Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Hapkido time

Just some Hapkido warm ups, kicks, and messing around.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Monday, October 25, 2010

Gotta be careful

When you work with such small kids you don't have to worry quite so much about then coming to class drunk or stoned since they are basically babies.  You also don't have to really worry about their homework because most of them don't do it anyway...it's kinda easy though.  The biggest things you have to worry about are things you don't quite think about. 

Putting their chairs far enough, both next to and behind, is the first thing to remember.  This is so they don't kick the person in front of them or rest their legs on their friends lap.  Or any other number of things they like to do...such as picking their friends nose and trying to eat it which happened today. 

You have to make sure not to do anything too crazy without being ready to calm them down immediately, or else you will spend the entire period telling them not to do that thing. 

Don't feel bad if they cry when you punish them.  The cuter they are the harder it is to scold them.  But you gotta stick to your guns or the ones you don't like so much and that get in trouble all the time will feel like crap. 

Don't high five a kid with a wet hand...usually it's pee.

Don't let them go the bathroom unless they are doing the pee-pee dance or holding their pee-pee parts.  If you do they all want to go to the bathroom. 

Same deal with tissues...unless they sneeze and it's obvious they need one.

Don't start the class letting them get wild.  Make them raise their hands...then as time goes on, let them call out a little and get a little more excited.

Keep their attention.  If you lose it...forget it man, it's gone. 

There are infinitely more things to be careful of.  It's quite tiring sometimes!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Nostalgic Demons

I was a very very difficult student to have in the classroom.  If I ever see my K-8 teachers (not that I was THAT much better from 9-12) I will probably apologize for taking at least a couple of years off of their lives.  We got a student that is named Jake.  Of course his real name isn't Jake, but we give them English names.  The teachers chose it, because I would not have named him that.  He is a problem child.  Not as bad as me, but still pretty irritating. 

I must have been yelled at more than I remember because even to this day I flinch when I hear a teacher yell "JAKE".  And then, immediately following the coarse scolding, a feeling of guilt comes over me as if I was the one who did something wrong.  I look around almost expecting to see one of my teachers pointing a finger at me.  I feel like it's a time machine taking me back to the classrooms I use to sit in.  This all happens over a second, but it sucks anyway.  The worst part is when I have to teach his class and I end up yelling "JAKE".  It is severely sucky.

Please, no more students name Jake...at least not shitty ones.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Bus Stop Ridicule

I was standing at the bus stop outside of a Homeplus (a Walmart type place) after just finishing teaching.  There was a mom and a 3 year old girl standing under the awning with me.    The girl was jumping around and singing an English song, no doubt that she learned at her school.  She was also looking at me while she was singing it.  She is the same age and size of my students so I had to tell her good job.  "Good job", I said to her.  Of course she looks up at me with an unsure expression, as all Korea kids do after they try to get your attention and succeed.

I said to her "high five" and presented my hand for her to slap.  My students love this very much...that and touching my arm "fur"...or as they say it "puh".  The little girl of course didn't slap my hand...but instead did something MUCH better.  She looked up at her mother, and then me, and said in Korean "pervert".  I couldn't believe this little 3 year old girl called me that.  I started laughing really hard because this little girl had some big balls.  Her mother gasped, as if she couldn't believe that her little angel even knew that word. 

I went back to reading my book but still standing next to them waiting for the bus.  About a minute later the little girl turned to me and, again in Korea, demanded to know who I was.  I told her "I'm Jake teacher."  Then she said something else to her mother which I didn't understand, but it had to not be nice because her mother covered her mouth and whisked her onto the bus that came a little too late.

It was very very funny. 

Friday, August 13, 2010

Loss

When you lose someone, anyone, it's never an easy thing.  My grandmother recently passed away and I have been stuck here in Korea.  I tried to get home but even the earliest, most expensive flight, wouldn't have gotten me home in time for the funeral.  I wished money didn't rule my choices as much as it does.  It was really hard the first day I heard, but like any pain, it gets easier and less painful every day after. 

She was a holocaust survivor.  The last person in my family that bore that proud title.  Losing a piece of history makes her passing even harder on the living.  I would like to think she is somewhere better or more peaceful.  We will all eventually find out.

The only thing that made me feel better is being able to write something for my father to read at her funeral.  I'll end this post with that eulogy:



I regret that I've missed so much since I've been out here, but most of all I regret not being able to be in this room with all of you, for possibly the saddest reason.  We tried to get a flight for me but there wasn't anything, and it pains me to even have to make an excuse.  If you knew my grandma you know that she had one of the toughest lives possible.  Tougher than any of us want to imagine.  But, she found love after hate, and created her own family for her to play her part in.  Two generations later she because the Jewish Grandmother.  Her job description was simple.  Be the target of my Poppi's jokes, make chicken soup and all our favorite foods, and all the while, do it with love and affection.  No matter how mean the jokes got, or how messy the apartment was, or how much I played with her soft, saggy, old lady skin on the underside of her arm...when we caught her eye she smiled. She would never even sit down to eat the dinner she cooked because she worried that we wouldn't enjoy the food, or not have enough of it...which was never the case. 

She had so much love and so much pride from her grandchildren.  Even something as mundane as sitting at her old plexi glass table, she would always grab my hand and kiss it.  She would grab my face and kiss my cheek if it was within her grasp.  After my Poppi died she closed up.  The phone calls got even shorter than the regular 1 minute "how are you, I'm fine, O.K I love you" ones, and she shrunk into herself and her grief.  It was another dark chapter in her life.  But the last few years, after my brother finished his book about my grandparents holocaust story, she brightened up.  It's like her protective shell cracked and the light flooded through again.  I remember the first phone call we had after that.  We must have talked for 10 minutes.  I think that was an all time record.  She lived the last couple of years of her life as content as she could have been, and that thought makes me as content as I can be. 

Some Memories:

I will miss her answering machine messages.  Especially when they were first invented.  My family and I would go on vacation and each time we came home there would be about 10 messages all starting the same way.  "Sam???  Hello???  Are you there??? Noah??? Hello???"  and then ending in various ways.  My favorite ending was always "O.k, leave me alone god damn it." *click*. She just didn't get it.

