Tuesday, March 31, 2009

going to guam

the cute girl in the "hardcore seoul" video i posted a few weeks ago added me as a friend on myspace...i should deny her, right?

so i guess things were much better at work and i hope they continue to stay that way. i don't think it's going to be any better anywhere else to be quite honest. i don't care about the work load, but i just want my employers to be civil...either way, i guess i'm going to guam this week. i'm leaving thursday night and am staying there until sunday. i looked up the temperature and it seems to perpetually be room temperature outside...the only bad thing is that they have these terrifying snakes that have no natural predators on the island...oh, and they're "slightly" venemous...for me though, there's no "slightly" about it...they're either poisonous as fuck or not, and either way, it's not the poison that scares me about snakes...it's the idea that there is a legless creature that can move much faster than myself and IT BITES YOU with FANGS. even indiana jones was afraid of snakes and he was a man's man, so i don't want to hear anything about it.

the only thing about the trip i'm bummed about is that i have to go w/one of my co-teachers. this girl is a self-proclaimed church girl who is dating/sleeping with a married man. he's a soldier and his wife is back home. i've made my disapproval known. initially, my disapproval took on the kindest tone possible (eh, you probably shouldn't do that) and slowly it's evolved into (look, you're kind of a bad person)...it turned that way because she started talking to me about her sex life (and i am not in any way interested in her or her sex life) and she sort of glories in the wrongness of it all. so perhaps my approach is a bit off...some people have shared with me upon occasion that i can be...hmmm...abrasive? yes, that's exactly the word. but i don't know...me and stick in the mud have to spend the weekend in guam together. i'm taking "brothers karamazov" and saying that i'm busy all weekend. go to the beach, get sunburned, bitten by some "slightly" venemous snakes, and call it a day.

shopping: the clothes here are almost always incredibly nice looking (at least on koreans) and so i went to look at clothes. a pair of levis was about 70$ and a sweater i liked was about 100$!!! where is the south korean thrift store??? luckily homeplus, the reportedly ethical version of walmart in korea, has some relatively cheap stuff...now i just need to get some of my girl friends to take me shopping...you don't understand, being here makes me feel like such a slob. the way that people dress is...so thought out. i imagine people buying outfits and putting it all the same hanger and never separating the items. i wear t-shirts and jeans and my too-big-for-me hoodie w/the frayed sleeves. they wear nice clothes all the time...i can't compete with that! how is hardcore seoul girl going to feel if i can't keep up with the times!? what will others think!?

p.s. showers are not a pleasure here because they only last for 5 minutes because i have a very small heating tank. baths are not an option and it's not that i took many, but i miss the option of the bath.

Monday, March 30, 2009


so i got into yesterday with one of my bosses. luckily, it was not the big boss. it's a long drawn out story and i don't have that much time to tell it...but basically, i told my main boss that we keep getting talks about how we need to be more respectful of our co-workers (even though we walk on pins and needles trying to please them) but that basically we don't get the same treatment. our korean bosses can be very rude to us, but of course if we were to act in kind towards them then it would not fly at all. so i just told her that unless boss#2 quits being condescending, sarcastic, and all around unpleasant in the workplace that i'm going to quit. hopefully, that will make something change.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


oh my goodness, just pray that my arms get better. it's been more than a week and i have these awful bruises, which i don't really care about one way or the other...but i have terrible pain in both arms. it's difficult to do things like opening doors or unscrewing the cap off of something. i've been taking medicine for joint aches, but like the doctor said: it's not in my bones. so my blood vessels or whatever have been hurting still and it's really starting to bother me because even the simplest task hurts like hell. alright, there's my vent before i go to work.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

please leave me the bones

so we had a birthday party at school yesterday. the first video is of the kids playing their new favorite game. someone shouts the name of a teacher and the children consume them until someone suggests they move on to another teacher. the second video is of me being told to sing in front of the kids. we didn't really know what to sing and so i tried to remember how to sing "if you're happy and you know it" while fending off that monstrous little boy, ryan.

last night me and some people went to a bar. there was drama. person a likes person b, person b likes person c, person a sees person b kissing person c, etc. i left and tried to get a cab, but again, no cab driver would give me a ride...so i walked home around 2 am again only to find that person b was already back and that they had brought person c home with them. i should point out here that i am not person a, b, or c. it was just a very awkward night...i guess that's what i get for going to a bar...

