Thursday, December 4, 2008


YO READERS (basically my parents and brother),

Sorry I haven't written anything in a looong looooong while, but if you have been following at all, I have been away and busy for a couple of months since I've left Korea. I just recently got back into New York after back packing through Europe. Knowing I'm going to be home for more than 2 weeks, and then actually being home is a weird feeling. I feel like I do nothing because I have been running around for the last year and months. Now I'm home and today I had to go to Jury Duty. It doesn't get much worse than that...except for the dentist I'll have to go to in a couple of days. So basically I just sit around and try to plan stuff to do but nobody does stuff. So here I am, waiting to go back to Korea or find someone who likes to enjoy life a little. Of course I'm over-exaggerating, but that is what it feels like for me to sit still. Hence, my interest in writing for my blog multiplied like bunnies on MDMA after the big man bunny was in bunny prison for 17 months with a roommate named Thumper.

While away, don't worry. I took notes and wrote a half ass journal of most of the shit that I did, which I just now realized I can use to write stuff here. Swear...I thought about you guys. Of course I can't write it all in this one post right now because I have neither the time nor the want to do it, but what I will do is the rundown (awesome movie) of what you will see later on or even...'look forward to,' if I dare.

First was Prague- fun, bone church

Poland- salt mines and Auschwitz. As well as a split train.

Slovakia- 8 Hour hike. Came with snow.

Hungary- Budapest me baby. Mom is wanted in Hungary.

Austria- Hostel sucked, stayed with locals.

Germany- Oktoberfest (or the 2 seconds I remember of it), Berlin, a train ride to remember.

Slovenia- 1st Couch Surfed, more locals, salsa dancing, tree climbing, bare foot Australian.

Croatia- Plitvice lakes, awesome Hvar island, Split, Dubrovnik. MAD AUSSIES. ANDDDD the Aqua Deuce TM.

Montenegro- Pretended I was James Bond and then did NOTHING!

Italy- Naples:pizza, Pompeii:ruins, Rome:Vatican, Florence:BaseCamp, CINQUE TERRE (hiking heaven/beach heaven).

SWITZERLAND- My favorite. Never a dull moment with awesome people. Canyoning, Bungee, Helidive.

Spain- 27 hrs of trains. Madrid 2 night stop over. Expo cannabis with the Grow Shop Spaniard.

Portugal (A close 2nd to Switz)- Lisbon and Porto. Couch surfing part deux w/ Miguel and the 2 German couch surfers. Blew up a stove, experienced Fado, went to judo with champs, got beat up by said champs, and an obscene amount more.

France- Paris for a couple hours. Eh

Belgium- Stayed in Bruges 1 night. Tried the best beer (voted) for 2008 that is brewed by monks in a well as many more local beers. Hitch hiked to the train station and went to....

HOLLAND- Amsterdam. Enough said.

Sounds like fun right? You have NO idea. I'll be writing more frequently now. I go back to Korea in February. Hopefully I'll be doing stuff in New York that is worthy of writing about. Keep reading. Ciao. NOW LET'S GO BUNGEE JUMPING!

Monday, July 14, 2008

He rocked out with his....

This weekend was the Bor Yeong Mud Festival. It is exactly what it sounds like. Lot's of mud pits and mud games set right up on the beach. It was the coolest thing in Korea hands down. There were so many Koreans and foreigners alike, all drinking, all getting muddy, and all having a huge royal rumble where ever there was mud. It was an understanding we all had that anyone who was there could tackle anyone else and nobody could get mad. Everyone is cut up and bruised for this past weekend, even a little sun burned too. The craziest of times happened saturday night AFTER the all day debauchery. It happened at 6 am while I was sleeping in a room with 2 girls and 4 other dudes. We usually stay at these places called min baks. They give you a mat and a blanket and you sleep on the floor in a decent sized room. Sat morning at like 6am I opened my eyes because somebody kept getting too close to me and hitting my feet and shit. When I fell asleep I was next to my friend nicole and nicole was next to art...who was next to tyler who was next to scott...I was in the corner against the wall. So here I am getting poked and I was expecting to see Nicole next to me. When I looked over it was a guy, I rolled back and then did a double take. I looked again and I realized that he wasn't wearing pants or underwear. His dink was just hanging out. Now, I knew Tyler went to sleep the same time I did but I guessed he got up and went back out and got really drunk and came back and got naked (no offense ty, but if I HAD to choose someone for that to happen to...). I started to tap him and say Tyler TYLER. Then all of a sudden I hear Tyler from the OTHER side of Art say 'what?' I paused, then finally said, "Then who the fuck is this?" Tyler sat up and I woke my friend Rob, who is this Canada's most dangerous man (really just a big fluffy kitten of a guy) and then we woke the naked guy up and said get the fuck out. He wouldn't get out, he actually said "no!" so we had to drag him out. Just in a shirt with his dong out, fucking gross. Then we went back in our room. Rob realized that we had friends who were girls in the next room and that he might have just went in there so we went over to that room and my friend was brushing his teeth. I asked him if there was anyone in there that wasn't suppose to be in there...namely a naked guy. He said no, we walked back to our room and he called to us to wait. He WAS in the other room. We went right in and dragged him out again. He tried to go into ANOTHER one of our friends rooms someone yelled at him. He ran out the emergency exit and we heard someone yelling 'hey hey hey' so we ran outside to look and the naked guy was hiding behind a van. We were sooo dumbfounded by this...he took off running. We found out when we went back in that he pissed on the floor of the second room he went into. I couldn't go back to sleep so I just got my shit together and came home. FUcking ridiculous!!!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The first loser is still pretty awesome

I have been busy every weekend for about 2 1/2 months. I have had stuff to do on EVERY day. Most of it was practicing for that world cup stadium show, then after that it was 2 weekends of fun and then right back into practicing and doing so much shit. I was also training for the tournament that I had this past weekend. So basically we were sparring every other day at practice. This tournament was a follow up from the one that was in the video. If you didn't watch the video it was the city championship. Anyone could enter. I ended up getting a medal and all I had to do was lose one fight. I still got robbed in the judging but read the story if you want to know the deal. THIS TOURNAMENT was the follow up to that one. From city championships next is national. Korea is so small so there is no regionals or anything in between. State to national in one jump. You could only get into this one if you won a medal at the city tournaments. It's that or 1-4th place...One or the other. Anywho it was the top people in the country for Hapkido. I was lucky enough to be able to go. I didn't want to have to make weight again, I didn't have as much time to do it in, so I decided to fight SUPER heavy weight. It's 85kg's and up. I was under that but not too far...most of these guys were a lot bigger than the average Korean. All of them were taller then me and they had some weight to them. No little skinny persons in my weight class. I thought that was good because if they are bigger it's a good chance that they are slower.