I will miss her Leon necklace and the donation can on her plexi glass table.

I will miss being shtooped money for no reason other than being her grandson.

I will miss the family get-togethers at her apartment.

I will miss being asked if I want to eat again 10 minutes after we ate dinner, and then 10 minutes again after she asked me if I wanted to eat the last time.

I will miss being pined over and all the funny stories about what she did this time and who she offended.

I will miss her incredibly crooked signatures on my birthday cards because her hand wouldn't stop shaking when she signed them.

I will miss her strength.

I will miss her. 

Her story has been written down and will live on in myself and my family.  We all learned something from her in one way or another, and my family's future generations will learn too.  That thought comforts me. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Muddy BASTARDS 2010 MUDFEST

Every year, for the last 3 years, there is a festival in Boryeong, S. Korea called simpley "Mud Fest".  I'm sure you can imagine what it's like, but just in case your imagination is currently lacking, I shall describe it a bit for you. 

IMAGINE:
A quiet beachfront city, with a nice long beach wheretwo rock bluffs stand on each side.  The sand is made up of shells broken down over thousands of years, but still not experienced enough to be fine, soft sand.  The wind blows from the cold sea over the hot land and cools those who stroll on the sea-view road.  The sun sets over the water as the reflection of colors bounce up into your eyes and illuminate a serene and calming piece of the brain....then BAM!  July 17th rolls around and buses roll in.  The local Koreans line the street selling everything from rooms to suntan lotion to condoms.  From the sand grows sculptures created by master artists.  The giant inflatable pool and obstacle courses get filled with air and mud.  The older crowd starts to lock their doors at night and sleep with earplugs in.  The inflatable slide get's blown up just like the hopes of the Korean store owners, who can make their yearly quota in two weekends. 

Mudfest begins.  From the buses come Koreans and Foreigners alike.  From cars come photographers and bystanders who hope just to watch.  The cardboard clad floors of the beachfront convenience stores lay silent as the immense stock of alcohol waits to be imbibed.  The air is about to erupt with amazingness.

Enough with the imagery.  There are pools and pools of mud, mud prisons, mud slides, mud courses, mud jousting, mud art, colored mud for body painting, and most importantly, mud covered people. There is about 1/2 a mile of activities boarding the beach.  On the beach is a stage with non-stop entertainment and a fireworks show later at night.  On the obstacle courses, there are lines where people wait for hours for a 2 second ride.  But I prefer the pools.  There is a full contact mosh pit in constant motion.  If you go in, be prepared to get tackled.  As a former rugby player and wrestler, this is my zen garden of happiness.  Boys and girls walk in and exchange tackles sans animosity.  If you tackle someone, when you turn around expect one back.  Hell, I personally run around the outside of the inside of the pool and tear people down.  I even started outside the pool and did a flying jesus onto as many people I could grab inside the pool...more than once.  Every once in a while I had to stop to bring my waterproof camera to the wash station and clean the tiny particles out of the lens cover.  But I went right back in with spewing anticipation.

I was in heaven.

After I had my share of peaceful violence, I made my way to the beach to clean up.  It's fun to walk around the hoards of people because you see people there you haven't seen for a while. You find them randomly in the crowd, covered in mud, and then you have a nice little reunion.  It's cool to go down into the ocean after you are finished to wash off the mud. 

Later that night there was a party thrown by the group I went with.  I was on the way when I saw these 10 Korean dudes eating Sam Gyup Sal (basically pork strips) and drinking Soju.  Naturally, I went over to them and introduced myself.  I spent the next 1.5 hours drinking and eating with them, alst the while practicing my Korean, which has gotten pretty good since my lessons began (but not THAT good). Some friends saw me but didn't join because they couldn't keep up with the language.  I eventually invited them to my party, but there weren't many other Koreans so they felt uncomfortable.  They went back.  I partied.  After a while I remember thinking to myself "that's it, I've had ENOUGH", and I mosied on back to where I was sleeping. 

The next morning I woke up and felt like I got hit by a truck (as you can see from the picture below, the guy was the size of a truck).  I went to the beach, ate a yummy pork backbone stew, and went home by bus.

Yes that is me being slammed.  But to my defense, he got me from behind! The next picture is what I did after I got up.
ROOOOARRRR!!!  Just like my tattoo sans arms.  I am holding my camera, not my unit.






I don' t know him, but we rassled a bit
What's going on?



Travis and me. 

Me and Alina A.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Dear Women: up yours.

Dear Women,

We know there are many things that you don't like us to do, or rather, that you don't like us not doing.  For example, picking up the toilet seat AND then putting it down after we pee.  I have distinct memories of my mother yelping in the middle of the night, whilst waking me up from my much needed slumber, because she fell into the toilet.  But mom, that is what you get for not paying attention.  You did live in an apartment with 3 other guys.

I think I speak for all men when I say we are pretty good at aiming with our true significant other.  It's akin to growing up bow hunting everyday.  I bet if you did that you wouldn't miss a deer very often.  Now try hitting that same deer while being shaken.  This is where the problem arises.  I know you might say, just lift up the toilet seat.  We do...but then you say put it back down when you are done...well dude, then we have to pick it back up again.  It's a never ending vicious cycle, and I for one DO NOT LIKE IT!  (Side note: another vicious cycle I don't like starts with a 'menst' and ends with us being yelled at for everything.) (another side note: My wife doesn't give me shit about this as of yet...but I have a feeling it's coming)...

So ladies, some much needed advice:  If you don't want us to pee on the seat, pick it up when YOU are done.  How 'bout them apples?  Or you could just stop complaining and we can share the responsibility!  I pick it up, you put it down.  And then you can stop waking me up with your screams because you won't fall in.  Truce?

Friday, June 25, 2010

VOTE

VOTE FOR 'PAGING GRACE'. MY FRIENDS BAND.

http://wbab.com/homegrown/superstar.html

It's been a while

I have so much to write about, but even less time.  Between play practice, work, the world cup, and all other small but numerous things that slip into my day to day, well you get the point. 


World cup madness here is awesome.  The whole downtown area is red (Korea's color), and swarming with people.  Big screens set up, people cheering...it's quite entertaining.  I'll get back to writing soon. 

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Life and the not so life.