i have a skype account now! this means that i can call you from my computer. i tried it out today and talked to a few of you...so i'll call more people when the time is better. right now, it's about 3:30am in georgia...which sucks because it's 4:30pm here...but to make unlimited calls for a month is only about 3$ for me, so i'm rather pleased...oh, my phone is dead as well and i don't have a charger and so i can't get your numbers unless you send them to me. if you'd like for me to give you a call, please email your number to me at holding.rabbits@gmail.com feel free to include other numbers for people i might want to talk to. i think i have a number as well, but i don't know it. in other news, i'm going to guam next thursday to get a work visa. oh, i got a letter in the mail from courtney burton. she always makes the best cards and her handwriting looks like a font or something because it's so perfect. either way, it made my day. so you should all write me letters. hope everyone's well.

UPDATE: i figured out my whole online number thing. if i call you from skype, the number 678-500-9326 will show up and that's the number you can call me at as well. i have to be at my computer to answer, but i have a number now. so put it in your phones! this way you can screen your calls and decide whether or not to answer me!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

sorry about that...

well, i had to briefly close down the blog because a relative found it...i don't know how...either way, it's been an eventful week. a bad week, but an eventful one.

1) the other night, i went out to eat with patraig...we thought we'd go local instead of taking the bus into the main part of town. we just randomly picked something off of the menu and when it came out he said "oh..." and i said "what?" and he let me know that we had just ordered a meal of pig intestine and tongue. a really big plate of it. so i tried it. the tongue was actually pretty good. it tasted like turkey, but a bit more chewy...before i tried the intestine, i asked him how bad it was on a scale from 1-10 because he had had it before. he said a 7...i tried it, it was only a 4 though. i think the thought of it was the most alarming thing...i only ate 3 pieces, he ate 1...leaving us with about.....oh, a whole f***ing plate of pig instestines. so we got it to go and gave it to one of our american co-teachers who is a notorious stick in the mud and refuses to try any of the food. we told her it was sausage. we asked her how it was the next day and she said she liked it and had eaten about half of it. then we told her what it was. it was pretty great.

2) went to the hospital three times because of my arm. my bruise got really bad. the second visit, they mentioned something about an mri...luckily, i didn't need one and they said i'll be fine...

3) my job is horrible. i left a comment in a student's book saying they were very good and not very disruptive...the truth is that the kid is the most disruptive student i have, but we're not allowed to write anything negative, because we wouldn't want to upset the parents by letting them know that their children were bad at school. the mom called, completely read it as me saying that her kid is always very disruptive (which he is) and is very mad. i asked if she knew english...the answer was "not really" but my boss still believes her and thinks i wrote something horrible. so i told my boss "well look, i'm the one who speaks english fluently and she admittedly doesn't...so excuse me if this sounds like a misunderstanding" and she then told all the other teachers what i did and is expecting to find fault in whatever i wrote in order to push more classes on me (for which i expect overtime compensation for, since i'm working 45 hours a week as it is).

i don't know. it's just been stressful here. the days go by much more quickly now and that's nice. i'm kind of easing into it...and for the most part, the bosses have laid off me...it was just hard because i only had one arm and couldn't really be normal this week. it's really cold and windy! i don't get to walk or ride my bike as much...i'm getting a paid skype account soon so i'll be able to call people on their cell phones and stuff. ok, i'm going now. hope everyone is well.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

i hurt myself today

i went to itaewon today. i tripped and fell flat on my face, literally. i'm scraped up a little...but mostly i landed on my left elbow. i couldn't move it. so i went to the hospital. nothing's broken, i just really hurt my muscles. i have some pain pills for a few days and have to go back to the hospital tomorrow. it was only 150$ for the xrays, medicine, splint, and pain shot. amazing.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

you've got to be kind

went on a field trip yesterday to plant some flowers. there were rabbits!!! there were also some naughty children. one of the korean teachers named isaac is a really big target of the children. they love to jump on him and make him throw them in the air etc. so we decided to sic the kids on him and he turned it around on us, the other teachers...so it was kind of like tag except that it was everyone chasing one person instead of the other way around. i had also made the mistake of staying out until 2am the night before. so by the end of the trip, i was exhausted. notice the bags on the childrens' feet so that their shoes wouldn't get muddy. at some point while i was running down a hill i hit a really big patch of thick mud and lost my shoe completely. so it's time to go buy new shoes, for my vans are covered in mud and seem irreparably damaged.