The Saturday was just the exhibition show and Sunday was going to be the day for fighting. I didn't practice once with the exhibition team that was performing because I was busy, but they told me that I would have one chance to practice with them. He explained it in theory as best he could. It was pretty much the same as the other times so I could get it in one shot i'm sure. The time came to get on the mat and I did what I thought was the routine and pretended like it was the real thing. I got it all right and asked when the actual contest would be. After about 20 mins of trying to clear up what my teammates were saying to me I found out that the 'practice' was actually the contest. Nobody told me. I'm glad that I didn't decide to walk through a part of it like I do in practices instead of actually doing it. That would have sucked.

I was surprised about that little misunderstanding that just happened. I had a killer headache for some reason. I was glad to be done for the day. WRONG. I was then told to get ready for fighting. I thought it was on know...kinda like what they said before. Yeah, right. I started warming up and it was obvious I was in no mood for this. After about 2 hrs of waiting the judges said there wasn't enough time to do the super heavy weight division. They would do it tomorrow and I would get more annoyed at first, and then realize that I was lucky because I would have not done as well as I could.

Next day we went in and I started stretching. Warmed up and had my match. Because I had one a medal at the last tourny I was put ahead of the pack a little bit. I finally had my fight and I won that one 5 to 1 I think. I did kick him in the balls really hard with this fancy spinning back kick after a lovely side kick fake...but I was aiming for his waist and he decided he wanted to try to kick me and my foot went straight into his nads. He was down for about a min. I got 2 points though. A couple of take downs later I was up and the match ended. WINNER. Next good match was the final match. If I won this it's a gold. It was a 2 round fight cause it was the finals. I'm not really sure how it went down but I remember getting kick in the face right away. Then I got angry and scored 2 points somehow. At the end of the first round it was 2-2 so he got another point somehow somewhere. Then the second round started and I went to fake so he would kick and I would catch his leg and knock him down. I faked, he kicked, but I missed the leg but tried to take him down. We fell but I didn't score because it was messy as hell. I knew the round was almost over and he was up a point. I was going to go right after him and try to score if I can. He wasn't going to move in cause it was almost over. If he scored when I tried to get him oh well, he would have still won. The ref separated us and said ready, I got ready to kick as fast as I could, GO! As soon as he said that the judges threw a towel on the mat, out of time. 3-2 I lost. But that means I got second place in the tournament. Some say second place is the first loser which could be true. But it's cool as shit to be a loser when you got the silver medal in the Korean national Hapkido tournament. SWEET.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Nobemver 23th

I have the funniest students. The things they say are some of the funniest things I have ever heard. It's not so much what they say as how they say it and what they really mean by it. They all tell me i'm handsome on a daily basis. It's not so much funny as it is true, but it's still nice. Today one of my students learned a new word while at home. The word 'monkey.' He wanted to use it so badly that he put it together with the only sentence he knew. So I walk into class and he says "teacher, you look like a monkey." Both the students and myself were cracking up. I told him that wasn't very nice and he say "sorry, you're a handsome monkey." I needed about 2 mins to myself before I started the class. Even funnier is one of my 6 students for telephone english. Being able to see my students and act stuff out is imperetive for understanding what the hell i'm saying sometimes. For example, how are you suppose to show them how to make an 'TH' sound if they can't see the shape of your mouth? Even explaining things such as, tiny is the same thing as small. But what if they don't know what small is? You have to act it out. I think you understand now.

One of my telephone english students i'm almost positive can't even read. If she can, she doesn't. I get on the phone with 5 students and the 6th is always my favorite. She is the loudest speaker. Obviously not shy, but she also obviously doesn't have any clue what's going on. She is just always so happy to speak to me. And by speak I mean try to repeat what I say. When she does repeat I can tell she isn't reading the book and only trying to say what I just said by memory. Now imagine hearing someone speak in slavic and then trying to repeat exactly what you heard without knowing how to read it or understand it. It doesn't work to well. SOOOO this morning was a dialogue about swimming. One of the sentences was, "I go swimming three times a week." This girl spits out "I glow slim free week." This is a 1/2 page dialogue with many more sentences than just that. I have to literally hold my mouth shut so she doesn't hear me laughing. I think she knows though because she giggles too. She still repeats everything though. She was trying to say the word 'sure' so I said to her stop (which is the only word she understands besides good bye) and I said "sure SH sound sh" and of course what do I get back but "sir sh hound sir." Funny kid.

My other telephone english student is a kid I like to call James. He is the only boy out of all 6. I always try to imagine what this kid looks like. When he gets on the phone he has this raspy whispering voice. It's either he is shy or he has a retarded voice. He sounds like an 80 year old man that is slowly dying.


This past weekend, when I came back from Seoul, I drove down to my friends apt. At red lights I usually wiggle between the cars to get in the front of all of them so that cars don't hit me from behind. It's much safer to be behind a stopped car than one that MIGHT stop. Plus it's not illegal so why not. The lights here are a little different. The second one turns red the other turns green. There are no pauses. So when taking off at a green light you have to make sure no one is trying to skip the yellow...or the red.
I got to a red light, and next to me pulls up an old man (about 70) without a helmet on a motorcycle that was about the same age as him. This kind of man is what Jerry Seinfeld would describe as someone who is too old to check their mirrors when backing up so they just do it without looking.