Oh boy I've got an easy month this June.  Every single week the kids go on a field trip.  That means I miss at least 2 of my 4 classes; sometimes I'll miss all 4 depending on where they go and when they go.  Last week they actually went somewhere two days back to back.  I've been catching up on my reading.

The book I'm reading now is book 3 of the "River World Saga".  If you don't like science fiction books you won't enjoy it at all. If you do, I recommend you look them up and try out the first one.  When I'm not reading I'm catching up on my t.v shows and movies...and also playing video games.  I got two new ones; Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.  I blame these for not letting me write in my blog as much.

I got an easy life for now.  It's going to get a little more stressful once I re-start applying for visas and trying to find where my wife and I are going to go to school when back in the states (Yes I said wife.  We got married on May 24th!). 

Things are basically the same here besides the conflict between the North and South right now.  If you haven't been reading, the North blew up a South Korean warship a couple weeks ago and 40 something S. Korean sailors died.  The South doesn't want to attack the north with bombs and bullets because then the North would shoot off their thousands of artillery pieces aimed right at Seoul.  War would ruin their economy and devastate their capital city.  But, they are attacking N. Korea with propaganda.  They are sending leaflets over by way of balloon telling the Northern citizens about the torpedo attack.  They are using billboards on the S. side of the DMZ to urge troops to defect to the S.  And, after years, they started to re-broadcast radio signals into the North all in an effort to persuade defection (word? now it is) and realization.

There won't be a warlike conflict now, but I have a bad feeling about all of this.  The north is like a crazy little kid.  If you pick on them too much they'll snap and so something stupid.  The problem is they think everything is picking on them. Everything the South does causes the North to threaten war.  Even when they officially asked the U.N to deal with the N. over the attack, they said something along the lines of "South Korea told on us, that is the same as declaring war." ...yeah I know.

Either way, if something happens, my city is far out of range of their artillery.  I registered with the embassy so I should get evacuation plans and blah blah blah by email.  Who knows, if something does happen it might even make it easier to get my wife back to America.  Hmmmm...there could be a sweet side to all the sour.  But that is incredibly selfish.  As for now, like the rest of the country.  I'm seeing where it goes.

If there are mistakes in this post, sorry.  I typed it in one shot.  I have to finish up The Deer Hunter.  It's a long freaking movie and I want to get to sleep around midnight.  Stay cool.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Elections??? PLEASE NO!

It's election day in Korea.  I think it's for local governments.  Normally that isn't bad...except Korea has a different idea of campaigning.

Normally there are posters and tv commercials, ads and interviews.  They do that too, but on top of it they also have the most annoying system of public appearances in the whole world.

What the candidates do is rent these trucks, which is basically a pick up truck enclosed with railings that have their pictures on it.  That wouldn't be so bad, except for the 5 or 6 old Korean women in the thing dancing with the same shirts and same bored moves over and over.  Their expressions are blank, except for one, who is probably the wife or the daughter of the candidate.  NOT BAD ENOUGH?  THERE IS MORE!  The WORST part of it all is the trucks are blaring these horrible remade pop songs with the candidates name in it.  Imagine whatever pop song is popular now, but the words changed, sang by someone not even nearly as good as the original singer, and their stupid name said over and over again.  

Now take that truck, the old ladies, the big pictures, and the annoying songs, and start them up at 8am.  Then drive all over the streets back and fourth, over and over and over and over again.  And do for 10 people for 2 weeks.  I have a day off today for election day...but I would almost give it up just so I don't have to hear this.  I did say ALMOST!  They are finally done and I am sitting home on a Wed. 

My worst experience was a rainy day that I was walking to work and there was a lot of traffic.  One of those trucks was right next to me, and stuck in traffic.  I finally got past the music and it was getting lower.  Then the light changed and it caught up and stopped right next to me.  I sped up, and walked faster.  Finally, away from the truck...then guess what.  AGAIN, RIGHT NEXT TO ME.  For 10 minutes this repeated.  I was so happy to finally get to school!

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Piano Man

If you are a sensitive soul, read no further.  This could get offensive...But I don't care.  It's all without hate and in good fun.

My apartment has to be close to a school for the...what is the PC term these days...Mentally deficient?  ILL IN DA MINDED?  Whatever, you get the point.  Everyday, I ride my bike to school (rain permitting) and I see one of three people.  I've see two of them sporadically, and the third I see almost everyday.  I couldn't help but to give them names for my own entertainment. 

The first I've seen about three times.  I call him The Mad Rapper.  He walks back and fourth in front of a tire store speaking really fast and moving his hand up and down like he is pounding his fist on a desk.  He makes me want to study more Korean so I can understand what he is saying.  But I'll tell you, he's got passion for whatever he's rapping about.

The second person, I believe is a SHE, I like to call The E-static Scarecrow.  I see her about once every two weeks...aka twice a month.  Stands about 20 meters from where The Mad Rapper stands and NEVER on the same day he is there.  She definitely has Down Syndrome from her facial features, but she has to be the happiest people I have ever seen.  She stands on the sidewalk right near the street and stares diagonally across the intersection sans movement.  She stares with the most intensity, and the biggest smile I have ever seen.  It is a very big intersection with many things to look at, and whenever I pass it I always try to figure out exactly what she is so happy about.  It might just be the traffic going through, or the traffic light changing, but there is definitely something there worth staring at for her.  I don't know what...but whenever I pass, she looks at me and her smile gets THAT much bigger.  As if she is saying to me "hey, you GOTTA check this shit out". 

The third person, is a man I see every day in front of a seafood restaurant.  He can only be dubbed THE PIANO MAN.  On rainy days I call him The Pianist, because it is more depressing and fit for a cloudy and lethargic day.  Think of it like an E minor instead of an E Major.  But he stands sometimes alone, and sometimes with a woman who I am guessing, for lack of a better word, is his "aid".  He is a tall skinny man, with a dark colored ball cap, a dark long sleeve shirt, and dark blue jeans.  He wears a smile, and while his right hand completes all of his necessary motions, his left hand stays clutched by his side, with is thumb pointing up.  His fingers open and close from, pinky to pointer, in a cannon.  And they never stop moving.  I always feel like he is playing an instrument and I wonder what would happen if an instrument was put in front of him, and then his hand on top of it.