so, as a warning, i will tell you that the following is going to be gross and will have some crude language in it. not for shock value, but because i'm an adult and call shit what it is: shit...not poo, or excrement, or leavings, etc.

so all of the teachers got a talk yesterday about how we can't flush out toilet paper down the toilet when we take shits. my question was "well, what do we do with it?" and the answer was "put it in the bin." apparently, us flushing our toilet paper caused shit to come out of the sinks downstairs and there are major plumbing problems now. so for the next year, i have to wipe my ass and put the toilet paper not in the toilet where it was intended to go, but in a tiny trash can, so that i can make my bathroom smell like shit all the time! what a wonderful place to shower...

now the language should resume to relative safety. i've been watching shows i've downloaded. so now i'm caught up with flight of the conchords. i started watching "eastbound and down" last night and it's so awesome. i love it. i've also got 4 seasons of "it's always sunny in philadelphia" downloaded, which from what i've seen and heard is a pretty good show.

i walked to town this morning to go buy some stuff. i bought a large wooden alto recorder from the music shop and i thought they were in keys, but apparently it's chromatic. so i'm pretty happy to have bought it. i then ventured over to the english bookstore. they mostly have learning materials for children, but they have a small section of popular novels as well as classics. i bought "the assassination of jesse james by the coward robert ford." i remember seeing the movie and thinking i needed to read the book, so i got that. on the way to the bookstore, i ran into one of my korea friends who was out w/one of her friends. they went to the bookstore with me and then we went out to lunch for kimchi tuna soup. it was...not so great, but my friend's friend was easily the prettiest girl i've seen in korea, and that's saying a lot since pretty much every girl is drop dead gorgeous (she was also chinese, not korean). it's not to say i even developed a fantasy crush on her, but it's like the leonard cohen thing about how even if you're not with a beautiful girl, her warmth is shared with everyone, etc.

after meeting up w/them, i went to a very large tree. this tree to be exact:

i sat and read for a while. i'm halfway through "God bless you, mr rosewater." by vonnegut. on the last page of chapter 7 i had a bit of a revelation. i was thinking "i'm about to read something and i know what i'm about to read." and lo and behold, i did read it. the thing i had read many times over had never had a context. i didn't know where it was from...but i sat beneath the tree of all seeds and read it for the first time on my own. it filled my eyes with tears and i closed the book. i walked home listening to joanna newsom. in a lot of ways, i came here to get away from things halfway around the world, but it turns out that i brought just enough stuff in my suitcase...it's not that i'm in any way trying to forget those things, why would i want to forget the best things? i don't, it's just that they've forgotten me.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

pictures of where i live

the above picture is titled "the yellow dust cometh." it was out pretty bad the other night but not as bad as it's going to get supposedly. it looked foggy, but under the unforgiving glare of my camera's flash, you can see the tiny granules of dirt floating in the air. i'll be buying some surgical masks tomorrow...no joke.

the above picture from left to right: kai, catharine, patraig, me. i met catharine my second day here and we bumped into her while we were going out to eat. patraig and kai assumed that she was my friend and invited her along...the truth is that she offered to be my friend and never followed through and this was the first time i've seen her since. they had quite a nice laugh at the perceived awkwardness of the situation when i explained this while she was in the bathroom.
this is me in front of a typical building. shops are on multiple floors and you have to walk through scary stairwells to discover what's in said building. this one has a club on the top floor for older business men. ladies get free drinks. the men try getting the women liquored up so that they can cop a feel basically. at least, that's how kai explained it to me.
the above picture is part of the main drag taken from a bridge. it goes on and on and looks like this. this is the section of town with the ex-pat bar. there are also a good number of restaurants. in suwon, at least 65% of businesses are restaurants (not exaggerating) and most of them just serve deep fried pork (bleh). there are sushi places and american places as well, but we americans have it very nice back home in terms of the diverse range of cuisine we have to choose from. this section of town is about 10 minutes by bike from me and so i go about every day. i need to buy a helmet though...i feel stupid wearing one and having to carry it around because no one else does...it's just that i had about 2 close calls tonight with cars not seeing me and me having to rapidly accelerate in order to avoid being hit.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

they can be cute sometimes

here are some videos of my classes. the first is my smart class. they actually behave...and the love flash cards...the second video is my homeroom class during lunch. they still don't understand that i don't speak korean...so they ask me the same question over and over and get to the point of almost crying...there's not a whole lot of substance to these videos, just a glimpse at my day to day...hope you enjoy? i'll post again later.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


new guitar!!! i played a few and liked this one the best, and it was one of the cheapest ones. the guy also gave me a free capo, strings, picks, and a gig bag. yay for guitar!

