comfortable life come from happy cookie time
Yeongdeungpo-Gu, South Korea
So it's been awhile since I updated this blog. It's so hard to keep up with because i put half the funny things on facebook. BUT so much to update.
The past month or so has been super busy... this coming weekend will be the first relaxing few days ive had in over 6 weeks. Traveling is great - but its overwhelming when you barely sit down during the week and you spend all weekend on a bus. I'm very much looking forward to a lowkey weekend.
Though things are quickly flilling up. there's no need to worry about not having things to do. This weekend Anna is having friends visit from Georgia!! So we're going out to Gangnam (where else?) and having mimosas in the morning. (what else?)
Friday we'll go out. Saturday I have a soccer game - and then going to a flea market - yay!
Saturday night - i'll be relaxing. Chris and ANna are going out for her bday. I might go to the national assembly library just to relax and read. Plus I'm curious what it looks like. And honestly I'm a library nerd. It's my favorite place to kill time aside from the mall.
So I have been running pretty consistently. And it's easy when everyone you see in the park cheers you on you like you're running the boston marathon. The other day i got 3 separate people giving me huge smiles and thumbs up and what i can only imagine were korean phrases of encouragement. Felt rad.
I just wish i could communicate better. Though i learn random phrases every so often, such as "chuseyo" which I thought meant please. when i asked a friend, though, he said, "well really it means "give me" .... which is about as close to please as you'll get in this language."
Forrrrreal though - because you can't walk out onto the street without getting shoved from behind, the side, what have you. It's taken me three months to not want to suckerpunch 60 year old grandmothers in the stomach. But i'm finally acclimating and accepting its the culture not to EVER say a simple Excuse me, watch out, ya know, anything. Idk maybe i'm still bitter.
I also finally stayed at a jinjilbang. Which essentially is a Korean Spa. I emphasize Korean because nowhere in america would you strip down stark naked and go down into a sauna/shower area and scrub yourself down. Yep that was how i spent my saturday night and got real close with some adjumas (korean grandmamas). But that wasn't all, after getting there at around midnight, i went upstairs to sleep. Youd think, oh finally, a good night's sleep before a soccer game. (That's why i was there - to spend the night before an early soccer game). Then i realize. Oh, i'm sleeping on a linoleum floor . WIthout a blanket - with about 50 other men and women. It's normal. Apparently. I will be able to SLEEP ANYWHERE when i get home. Even my bed in my apartment is not much better. i've gotten used to it (somehow) after leaving my luxurious bed at home that was a basically perfection. But really, a floor? 3 hours of sleep tops.
My mom sent me a fantastic package of food. It's funny that after a mere three months, I have become so accustomed to guessing and hoping when it comes to making anything more advanced on the stove than a grilled cheese. Now, with english foods, I can READ the directions and proportions. The simple joys. Macaroni and cheese dinner was within my reach.
There have been some other amazing experiences also. I went on a 3 am hike a few weeks ago. Went from work to an 11pm bus to travel 3 hours away... hiked all night and all day - yeah abouttt 12 hours - 16 km. was up most of the following night going to a noryebong (kareoke club)... so about 41 straight hours of being awake. amazing views though. can't quite beat a sunrise on a mountain peak.
So what everyone's waiting for......korean student-isms.
Can't write a blog without them!
First, it must be stated how much we can't feel sorry for students in the U.S. yes..... they have insane standards coming up .... yes testing has reached a ridiculous level. and its literally stupid. BUT... a typical american child goes to school for 6 hours. does homework for MAYBE an hour... watches tv/plays outside & with friends ..... for what... maybe a total of 5 hours after school? The rest of the time is meals, video games, etc. Then sleep for 8 hours. A KOREAN CHILD..... 6 hours of school, 4 hours of academy (where i teach) 4 hours of studying/homework...2 hours of lessons in music/sports/ANOTHER language and about 6 hours of sleep per night.
Sorry USA... koreas harder.
So needless to say... we were working on persuasive words with my 5th graders today (should, must, best, most important, etc) and we had to write sentences using these words/phrases.
"We should do our homework>"
"We must study for our test."
"Our class got the best scores."
"This is the most important vocabulary word."
I just want to take them out for an ice cream cone in the middle of class. Or maybe a beer because..... lets be honest.
Also endlessly entertaining writing assignments. While there are a million every class... one sticks out in my mind.
The essay assignment I gave was a creative writing task "Imagine you are the last person on Earth. How would you feel? What would you do? Where would you go?" Also They had to use conjunctions (and, or, but, therefore, however, because, nor, consequently etc...) throughout their writing.
Background info: Korea hates Japan. Lots of political/historical BS... but they hate each other in a nutshell.
So favorite response:
"I would bomb Japan, because I hate them. They are a terrible country and they should not be on Earth anymore. However, they have fantastic animation. Consequently, before I bombed them, I would visit and play all their video games"
There is surely more. And i HAVE to start writing more regularly, because there's just too much to remember.
Speaking of konglish. Or not speaking of, because when do you need an excuse for some poorly translated english phrase?
First, they all have these English notebooks with the most random quotes on them that essentially make zero sense. They are for ENglish learners, and are therefore written with english nonsense on them.
For example, which so happens to win this blog's main photo, a large picture of Mt. Rushmore, with George Washington having a thought bubble above his head saying "I Love English," and the main quote on the bottom reading, "Traveling will be a good opportunity for you to expand your romantic interests."
Lastly, I got a cookie from one of my students the other day. Labeled, "Comfortable life come from happy cookie time." So nonsensical, but who is anyone kidding? Nail on the head.