This man see's the green light and starts to go. I'm beeping my horn desperatly because I see something he doesn't. A car coming across the intersection from left to right. Luckly for him he wasn't a speed demon or else he would have been dead. He was going just slow enough so that HE hit the CAR. It was timed just perfectly or else he would have been dead. The dude got flung off his bike and smacked his head on the pavement. I pulled over and started to stop traffic, the car that kinda hit him but got hit instead pulled over too and came out. The old man was sitting up and rubbing the back of his head. I dialed 119 (911 but oppostie out here. I think is has something to do with being on the opposite side of the world) but then hung up because I realized 2 things. 1) I can't tell the opperator where we are or what happened and 2) When the cops get here they will realize that I myself don't have a license plate. I watched as the lady that was in the car called, and I made sure he got to the side of the road....THEN I TOOK OFF!

What a day that was.

World Cup Style

The Daegu city exhibition team had it's big event...finally. We (meaning about 50 good people and another 200 decent kids) have been practicing every weekend for 2 months to put together a kick ass routine. Why would we do that you ask? Because the coordinators for the "festival of Korean sports for all" wanted a hapkido demonstration to start out the festival. The festival was being held at the world cup stadium. It's a huge stadium where they usually have the soccer games. I wasn't sure what to expect when we got there but that is a normal part of my everyday life. I haven't been sure about what is going to happen ever for the last 9 months. Anyway we practiced a lot and finally a week before the festival we got to practice on the actual field. Then the next week my school gave me thursday and friday off for a full day of practice and then the show.

I was priveledged enough to be in the center for the main part of the performance. I was 1 of 6 doing specialty defensive shit and speciatly "falling." First we would do some fancy jumping into a laying down position. Example, I did some fancy back flip with a twist and had to land on my side. Wasn't that bad on grass. One little cute kid was doing more advanced wrist defense. One chick was doing defense using fans, and I was doing knife defense. The first time we did it on the field there was nothing but grass under us. Then we came in thursday and there was this huge wooden stage in the middle of the field. I thought we practiced. My partner and I do the same jump, and we are on the same wood. We both did it on the command and at the same time I yelled SHIT! in english and he yelled the equivalent in Korean. It hurt like hell. I wacked my ankle bone, the side of my foot, my already hurt elbow, and my hip on the hard wood. That kinda gave me a warning of how much that part of the show is going to suck.

After the first 11 hour day of practice I felt like I was going to die. Luckly the next day was only a little practice and then the show. The second day started out like the first...then before I knew it we were lining up to go on. The stadium wasn't that packed but there were still like 10,000 people there. We came out and started up. There were two big screens at the place, apparently I was on them a lot. Being the only white kid i'm kinda recongnizable. When we were done THE CROWD WENT WILD. It was so cool. After the whole thing we sat in the audience to watch the rest of the festival. All sports teams and stuff that had to do with sports came out and walked in a circle around the track. There were huge floats and fireworks coming out of everywhere. I was actually impressed with how big this festival was. I thought it was just some bullshit that we were doing. It turned out to be a packed event. After the whole sports team thing there were a number of Korean singers that came out. They were really popular but of course I had no idea who they were. After the first or second act I really wanted to leave. I didn't know the songs and I was crazy tired. But we stayed till the end because the kids were having a blast. Finally we got to go home. I took a shower, where I almost fell asleep standing up, and then passed out in bed. It was over.

Monday, May 19, 2008

A good idea

Today I was going into my 3rd class. Right before lunch and I saw the weirdest thing. There was a student on their knees in front of some lady in a white coat checking in their mouth. The rest of the class was sitting at their desks quietly (which is weird in itself) as the teacher was looking on behind the lady in the white coat sitting down. I looked in with a puzzeled look as my co-teacher was getting worried that she would have to reschedule the classes. One of my moron students looks at me with a huge idiot smile and makes a brushing motion. It turned out that my first assumption...well second one actually, was correct. The dentist was visiting school. My first assumption when seeing a child kneeling in front of a grown up is not as...clean I suppose. If you still haven't gotten it here is a short anecdote.

-When I was 15 years I told my father I had an oral exam the next day in class. His only advice to me was to open my mouth and relax my jaw, I should do fine.-

If you were wondering, that story wasn't why this post is called "A good idea." The only thing regarding medical care in school that I can recall is getting a shot during my elementary levels because some kid had some sickness that was some kind of contagious. But imagine if America would do something like this. It's obvious, and sad, that not every family has health care. Thinking about the grown-ups it's sad, but whatever. Percentage wise, and common sense wise, the adult has a greater chance to get a job that has health care. And even if they don't would you rather see an adult suffer or a child? The child never did anything wrong except to have a parent who couldn't get them health care. I'm not bashing the less fortunate, i'm simply speaking with out that little coating of sugar we hear so much about. Now imagine if the American government could work out some kind of deal with health care providers. This deal would make sure to send doctors and dentists to all the public schools at least one time a year and provide much needed check ups. What if they were to find something? Yes it's still expensive to fix the problem that the check up found. But at least now they will know there is something wrong. If it's a minor problem the doctor/dentist/health care professional can fix it right there. If more serious...see my next idea

Let's imagine something even better. Free health care for every child in public school. There has to be some way to work out a deal to make that happen. First taking the child out of the equation for employers will make health care cheaper for the employee. I think it would also make it cheaper for the employer. Businesses big or small would have to spend less money on health care because they wouldn't have to cover the whole family, only the worker and maybe their spouses.

I wrote all this without doing any research or knowing anything about the subject really. All I know is that Korea did something I have't seen in America. And bringing a doctor or dentist to school to check up on the kids is never a bad thing...unless the doctor was formerly a priest.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Life in general

Been practicing for this hapkido thing. I started seeing signs for "Daegu sports for all festival" around town. On the sign was Daegu gwang yuk she she bum dan which is the team that I am on. That was cool to be able to see that. Every weekend we practice. Last weekend we practiced outside in this park and we had a crowd around us. I went to do my jump dive roll thing. It was over 14 people, but I didn't have enough speed and I landed on the last dude that was kneeling down and bounced off and landed on my back. Somehow the only thing I hurt was my ankle. I took it easy the rest of the day. In addition to this show we have to do this stupid dance. It's some hapkido punch move dance but it's still not that fun. It's the same thing over and over again for like 20 mins.

