in and says why did my kid get detention or outraged because a teacher made them erase the answers, the korean teachers tell them they were cheating and that's the end of the story! there are no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

speaking of obnoxious things...i wrote a sample essay and gave it to my students. when we went over it in class i told them to pay attention to form and style...they noticed that i didn't write, 'i believe such and such for these three reasons' and then proceed to begin my three body paragraphs with 'first, second, third.' i told them doing that is elementary and completely useless. besides the punctuation, i just get tired of reading it over and over again! one of my classes yesterday tried to tell me that it was pretty much the only way to write it and that doing it any other way was sloppy because they couldn't pick out the key points easily. i told them to look at my paper, notice there were five paragraphs, and if two were for the opening and conclusion, that left three of them for body paragraphs...and they could assume that there was a key point in each paragraph. they still told me it was sloppy and i went to a bad college. i almost got offended, but remembered they were middle schoolers and what the hell do they know?! so i asked them if they thought lawyers had to be smart and speak proper english...they all agreed that lawyers do have to be quite knowledgeable...so i told them when i go back to the states i'm probably going to law school and told them i took a class called 'constitutional law and politics' and not using 'first, second and third' was something i picked up in a grammar book highly regarded by the law community. it still didn't convince them completely, but i got closer...i'm having michael come in next week and back up my point, because they say i'm the only foreign teacher that has ever told them not to use those words...and i'm also bringing my strunk and white to prove my point =) brats! it wasn't the whole class that thought this of course...it was about five of them...nonetheless, they're brats. they were also quite confused about how college works...they really thought that classes are numbered 101...they wondered why i didn't take law 101...i about died...

in my cnn classes, i had the kids take a political quiz online to find out which party they are closest to...out of 35 kids, there was one conservative haha! i put them into political parties and over the next couple weeks we are going to learn the art of debating and they are going to have slogans and whatnot, and actually have a debate in front of other classes as if they were running for president...and the other class will vote for 'the president.' i'm pretty excited about this, and they seemed stoked too...cross your fingers...

i've been trying to teach them how to write a decent argument...they have written essays about whether or not people rely too much on technology and some of their answers talk about robots and machines taking over the world...uhhhh...these kids watch too much science-fiction television. so i told them to stay away from generalizations, controvertial topics, and some other stuff, but most of all to THINK about what is being said. we'll see if that sinks in...

i guess i could go on for hours about my students, but i suppose i'll try and wrap this entry up... i went to the doctor to get the medical info for my ARC (alien registration card) and good news: i dont' have AIDS, hep b, mary j in my system, or TB....my triglyerides went down 17 points from the last time i had a physical, i can hear 1000 Hz at 10dB and 4000 Hz at 5 dB, my blood pressure was 120/80 which is high for me because before i left it was 112/60, i'm not color blind, and my vision is about 20/50...with glasses...i couldn't read the stupid chart!! she pointed to a letter and then had to point to a different one because i had no idea what it said...i guessed on a quite a few...oops...

tgi friday's has awesome mac and cheese bites...like mozzarella sticks, except with mac and cheese in the middle!! kim made fun of me yesterday because i said something about wanting suckers....she's like, 'what are suckers?! oohhhh, you're from iowa!!' apparently one of the girls she went to boarding school with was from iowa, and what the rest of the world calls 'lollipops,' iowans call 'suckers.' all the foreigners make fun of me because when someone new asks me where i'm from, i get all excited with a dopey smile on my face and practically burst with enthusiasm when i say 'iowa.' i guess i'm just special =)

alright, that's all for now...


Posted by flaminko 15:46 Archived in South Korea Comments (1)

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 Comments (0)

where you from? MIGUK! you speak korean?!? NOPE!!

my day in insadong (cultural district) in seoul

0 °F


Posted by flaminko 04:41 Comments (0)

I dreamt in Korean and I had no idea what I said...

finally! my apartment...

