The Truth Thus Far


Hello, Soldier!

Cute?

Hey there, Soldier! ;)
uThis weekend I went to Suwon, again…for a couple of reasons (or shall we say Koreans) actually. First, I was set to meet Sung Min at his military base. I was a little nervous that his English speaking skills would make it too difficult for us to communicate, and so I backed a box of Dunkin Doughnuts to try and keep him occupied during my stay. Suwon is a good 2 hours subway ride away, then a 20 minute wait for a cab at Suwon station, and finally a 20 minute cab ride ($8) to the base. When I arrived all I could see was two heavily armed soldiers in their camo military coats and a almost dilapidated white house. Following Sung Min’s directions, I hesitantly entered the building to see before me some shabby, granny-looking curtains and a dozen or so families gathered with their home-sick sons for a quick weekend visit. To the right of me was a small desk, seated at it was one soldier. I pointed to my piece of paper with Sung Min’s name on it and the guy behind the counter took my passport and tried avoiding eye contact with me. He quickly called his English speaking solider friend (who was followed by a few eager soldiers, excited to see a foreigner for the first time in years) to ask me a few basic questions. All of them marveled as they read my the name I’d written on the piece of paper in front of them, they read my english name…they giggled a little. Then they looked at me like they wanted to ask a question but were far too afraid. “Nevermind,” they laughed bashfully, and turned away.

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The girl who spends too much…
My New Coat! Yay Winter!

My New Coat! Yay Winter!

So I got paid on Monday. YAY! I was dissapointed to be reminded that my hagwon takes out 200,000 won for the first 2 months for some apartment fee. BOOO! On top of that tomorrow I’ll be transferring half of my check to my parents to cover student loans, credit card fees, and to pay back Brazil. This responsible adult thing is not sitting well with me. So expensive. On top of that I’ve got a cell phone bill coming and my utilities bills. Apparently you can not pay for like 3 months before they turn anything off…I’m not saying I’m going to explore that option…I’m just saying. The worst part is that I found this great little shop called Commonwealth something. It’s just the kind of shop that I love. The kind you’d find in Lil’ 5 in Atlanta. I spent 100 bucks there. I know I know. I don’t even have any money. But there was this dress on Friday and this jacket Today…and okay no excuses. But really I was pursuaded by the supurb English of the girl behind the counter. I think we’ll end up partying together.

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“I love black people skin!”
Yes We Did!

Yes We Did!

Wa, 50CS Teacher! Waaaa! As my students would say to show their disapproval (generally only used when I’m singing or telling a bad joke). Now I’m saying WA! because I’ve really dropped the ball lately on this whole updating thing. I have been a little busy, but no excuses. Mostly I’m just too lazy. Hmm…so what’s happened recently.

Well…I now have a least a little faith in my county. OBAMA F’in DID IT! I stayed up all night checking his stats, and woke up early in the morning to watch some election madness. Only I was disappointed because they were playing some stupid children’s cartoon on AFN (American Forces Network), the only channel that is completely in English. I screamed a little and spent an hour trying to find somewhere to watch the election stuff online. I finally settled for the constant refreshing of CNN.com. I was pleased with what I saw. Finally at about 11am AFN started playing ABC news. By about 12:50 Korea time I was told that Obama was my new president. I screamed so loud I’m sure I worried the neighbors. I cried every time they showed a Black person on television, and I started feeling a bit homesick. No one to scream with. No one could really understand my feelings. I’m the only Black teacher at my hagwon (i think…although their may or may not be a black/korean guy in my office), and one of a few Americans. I instantly called Falco and we screamed together a bit.

It was such an emotional day. I contemplated calling in sick to work…taking a “YAY! Black people!” day, but in the end I just toughed it out. It was nice though, because all of the kids were so excited that Obama won. Since I was Black they made it a point to bring it up every moment of the day. “Jenny teacher, I love Black people skin. You…Obama. Yay! Black people!” or as one 7 year old said “Obama win. Black people sooo happy.” The general mood in S. Korea is that Obama winning is absolutely a good thing. As my kids told me, Mccain is bald. They don’t dig the baldies too much here. But many are worried about Obama’s proposed Open Trade policy with Korea. They live off of their exports, and if those drop then they are in trouble. Personally I think they’ll be f***ed for a while, but in the long run a strong American economy is best for them too. But then again…what do I know.

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Yea, we noreBANGed all night long

(muchos fotos aqui)

my phone!

my phone!

The weekend is OVER. sigh. So terrible.The idea of going back to work tomorrow makes me a little sad. i don’t HATE my job, but i don’t love it either. Sooo many hours….in a row…no breaks…so many loud kids. ah. Tomorrow i teach phonics too, my youngest class. it’s mostly just screaming and me covering my ears and hiding in the corner.

My weekend was really fun though…although i feel like without a three day holiday weekends are really just saturday and then nap/recovery day. On saturday I GOT A PHONE!!! some random guy from one of my language exchange websites helped me set it up. Literally, the first time I ever met him in person, he got a phone for me. he didn’t pay for it (don’t worry ^^;;) but in order for me to have a monthly plan a korean had to put it under their name. Anyway, he really saved the day and my phone is totally boss. It’s fully equipped with an english-korean dictionary and an interactive subway map (which is SO useful). It’s like the only phone in Korea without television though, but I don’t mind since I can’t understand Korean tv anyway.

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What’s with Koreans and….
(disclaimer: these are just observations…i think think korean culture is fascinating, but sometimes it just cracks me up.)

1. Hiking gear. I can’t even tell you how many ajummas and ajusshis I’ve seen sporting full out hiking gear. I’m talking hiking boots, the oh so famous visor, full on hiking clothes, water bottle backpacks…the whole deal. I just don’t get it. I know there’s a few mountains around here, but there’s no way in hell that 7 out of 8 ajummas are going hiking on any given day.

2. Couples outfits. Okay, I knew about the Koreans and their couple outfits but its soooooo much lamer in person. Couples wearing matching shoes. Couples wearing matching tshirts with teddy bears on them. Couples wearing jeans, a Polham hoodie, and matching Chucks. Its just too wrong. SO WRONG. I’m all for doing as the natives do..but thats just flat out crossing the line.

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“You can’t be American…you’re not Black like 50CS Teacher.”
Reading (13 yrs old) Class

Reading (13 yrs old) Class

The kids are officially confused. I think it’ll be my task next week to explain multiculturalism to them. The other day they told Jen Teacher that she couldn’t be American because she wasn’t Black like me. Jen tried to explain that America has all types of people, but I”m not quite sure they get it. It makes sense though. Chinese people live in China, Japanese in Japan, and Koreans in Korea. So they can’t quite grasp the idea of everyone living together. It’s just nonsense to them. Eventually! Eventually they’ll get it.

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Noona is so pretty….
students

students

School is actually going really well. I’ve stated teaching, and finally manged to get the kids to stop calling me “Africa-tika-tika” (I think the tika is teacher-teacher….but im not quite sure), and now its either “Pretty Teacher” or “America-tika-tika.” The “Pretty Teacher” is of course such a privilege considering that the other day they told Same Name (a girl with the same name as me) “Wow. What did you do this weekend? Did you eat too much? Why are you so fat. Wow. Fat teacher!” and told this other teacher Haircut that “That’s terrible. ::pointing and laughing:: What did you do to your hair?” So as you can see “pretty teacher” was pretty difficult to achieve. I’m so proud of me.