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.