All of these people are unlucky in the scheme of accepted life, but I think, for their lives, they are perfectly content.  They don't look homeless, and I'm sure have families and places to live.  Which is why I am able to joke about them without regret or sadness.  Happiness is easy when your life is simple.  Especially for The Piano Man (it's not raining today) because he is well cared for by that woman who stands with him, always joking and play fighting with him...although sometimes she delivers quite a punch to his arm (which he isn't phased by).  He talks a mile a minute to her and even tries to chase her sometimes.  

My ride to work is only 5 minutes...and I see all of them for about 15 seconds.  But 15 seconds everyday, I can kinda put together a running idea of what their morning is like.  It's very interesting. 

Peace.   

The Burqa Ban

If you've been keeping up with the news then you would have probably heard that France is trying to pass a law that makes wearing Burqa's, and anything else that covers your face, in public illegal.  They are saying that it is unjust to allow a man, a group, or even a religion to dictate that a person MUST cover themselves in public.  In addition to the French messing with a religion, they are messing with the most dangerous one.  All over the world people seem to be getting fed up with Islam, speaking out, and then getting attacked or killed for it.  From the French trying to ban the Burqa, to a Facebook group called "Draw Mohammad Day".  People are getting pissed off about how volatile Islams' followers can be.  It makes me angry when people get ANGRY about such trivial shit.  It's your religion, yes, I know.  But why does it needed to be defended with such ferocity? 

I am a Jew.  Not a religious one, and definitely not a practicing one...but I am a JEW.  Jews have been, and are (fo' sho'), made fun of everyday.  We have been killed and hated on throughout history.  We are poked and prodded and everything in between.  But we stay calm and show power through the ability to endure and come back.  Because, when it comes down to it, we've been through it all as a people. 

The more Islam acts out the more criticism they face.  The Facebook group, in my opinion, started because of the cartoonist in Sweden (I think), who drew Mohammad in a newspaper a few years ago, and still is being physically attacked for it.  The masses are saying ENOUGH with all the bullshit and violence.  And so am I.  SOOOO, leave it to the French to make the first anti-group law against Islam for whatever reasons they have.  I have to say, in this case, I'm with them on it. 

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Blue Balls

In class we have two poems.  One poem is called "My Toy Box"  And it goes a little something like this.  "My toy box is red, and black, and blue.  It holds balls and games and other things too."  Usually I'll have them come up and find the X's or, because they've memorized it, they come up and face the class and recite.  Recently I've been pointing to words and they say them.  It's not really reading per say, but they are starting to recognize words, so I guess you can say it's readingish.

Anyway, I started pointing.  First, I started with the "My"  Then I just happened to point to Balls, and, even if you don't believe it, it was an accident.  After that I couldn't restrain myself.  Next was "Balls....is....Blue".  I immediately started laughing and blurted out that they had no idea what they just said.  But since they are just little kids, and I was laughing, they started laughing.  And their Korean teacher, who can't speak English, started laughing because the kids were cracking up.  Maybe one day they'll figure it out.  Good times.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Jew

About a week ago my school took all the kids to the ZOO.  Except most of the kids don't say 'zoo'...the other teachers too.  They have a hard time with the Z sound so it comes out as Joo, or Jew.  They were all saying stuff about the zoo such as "teacher today we are going to the Jew" and every time in my head I couldn't help but think 'guys...you go to the Jew everyday for English class'.  Anyway, they were all wearing their assorted summer wear.  Big sunglasses, ridiculous sun hats that their parents made them wear, and they all had these mats to sit on for lunch.

When we got there, there were many schools on field trips.  It was busy busy busy.  The kids sat down on the grass, which was difficult with 300 3-5 year olds, and left their bags where they were sitting.  We split up into classes and walked around a little.  This was kind of stupid because we went to maybe 5 different enclosures and spent about 5 minutes looking at each one.  The teacher walked us right by a cool jaguar , wolf, and another big cat, that I saw only because I could see over the other schools kids heads, and completely skipped the bear cage.  I even saw the elephant come out as the kids were walking past it.  They couldn't see the elephant because it was up the stairs.  But as the teaching was hurrying past it, I was lifting the kids up to see it quickly one by one as the line was still moving. 

After the 30 minutes of walking around and the pictures the teacher wanted instead of showing the kids other animals...we went back to the grass for lunch.  I stuffed my face with KimBop (kinda like sushi but no fish) and Jap Chae (cold noodles) and Cho Bop (yummy mixed rice wrapped in tofu).  I also had a BLT (minus the T cause I hate raw tomato).  It was probably the best part of the day.  After lunch we played with the kids which was basically running around and chasing them, then being chased, all the while dodging kicks and punches to the butt and groin.  They can be vicious little kids sometimes.



All in all a good day, just wished we had more time to walk around and check out the animals.  What was funny is that they had a HUGE enclosure for the rare and elusive goose....It was a little ridiculous.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Pushin' Tea

There has recently been a crackdown on Marijuana in Daegu.  Every once in a while the police will get wind of an operation run by a misc. foreigner, and this, to them, is just unacceptable.  Foreigners already have a stereotype here for dealing drugs and spreading STD's.  The fact that some foreigners really do that is bad for business, so to speak.  I'm sure they bust Koreans sometimes, but the mobsters run that op usually so the 'old boys network' keeps them going.  Plus, busting foreigners is bigger news and gets the police on the front page probably.  They recently caught a Korean American guy with over 300 grams of pot growing in his apartment.  After they bust him they look in his phone for all calls repeating to and from people.  Those people get a surprise visit from the police, at school, and get drug tested on the spot.  

A lot of people get kicked out of the country this way, but for the people who were just friends with the kid it sucks.  It's quite embarrassing to get drug tested in school in the first place, especially if you fail, and get the boot.  But if you pass and don't get kicked out, the suspicion alone is really bad AND you have to stay and deal with that.  I am happy to say, I only knew of the kid in question (never called him), and I am as clean as a whistle anyway.  But man, this kid is going to serve some serious time. 