p.s. don't mind the unshowered picture of me.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


hey, i'm sick. it started on thursday and has gotten progressively worse. i need to see a doctor on monday. let's see...friday, i got off work early due to said sickness and i slept for a long time. then me and patraig took one of our korean co-teachers out to eat and for drinks. she's the only korean teacher we work with who speaks english and she's our age. she gave us her number last week and said she was going out w/people and that we should call her so we could meet up...we ended up not calling her and i brought it up in the middle of the week and she said that she had waited on us to call her and didn't go out...so we felt pretty bad. she's going to give me private korean lessons soonish (or at least she claims) in exchange for english writing/spelling lessons. we kept asking her to stay out w/us and she kept telling us she needed to go home...but she stayed out and ultimately around 3 or so she revealed that she had to go because she had another job on the weekends and had to be there at 11. why she didn't mention this until 3 is a mystery to me. we probably would not have let her drink as much as she did. while we were sitting down i looked over and saw some korean guys playing poker and i had her ask if they were playing texas hold 'em and was it for money? and so yes, and i was invited to play. so i did. i put in my 20,000w and was doing pretty well for a while...but ultimately, i hit the point at which i became too reckless and lost. but it was ok because i had left the people i came with and needed to get back to them.

today i went to dongdaemun w/patraig (pictured above) it was not as good as central seoul, but it was fun all the same. dongdaemun is a big shopping district and so there are a lot of giant skyscraper super malls but i found the random junk shops on the side streets much more interesting. if you got away from the main shopping area, there was basically a huge open air flee market that went around for miles. there were odd electronics, record players, watches, speakers, clothes, etc. there were so many things i wanted to get, but i could never send it all home.it was soooo cold though. the wind was pretty bad. there was ice anywhere there was shade...it certainly didn't help how i was feeling...but the great thing today was that the subway all the sudden made sense to me! i got a map and figured out how to do it! i know it's not a big deal, but i've never had subway access and so it's really intimidating initially. someone just told me that they've lived here for 10 months and still don't know how the bus system works though...oh well, time to sleep. will write people back tomorrow. i'm tired right now.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

but as it is, i'll dream of her tonight...

so the parents came and it was just as bad as i thought it would be. we had to go down to an assembly and stand in front of everyone and introduce ourselves with a microphone...they no doubt did not understand a word of what i said. i think maybe a couple of them speak a little english...but from what i'm told, no fluent speakers. they came into the class for 15 minutes and they were looooong minutes. i had the kids for about 2 hours before and we basically practiced those 15 minutes over and over. "sing the fish song!" and "what are these pictures of?" and "do you know how to shake hands, wave, smile, nod, etc?" and "oh, that didn't take up as much time as i thought it would, let's make an origami fox!" then we went to the bank and i opened an account but we didn't have time for me to make a deposit, so i have a card and account w/no money..."oh, it's easy," says the native korean speaker "just go in and deposit money some time." as if it were the most natural thing for me to walk into a foreign bank and do this w/out speaking a word of korean.

i realized that i haven't really listened to music for about a week. i charged my ipod last night and took a walk...it was great. i realized a few things: 1)the beatles are definitely the best band, not the kinks and 2) "help!" is a terribly underrated album! the song "i need you" alone is a forgotten gem and the song "i've just seen a face" is a classic for a reason...oh it's so good...on the way back from the megastore, where i failed to figure out which cleaning item was laundry detergent, i listened to "abbey road" and sang on the way home. surprisingly, i didn't get that many looks, but i don't have a car anymore and so i have to sing along to music at some point. i called it an early night tonight...i think i'm just going to have a beer and watch flight of the conchords and maybe some colbert report...i found that i can watch colbert online over here, though hulu and most other online viewing outlets remain locked in to the US. i need to buy a guitar soon. i can't stand not being able to play. i bought myself a nifty melodica or as they call it "air horn." it has about 2 1/2 octaves w/real keys and a big tube so you can blow into it with it sitting on your lap. it was about 18$ and well spent it was. hope everyone is well.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

all i wanna do is...BICYCLE!