Posted by flaminko 04:29 Comments (0)

Teacher, I love you!

so, i've finished my first day of teaching..it wasn't so bad! i'll write about it more tomorrow, i'm pretty busy right now...but i also wanted to give you all this photo site( http://flaminko.myphotoalbum.com
) for my pictures because this one won't let me upload more than like 6 a month...and we all know i take WAY more pictures than that...i'm waiting for my video to upload (it's going to take a few hours...lame...) so i should have that up for ya'll tomorrow some time...anyhoo...have a good one, folks!

<3 k

Posted by flaminko 05:48 Comments (0)

Dong Won=Korean Don Juan



I did a whole lot of nothing, and it was great!!!

  • *SUNDAY**

It doesn’t feel like I’m in Korea. You’d think it would because I’m surrounded by Koreans and can’t read a darn thing in front of me...but it just feels like I’m only in a new city three states over from Iowa. I like going to bed and waking up with a smile on my face, it’s peaceful here. Set aside from the cars and honking, there’s some serenity here that for some reason I’ve never found in Iowa. Maybe it’s here only because it’s NOT Iowa. I love Iowa, don’t get me wrong, but I’m too much of an adventurer and explorer to be confined by the corn fields and silos of Iowa.

I went outside today, alone, for the first time since I’ve been here. I didn’t get stared at too much, except by the children...which I expected. Side story: last night I went outside to see what all the commotion was ( I found out I live next to children...ugh!)...and this guy was standing outside with the door propped open and this little boy was running around...he looked at me, and I looked at him (he was cute as a button!) and I said ‘Hi!’ to him...he giggled and then said ‘Hi!’ back to me! This kid had to have been like three years old...but he circled the guy and kept repeating ‘Hi’ to himself...he kept looking at me, it seemed as though he was expecting me to say something else...so I said, ‘Anyonghaseyo!’ and he said it back to me! The dad even smiled, it was pretty adorable. So this little boy went inside and got his brother and they both came outside and ran up and down the hallway for a minute and then the first kid told the other one something and then they both looked at me....awkward...and the first kid said ‘hi!’ again! Then the dad shut the door, and they all left....*end side story*

Back to me leaving my apartment today...I went to my beloved Lotte Mart to get some more juice and tea. I’m addicted...seriously, I love that juice. And the tea bags I swiped from the hotel in Chicago were gone, so I needed more tea. Lo and behold, on my way to the Lotte Mart, I saw a foreigner! He smiled at me, I smiled back. I’ve already noticed this unspoken bond between the foreign folks here in Korea...with a smile, essentially you’re saying, ‘Hey there! I feel so silly wandering around amidst a bunch of people who don’t look anything like me! But yet, I feel important because I’m probably teaching their children! It’s so nice to see another foreign person so I don’t feel so goofy and out of place. Wanna get coffee and show me around?’ That could just be me....but maybe he was thinking it too....

The Lotte Mart is something else...Saturday is a work day also, so at 5ish when I went, it was packed...and it was noisy...not so noisy because of all the people pushing their way through the aisles, it was noisy because the ‘free sample’ people were also shouting and trying to sell their product! What?!?! Who yells in a grocery store?!? These people must have been born in barns and never heard about the indoor voices thing. It was strange though that they were all yelling...it seemed like I should have been at an outdoor market rather than the Lotte Mart.

Anyway, I should probably get back to reading more about my job. I teach two classes a day, and the rest of the time is spent preparing, correcting, and playing on the Internet. I think I’m going to like it here...a lot...


Posted by flaminko 13:47 Archived in South Korea Comments (1)

mr. pizza

i'm here!!! never thought i would finally be able to say that! i just got to work a little while ago and i'm doing some training (actually i'm playing around on the internet and waiting for din din)...but, i will let you all know more details later...i think i'll be getting the internet soon! if not, i can always come in to work early...but who wants to do that? haha jk jk but seriously, what would i do on the weekends? from what i hear, lots of americans live in my apartment building...which is also awesome...i have huge windows that look out to the street and i can see businesses and apartments and cars and busy, crazy things going on...i love it! the people i've met so far are very nice...i've even met a korean named elevator! yes, i wrote elevator. anyway, food time...i only had some cookies and juice in my apt (the school left them for me! how nice!) more later, love you, miss you all!


p.s. here's my address...i'm in yongin, not bundang..so that means i'm like an hour or so south of seoul..this also means send me mail so i feel special.