Also, on the tea front, I have been drinking it (and I mean real tea) hard core.  Every morning I'll have a cup if it's not too hot outside.  But about three times already I have felt like I was getting sick, or at least a cold.  I immediately and indiscriminately start guzzling down whatever tea I can find at school.  By lunch time I usually feel 100% better.  It's quite amazing how amazing tea works.  Mental, or physical...it does the job. 

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Updates

My writing is slowing down because this year I'm motivated as hell.  I've become busier than ever.  My days have become filled with lots of extra-curricular activities.  I started acting again after many years off.  I went to auditions for a one-act play 'festival'.  There weren't many people there, but there were more people there then parts in the play.  So the competition wasn't fierce, and the troupe isn't the most professional, but we are all fans and we are all into it.  It was really nice to get back behind a script and actually read lines.  I felt the rust chipping off with each word. 

I ended up getting the parts I wanted (yes parts...2 plays 2 parts.  One is a very small part, but fun.  I'm a stick!).  I'm going on a field trip this Friday with my school.  They say picnic, but they say a lot of things.  I'm going to assume there will be food, and it will be outdoors.  But with almost 200 3-5 year olds there will definitely be more than just that.  I'll make sure to bring my camera. 

Also this weekend is a Daegu Pockets Magazine FREE trip that I am volunteering on...so I can go for...um...free...  It's more to help out my friend, but it should be fun. There are a lot of activities and even more food.  There should be plenty to write about next week.  I'm going to try to post at least once if not more per week. 

Keep checking back.  Keep it Kosher. Out.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Pre-firedrill post reading

before you read what's below, you should look at this picture of my favorite student.  Her name is Flora and she finds me every morning to say hi, or her version of hi, which is basically squeeking.  She wants to be picked up so she can touch my face (usually my big nose).  If you remember I mentioned a little girl who laughs at anything I say and thinks I'm the funniest person in the world...well this is her. 

But back to the pre-fire drill reading.

I can't tell you how happy I am that this school did a fire drill.  My first year in Korea, at public school, there was not one fire drill.  There never is because the government doesn't make it mandatory.  I would guess there has never been a death from a fire at a school before, so this is the base line for not doing one....which is stupid.  Of course it might happen one day.  Knock on wood it doesn't, but if there was a death, that is what it would take for the government to force it upon schools.  The excuse would be just as bad as the event.  It would go something like this, "This never happened before, we didn't know it would, so it's not our fault."  If you read my previous post about the parents who let their kid starved to death because they were raising a fake baby on the internet...their excuse was something along these lines. 

It means a lot to me that this school has at least enough sense to practice an evacuation without being told to do so.  As we all know, shit happens.  And this little girl is one of the protected here at my school because of this preemptive strike.  Stay healthy readers.  Peace.

FIIIIRRRRREEEEEEEEE....drill

It's been a recent trend lately to tell me something is going on and my classes are canceled.  But then they'll come back and tell me 10 minutes before the class that it isn't canceled.  So I stopped listening to everyone, and started to assume that they are always wrong.  I even told them to stop telling me any cancellation stuff until just before the class to be canceled.

Today we had a fire drill.  They of course, as per my request, didn't tell me.  I didn't have class during the drill anyway.  BUT it would have been nice to get a heads up so the damn fire bell didn't scare the shit out of me.  I haven't heard one of those in a long long time, and it was painful.  I was on my computer at school (like I am right now 10 mins after the drill) and I jumped in my chair.  I guessed it was a drill.  Correct.

I walked out of my office just in time to see all my 3 years olds walking in a line, bent over,  low to the ground with their hands over their mouths.  Very VERY cute.  I followed them outside where the rest of them were sitting in lines, in the playground area.  As soon as I walked out about 10 of them got up and ran to me to hug me, and the rest yelled my name.  The teachers looked at me with disdain because they were trying to keep the kids quiet.  I thought I better go behind the masses so they couldn't see me.  The fire guys came out to do a lecture on fire extinguishers and other stuff.  It was a little chilly so I wanted to go back inside but I was told to stay out.  I didn't know why, but when I insisted on going inside my co-worker was sitting in the office almost in tears.  She told me she got into a fight with our boss and she quit.  Oh....woops.  I left her alone for a little and went back outside.

As of now that same co-worker is sitting next to me working, so I'm guessing they worked it out?  It would be a shame to lose her as a co-worker.  She is cool, and really likes to work.  She also has the most travel experience of any Korean person I have met, which naturally brings her near the top of my cool Korean person list.  A cute drill, a small fight.  Be good.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Motivation in an awesome form

I'll tell ya, after performing at that bar this last time I really want to get back out there again.  I get complimented that night of course, but it was really nice to be recognized and complimented again the following weekend after.  It's not much, but it's nice to make an impression, especially a positive one.  I'm pretty damn motivated after this.  I might even try to write my own songs!  Who knows! 

Just happy to be singing again.  Also a girl recognized me from when I first performed there like 8 months ago.  She is very big into acting and runs some acting groups.  It was good to connect with her because I'll be starting acting again.  An art I am VERY out of practice in.  This year is both promising with a great job, and getting back into my passions.  I'm excited to get back to practice.  Comment on my videos, let me know if I should stop it!....or keep going????!??

Semi Charmed kind of life performed by Eagle Man Randy!

Eggs

Is it strange to anyone else that my refrigerator has only 11 eggs slots in the door?  Every time we have on extra egg and no where to put it.  Well no where that is as satisfying as a little depression made for it.  It's good that the fiance putts away the eggs, because f I didn't want to cook it right away I would probably have to find a creative way to get rid of it.  That could get messy for other people. 

Friday, April 16, 2010

Lie Love Lou

Last night I sang at that bar Communes again.  I was actually very happy with the results.  Every week we get better...that is to be expected with practice, but still it doesn't HAVE to happen.  My fiancee always comes to watch, and tapes me.  It's nice to see what I have to do differently.  She also mocks me because I always say 'Lie' instead of I.  A bad habbit...She's been running around the apartment telling me "Lie Love Lou" and then giddily trotting away.  Small girl, big joker.  Check it out.  I think this one was the best so far. 