hello again. let's see...new news. i guess last night i did some serious shopping and bought a lamp. that was a big purchase...it makes everything in my room more bearable. i can read at home now and i don't have to keep going out to find a place that's nice to read in. the kids have been horrible and the principals want us to plan lessons like we're at a private school but want us to discipline like we're at a playschool. the fact that they can't just come out and say that it's a business and they don't care if the kids learn or not really bothers me. it would save everyone so much trouble...i have a kid who falls asleep in 50% of our classes and so in her daily little book that i write comments in for the parents,i said it...but i'm apparently not supposed to write negative things about how children are brats in the school their parents are paying potentially half their income a month for. if i had a kid i was spending half my income on, i'd be sure they were learning...but i supposedly should only write good things, even if the child is the devil incarnate...and tomorrow we have the parents coming in to watch a class...i can only hope that the kids are more well behaved in the presence of their parents...

i'm listening to noel hart's album right now and i think it's pretty amazing. he did it all in a month. i should probably apply myself too and maybe i'd make something worth listening to as well. i guess buying a guitar is in order...but i shouldn't spend too much money right now because i bought a bike today. i don't quite understand the concept of the gears because things are in korean. so there's something i turn on the left and something i turn on the right...so yeah...it probably means something...but i bought it at the homeplus and it was 99,000 won, so about 66$! it's my early birthday present to myself. so i got it and took all the plastic stuff off and rode it home. it only took about 10 minutes instead of 30...so it's a really great thing to have because the town i live in is only 121 square km. so i could basically ride from one end of the town and back. so i'm excited about my newfound mobility. tomorrow evening is exploration time. i'm quite shocked that i rode as well as i did seeing as how i haven't really ridden one in a while. they're even letting me keep it in the basement so i don't have to worry about it getting stolen at night. huzzah! i also splurged tonight and didn't eat korean food. i know, i know. i went and got a pepperoni pizza from a place down the block called "i love pizza." i was skeptical certainly...it was about 4$ for a freshly made medium size pizza and so i went for it. surprisingly, it was pretty great. not much to speak of in terms of sauce...there wasn't really any...and the pepperonis didn't look red, they looked more like ham, but they tasted like pepperonis...it hit the spot and not the wallet. there's a papa john's, but the prices are astronomical. like 22$ for a pepperoni pizza! oh well, i cheated. maybe it's okay if i have american food once a week. the lunches at school are just devolving rapidly...even the other guy who's interested in trying the food can't stand it anymore. cold soup is the real killer. they have some pretty phenomenal salad in korea that uses yogurt as the dressing and i can't believe they don't do this in america. i eat salad almost every meal now because of this! oh! i almost forgot!!! funniest thing in the world...so one of the teachers hired with me is what i would call a stereotypical american...i mean, this is what people must think we all are...but i found out from patraig that he apparently BROUGHT MEAT FROM AMERICA IN HIS LUGGAGE!!!!!!!!!!!!! oh my goodness, i thought i could've just died right then. it makes me hate him a little...but it's really funny to me...you don't understand...i'm a big guy, but he has me by at least 100lbs...and he deep freezed meat and kept it in a cooler during his 18 hour flight because i guess he thought they only eat dogs and tiger penises over here or something...

ok, well, i'm going to go now. i have downloaded flight of the conchords which demands to be watched. write me back, jerks.

Monday, March 9, 2009

but i'm a lucky guy...

surprise, i have all the parents coming to observe a class tomorrow. i was told yesterday to plan something i can do with all of them...the parents are such a big deal. they come and watch the cctv feeds of their kids in class...i hope they know what monsters they are. oh well. i have to go teach now. i'm hoping that they will have something to eat for lunch other than rice, radish, mystery soup, and kimchi. ok, bye bye.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

hardcore seoul

so i went to seoul yesterday with a guy from florida i met at the bar. said guy is straight edge/vegan and likes hardcore music for some reason...so i left my apartment and met up with him at 1pm to go to gangnam and then to central seoul. gangnam is the "manhattan of seoul." i can see that...we took a bus and he helped me figure out how to get an electronic bus card that i load money on and swipe so i don't have to have correct change every time. from there we took a series of subways, which i cannot keep straight, and arrived in hongde (spelling?). we walked through a nifty part of town with lots of touristy types. apparently there are about 6 universities in this place and so there are nothing but college kids. we went to a vegan restaurant. they had some weird looping video called "supreme master tv" and they kept showing this woman who owns the restaurants and they call her "supreme master." it's all about being vegan...but i didn't get the whole "supreme master" thing...it was pretty good food. i'm putting pictures up of it. my favorite was in the menu where it says "non-alcoholic bear." i would certainly hate to see an alcoholic bear, what a sad and angry picture.

