Friday, October 29, 2010

after school class names

the first day of my after-school class I asked the kids (who actually showed up the first day) to come up with their own English names. Eventually, each kid got one. The following is the list of their chosen names

(note: many are just Englishized versions of their korean names - but some are surprising)

Sec Sec
Min Soo
Kim Sum Min
Hyun Woo
Joon Woo
Hun Seok
Bong Bong (personal favorite)
Chicken Mu (second favorite)
Min Ho Kim

happy halloween.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

costume is finished!

ajumma costume is geared up. tried it on today. shirts a bit tight but I think it fits the look. pictures pending...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


assorted prices of the day:

in won

today's exchange rate: 1USD = 1118.56won

4 parts of an ajumma costume:

gloves - 4,000won

purple stretchy (maternity?) pants - 12,000won

Floral shirt ("of good quality" no less) - 15,000won

pink/sunflowered ascot - 1,000won

still on hunt for a visor!!

6 shirts of drycleaning : 10,000 won
-conveniently left off and picked up at front security desk of my building. ( i gave an orange to the man that helped).

10 wings in itaewon on tuesday nights: 3,000 won

grape jelly (medium size?) at local mart: 6,500 won

5 slices of (??) cheese at local mart - 2,300 won

Japanese tea and cookies after lunchtime with Guri High School crew - free (paid for by "hyong" my department leader/big brother (translation of "hyong"))

many pounds of candy to keep promises of "much candy for Halloween week!!" made hastily - 17,000 won

in other Korea-related news, the G20 summit is not far away. Their tagline should be:

The world's G20 - so important we only invited 19 countries!

and i'll top that sweet sweet desert off with a quotation:

"live with yourself; get to know how poorly furnished you are"



Monday, October 25, 2010

korean billiards

I've been debated whether or not to retrograde this blog. Since I started this a bit late into my journey, should I go back and recount those old stories. I am still throwing the idea back and forth in the orbits of my mind.

This is an event of the past but it's easy and quick, so I figured it'd be a good place to start.

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to play billiards with three male teachers at my school. They play nearly every Friday and their expertise in the game showed. As for me, I have never been so disappointed with my ability to pick up a game. I wasn't bad; I was downright awful. After 2 games I had amassed four points for my team (out of about 50 - although I came DANGEROUSLY close to winning the game for us. Twice.).

No matter, Korean pool is still pretty wild - and requires a different set of skills than what I've become used to.

To begin with, the table has no pockets.

You play the whole game with four balls - one white, one yellow and two red.

The game is simple for the most part. There are more complicated games that we sampled but my kindergarten skill level prevented any of those from taking place.

Your goal is to have your ball (white is one team, yellow the other) hit both red balls without hitting the other teams. You can play with certain minimum wall touches, but we didn't.

Essentially, the game boils down to English (a word, which unfortunately, I was never able to communicate properly to my Korean counterparts. For obvious reasons. They just thought I was translating. I can't blame them though - the double meaning of the word is strange and they are not English teachers in the school. Our most complicated conversation came about discussing major league baseball and was more a listing of players we both knew....)

And as I mentioned, I sucked. But I will play with them again soon and hopefully avenge myself. As it gets colder I may want to take refuge in the indoors and practicing my game couldn't hurt.

They have no problems with people playing by themselves. And since each table has a timer (for pay rates) I noticed that many men stay there for quite some time (one was over 5 hours).

So that was my Korean pool experience and detailing. Quick and easy.

Side note: Koreans pronounced "Phillies" very much like "Police" - so much so that when my teammate asked if I liked the Phillies, I responded yes and starting to sing "roxanne". Massive confusion.

Lastly, 23% of American adults cannot name a single scientist when asked.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

teaching pictures

my co-teacher has been snapping some photos of me teaching throughout the week. Here are a few of the keepers.

first post

alright, you got me. I caved. Here, nearly two months after arriving in Korea, I have started a blog.

This, I suppose, will be my first foray into blogging - having, in the past, only used them to back-up my writing online. So, I will, no doubt, be rusty and misguided in my explaining, posting and altogether summing up my life in this country.

Yet, you reading this, so who cares?

Lastly, in an attempt to savor some creativity in this endeavor, this will not be a straightforward blog of day-to-day recounting. In fact, for my very first post I will tell you absolutely nothing of a story, anecdote or explanation. Instead, I offer this terrific female smackdown article Maureen Dowd wrote for the New York Times yesterday.

For a few of those who know me - you may remember that I am fond of "who would you rather be....." questions - especially with famed historical figures and current celebrities.

Well, there is a reason I have never, and will never, ask: "who would you rather be, Marilyn Monroe or Sarah Palin?"

(if there are laughs to this - I can only say that I am sure there are more than a few young females who would pick the latter.......sadly)

This is that reason.

Making Ignorance Chic (Maureen Dawd, NYT, Oct 19, 2010)

......personal stories to come.....

and i suppose i'll always end with a quotation?

"everything exists to end up in a book"
-Stéphane Mallarmé

(trans. William Rees)