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Published: December 19th 2011
What do you want to be? This little girl came up with the first sensible thing I've heard - a doctor!
So the best news this week was that I got paid, a cool 1.6 million. And thats not even a full pay packet. Although the fact that everyone else here is a millionaire too does make it less interesting. Anyway, at least I can buy food now.
School is still going great, dealing with the kids gets better every week. I want them to like me but I think it's more important to get their respect first so they don't mess around in class. I had to deal with my first proper tantrum in class the other day - one of the boys hit another boy on the arm so I shouted at him and took one of his stickers away, at which point he threw all his books across the room, screamed, and then bawled his eyes out. Great. Made even worse by the fact that all the other kids were saying his mum was watching through the window! When did she turn up?! Anyway, by the end of lesson I got him to apologise and so he got his sticker back and it was happy days again.
A couple of my afternoon classes have to perform a
play at the end of this week, and so I've been trying to get them to memorise their lines. I've been met with fierce resistance, 'We didn't do it with the last teacher..' etc. etc., but slowly most of them are actually trying to learn them. Although I have promised them copius amounts of stickers if they manage it! Even worse is trying to practice the acting part, because they mess around so much! Some of the girls were messing around so much last week that I told them that by the next day they each had to write 'My favourite teacher is Ross teacher' 100 times. You should have seen their faces drop. I didn't actually make them do it though, the threat was enough to knock them into line! One thing I really like with the kids is how they settle who does things, like who is what character in the plays. Absolutely everything is settled through Rock, Paper, Scissors. Like everything. Best thing about it though is that they don't moan if they lose, or even say 'oh it's best of three', they just accept it. Makes my life a lot easier anyway!
Once a month
we have to ring up the kids at home and do phone tests. So last week I had to spend 2 hours of my evening trying to get the kids to answer questions on the phone. I have one class where a lot of the kids are quite slow, and so just don't say anything on the phone. Or 'I don't know' or 'Yes' to every question. Which is really annoying! Some of their answers though left me in stitches. For example, I asked one of the kids 'Your mum is in the kitchen, what is she doing?'. I wanted to hear, 'She is cooking/washing dishes...' but his mum was listening in to try and help him, and for some reason told him to say 'watermelon'. I don't know why. But it resulted in him answering with 'watermelon' to every question. 'What do you do in art class?' - 'Erm......watermelon?'. The best one was when I asked 'Answer the question using the following words, "baseball practice". Where are you going?', to which his answer was 'I'm going to watermelon'. I was dieing, I couldn't even talk I was laughing so much. Another one of the kids was having trouble answering
the question 'Give me two "ch" words, like "cherry"', so I tried to give him a hint by asking him what he normally sits on, at which point he answered excitedly 'Ahhh chopsticks!'. Needless to say, I've given him some useful advice about why you shouldn't sit on chopsticks that I think will do him well in life. I always wondered why he was so fidgety in class.
The baby class is quickly becoming one of my favourite classes now I know how to keep them entertained for 40 minutes. They are so funny. At the end of one of my lessons one kid decided to shout 'Thank you for lunch!', at which point I laughed, but now they do it all the time! I know I should try and stop them but it's really funny, and I think if I told them to stop they would just do it more! One of the little girls this week, April, told Eric that she wanted to marry him. He refused on the grounds that he wanted to be a robot, and robots don't get married. Sorry April. She doesn't want to marry Kevin though because he wants to be a
baker, and who wants to marry a baker?!
Another funny thing I've come across here is how much Koreans like to play music in public. A lot of the shops have speakers outside blasting music. I once heard some pretty heavy gangster rap being played loudly from one shop. I assumed it was a clothes or phone shop or something, but when I looked it was actually a pharmacy. Maybe the owner typed in on google 'What music do people like to listen to when they're buying drugs?' and got the wrong end of the stick. But they also put speakers out in the countryside for some reason. Yesterday I was up in the mountains enjoying the view when suddenly music started blasting out from behind me, it scared the living daylights out of me. I turned around and there's two big speakers on a pole right next to the path! Why?! And sometimes they try and disguise the speakers - I once heard music coming from a beehive. Either that or the bees here are particularly talented?
I've been quite busy outside of school too, I joined the local ex-pat rugby team and played in a tournament
on Saturday, in which we managed to lose both our games. Not too badly though, especially considering a lot of people on the team haven't even touched a rugby ball before! It didn't help that it was ridiculously cold, the weather said it was -5 that morning, not ideal weather for wearing shorts and shirt. Then yesterday I headed up to a temple in the north of Busan called Beomeosa which was interesting, really nice and peaceful up there. A bit too much walking for my tired legs though! I ended up hanging out with an old Korean guy for a bit, and then met a Russian fisherman who talked to me in Russian for ten minutes before realising I was English. That's not the first time I've been mistaken for a Russian out here either!
News hit this morning of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's death, which has been met with mixed feelings as far as I can tell. Koreans I have spoken to are a bit unsure whether it is good or bad news. I'm not sure much will happen to be honest, at worst maybe a military coup internally up in the North as Kim
Jong-il's son, Kim Jong-un is pretty young and I'm not sure all the big guns in charge of the military will be too happy taking orders from a young inexperienced guy like him. But who knows, I doubt much will come of it, these things always seem to get over-hyped, but it will be interesting to see how it pans out. Maybe there is a chance that Korea will be reunited again, let's hope so.
Missing you all tons at the moment, especially now it's Christmas. Hope you all have a great Christmas and New Year!
Love Ross x
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