PUSH- Match Box 20

Monday, April 12, 2010

Overseas Marriage

Wow...an American trying to marry a Filipino in Korea...yeah confusing.  Even more confusing is the paperwork that goes with it.  My government really wants to deter people who are trying to marry just to get someone a green card.  I can understand why, but it makes it so annoying for those of us who are getting married for all the right reasons.  I printed out only half of the forms that we needed and I gasped.  It was so heavy and thick.  Good thing I got into reading in the last couple of years because I'm going to need those skills.

I SHALL NOT BE DETERED!  SCREW YOU AMERICAN RULES OF ENGAGEMENT!

Friday, April 9, 2010

A sad story

Forgive me for ruining the mood of this whole blog, but as we enjoy humor and adventure, we also have to endure sadness.  Someone said you can't appreciate the sweet without the sour, but as of this moment, there is very little sweet. 

In my previous post, you might have read about my Hapkido family and the dinner we all had...I was walking into the subway today on my way to the gym when I was called by my ex-coworker.  He told me that a friend of ours was killed in an accident.  I called her Nu-Nim, which in Korean means 'elder sister'.  Now that I am forced to think about it, I don't even know her real name, but she was always at dinner with us smiling, drinking (only a little because she was the responsible one) and joking.  She was a very nice lady.  She was the first Korean person ever to feed me.  At dinner, when I first arrived, she was so excited to meet me that she picked up her chopsticks and shoved a piece of pork in my mouth even before I was settled into my seat.  Back then,  I didn't know that was a sign of respect and welcome, but she didn't let much get in the way of her personality.

Tonight I take off my Hapkido uniform and put on my suit.  I'll be going a funeral service instead of practice.  I haven't been hit with a death of a current friend in quite sometime.  I feel sorry for her husband and son.  I hope that there is at least a little bit of truth, if not a lot, in Heaven and God; or at least something similar to it.  I can't call what I have faith, but definitely hope.  It would be nice.  Deaths always make people feel lucky to be alive, and love the ones you love that much more.  So to honor her, I will live, and live well.  So please grab your loved ones and give them a big smooch and a hug.  Horrible things happen everyday.  Stay healthy, happy, and safe everyone.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Dear Google, you SUCK

Dear Google,

You suck.  I am really pissed off us MAC 10.4.11 Tiger using peoples can't use Google Chrome on our operating system.  If you were a person I would punch you.  I mean really? What the hell!  Maybe they struck some kind of secret deal with MAC not to let us use it so we would buy the upgrade.  Bastards, all of them.  My browser crashes so much, with Chrome only the tab that has the problem will close and not the whole browser.  That is worth it all right there.  But now I hate you Google.  So kiss my butt....until you make it for us too...or I upgrade...

Re-start squared

My first year in Korea I was very heavily into Hapkido.  I took classes every day and sometimes twice a day.  They were free so why wouldn't I?  I also competed a bit, and succeeded in placing in the national competition, which was very very sweet.  But when I returned for my second year it wasn't in the same city as my first year, and therefore nowhere near my Hapkido gym.  I went from being a black belt to a bum.  No gym, no practice...I felt like I forgot everything I learned.


The great thing about this year is that I AM BACK IN MY ORIGINAL CITY!  By bus, I live about 1hr and 15 minutes away from where my gym is, but that won't stop me from going at least once a week.  My first time seeing my "Hapkido family," as they proudly call themselves (and so do I), was the weekend before last.  My Kwan Jang Nim (Hapkido Master) welcomed me back with a party.  In attendance was everyone I knew and hung out with from my first year.  The only person who speaks English in that group is my co-worker from year 1, who made the original introduction, but my Kwan Jang Nim and have developed an understanding.  Between his really broken English and my really broken Korean we can talk about almost anything, and have a pretty good understanding of each other. The welcome back party was about 10 people, a lot of alcohol and food, and our lovely end of the night tradition, KARAOKE!  It was a great way to ease back into all of it.  It was like I never left.

So this last Friday I finally was able to put on my uniform and tie my black belt up again.  It's a lovely one with my name on it.  But because of my absence I had to look on the internet for the proper way to tie it because I forgot.  I hopped on the bus excitedly and awaiting my arrival in Chil-Gok.  My return was supposed to be a secret but my Kwan Jang Nim couldn't help himself, he told everybody.  I saw all the kids I practiced with, but now they were almost double their height.  It was nice to see them grown up a little...although still absent were their English skills.  There was so much I forgot, and I was expected to teach my old co-workers' new foreign teacher, who attended, some basics.  Things I forgot: Even though I looked up the belt knot, I still put the name on the wrong side.  When I took the belt off to fix it, I forgot to turn away from the flag. I forgot the order of the stretches, the balance warm-up, the breathing warm up, and how to get to the ground properly when kneeling to bow.  I gave my Kwan Jang Nim a heads up I was rusty, so he just laughed at me and kicked me in the butt.  After doing it once I remembered immediately.

After teaching the new guy the basics, which my K.J.N was grateful for (because he admitted to me he couldn't communicate with the guy), I warmed up my kicks and had a sort of kicking test.  I was worried that I would embarrass myself with the rust being chipped off my legs, but guess what...I STILL GOT IT.  I impressed myself and my K.J.N.  Side kicks, hook kicks, back kicks, spinning back kicks, jump kicks, spinning back jump kicks, 360 kicks taking off, kicking, and landing with the same foot (more gymnastics than martial arts, but still pretty cool to see)....All came back out of muscle memory.  I even heard my K.J.N gasp with a mixture of satisfaction AND disbelief.  "Better now, no last time" he said.  That is about as clear as it gets.

I am going back for 2 classes this Friday and then sticking around for the after party so to speak.  I got my Friday night planned out. If you are still with me here, this post is called 're-start squared' for a reason.  Besides Hapkido, I started going back to the gym too.  Joined for the year, gonna get back in shape.  Went today, used a trainer for the first time since it's free....Didn't like it.  Maybe do my own thing next time.  Watch out ABS here I come.

Monday, April 5, 2010

FINALLY

FINALLY 70 DEGREES AND SUNNY!  It's been raining for what seems an eternity.  80% of the days I've been here it's been peeing from the sky.  Now finally it's freaking nice outside and I can use my bike! 