This weekend was a long one though, and I made it even longer. My wisdom teeth are acting up and my face is swollen so i'm going to the dentist today after I took the day off. 10 sick days to go before i'm out. I plan on using all of them, but strategically. So in 20 mins i'm going to the dentist to find out what the deal with my wisdom teeth is and then I need to buy a can opener for the tuna fish I bought a week ago and just tried to make last night...but couldn't open.

This weekend I got a 4 day vacation coming up so I wanna hit a beach town if I don't go to seoul for a job interview. Might be getting a university job. Hope I do it's a sick deal. Keep ya'll updated.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

just another video

Another video of my friends birthday.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Hapkido fight

This was my first fight. My opponent happened to be a 3rd dan black belt. My kwan jang nim was yelling at the t.v screen when I played this for him. There were two obvious points I should have gotten, and the other guy got 1 or 2 too many. I probably would have lost anyway which isn't a problem for my first time against someone with a lot of skill...but it really pissed me off that the ref didn't give me any points whatsoever. I land a left side kick to the guys pad. And one of those take downs was clean a fast. Like I said, not one point. Oh well. There WILL be a next time. Watch for yourselves.

i'm in the black

The Daegu City Hapkido Exhibition Team

This is one of the things I did this past sunday. I had the dive roll competition (gold medal, in this video there are 13 people on the floor when I dive, HOT), this exhibition show, and my first Hapkido fight which I will be posting soon.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

My days

My days always start the same. I wake up, which is a good thing, brush my teeth and eat lunch. I get on my motorcycle and ride to school. When I get there all the students are outside of the side door changing their shoes into their slippers for school. There is basically a driveway that goes around the side and the steps right there connecting it. There are probably about 50 students outside the door blocking the entire driveway every morning at the time I get into school. The first task is to navigate through the main gates of the school with all the parents stopping short in their cars and double parking. It's a hell of a path to make my way through when there is 2 tons of steel moving erratically all over the place. Once I get through the main gate and the little patches of midget kids I get to the packed driveway. I beep my horn a couple of times and they hear my motorcycle. The first couple of times I did this they just looked up and got so excited that I was there and they saw me all I would see were little black eyes staring me down and huge smiles all yelling "JAY-KUH TEACHER!!" After a couple of weeks they finally got the idea that I wasn't beeping to say hi to them, but to get through them. After that realization it became clock work. I would beep, and just like Moses I would part the sea. Except this wasn't the red sea, this was the Korean sea...and it wasn't water but children. When I beep some of them would be changing their shoes and literally grab them before they could put them on and dive out of my way. Then from the ground they would still wave and yell hello to me. No matter what I do the saying hello part will never go away. Even if I walk into the bathroom to wash my hands and the little kids are peeing, they will turn towards me and say hello. One kid even went to wave to me and ended up peeing on himself because he forgot he was doing something. I wish they had a teachers bathroom. The urinals are in plain view of the hallway and the classroom across from the bath room. I try to pee when there will be no children there like during class. There is a sliding door that closes, but when the kids come in to use the bathroom they open the door and leave the door open. When they leave the don't close the door either. You can imagine how weird it was to be peeing during class and have a kid walk in to begin take this same situation but have that student leave the sliding door open while other students and teachers are walking by, then come right up next to you and start peeing when the rest of the urinals are not occupied just so he can say hello and tell his friends he pissed next to the way gook (foreigner). SSSSOOOOO after I park my bike and a couple more kids dodge me driving, I walk up to my office and start my day. My favorite days are when I get my 5th graders. I love them. I hate my 6th grade but I don't work so hard for them.

The last two days I had no class cause my 6th graders went on a 2 day field trip. Tomorrow there is some election so there is no school. I have Hapkido practice early in the morning though so it's the same as waking up for school. Bummer. The reason I have Hapkido practice is because I made it onto the Daegu city exhibition team. We have a show at the world cup stadium May 23rd so we have to practice for that every weekend. It's time consuming but I suppose it will be worth it all. Along with practice for the show I have my first fighting tournament coming up this sunday. I have been cutting weight and I believe I will make it for this saturdays weigh in. I am very excited and nervous all at the same time. I am competing in the dive rolling competition, doing a mini exhibition show with my gym's exhibition team, and then after lunch I fight. It's going to be a long day but I hope a rewarding one...both in experience and colors of medals. Just got back from practice and decided to write a little bit. I have friends coming over this weekend and staying with me to watch my tourny on Sunday so I have to clean up. And I smell like balls...I got work to do. Stay good if you are, and get better if your not.

Monday, March 10, 2008

5K's and 2-a-days

After vacation, I found out that I gained back a little bit of the weight that I lost. I also found out that I will be fighting in my first tournament on April 13th. The weight groups go as follows. 75-80 kg's (165-176lbs) and 80-85 kg's (176.1-187). When I was told that I weighed 84.5kg's...that is just about 185lbs. The 80-85 group is named "super heavyweight." Which is funny to think that I would be fighting in that group. The 75-80 group is just the heavy weights. Just like in wrestling, it's a better idea to wrestle at a lower weight if you can get there safely. My plan was, in the month of March all the way to April 13th, to go to two Hapkido classes and then go to the gym and run 5 km's. Mix that with assorted weights and you get one hell of a workout. Losing 10 pounds ain't nothing. Bad news. At the end of Feb I re-hurt my right leg. A couple of months before I left for Korea, at work, I was dancing and I essentially ripped my right hamstring. You can bet it was hurt by doing some funky bad-ass white boy move. But it took about 3 months to heal to the point where it wouldn't hurt anymore. For some time after the 3 months, while I would sit down too long, or be driving my knee would start to hurt. I can only imagine that problem was from my hamstring. Finally it got better. So doing some move in Hapkido I hurt it again. I was hoping that it would be better then next day or in a couple of days. It wasn't. The whole time it felt like crap all over again. Sitting down for more than 30 mins was painful and kicking anything was out of the question. I could barely practice let alone run. It took about a week for it to feel good enough to run again, so since last week I have been doing the 5 K's. I went to a sauna this weekend and that seemed to work wonders. I was actually able to work with my right leg a little today. Since last week I have dropped from 85kg's (185) to 82kg's (180). I WILL be at weight by the time April rolls around, I have no doubt about that. 5 more pounds is kid's shit.

