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: firstname.lastname@example.org