The previous bike I bought was not exactly what I wanted so I got it fixed up and I'm giving it to my 'sister' for her birthday.  I bought this nice one from my fiancee's bass player and now I'm rocking it out lovely.

In other news, I got an extra class, and next month another one added on... I'm not too happy about it but I'm hoping this class adding stops.  Today one of the 2 kids in my after school class had an attitude attack after I told her should couldn't eat in the classroom.  First day, first problem.  She tried to make me feel bad by crying, but I told her it wouldn't work and if she needed she could go to the office.  She stopped and started participating.  I'm getting good at this. 

In my last 5 year old class during the 'stand up sit down' chant, one of the cuter girls in the class kept standing up when she was suppose to, but then ran over to me and buried her head in my lap and cracked up.  I hesitated too long to correct her and sit her down because I was laughing and she was so happy.  It was cute but it started a domino effect.  About 10 of the 15 kids stood up and charged.  All the while tripping on each other to race for the closest spot.  At this moment, the Korean teacher wasn't in the room (which is not usual for this class), and it took me a good 5 minutes to get them to sit down and not charge me every time they stood up.  Some kids are lucky they are adorable...Kinda like Flora, who thinks everything I do is the funniest thing in the world.  She cracks up constantly, and then stops when she realizes nobody else is laughing except her Korean teacher and I.  

Friday, April 2, 2010

Eagle Man Randy??

Use Somebody-Kings Of Leon.  This one was def. fun

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Eagle Man Randy Live At Communes. Red Hot Chili Peppers- Under the bridge

Under the bridge by The Red Hot Chili Peppers.  Performed by Eagle Man Randy.  I like the big Jim head in the background.  More practice is needed but let me know what you think about the prelim performance.

A Beastly Burden

This happened 2 days ago but I was singing at a bar last night and too busy to write yesterday.

The lady in charge of my side of the school (a.k.a my boss-ish) called me out into the hallway by the front doors. She was standing with a parent and she doesn't speak any English, so I thought that she wanted me to talk to him. I said hello and was about to go for the hand shake, when she pointed to the doors. I looked over and was taken aback a little bit because, laying there comfortably, were 3 beasts. One was a HUGE Alaskan Malamute, the other a pretty big Golden Retriever, and the last was a completely white Bull Terrier puppy. Since I am the only man in the whole building, I assumed she wanted me to get rid of them.

I went to open the doors and they were locked. The ladies got so scared they locked the doors so the dogs couldn't get in. You need to know that the normal size of a dog in Korea is something similar to a notebook. All Yorkies, or uglies, or shities. I don't know, but I hate small dogs. I unlocked the doors and walked out. They stood up and kinda looked at me. The puppy tried to get in but he was met with a shove from my foot. They were friendly enough so I tried to get rid of them. I got them half way down the block and then went back to my school. They followed me back. I knew this wasn't going to be easy.

The two big ones had collars on, but no tags for their owners. All three were expensive pure bred (from what I could see )dogs so they had to be owned. By this time all the free teachers and students were gathered by the door watching me. I had a hell of an audience. There is a police station across the street so I grabbed the collars, and a frightened co-worker and made my way across to the station. The puppy didn't have a collar but she followed everywhere the big ones went. I got to the station and the police, the "public servants", basically refused to help. They turned us away and said they saw them running around the parking lot.

Honestly, in this country, the police are a big joke. If they didn't carry guns, I would take them negatively serious, if that is even possible. They don't do shit, ever. Once I saw them drag a passed out drunk guy across the street, only to lay him on a bench and walk away. How manly can you be if you walk down the street in a group, 2 by 2, while holding hands. I even rode my motorcycle around the country for 2 years without a license plate and never even got stopped once, while giving them plenty of opportunities. BUT, for some reason the only thing they care about is when you cross the street when you don't have a light. Pitiful really.

Anyway back to the story. After they shooed us away I walked around with these two monsters a little more, holding their collars by the metal D ring with one finger. They were pulling and it was hurting, but if I let them go they would either run back to my school or get hit by a car. I knew there was an animal hospital close by but it was 10 minutes walk, and the dogs were getting tired of me dragging them around. I had class in about 10 minutes and I had to get back. I had no choice but to let them go and hope they would run home using that 6th sense everyone keeps talking about. I let them go, and because they were probably angry at me, they ran into the parking lot and out of view...Better than the street. I didn't see them again, but hopefully they got home safe.

I was regarded as a hero for the rest of the day. Definitely brownie points with my boss...ish.
I wanted that Bull Terrier puppy so badly.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Revenge was defintiely served cold

In Korean bathrooms there usually is no bathtub. Just the faucet in the sink, and the shower is directly connected. There is a drain in the middle of the floor so the whole bathroom can get wet and everything drains nicely (makes cleaning easy). Anyway, if you turn a knob, that stops the flow through the tap and redirects through the shower. My fiancee always forgets to turn the shower off after she is done. This means when I go to use the sink I get a surprise spray of cold water to the side of the face and body right from that evil shower head. She has done this to me at least 10 times in the last 2 weeks. I'm usually pretty fast and turn it off before the water actually comes out, but recently I have been unsuspecting because for about 3 days, she remembered to shut it off and it was lovely.

To teach her a lesson I wanted to leave the shower on so she would get sprayed. Revenge, in this case, would be sooo sweet. Normally I would worry this might start a war, but I get sprayed almost everyday anyway, so there would be no difference. SO, I turned the knob for the shower. I was expecting she would come home, get hit, and maybe even scream. Then I would laugh, she would be mad, then I can make my point, and persuade her into forgiving me.

However, I forgot I'm slightly retarded sometimes. After I took a shower, I left it on. It didn't dawn on me that I might brush my teeth before she got home. Guess what, I did. And guess what, I forgot what I was planning. Now, as I am sitting here, my pajamas are soaked. Serves me right. I have to change clothes.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Table Pinball

I just went out to eat with my adopted Korean "sister" to a kim-bop place. For those of you who don't know, a kim-bop place is a smallish restaurant that you can order many different Korean dishes. It's usually small and cheap, but very tastey. The food is also ready with-in 10 minutes if not sooner. There was this little girl who was about the right age to be a level 1 student walking around the place. He parents didn't seem to care much because they didn't call her back once. It was unlucky for her that her head was the same height as the tables. Even more unlucky...she wasn't a very good walker.