414 Charmont Officetel
Pungdeokcheon-dong, Suji-Gu, Yongin-Si
Gyeongi-Do, South Korea 448-170

  • *what i wrote after the plane ride**

Wow. What a trip. A trip that took a really really really really REALLY long time!! I got to the airport this morning about 0530, went through security, then had the most amazing breakfast! $5.50 for a plate half-filled with hasbrowns, and on the other half, an omelette with green peppers that they made right in front of me with fresh eggs! And two pieces of toast and jam! That’s gotta be the best deal in town! No less at the airport...

So, boarded plane, flew five hours to San Fran, went to the ATM, got pizza for the last time, went to exchange the money I got out of the ATM, and realized I lost my debit card. Now, in the 12 years I’ve had a bank account I’ve never lost a check book or debit card. Why did today have to be the day I lost it???? I wouldn’t expect anything less! I immediately started bawling and went to the information booth to ask the old fellas to call over to Terminal 1 to see if my card was still there in the machine. The one old fella said he’d run down there and check out, and I said it might have been in Terminal 3, but I wasn’t sure, and so he told me that he wasn’t going to go on a wild goose chase!! I replied with an edge to my sob that I wasn’t asking him to, I just wanted him to make a call! Anyway, he did...no card. Then I called my bank and told them what happened and to cancel the card in 24 hours, but restrict it until then and let me know if someone called about it. I never heard anything back, so I guess they cancelled it. Well, actually, I still don’t know how to check my voicemail on my phone from Korea, I don’t have a phone here and I have no calling card. This whole thing happened about an hour before my flight, so I was sweatin bullets!

When I went through security, they had me step into a machine that blew air on me instead of patting me down. I guess it was because I had a sweatshirt on and only a beater underneath. I wasn’t packin’ any heat, so I got to continue on my merry little way to G101.

The plane ride sucked, but the people I sat next to were God-sends. The girl in front of me was from Canada and going to teach in Daegu (by my friend See Woo Park) and the two guys next to us were in the Air Force and going to Kunsan. The one next to me was from freaking Grinnell, Iowa!!! What are the odds?? Anyway, they all kind of gave me a peace of mind that I needed- especially since my cage had just been rattled by the debit card thing. I sat for a total of 16 hours today. My hips are sore. As unbearable as not being able to sleep was, I’m kind of glad I couldn’t because that made the jet lag a whole lot easier to deal with. Actually, I hardly felt it at all!! United was definitely on top of the vegetarian meal thing. And the food wasn’t too bad either! Rice and veggies in red sauce; pita with chopped almond stuff and lettuce; potatoes, sweet potatoes, and veggies in something that was uber-good. I got all my food groups in!

Fast forward crappy plane ride that makes me not want to go home just to avoid having to sit on the plane for that long...the driver picked me up (he had my name on a sign that he threw away and I kinda wanted to pick back out of the garbage can because I’m creepy and sentimental like that) and we got outside (he wouldn’t let me push the cart or lift the luggage) and he lit up, then we ran across six lanes of honking cars...he did this all without ever taking that smoke out of his mouth and pushing almost 200 lbs of luggage on a cart with a funked up wheel. Impressive! He was 61 years old and 5’3!!

The ride to Yongin was about an hour, I didn’t stay awake though- I couldn’t. I tried to because I wanted to see everything, but I just passed out. But what I did see while I was awake made no sense to me and looked cool. The driver called my recruiter and she told me that the driver was taking me to my apartment and that I’d be picked up the next day some time and taken to my school for orientation. Then I talked to the director at Avalon and he told me that someone would be there to pick me up at 1430. Fast forward, the driver helps me get my room key and shows me how to work the stove and thermostat...I never would have figured out the stove...seriously...the gas is on the pole in the corner of the kitchen counter and you have to turn it vertically and pick the knob that goes with the correct burner, hold that down, then turn it...voila! flames! Avalon had left me a box of some new kitchen utensils, cutting board, pots, a bottle of juice and some cookies, a Beatrix Potter toothbrush holder, and a big ass butcher’s knife. Seriously, what am I going to do with that? I put some stuff away, unwrapped my amazingly soft comforter, and passed the hell out! Oh yeah, I’m in a town called Yongin, in a section of the city called Suji.