The one good thing is that when my right leg was hurt, after 2 or 3 days I was able to work with my left leg. I was exclusively practicing with my left leg for over a week. I have to say, I am a lot better with my left leg than I was before I started this forced regiment. That is really good because most Koreans mainly use their right leg, and train in defense for a right legged kick. Hopefully I will be able to surprise them and knock 'em out. That would feel good, reallllly good:) I think next week i'll be at full strength again, and ready to get into sparing to properly train for my tournament. I was, and will be sparing with this 6' 1" monster Korean dude. Long freaking legs. For now, I just have to constantly remind myself to stay calm and take it easy. Hope all is well in America or wherever your from. It was 45-50 degrees the last couple of days. So literally and figuratively things are heating up on my side of the world. Later ya'll.

Back at it again

My school started up again last week. That would be monday the 3rd just in case if you happened to be thinking, "hmmm what was the date last week?" Glad I could be of service. Anyway, I'm still teaching the 5th and 6th grade classes. The semester is stacked like it was last semester except for my fridays. Every day I have 4 classes but on friday, what use to be the greatest day in the world, I now have 5 classes. So that is 4 before lunch and 1 after. It's not soo bad but oh well. It does mean that they can only give me 3 hours of extra classes to do instead of the possible 4 they could give me last year since I only have to work a max of 24 hrs a week in class time. They still make me sit at my desk for 4 hrs after my classes are finished. I'm suppose to be doing work, but I really, and still, don't have any. So what do I do? Well sometimes I read, sometimes I look stuff up, sometimes I bull shit with co-workers. But the rest of the time I play games or watch internet T.V. I use to try to hide it, the fact that I don't do anything...but now every single person in the whole school knows it so what's the point? I'm the resident white kid, I DO WHAT I WANT! This is the same reason I have been riding my motorcycle around Korea without a license plate. If the cops pull me over i'll just speak English to them and they will get so frustrated that they will just tell me to leave. They are mostly little rich kids that are trying to dodge their military obligation. Their parents tell them to become cops and that takes the place of their service. It's so funny. You will see a platoon of police officers walking down the street two by two and any where from one pair to half of them will be holding hands. It's probably the funniest thing I have ever seen. How are you suppose to take them seriously? Although...with my luck i'll get the one cop who speaks fluent English. BUT WAIT! I'M PREPARED! I can just play stupid and say that the guy that sold me the bike told me that 125cc's and under don't need plates. OH GOD! A GENIUS I AM! Back to my school talk.

Last week started a new semester, so the 5th grade (that I hated to no end) are now my 6th graders, and the 4th graders from last year are my new 5th graders. I can't tell you how much I love the 5th graders. They are all so small and cute and soooo eager to learn. And if they aren't eager to learn they sure do a good job of faking it. Unfortunately I still hate my 6th graders. Even the first day of class for them they still do the old "talk while Jake is talking, he doesn't care" thing. Guess what, I CARE. I basically decided to tell them that if they behaved and listened and stayed quite they would have more fun, because I would be willing to make more interesting and fun lessons for them. Otherwise we could just work out of the book and it can be boring. I really hope they took that under consideration because my 6th grade co-teacher is sooo much better at English and we can make it so much more fun for them. I heard from other teachers at the end of last year that the 4th grade is so pleasant to work with, but I didn't want to get my hopes up. That description is right on. I just hope it lasts and they aren't behaving just because it's the first week. For this year I'm giving all of them English names. Side note: My co-teacher put Elf as one of the names on the list, for some reason the girls love it. When they ask me if they can have that name I try not to laugh. But it's always the cutest and smallest girl that asks so it's kinda fitting.....Back: one of the girls was trying to ask me how to say a name that was on the list so she looks at me, holds the paper up, and says to me in a Korean accent and under a cute little face, "teacher speak English." I started laughing. I always say that to them. This was the first time a student said it to me. I knew what she meant but I found it incredibly funny. After I gave them all names I told them we would work on pronunciation.

I now now longer let them call me Jay-Kuh (even though I have kinda grown fond of it. That rule might give out soon.) I told them to resist the urge to put a vowel sound on the end of everything they say. I began to tell them, "It's not Jay-kuh anymore, it's Jake. This is not English-e class anymore, it's English. This is not a desk-uh anymore it's a desk. Do you understand??" They all agreed. I then asked them, "so what is my name?" One 5th grade, was incredibly excited and yelled out "DESK!" He realized he said desk instead of Jake and immediately slammed his head down on the desk as everybody erupted in laughter. Basically, I love my 5th graders and I hate my 6th graders. I'm buying a BB gun and I am going to shoot everyone who talks. I'VE HAD ENOUGH and it's only the 2nd week of school. The funny thing is that I won't get in trouble for doing that...still might be a bad idea though.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Broken tailbones and bruised egos