after that we headed to a hardcore show to meet his friends. there were other westerners i met, but i most likely won't see them again, apparently that's how it goes anyway. i explained to them that i didn't like hardcore very much and they all seemed very disappointed. there were a lot of people at the show, i'd say about 100 or more in a little basement venue, total fire hazard. mostly koreans, but about 20 westerners and many of the koreans spoke some english and would strike up conversation from time to time. here's a video of one of the bands:

we stayed late and freaked out about the buses...you see, while gangnam might be the "manhattan of seoul" everything shuts down at 11. so we got on the last subway bus at 5 till 11 and rode that for about 20 minutes. everyone has little portable televisions or nintendo ds's...and people spit on the floor of the subway car...we ran to our bus stop, my pants constantly threatening to fall down (i enlisted the aid of a belt today), and there was a long line...so we waited and got on, but we had to stand for 45 minutes. it was rough because we'd been on our feet all day. i got home around 12:30 and tried to get a cab, but no one would give me a ride. i was really tired and just wanted to be home, and i had money...but 4 cabs refused to take me. so i walked 2 miles home...someone told me today that a lot of times cabbies will refuse rides to westerners...so that was no fun, but the day was pretty great all in all. i got home and watched lost...you can't watch it here on the abc website...so i freaked out and finally found lost-tv.info...man, that episode was goofy...it was great, i'm glad...but yeah, it was crazy ridiculous...i just don't want lost to pull a twin peaks and turn into a romance near the end of its course...what else...today i saw the watchmen. i loved it, though i thought the score music was a bit cheesy...the ambient chord and the soulful guitar stuff...maybe the sex scene was a bit too long and graphic, but overall i was blown away and thought the actors did really great jobs. the theater was great too. big giant seats. it was about 4.30$ to see a movie and the craziest thing was that you had to pick your seats in advance...there is assigned seating...that was weird, but i chose wisely. i did want there to be a giant squid though...sigh...then i ate at a corner shop, i had some udon and fried rice...so i've been a vegetarian all weekend. aren't you proud of me?

Friday, March 6, 2009

more americans

i met a few americans last night at an ex-pat bar. one of them is this shy straight edge guy from florida who goes to the bar with his friends to be social. tonight, he's taking me to seoul to go see a hardcore show. so that should be good. fancy beer is expensive here. a single duvel cost about 11,000w, so about 6.50$.

last night, me and some people went to the food court at the homeplus and bought food...they have these models to show you what you're going to get, and the one i wanted had beef or chicken and so i copied down the number and the hangul for "chicken" and they lady looked at me strangely. so when i got my food, i realized that it was chicken or beef, it was chicken and beef. so i got the following: fried rice omelette with chicken, fried rice omelette with beef, two pork cutlets, two bowls of soup, one salad, bowl of radishes, kimchi, and french fries. it was only 6$. the rice omelettes were pretty spectacular. i was a bit embarrassed, in no way did i need that much food, so my co teachers helped me eat some and we wasted a good bit. i took the bus and a cab for the first time. i don't know why, but my tolerance is incredibly low now and it doesn't take much for me to have had "too much." last night was one of those cases. so it was a desperate situation, we left the bar around 3am and someone told us that buses close down at midnight...so we were planning on walking 30 minutes home in the cold while drunk. luckily we found the taxi and it was only 2$ for the ride.

drunk korean people like to all put their arms around each other and stumble around. it's cute.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

computer charge achieved!

