Saturday, December 25, 2004

Sweet Potato Pizza

I got an ad for that taped to my door when I got back today... took a picture but thought I'd post some better ones. I think I got the whole camera/posting pictures on the internet thing figured out. Merry Christmas!

Biggest church in my area, not the one I've been to.

He's a pet. He's cold, so he's curled up in the flower pot.

The river filled up after the melting of the snow... This and the next two pictures are linked cuz they're wide.

Some city scenery, my apartment is behind the camera and to the right. The river is off camera to the left.

My mess of an apartment from the inside and outside.

Better with pictures, huh? Next in line is to get some better... pictures.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

They Marched Into Sunlight

And I kind of wish I was too, except instead it's just the name of the book I'm reading by David Maraniss. Now that I think about it, the snow is alright here... I returned from my long trip/short stay in Indiana to snow! Agh. It was like 55F when I left. Oh well. There were a couple kids on the sidewalk next to my apartment, like normal kids they were rolling huge snowballs that were getting so big that they couldn't control where the snowball was rolling.

I just arrived back in the city a couple hours ago, I spent about 5 minutes in my apartment then walked to work. I was 5 minutes early! Then Jake said go home and rest and come back tomorrow. They were saying the kids were asking every day when I was coming back, good sign. I'm guessing they just missed hanging off my arms and legs and petting the hair on the back of my hands. I asked about cooking some more, there's a little burner at school. I need to figure out something to make, I got a medium sized pan at home. I'd like to make them something for Christmas but maybe it'll end up being next week for New Year's. Mandu/dumplings are a good possibility. I can't cheat and nuke some popcorn because there's no microwave there... Now that I'm back I should get on it and do what my coworkers recommend: the difficult task of making something for these kids to eat. They need it cuz they never have time to stuff their tummies cuz of all the time they spend in schools and everything.

I met a guy, Bang, on the bus on the way back into the city. He had just spent 10 months in Australia as a waiter at an Asian restaurant. His English was pretty good, the best of anyone I've talked to in Gangneung... he was going into town to visit his parents. It was cool because he understood basic slang... like "cool"... or using "like" way too often didn't throw him off. Nice cause I could speak faster and didn't have to remember to speak extremely clearly all the time. I'm sure he doesn't realize it but spending 10 months there allowed him to understand me better... he said his English didn't improve. We'll see where I am in 10 months with Korean. His old man gave me a ride since they were also going in the direction of E-Mart. Without him I wouldn't have made it to work on time. Kamsa hamneeda. :p

I had to spend the night in Incheon because I missed the last bus going to Gangneung that night. Luckily hotel is pronounced the same in both Korean and English, I told the taxi driver and he took me to Songpo Resort, like 15 minutes from the bus terminal (bus terminal in Korean). It was a Western style hotel, it cost about $140 for the night... a hotel like it would have cost about $90 in the US... but now that I think about it, it was in the city in a decent area so. The lady at the desk spoke English, she was like "Your room is 220,000 won but you get a special 40 percent discount." Haha... I didn't bother to ask why, I just took it. She mentioned me being a foreigner... On the back of the door in my room the rate was indeed 220,000 for a night. Wow. Right now 1 USD is basically 1,000 Korean won.

So I got in the room, decent room. Big comfy bed. OK view (snapped a picture which will get on here eventually, I promise... my Mom bought me a charger in the US :). The lights of the lamps wouldn't turn on though haha. I'm sure I was missing something. Lights by the door worked and bathroom lights worked. Shrug. Korean TV... Armed Forces Network by the good ol' USA. ESPN in Korean, they showed they same stuff American Sportscenter showed except they dubbed over it in Korean and messed with the digital stuff on the screen... into Korean. And instead of the NBA they showed the pro league in Seoul. Alright level of play I guess... mostly African-Americans with some Koreans and Korean coaches. Half full arena. I'd like to go to a game when I go to Seoul next week. NBC with Jay Leno. Analyze That and Legally Blonde were on the 2 movie channels. And a Korean channel in English, Arirang. Haha sorry for writing about TV but it was my first time watching it and I was whipped from the travel so all I did was watch TV and get some rest.