I know that I was just on vacation...a couple of times with in the last month an 1/2...but i'm not on vacation again. Saturday morning I left with a bunch of friends to go up north to a town called Gang Nueng. It's a smaller city about 4 hrs north of Daegu by bus. It gets a lot colder up there and it gets snow! My friend Emily lives up there and told me I could stay at her apt with a couple of friends even though she was in Japan. She rocks. I also have another friend that lives up there who I haven't seen in a while. We got a little bit of a late start and arrived in Gang Neung around 1pm. We settled in and got something to eat. Only 3 of the 9 people stayed with me in the apt, the rest of them got an ondel room. Which is like a big room with no beds. The floor is heated and there are blankets and pillows for everyone. When we were eating they went to find a hotel. They showed up at the end of dinner and we made our way out. The girls went straight to the mountain. Some of the guys had to rent all the stuff and I had to rent just boots. We took a bus about 10 mins outside of Yong Pyong (where the actual mountain is) and I called the number of a rental place that Emily gave to me. They spoke JUST enough english to communicate. They arrived at the bus station and took us to the shop. When we arrived we got our stuff sorted out easy enough. The owner was a trip though. He was this 5 foot 8 guy wearing tight leather pants, a tucked in black turtle neck, a bright red leather jacket and this shiny bling bling necklace that sported 2 BIG globe shaped things, all topped off with the thickest black rim glasses I have ever seen. I really had to try not to laugh. Since we were renting for two days, and me for 3, he was going to give us a discount. I think laughing in his face would ruin our chances of a better discount. After everything was settled we got there about an hour earlier then we needed to and waited till 6:30 to get out tickets and go. It was great. Nobody on the slopes and the snow wasn't that icy. Most of my friends were first or second timers but my friend Terry could keep up with me. We basically did the whole night. One of the last shuttles was 10:40 so we met the guy at 10:10, gave him our equipment to take back, and took the free shuttle straight from the mountain back to Gang Nueng. Emily's shower didn't work so we went to the family mart to ask the person if there was a sauna around. BINGO! Got him to write the name down, went there, hit up the hot tubs and steam rooms, and took a shower. We made our way back to the apt for an early wake up.

The second day we mostly like the first except it was day time. Finished up a longer day of boarding. We went from 10 to 4:30 and it showed on my friends faces. Like all beginners they bruised their tail bones and their egos...but at least they had fun doing so. We again hit up the sauna. Right after my friends got on the bus and went home sunday night. They had to work in the morning. I on the other had, like I said before, was on vacation. I met up with my friend Cathrine, who lives up there, and had a couple of drinks. I made plans to snowboard with here in the evening the next night.

Basically went night skiing one last time. I was very impressed with cat. Probably the best chick snowboarder that I know, she kept up nicely. After that, one last shuttle ride back, one last sauna, and one last night in the apt. Next morning I woke up and took the bus back to Daegu.

I start my language exchange today...I think...with a friend of mine. I teach her better English because it's pretty good already, and she'll teach me more Korean. I can only do it for an hour maybe once or twice a week since I have a Hapkido tournament on April 13th. I have to lose about 6 pounds before then so i'm not in the "super" heavy weight division. It's funny that i'm around 185 pounds and that is SUPER heavy. What little people.

The plan for the day: Lounge around for a little more. Meet My friend for some lessons. Go to Hapkido. Go to the gym. Go downtown to meet up with friends for a birthday. Go to communes and meet up with the Philippino band and sing "Let It Be" by the Beatles with them at the bar. Gotta love open mic night.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Weird man, fucking weird

TODAY was my last full day of school for this school year. Tomorrow I have two 6th grade classes and two 5th grade classes. My 5th grade co-teacher told me that she was going to teach the class by herself. I SAID "FINE FINE FINE." I don't like those little bastards anyway. Today was however my last class of class 1 of the 6th grade. They were my favorite class. They always did what I asked them to, never talked a ridiculous amount, and always participated. I was teaching all my classes the song "we are the world." It was basically a week of karaoke in my classes. Fun and easy for me, and pretty decent for the kids depending on if they got into it or not. After tomorrow, thursday is graduation, I have no class on friday. I'm back on vacation AGAIN after that. Is it just me or do I have a sweet deal? Now for what provoked this post.

As you might remember I am what you would call a "fan" of the sauna or jim jill bong. Now recently i learned there is a difference between the sauna part and the jim jill bong part. The J.J.B part is for both men and women. Unfortunately there is no nakedness between the sexes. They basically give you clothing and there are things to do there. You can get a massage, hit up the p.c area, sit in the hot one of the J.J.B's there is even an ice room that you can chill in....haha man. The sauna is where the nakedness with the men happens. Usually I go to the sauna down by my friends apt. We are downtown most of the time and end up over towards his place anyway. There is a pretty decent one. I heard from sources that there was a really nice one up in Chilgok, where I live. I convinced my friends to come up to this area and try to find it. Later that night we had a costume party so we were all going to go to the sauna, get dinner, and then get changed and head down to the party. We were going to go as gangsters/pimps/the fucking ill na na. Call it what you will but I was going to rock it in the suit that I ordered from India which arrived a couple of days ago. We had to go to home plus (basically cvs but bigger) and get some BB guns, which we later used to make a couple of girls go home from the party from shooting them. Amelia and Michelle if your reading this...haha got you good fucker. Sorry:( SOOOOOO first stop was the sauna. We found it without too much trouble. When we got up there it was awesome. Many a hot tubs, including a hot tea bath, and various temperatures of hot tubs. There was a cold pool, 2 sauna rooms, a steam room, and a "natural ocean pool." It was nice, real nice. We got into the hot tub that had built in massage chairs. They were tiled chairs with water jets that hit ur back and ur feet. Very nice. We all moved into the tea bath and I began to think...wait a second. This is where I's about 3 blocks from my would be REALLY fucking weird to see a student here. I had to think it didn't I. The second I said it out loud to my friends guess who wondered over my direction and sat in the bath next to me? ONE OF MY STUDENTS. Now THAT was as weird as things have ever gotten in Korea. Not even joking. When my friends stopped laughing he started talking to me and them. He is one of my higher level students so he was able to ask the basic questions. But for real people...there I am sitting in a dark pool of hot tea water butt ass naked and right next to me is a 11 year old kid with his friend also naked. There was something that felt REALLY REALLY wrong. WHAT THE FUCK.