so i have a lot to discuss. first off, i love south korea. secondly, my job is horrible. i teach 4-7 year olds. in a month there will be older kids, but not yet...i have currently been "making lesson plans" for the last 3 hours, but i have really been surfing the internet because lesson plans go out the window as soon as you realize that your real job is baby-sitting. 4 year olds barely know their own language, much less a foreign ones. there's some dodgy stuff about how much i actually work as well. i'm getting paid to teach 30 hours a week and after 30, i get overtime...so they make sure that you never "teach" more than 6 classes a day, 5 days a week...but that doesn't mean i shouldn't be here at 9am. you see, i have to be there to greet the kids off the bus...then at 9:30, i have breakfast with them. this is usually some rice cakes or a muffin or a porridge, etc. from 10-11 i teach, 11-12 i teach, and then i have my "lunch break" which consists of me eating with and supervising the children in my classroom. 12:40-1:40 i have a class and then from 1:40-2:40. till about 3 i'm helping the kids get ready for the bus. from then till 6:30 i'm making lesson plans. but they don't know what i'm saying still and it's pretty discouraging. you know? it's sort of devistating also because i'm constantly under surveillance. if it's not one of the korean teachers watching me from out the window, then it's the parents or my bosses watching me on the CCTV which is in every classroom!!! that makes me so nervous, and so i'm always going because someone is always watching and by 12 i just want to collapse. my voice is almost gone. i never lose my voice...i guess that's because i've never had to shout this much. initially, i was taken aside a few times and told that i was being too nice to the children and that they wouldn't respect me. so i've been getting progressively meaner and i think i understand what jackie told me about discipline. here's a picture of when my kids decided to hide under the table with a pink gorilla:

regardless, this is the boring stuff. the real reason i'm here is not to teach children, it is to live in another country (and to make money). so let's hear about that:

the city i live in is called Suwon. i love it here. it's about a 10 or 15 minute cab ride to Seoul. i'm afraid to use the taxi right now, so i walk everywhere. the food is pretty amazing so far. i don't like the two americans who showed up with me, but i do like another teacher who works here named patraig. he's from scotland and on the second night he came and asked if i wanted to have a beer. ultimately, we drank about 3 each and talked for a few hours. the only beer they have available that i like is hoegaarden and it's really expensive. a four pack is about 6$. they have asahi as well and that's cheap. a pack of dunhill cigarettes cost less than 2$ and over there in the states, the same pack runs around 5.50$ or 6$.

westerners don't talk to you if they see you. but i don't talk to them either, so they're probably blogging about how a red headed bearded man saw them and didn't acknowledge them...i did meet some westerners tonight in a bout of desperation. everything is recycled. so you have different colored bags for different things...but i couldn't find any trash bags all week. so i asked a girl from oregon and she told me and helped me with some other things. i told her it was my first week and she said "oh! do you need friends?" so we swapped emails and hopefully i will have made my second friend in korea! because of the recycling thing, there are no public trashcans on the sidewalks anywhere. if you make waste, you either throw it on the ground or take it home. most people throw it on the ground.

koreans are funny so far. today, one of the principals asked me to shave my beard because she thought it would make me more handsome. i told her that she had seen a picture of me before i was hired and that i turned down another job that wanted me to shave (lie). i agreed to keep it close, but it's a cultural thing and she couldn't just say she didn't like it or that koreans didn't like it or whatever. korean men all look smarter and wiser than i will ever be. they wear glasses and smoke in their business suits. the young men are all incredibly hip for the most part, at least by what we would consider "hip." but it's the normal thing over here, so they probably have some crazy "hip" that i don't even know about. the korean women are incredibly gorgeous. even the ugly ones are still hot in some way. the problem is that all of the girls are soooo pretty, but no older women are. i can't figure this out still...but surely, these old women used to be young and these young women will be old...the thing i've said is that korean girls are beautiful and then at the age of 35, they get a man's haircut so that they will no longer have to endure the shame of leering western eyes.

ah, communication barrier. it's tough. people keep talking to you even though you obviously can't speak korean. i'm going to try learning soon. but last night, i went out with patraig for chicken and we ordered cokes. she even repeated what we said: "coca cola." and so it was really funny when we were brought beer. i specifically said to patraig that i wanted coke because i don't want to drink beer all the time. oh well.

i have more to say, but this is a long post already. i bought one of the "brick" transformers and it seems to be working right now. it was about 30,000 won (20$)...you take off 3 zeros and then take 2/3 of that and that's how many dollars it is...at least, that's how i've understood it. alright, i'm going to go, but please tell me if there are subjects i should write on specifically. i will put up more pictures at some point. i'm just tired right now and need to clean my room up a bit more. goodnight...oh, and send me emails: holding.rabbits@gmail.com

