Saturday, January 28, 2006

Happy Korean New Year! I'm sure that everyone is busy celebrating the lunar new year back in the states. The whole city of Seoul has shut down for this holiday, so there's only 5 million people here instead of 10. I can't really tell the difference though.

I start teaching the little Korean bastards on Tuesday and I'm excited. I taught a little on Thursday after the precieding teacher was stabbed with a pencil in the hand and had to leave the room. That makes the Korean kids sound terrible, but really it was the other way around-- the teacher that I'm replacing was less than admirable in his teaching ability. The only reason I feel I can say that is I taught in the states and no one stabbed me; I was too quick.

My friend, Wendy has been showing me around this megatropolis and really, I've been having a blast. I heard there's four stages of culture shock, one being infatuation. Well, I'm definately there. Right now I'm in the passionate throughs (good name for a band: the passionate throughs) of a love affair with Seoul. I'm sure it'll wear off, but I'll enjoy the ride right now. I wrote that McDonalds and I might be seeing lots of each other and I'm going to correct that statement. I food here is great, and though I always make a specticle of myself at every restaurant I go to, (I'm getting every good at pointing at what other people have ordered and demanding the same thing) the food has always been delicious, although I saw a squid burger at a fast food joint the other day. I'm not yet culturally enamored enough to order that.

Wendy and I went the electronics mart the other day. To call this place a mart is a bit of an understatement. It consists of 12 department-store sized building that only sell electronics. She went camera shopping and me, being the follower that I am, had to buy a camera as well. If ya didn't know I lost my old camera (it wa exactly six moths old) in St. George when I was visiting the parents. That's why there hasn't been any pics of K yet. Once I figure out this new camera, there'll be lots to post.

Monday, January 23, 2006

I arrived in Korea yesterday and I just got back from forriging for food. While I thought I was going to get something exotic, I found the McDonalds and had the spicy chicken sandwhich for breakfast. That's as exotic as I get today. Sadly, I think Micky Ds and I are going to be seeing a lot of each other.

I had fun walking around the town though. Suji is the place that I'll call home for the next year. It's outside of Bundang, which is outside of Seoul, so calling this place a town really isn't appropriate. It's a big, loud, busy city but it has many of the aminities of home, such as the aforementioned McDonald's and the 7-11 across the street, though the seven has products I can't recognize. I think I bought a packet of cookies and some crackers but I can't be sure.
I'm going to meet with the school I'll be working for later on today.

Yesterday, there were some firsts. I saw Greg Ostertag (Jazz center) for the first time. I sat next to him and we shot the breeze. Actually I followed him in the SLC airport until I made sure it was him and then turn around and walked back to my gate. Oooh! excting! The most exciting event was in Japan when I saw a man attempt to walk on to the moving walkway that was moving in opposite direction. "Attempting" is the appropriate word here because he was oblivious to the action he was about to perform. He was looking up, not noticing where he was going, and I was going to warn him, but I was curious (and I'm not proud of this) what would actually happen when he stepped on to the thing. There was no eight seconds for this guy. The walkway bucked him off immediately. All he suffered was wounded pride, and I learned vicariously not to assume the correct walkway will always be on the left.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Secret Teaching Methodology

Arggggh! (Insert pirate voice) Ye be readin the lost and secret post of the wayward pirate, Karmaking: torturer of young Asian children and keeper of the blog, argggh! In this here post is a story of comic tragedy and ultimate loss, arggh! It all began on a stormy morn when I traveled to the kindergarten where I been a teachin'. T'was me last day at the hellhole with the rotten vermin and I t'was looking forward to a long repose. Captain Newbie of the Canadan crew t'was to be my replacment and he came to watch my attempts at educatin the little scaliwags.

Enough of that-- one can only do the pirate voice for so long at it's much easier to speak it than write it. The story goes like this: 1. for the last two months I was teaching at a kindergarten in the morning for extra money, 2. Some days were great others were absolute hell, 3. I got tired of it so I found a replacement.

For the most part the kids liked me and we got along well. Sometimes I found myself reading a story with a kid on my lap and all of us wearing funny hats. Honestly, years ago I never saw myself following this path in life. Still, not every kid liked me. There was one five year old who demonstrated a particular hatred towards me. The first thing he would do when I walked in the door was cock his fist back and try and hit me, and a five year old's fists are right at crotch level. I learned to block his violent attacks with my leg but still, I didn't appreciate the fact that I was the victim of this little Korean's misguided rage. I thought about complaining to the Korean teacher but then I realized I would be the thirty year old tattling on the five year old, "Teacher, he won't stop hitting me!" Instead I told this pint sized terror that I loved him when ever he attacked, which only provoked another attack. I think he is the Asian Antichrist.

Another thing that would happen is kids would spontaneously break out in tears. It happens with four year olds. Along with trying to get them to parrot my English I also tried to keep the kids from crying , hitting each other and crapping their pants. Honestly English was the last thing on some of their minds. On my last day I introduced my replacement, and one of the four year olds had a complete fit. I was teaching away when a new kid just lost it. The Korean teacher had left the room to get snacks and the this sensitive little guy, looked around the room, could not spy anyone that looked remotely like his mother, instead saw there were two goofy foreigners singing a devil song called Old MacDonald and he let it fly. His grief so great that he stood up in the middle of class and howled. Now I would have liked to console the kid, but I've found that in some obscure way I am usually the source of the crying child's grief, so the closer I come the worse it gets. Instead I did the only thing I could think of and snapped a few pictures of him. If you look at the pic (down below) the girl in pink held the little boy's hand until his despair had sufficiently passed. They're better at taking care of each other than I am.

But really, most the kids liked me. At times they would coming running to me to give me hugs. Keep in mind that once again these kids are right at crotch level. They would sprint full tilt at me and head butt me right in the nads. It's a little tough to shout out English to these kids after that happens. This is an action I can only hope they outgrow later in life.

Most of the time we would draw faces on the board, play with plastic animals and sing songs. It was exhausting work but at time it was good, even fun. Ah yes, it was a good time and the best part is that it's over. Argggh!

Yeah, they're kind of cute I guess. Posted by Picasa

Rollin' with the homies. Posted by Picasa

He calmed down for a bit until... Posted by Picasa

Why God, Oh why must I learn this devil language!?!? Posted by Picasa

Sunday, January 08, 2006

It's taken awhile for me to post all the X-mas pics. For some reason when the weather gets cold and cloudy I tend to power down. Reason dictates that I'd do more stuff around the house, namely clean it and post pictures and things like that. Instead I sit my ass on the couch and let the TV lay claim to my motivation. I think I was a bear in another life. Hibernation comes easily to me.

Southern Utah skyscraper.  Posted by Picasa

The watering of the dog.  Posted by Picasa

An ancient earthen symbol (or just some cool rocks stacked in pleasing fashion). Posted by Picasa

Beautiful day for a hike.  Posted by Picasa

Mad dog on the loose. Posted by Picasa

Wintertime flowers. Posted by Picasa