So today I saw him in class. I was afraid to ask the class what they did this weekend, because when I do this kid I saw at the sauna always is one of the children that answers. I did it anyway. Of course his hand was the first one, and the only one up. I hesitated but called on him anyway. My jaw clenched, and my mind said "please don't say anything about a sauna." He speaks,"I saw your friends." PHHHEWWWW! Alright, LET'S SING!

Whether or not he told his friends anything afterwards isn't my concern. I was just happy that me and him being naked together in a bath (which sounds pretty fucking wrong) wasn't announced during class, in front of the class. So what did Jake learn from this? STICK TO THE SAUNA'S FAR AWAY FROM WHERE YOU LIVE!

Monday, February 11, 2008

The final day, thoughts, and Thailand, back to Korea


The final day I woke up. My chest and shoulders were in pain because I was dropped basically on my face. We packed up and met downstairs in the restaurant. We decided together over food what school to give the fund raising money to and what to get them. We decided to give it to one school and hire someone to oversee the building of a new school, with new stuff. Why would you give one school a sea-saw and one school a new fence when that doesn't help with eduaction. You give one school all the money and help every kid who goes through that school have a better learning environment. I think that is the best way to do things.

After that we got on the bus back to Chennai to fly home. The ride was 18 hours on a sleeper bus...long. Before that we were able to go to "the point" and see where three seas combine. The Aribian sea, The Indian Ocean, and the Bay of Bengal. That was really cool. Got on the bus stopped for lunch and went straight on through over night back to Chennai.

This was the craziest thing I have ever done. Two foreign people racing a rickshaw over 600 miles for 10 days down the southeast coast of India. I can't believe I had the opportunity to do this. On any normal vacation you worry about what time should we wake up and what should we see. This vacation was, hey wake up and try to survive the day so that you might be able to wake up the next day. The whole trip we broke down 5 times, almost died 35 times, I hit a bus, might have killed a dog, gave out school supplies, broke numerous things off of the rickshaw, and got recognized in the street because Art and I became superstars. It was the most amazing thing in the world.

After India we flew to Thailand and got on a bus right away that took us to a ferry. We took the ferry to an island called Ko sam met. It was sun, sand, and scuba for the next 4 days. I had to go back home cause I started English camp that monday. Once I got back I took the longest shower ever and fell asleep quite quickly.


India day 2 to the party

The second day started out like the first. Try to get out of a busy busy city, and try to get the the end checkpoint before it got dark. The second day we finally got our rickshaw. It was Red #25. I requested an orange rickshaw but at least they spelled our team name right. Art and I took turns driving and divided it up by distance. Every day I started out driving he would end driving. We were a good team. We only broke down like 5 times. A couple of the times we were close enough to a town either to be, pushed back by another team, or to push it back manually to get a part. Sometimes you could pay someone to take their mo-ped into town and bring you back the part for the local mechanic to install. If you weren't close to a town you could call the dispatcher on the pre-paid phone they gave us to use and the mechanics that traveled with the ralley would come and fix us where ever we might be. If they touched it there was a 200 rupee service charge no matter what...we tried not to have them help us out. The stuff that broke for the most part wasn't anything major. The first time it was the clutch wire, then the accelerator wire. The next break was a little was a piece of the cluth. At one point our crank shaft cover screws came out and the thing was open. It was a little costly. I have to say gas and maintainence was the biggest expense. But still wasn't that much. We carried with us spare bottles of oil and gas in the "trunk" in case we ran out. We never knew because there wasn't a gas guage...or a speedometer...or for that matter a front head light, horn, or turn signal etc. Our rickshaw was still the fastest out of all of them. We ended up being first a bunch of times and techincally should have won. They don't pick the winner on that basis though. It's really whoever is best for their publicity. But like I said before we left, I wasn't going to win.

Around the 4th day Art and I started to hang out with the documentary crew that was there to cover the whole race. The t.v channel was called SS Music which was the equivelent of MTV. The face for the documentary was named Gibran. A cool guy that was fluent in English. We started hanging out a lot and he eventually told us that 1)The article he was writing for this english magazine was going to be about us. And 2)The documentary he was filming was going to be focused on us. It was like over night a star was born. They would follow us in their mini-van and do interviews with us during the day and after we hit the end check point. It was fun. During one of the first days they were traveling with us they stopped us at the school we were suppose to visit. Everyday we visited a school and played with the kids, handed out supplies and stuff like that. So we were in first place so we weren't surprised when we stopped and no one was there. We saw the kids inside looking out there windows and smiling, obviously excited that there were white people and video cameras there. We did the opening of us walking into the school while being interviewed and once through the gates the producer (gopi) whispers to us, "Yoooo wrong school!!!" We immediatly waved to the kids and jumped in our auto and drove away. It was soooooo funny but I felt so bad for those kids.

After about the 5th day we got to the end checkpoint after another day of trying to survive the madness. After the arrival and taking pictures with the whole group of racers for the local paper we were requested by the radio station that interviewed us the first time. "HELLO 106.4" This was a different area but the same station. They brought us to the radio station and we went in. We had our second live broadcast. The whole show was for about an hour so we just chilled and took phone calls. Went out, had dinner, went back and passed out.

The second to last day I have to say was probably the coolest. One of the challenges was to go about 30km's off of the track and check out a waterfall. The road up to the waterfall was windy and steep and up a mountain. No guard rails and a steep drop awaited us if I fucked up. We got up the mountain in one piece and saw the waterfall. There were monkey's everrrrrryyyywhere. I had a stick with me already to beat monkey's off the rickshaw because they had a habit of jumping onto the rickshaw and stealing whatever they could even while we were moving. We took all our valuables and walked to the waterfall where we found a chain that led under the waterfall. We had to get under it. The t.v crew was with us so they watched our shit and we went under. It was soooo refreshing and cold and amazing and AWESOME! After a little bit we walked back to the rickshaw. From the radio station they gave us a HUGE bag full of business cards with sucking candies stapled to them. We left that in the rickshaw because it wasn't valuable. We got back from the waterfall and the cards were ALL over the place with not one sucking candy left in any of the wrappers. Damn monkey's.