There's a Tai Kwon Do place 2 minutes from my apartment, was thinking of walking in there and seeing about getting into it... I figure I'd look just as odd going into the gym to work out so I might as well do something different too. Almost none of the stares are bad stares anyways. :) The place is on the second floor, my excellent command of the Korean language allows me to figure out that the sign does definitely say Tai Kwon Do.

Good to be back.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Saying whatever.

It's nice how you can say pretty much whatever you want (within reason... :] ). For example, you know how at home you talk to your mother differently than you do to a friend... well here, for me anyways, you can talk how ever comes naturally to anyone. You just have to speak slower and clearer. The cool factor really doesn't come into play, so you can keep your language from being recycled. So instead of like saying "later" or "take it easy" or something to friends when you're leaving... you can say one of the thousands of other ways to say bye and it's all the same.

I have some personal things I will probably have to go back to the States for. I talked to my boss today about it, I think he understood. He said we would talk later. He was straight up destroying people in Call of Duty on his computer when I came in. Haha. I hope I can come back and keep my job. This is not a given, in the end he is the man signing the paychecks. I hope things work out because I am getting used to some things here and can't imagine what kind of job I'd do for forty hours a week in Florida. I am contacting the recruiter, too. Wish me luck!

Sunday, December 12, 2004

You very handsome.

One of my students invited me to go to her church this morning. I was the only white guy there and needless to say got plenty of attention. The service alot like any service I might go to back home, except it was all in Korean. A bunch of singing, lots of prayers throughout... the grandfather of the student that invited me is a pastor at the church, he prayed with the congregation for like 15 minutes. A bit hard to follow of course, but I was given a Korean/English bible and hymnal. At least I can keep up with the song because I can read some of the sounds out in Korean...

My presence was announced at the end, there was also a Chinese woman visiting and some people from out of town. We all got clapped for. :P

After church, like everyone I met that knew a bit of English told me how handsome I was. Hello, nice to meet you. Then they would either say You very handsome or tell my student, Nicole, something in Korean... then Nicole would say to me... they think you very handsome, teacher. Hahaha... and one guy basically yelled I WANT ENGLISH FRIEND. Haha.

Nicole and her parents took me out to lunch. It was excellent, we ate at the Dome House, a place with a herb garden down below and a restaurant in a dome up above. It was Western-style Korean food, steak and lobster and spaghetti... best meal I've had yet. Kamsahamneeda (thanks?) to them. Dome House was out of town, if I had known I would've brought my camera. Average looking city with very nice country around it.

I haven't figured out how to add my email address to be viewable to my profile cuz the site automatically comes up almost all in Korean... got to wade through some stuff just to post. works if you want to say hey.

Thursday, December 09, 2004


We play a game at my school involving alot of countries. The game deals in part with countries starting with different letters... so for one class the letter was L. One team said... Lumania! I said... no. The rowdiest kid on the team said "You're an English teacher and you don't know Lumania!"

He meant Rumania. This kid's English is a thousand times better than my Korean at the moment. Just like I can't distinguish some Korean sounds from others, he and many others like him have trouble distinguishing some L sounds from R sounds in the English language. B and V is another big point of confusion. A kid in my class might say "habuh" but he means "have". It means we get to have fun making the V sound in class sometimes... "vvVVvvvvvvVVVVVvvvvv".

I lost my digital camera's battery recharger pack. It's called Murphy's Law but I'll just buy another one with Korean plugs on it I guess. Noone's going to want to read my stuff without purty pictures to keep it interesting! We snapped some pictures for school, Koreans flash the peace sign for pictures like crazy.

Some of my kids might not know much English, but they really like describing each other in good terms. Yeah, the CHRIS JERICHO VERY HANDSOME and also cute or pretty. CRAZY... they might be using that as a good term too, I'm not so sure.

So I need to think of things to do with the kids in class. I've been informed that it's not so much about learning but that they enjoy the language. Chocolate chip cookies, anyone?