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Published: January 3rd 2010
What will it be? One base, two bases, three bases, Homerun?!
Happy New Year! I can't believe it's 2010 but I'm very excited that it is finally here! I'm hoping that 2010 will be a good year! I'm pretty confident that it will be quite interesting no matter what.
The regular semester at my school ended on Tuesday and then Wednesday and Thursday we had English Camp. I have very little school responsibilities left before I come home. I just have a two day camp at Mike's middle school (this Monday and Tuesday), two weeks of conversation classes at my school (the 3rd and 4th week of January), and then a random week of classes in the middle of February (but I think I will only teach two of those days, if that). I'm so excited! Things are finally wrapping up.
Aside from relishing in the excitement of finally having a ticket home booked and counting down the days until I can see everyone again, I have been trying to keep myself busy outside of school. I've been taking Korean language classes at the YMCA since June and I've made a whole lot of progress! I really enjoy learning languages so being able to study and then apply the language
to my life has been a lot of fun for me. One of the biggest achievement for me was a few months ago when I finally ordered us a pizza over the phone. Not only did the pizza actually arrive at our house, but it was the correct pizza. Sometimes it's amazing if you can accomplish that using your first language! Lately I've been able to have short, albeit clumsy conversations with co-workers, my dance instructor, and taxi drivers. Ordering food in Korean and asking how much something is doesn't even feel like an accomplishment any more.
In addition to learning Korean, I decided to pick up taekwondo again in August. I did taekwondo for about 2-3 years when I was in high school. I ended up quitting because of time conflicts. Here, there are practically taekwondo centers on every street corner. Before school started this semester I walked into one of the centers that is across the street from my house (yes, one of them... there are two) and some how was able to communicate that I wanted to learn taekwondo. I started taking classes the following week. Somewhat unsurprisingly I am the only adult in my class.
It was Christmas and Mani's birthday!
Burn Santa, burn!
Most of the kids are elementary school students. It's still good fun though. My instructor is an incredibly nice guy and he is really interested in learning English. Since I started taking class, he has been essentially teaching a bilingual class.
Although his English is limited, he is not afraid to use what he knows, which in language learning, is half of the battle. I especially enjoy that he uses English to mess with the kids in the class. This one poor boy, he messed up a kick so the instructor told him, "10 push-ups". The kid had no idea what a push-up was so he started doing jumping jacks "No!" then he did sit-ups "No!" after some trial and error he finally got it.
Based on some of the English phrases that my instructor uses, it is evident that he is/was a pretty avid video game player. For example:
*I passed my belt test*
*He hands me my new belt* "You, level up!"
Me: "7 Jang, umm... how?" *I had forgotten how to do one of the forms*
Daesung: "aahhh! Nicole, you, memory upgrade!! *meaning my memory needs an upgrade*
The Sandwich Team!
of my favorites is when I walk into class and his first words to me are, "Today's program is... you die!" Basically that translates to, today you are going to be exhausted when you go home.
Taekwondo has really been one of the highlights of my last couple of months. Even when I feel miserable and would rather go to sleep at 9 o'clock at night than go kick things, I almost always come home feeling better than when I left.
Although my students make me crazy sometimes, they can also make me laugh. Swine flu was a huge deal in my school (actually, I think in all Korean schools). The students were supposed to wash their hands x times a day, there was hand sanitizer in every room, each classroom had a spray bottle for cleaning off the desk, the kids were wearing face masks, the kids' temperatures were being taken at the door every morning. It was epic. We actually even shut down the school for 3 days because so many kids were out either with the flue or just plain sick. A few days after the school reopened and things were starting to
This was a review game for 2nd grade. This is a 32 person class, 16 kids were missing because of swine flu/illness...
die down a little bit, I walked into one of my third grade classes where one of the students was absent. Another student looks and me, points to her desk and says, "swine flu... no hand washy"
I was teaching a lesson on giving directions by foot in one of my second grade classes. You know, go straight, turn left, turn right, it's across from... etc. I had a map up on the board and I would ask them how to get from point x to point y. We had done this maybe 2-3 times and I had just asked another question when the bell rang. One of the kids shouts out, "ooohh!!! take a taxi!" Sounded good to me. "Class dismissed."
I was teaching a lesson on shopping in a 3rd grade class... Do you have... Do you carry... I six stores with different items and prices and put two students in charge of each store. Then everyone else in the class got a shopping list and they had to find the stores that carried their items and how much they were. The one store's "workers" had a great time...
"Do you carry shoes"
Rewriting the ending to Romeo and Juliet!
"Do you carry glasses?"
"The sale is over, go away."
One day after lunch the head teacher was joking with Monica (one of my co-teachers) about something in Korean. I wasn't sure what was going on and when I looked at the head teacher he replied, in English with a sentence that really perplexed me. A few minutes later I decided to ask Monica, "is the head teacher really drunk?"
Monica: What? No...
Me: What did he just say a moment ago....?
Monica: aahhhh hahaha! He said I am joke.
I had heard the words: I am drunk.
On the last day of classes my school went to the same restaurant that we went to in the beginning of the school year. Even though this time, I thought nothing of it, it is still amazing that schools can get all of the teachers/office worker, etc. together for a dinner like that. And it's paid for by the school.
Which brings me to a whole new topic, how acceptable being drunk in public is here. I live in an apartment complex filled with working families and it is unbelievable how many stumbling drunk men
I see on weeknights on my way home from taekwondo at 10 p.m. I've heard more than one story from other English teachers who have had drunk people stumble into their apartment looking for either their home or someone else. Mike and I once got off of the bus to find a man passed out on the road about 2 feet from the curb. Evidently this was not a big concern to anyone, and to be honest, the way motorbikes and cars drive on sidewalks here, the guy was probably better off on the road.
It is also not that uncommon for cars to park on the sidewalk here. There are places in the center of Chilgok where you have to walk in the road because the sidewalk has been taken up by parked cars. Mike showed Mr. Bean's Christmas to his students as part of their Christmas lesson. There is a scene in the beginning where Mr. Bean parks his car on the sidewalk. Mike said, "You can hear the audience in the video laughing but the kids just stare, confused, they don't understand what's funny..."
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