Published: January 3rd 2010January 3rd 2010
Really cool towers
The HP tower is cool but the one behind it looks freaking awesome.
It was a short week again and I was really happy about it. Four days of teaching are infinitely better than five for some reason. I spent a good part of the week trying to sort out a debacle with my cable bill. It seems that even though the company knew I only owed them 16,000 won the bill they sent said 50,000. The bill paying machine at the bank seemed to agree with the piece of paper and wanted 50 from me. I would have never figured this out if it wouldn't have been for the help of my trusty friend Mrs. Kim, the secretary at the hogwan. She speaks almost no English but somehow managed to pay my bill over the phone (only 16k). I need to get that woman flowers or something...she's so helpful.
I spent a lot of time during class on Thursday explaining two concepts. First I was explaining how this new year is a new decade and how so many things change over decades. My bs-ing took me in the direction of inflation relating to commodities and deflation relating to technology. It was this natural gravitation towards subjects like this that makes me confident
This picture pretty much sums up Jemal and Yogita
I am a business person, not a teacher at heart. The second topic on Thursday was New Year's resolutions. I explained resolutions to my classes and asked what theirs were. My middle school and high school students' resolutions were almost unanimous, "study harder". I told them this wasn't a resolution, they needed to think about what goal they were hoping to achieve by studying harder. My adult students had more diverse resolutions including the typical ones like work out more, quit smoking and some like pass the TESOL test (English competence test) and get university scholarships.
The differences in these two age groups intrigued me. I realize that the older people get, the more control they have over their lives. They are more capable of changing their trajectory and more aware of elements in their life needing work. Not a single one of my middle school/high school students were concerned with their health, financial standing or anything besides studying for that matter. Here in Korea I have the most control over my life that I've ever had. The freedom is immense and daunting. Until now I have been surviving, acclimating and just living in the same style I have
Picture of last week's Christmas cake
been for my college years.
I have not made a solid New Year's resolution before this year but now I have two. I resolve to take command over my health, I will join a gym. Utilize the available fresh produce market outside my apartment and hopefully drop about 25 kilos from my weight leaving the US. I have no idea how much I've lost just from the diet change so far....haven't seen a scale in the country yet. My other resolution is to learn Korean. Really learn it. I know enough to go day to day...I even add a random noun every now and then. I can't read it though. I can't strike up a conversation with a cute Korean girl on the bus. There are so many people here and most of them are unreachable with English. I want to change my social viability by studying at least three hours a week. The first step is hangul, the written language. This will be useful at first because anything I can read in hangul will just be in Korean anyway but it's a start. If anyone has useful tips on learning a new language as a self-study please let
Another Christmas Card
Ho Bread mafia is a nickname this class has for me. They think I look like some character called ho-bread man (like gingerbread man) and mafia because of my tattoo
On New Year's Eve I went out with Jemal, Yogita and Andrew. We did some pregaming at Andrew's apartment...took care of any remaining soju in his fridge and I drank my Christmas Heinekens. We walked to Cowboy next. It was completely packed with GI's, not a great scene but that's where we rang in the New Year. We were lucky to have JT working because he got us drinks/popcorn right away even though they were so busy...it's good to know people. I didn't have anyone to kiss at midnight :( oh well, I didn't have a Christmas tree either. We went to Dasarang after Cowboy which is more of a restaurant than a bar but we accomplished a lot more drinking in the relaxed atmosphere. I would say I entered 2010 in the right frame of mind. We had a long and gorey snowball fight on the way home. Nobody won and everybody won.
Friday I layed low and just recovered. Yesterday I went on a day trip to Seoul with Yogita and Jemal. It was a long drive because they kept stopping. Contrasting this trip with my first one I think bus+subway is a much
This was Dasarang at Christmas, not New Year's but it was basically the same scene
more efficient way to navigate Seoul, especially if you are visiting hot spots. I went to Itaewon in search of fitting shoes...I needed another pair so I could use my current walking shoes as workout shoes in anticipation of resolution number one. I found a couple different places that carried a US 13 and 14. I ended up with some semi-comfortable walking shoes though they gave me blisters. I think either they need to be broken in or I do. We ate at Subway for lunch...it was really similar to US Subway and damn good. We spent the better part of the afternoon trying to find a place for me to play poker. First we went to the casino at COEX mall (this big underground mall, kind of like MOA with an aquarium, movie theatre, casino, restaurants, etc.) Their casino was nice but it only had Caribbean Stud and Three Card, no hold'em. I bought some new headphones at the Apple store before we left.
We drove across Seoul to the Millennium Hilton which was brand new. Their casino did have hold'em. I played for about 3.5 hours. It was mostly foreigners at the table but a good group
We got up earrrrrrly to drive to Seoul
to chat with. I was in trouble when my stack dropped from 300 to about 70. I went all in when I caught a set of 4's on the river but it turned out my opponent had a flush I neglected to realize...I was so shocked about seeing the 4. It was a mistake that cost me about $110. I kept playing with my small stack, trying to keep at tight as possible. This was my night. I won a lot of hands and folded smartly when I needed to. I ended up coming back in a big way and ended up winning about $175. This pretty much negated the entire cost of the Seoul trip...sweet. My last hand was A 10, suited. The flop was 6, J, Q...I didn't hit a flush draw so I just called for about $15. The turn was a 4 and didn't add to my flush chances so I just checked. One of my two opponents left raised $60 so I folded. It turns out that the other guy went all in and the river was a K. I woulda hit my ace high straight and won about $500 in that hand but playing
Hey Mom, wanna come work over here?
tight has its disadvantages. I really enjoyed playing no-limit in a casino for the first time. The environment was really beautiful, as were the dealers. There was no rake and the only extra cost I paid to gamble was the $1 fee at the ATM...can't beat that.
A big shout out going to Rachel and Evan. Finally got the ring and are planning on a Fall wedding. I'm so happy for you two! I will fly in for the wedding of course. It'll be a helluva time.
Today I plan to go to Lotte Mart and buy the necessary elements to start my health binge. Wish me luck everyone...it's going to take a lot of willpower but I've resolved to do this (I hope my April blogs have the same spirit!)
There are more photos below