After all that we got to the end checkpoint and after the next day, which was thefinal day of the race, they threw a party for us in a really nice hotel (which was included with the entry fee so we got to stay in a place that actually had hot water!). It was all you can drink, all you can eat, all you can party. They gave out awards and announced the winners. I think we got something like 4th place out of 26 teams. Our award was the "wow I can't believe they are still alive" award. We had a reputation, know what i'm saying? After that ceremoney we continued drinking. Sometimes in the evening 9 people decided to grab me and try to throw me in the pool. I couldn't escape and started yelling that I had my passport and cell phone in my pocket. My teammate Art said "I'll help you!" Then proceeded to only take the stuff out of my pocket so I could be deposited into the pool. I stopped fighting because each appendage had a person or two on it, it was a losing battle. All at once they counted to three and realeased me into the air! Sadly they got a lot of upward motion but no foward motion. I landed smack on the concrete with only my face hitting the water. They fucked up! I stood up and grabbed the first person I could and launched us into the pool. My chest felt like I was dropped on it! What a night.

India and Thailand trip. First couple of days.

What's up Yall. Hope ur still checking this blog out, it's been a while since my last post. I came back from India and went straight into 2 weeks and 3 days of english camp. I haven't been that busy all year. After that I went into vacation and I was too busy relaxing so I had no desire what-so-ever to write. Today is my first day back at school and there are no classes so here goes nothing.


The YouTube video below should say it all but just incase your left wondering about more i'll give you a quick run down of that adventure.

We flew into Bangkok, Thailand and Art was able to scar me for life. There is this famous district called Papong. It's where all the hookers gather and all the dirty old men go to get the hookers that have gathered. It's great cause you can see the ugliest fattest old man walking around with the smalled and cutest girl. Quite amazing. It is also the capital of the world for what they call a "Ping pong show." I kinda figured out what it was before Art told me he HAD TO take me to one but I played dumb since I was kinda curious. We got there at it was EXACTLY what I thought. These girls were doing things with certain parts of their bodies that I could never even imagine. They opened bottle caps, they blew out candles, they shot fruits (at me), they popped balloons with projected darts, they even did that clown trick where he pulls tied hankerchefs out of his mouth...except not with her mouth. I don't think I laughed that hard in a while. After that we sat down to a nice steak dinner...You might ask how could I be hungry after that...No idea. We were only in Bangkok for one night. The next morning we went to India.

We got there and took an autorickshaw, or auto/tuk tuk for short, straight to the training area. People were already there for a day or two and we arrived right as they started. It was basically a really big go cart course where they let us all go balls out and just learn the ropes. The gears, unlike a motercycle, and clutch are operated with your left hand. The throttle was the right hand, and the brake was with the foot. One person in the front and 2 could fit in the back. I did however see about 12 people packed into one auto in the streets of India, as well as about 5 people on a mo-ped. After our first experience of almost dying we got ready for the next morning.

The first day was a big event. Press all over the place and racers getting ready for the race. Our rickshaw was not there during the training day and actually broke down on the way to the venue area for the start. We were allowed to use the directors rickshaw which was pretty diesle. To start off with it was painted like a zebra. It was faster than the rest, and inside it had a sound system and a p.a system. They gave us all a sheet with the distances (which were wrong) and the town names that we should look for. Also on the sheet were challenges that were worth various points. Such as "give us the names of the god's that the malapuram temple was dedicated too." This was a really cool part of the race because it made everyone stop and see the attractions of that area. The flags went up and we were off. Once we started my teammate and I realized that we didn't know how to get out of the city. By luck we saw a sign and an arrow. We did it, out of the city. At our first check point we were approached by a guy from a radio station and he asked us to do a live broadcast. We said "HELL YEAH!" After our first celebrity appearence we left and wanted to stop for lunch so we pulled over in the middle of an open road at this little shack and ate the most delicious food ever and yes, I used my hands! I have to say that was my favorite part of India. Chowing down with your fingers in even the fanciest restaurants was a trip. WHO NEEDS A FORK! After a long day of rocking the roads of Tamil-Nadu we made it to the end-of-day check point. The checkpoint was always the hotel that most of the people were staying at. Weeks before the race even started they offered us a package for about 500 bucks and you get the nice hotels and good accomodations. 500 BUCKS!!!??? YEAH RIGHT! They also offered a budget package for 250. Still, hell no. Me and Art roughed it and found our own hotels...or should I say rooms. They were really never more than 3 or 4 dollars a night and worth every penny. It was a room with a bed. We didn't need nice places. The other days pretty much went the same way.

Day 1 sum up: Ran over a coconut, almost died. Almost hit a truck. I hit a bus. 1 radio broadcast. came in first place. Couldn't wait for day 2.


Sunday, January 27, 2008

We are still alive. Amazing.

India teaser

Just some of my video from my trip

Monday, January 21, 2008

To my loyal readers (and non loyal ones too)

It has been a while since my last entry. I just got back to Korea last sunday (the 13th) and the next morning I dove right into my 2 week winter English camp. It's my first time making real lesson plans all by myself and teaching 4 hours worth of class a day without a co-teacher. It was a little overwhelming at first but I'm taking control it. It's running smoother now, still a little frustrating because the kids are my lowest level students and I'm teaching 3rd and 4th graders, whom i've never met before. In my free time I have been adjusting lesson plans for the lower level students and EDITING MY INDIA TRIP DVD! It was an amazing race. You can see our tuk tuk above. I am proud to say I'm finished with it and damn proud. It is late and I'm too tired to write about it tonight, but you can expect me to write about it soon. For those of you who know my poppa dukes or momma dukes i'll be sending them a DVD so if you are that interested contact them about it. For right now here are some pictures to hold you over until my next blog. I'll be done with my school's english camp this friday and then I have one more 3 day one at another school...oy. Possibly before that, but maybe after that i'll get my shit together and sit my A.D.D ass down and write something. Until then, e ta boo aye yo (see you later).