  • *Friday**

I was picked up at about 1440 to go to school for my orientation...it’s about seven minutes by car, 2100 Won ($2) and 5 minute taxi ride, 10 minute and 1000 ($1) Won bus ride, or a 20 minute walk. Everyone there was so incredibly nice!!! Heeju is the foreign teacher coordinator and she helped me settle in, explained more about my job, gave me a tour, showed me an informational video, introduced me around and then I had a one on one with a couple of the teachers. There are two other foreign teachers here with me: Kimberly and Michael...they both live in my apartment complex too! Kim is from NY and went to school in Pennsylvania, and Michael is from Canada, eh? I’m so glad that Kimberly is here because I would have been so lost outside of school without her! We went to lunch and I met her Korean friend Soo-Jin. There is a cute little traditional Korean food place down the street from work- I see us eating there a lot! But there’s also a place called Pizza School that I’ll be trying out too, and a Dunkin Doughnuts around the corner. At the restaurant I had dolsot bibimbap (kogi ppaego). I forgot to take a picture of it before I mixed it all together, but there’s a picture of it afterward. It’s a hot stone bowl with rice in the bottom (and it sticks to the bowl and makes it nice and crunchy yumm) and in its own little section on top of the rice, it had lettuce, cucumber sliced thinly, carrots, and some other stuff all topped off with the yellow part of the egg. Bibim means ‘to mix’ and ‘bap’ means rice. All the other words around ‘bibimbap’ mean hot and no meat. I’m told that eating out here is a whole lot cheaper than cooking...how perfect is that??? By my apartment there is a TGI Friday’s and a Lotte Mart (like Wal-Mart but better...WAY more stuff)

After lunch, back to work...I observed Kim and Michael’s classes and got more information. I teach at the Ivy campus and teach Nokjiwon (advanced students). The hagwons (private English teaching schools) in Korea are here to prepare the students for a foreign language high school by helping them get a better score on their TOEFL. The kids that I teach have a 75 or higher on their first run-through of the TOEFL (it’s out of 120). The highest they’ve ever had was a 117! Wow!

I was introduced to a couple of the classes and they all looked at me and I said, “Hi, I’m Kelsi, nice to meet you.” They all stared for literally two seconds, and then seemingly all at once said, “ahhhhhhh.” Their “ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh” (must hold out for three seconds) is equivalent to our “oh” (must be short and sweet). But the other class actually said, “Nice to meet you.” I was REALLY impressed with their English! One kid used the word ‘subsequently!’ It made me wonder how many Americans even know what that word means....I’d hope all of them...wishful thinking!

I also got a message from John (Tiara is in class with a girl named Eva, Michele is her mom, and John is her brother who is a director at a hagwon in Suwon, which is about 9km from Suji) saying that my parents could give a check to his parents and they could deposit it in his account and he could give me the money (because I lost my debit card). We’re still trying to figure out the details, but Kim said he could transfer it into her account and that would save him the trip down here...so hopefully at some point, I’ll have more than 70000 Won!!

I start teaching Monday! Cross your fingers for me!

After work, I waited for the bus for a while with Kimberly, and it was really cold, and the bus wasn’t coming (there aren’t any specific times, they just show up) so we decided to take a cab. It was cheap and fast, and every bad thing you’ve heard about Korean drivers is true...no joke..they’re awful. They are constantly turning left on red and cutting people off...even the buses do it! I’m still trying to figure out their lights and intersections...some of them are just the craziest things you could have ever imagined...The cab took us to the Lotte Mart, where we went grocery shopping! I got ramen...lots and lots of ramen...and delicious juice and marshmallow cookies (better than pinwheels, mom!!)

Posted by flaminko 23:20 Comments (1)

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