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

i may not be able to talk long. my computer is running out of battery and i have blown up THREE converters. they blow up for no reason. they should all technically work...maybe not the first one i bought, but anyway...i'm afraid it will destroy my computer. the plugs here are 220 or 240 or something...either way, america is 110v, so i have to get down converters. no problem, i buy them...my computer plug says 110-250v and so i was told all i need was a converter, so i got the right one. this was confirmed by many a person...so now i'm almost out of battery life and i have the light as dim as it will go on the screen...that leaves me with 2.5 hours of life left. please help me figure this out since i won't be able to look it up very much and i don't even have an address right now...so i can't order anything to be sent. so i might not post for a while until i can figure this stuff out, just let me know what i should if you could be so kind.

currently reading: palm sunday by kurt vonnegut, it's a collection of essays, interviews, and speeches and is, as always, very insightful. i have only 20 books with me and so perhaps when these are done you can send me more??? hopefully. thanks.

simon, i will eventually write you guys. i just can't charge the computer right now and i'm freaking out about it. it's a problem.

lee, i am 14 hours ahead of you.

pete, yes, teaching is sort of crazy, especially when the kids barely know their own language (some of them are but 3 years old). i will check out m. ward when i have my charging problem fixed.

rachel, had 2 more electrocutions, making that a trilogy of electrocutions. nope, sorry, no one can take that phrase, that's the name of my first korea album, i've just decided it. so yes,there's my first self fulfilling prophecy.

wesley, i replied in the comments of last post

jackie, you have no doubt gotten my frantic emails.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

my ducklings

so much has happened in a single day and i have such a small amount of time to write. i don't currently have the internet and so i'm at my job. i left the airport on saturday morning at 8:45am and arrived in seoul at 5:45pm on sunday and the craziest thing was that there was no night. it was daylight the whole trip. it wasn't a literal day but still...it was about 20 hours of daylight. i got here and really wanted to sleep but i guess the school decided i needed to eat even though i insisted that i didn't (i really didn't). so we went to this crazy meal which i should've taken a picture of. it was massive. i tried so many bizarre things. kimchi, however, is one of the grosser things i've ever eaten. so many spicy foods. i also ate an entire salad for the first time. isn't that crazy? i'm a changed man. metal chopsticks are harder to use than wooden ones. let's see...what else?

my apartment is phenomenal. i love it. there are HEATED FLOORS! did you hear that america? heated floors. think about that. the shower is a bizarre free floating contraption and it just makes everything wet...but that's ok apparently. i have a laundry room that i'm going to record in. i also go in there to open my window and smoke. my biggest fear is that i will forget the code to my apartment and room. i don't have any keys. i just punch in numbers and it does it. the other two teachers who joined are idiots...sorry, i know that's negative...but one curses in from of the kids...one refuses to eat korean food and was talking about how she heard there was a papa john's. i woke up this morning and walked around for a few hours. i bought grape juice. i found out that there are about 3 convenience stores and 12 restaurants within a square block of me. i have pictures but i haven't loaded any on the new computer because i don't have the proper converters. i found this out when i received a powerful electric jolt from my hair dryer which coincided with a loud pop and some black resin on my fingers. it scared the life out of me.

the kids are adorable, but they do not know any english. i teach kids who are 5 years old. they are really cute...and they warmed up to me eventually, but one cried. i never found out why; she was removed. i was told i would leave around lunch time. it's now about 4:30pm and i don't know why i'm still here. i found out that i basically work 12 hour days. there is stuff that i have to do which i have no time for when i am here. so that's for home. i need to continue settling in and unpacking. i need to get some of those converters...i may have to get some sent...the one i bought was FOR koreans leaving the country, not for americans coming in. =( i was also told i live 15 minutes by foot from school...i must live at least 2 or 3 miles away. it took about 10 minutes to drive here. i am excited though. i don't know what i'm going to do for dinner. i think i will fast for the evening and just go to bed.

i miss you all and while i'm excited, this was a horrible mistake.=) well, not really, but i am going to regret not being there. ok, i need to go so that i will have battery left over the next few days. i can only make my screen so dim. alright, i'll post pictures soon. bye bye.