I was at the table farthest from the door, and she started from 4 tables away, the closest to the door. SHE'S OFF, SMACK! into the first table with the left side of her head. And then as if she was flicked away by some invisible pinball flipper she smacked into the second table also head first, but this time the right side of her head made contact. Then, almost like there was no other possible way this could happen, left side of the head on the 3rd table, and then into my table to finish the round. She stood there next to me wondering what just happened. I almost shot a noodle out of my nose (it has happened before) I was laughing so hard. Without crying, she hurried back to her mother. Tough little girl...or soft tables?

Besides the pinball wizard, the meal was very satisfying.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Butt poking and sweatshirt bleaching

As if I don't get poked in the butt enough at school by my students, I have to guard myself at home too. My fiancee loves my tush. Not that I can blame her really, it's pretty nice. Many many years of dancing, rugby, and wrestling...well you get the point. I gotta be on guard 24 hours a day or I'll get the unpleasant poke in the butt. The kids are worse because they are about the same height as my butt, but my fiancee is not much taller, and she has great aim. I've gotten pretty good at dodging using my Hapkido skills, but this girl adapts quick. We spend a lot of the time chasing each other around our small studio apartment.

I told her that if she didn't stop I would be forced to blog about it. Needless to say, here we are. It might not stop her now, but she'll know people are reading about it! If I'm ever constipated you'll know it's not because of the 3 or 4 bananas I eat per day. And if you see her, beg her to stop. For my sake!

I've also had this white quicksilver (copywrite blah blah blah?) sweatshirt that I love. It's gotten pretty dirty over the years with all the places I've been. It was white and the lettering on the front, and inside of the hood were black. I say 'were' because when I came home today the sweatshirt was shining white kinda like one of those halogen headlights, BLINDING. But for some reason the inside of the hood and the letters were brown. I knew what happened. She bleached it. I asked her and she started laughing and so did I. At the exact same time we said "It's like a new sweatshirt!" It's actually pretty cool looking especially because it's now clean. Looks like it was supposed to be like that AND I didn't even have to pay for it. If we bleach it again will the hood get pink? We'll find out in a year or two.

New sytle, new schedule

Since people are reading this more now than ever before, I wanted to make it as nifty as possible. And not as retardalized (See the Jake-tionary) as it was before. Side note, thanks for checking back so often and reading. I've had about 500 hits in the last month. A lot of those are probably me seeing how the posts look, and my family, but thanks to all of you who aren't related to me(and of course those who are). Tell me what you think. If you think I should change a color of some text or whatever else, just leave me a comment please. Would appreciate some feedback. I'm no designer, but I'm not too upset with how it came out. I like orange, so shoot me.

SCHEDULE:
After class ended today it officially marked the beginning of my '4 classes a day' period of my life as an educator. I went from having 6 classes on Tuesdays and Fridays, AND going to a different school Monday and Thursday (an hour away by bus) after teaching two classes, to now only 4 classes each day in one school. I can't tell you how happy I am.

Also, I was observed today by a lot of people. The Language section of the school is going to adopt the program that my side of the school is using, The Meysen Program. It's pretty good. It gives structure to a commonly lax teaching enviornment, kindergarten. I had 3 foreigners and 3 Koreans in one class. The most difficult part was to keep the kids attention on me and not the 3 tall white dudes behind them (NO PROBLEM). I rocked it as always. All in all a good last 6 class day. Let us hope we won't have a repeat of that crazy schedule.

Thanks for reading, AND DON'T FORGET TO COMMENT ON THE NEW LAYOUT!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

THE BULL FIGHTING VIDEO!

FINALLY I CAN UPLOAD VIDEOS! Screw Youtube because they suck. I can't use their upload thing...at least from my apt.

Here is the bullfighting video.


Look below for a new post NOT about Korea!

Punctuality is DEAD. I blame you technology.

Do you remember those days when we didn't have the internet or cell phones?  When I was born they still weren't invented yet, or if they were, they were NOT mainstream what so ever.  Even towards middle school they weren't popular.  Beepers were (remember those??  If you had one you were apparently a drug dealer).  If I wanted to make a play date with a friend, I would have my mother call their mother.  When I got old enough to 'hang out', I would call them myself.  As was the norm back then, we would agree to meet each other at a specific place and time.  We would have to be there on time or else it would be way to confusing.  There was no way to call and tell someone they would be late, or while waiting, call the other person to find out where they are.  You made a plan and people got there.

People were late then and they are still late today.  I think it's some subconscious need for control and power over others.  But now, people who are ridiculously on time (like myself and my father) have to wait LONGER than ever because as new devices come out, people get more tardy.  Being punctual has become lax because not only can they call me,  but they can e-mail me, BBM me, text me...everything me...except MEET ME on time!  Faster internet, faster cars,  less waiting...everything to make things faster, but people get slower. 

I wouldn't hire more than half of the people out there in the world because of this.  You all will need help if I ever become a business owner.  I actually have to force myself to sit down at my computer or somewhere else so I can purposely be late for things because I know I'll be the first one to the party.

The only thing people are on still on-time for are movies.  And that is only because they are so god damn expensive you can't get your money's worth  if you miss anything. 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tissues have many uses

I couldn't even tell you how happy I was that a little one finally went up to the tissue box and folded the tissue like she was going to blow her nose.  I thought, wow, finally!  Maybe this will start a trend.  Then with tissue in hand, she started digging.  Oh well... I was going to say to stop, but it would fall on deaf ears.  I didn't want to draw attention to her. 

Monday, March 22, 2010

Bull Fighting!!


Alrighttttttt, last Saturday was AWESOME!  The local magazine, Daegu Pockets, sets up trips for foreigners and Koreans alike.  It's a good opportunity to meet new people that work in your city, and make Korea friends (switch that around if you are Korean).  This month they set up an awesome trip to the bull fights and a wine tunnel.  The wine tunnel is literally a tunnel owned by a place that makes their own wine.  You can call it a vineyard possibly, but the undergroundness of it all confuses me.  Anyway, about 150ish people met up and took 4 buses (which I was the captain of bus B, sweet bus.  Also got me free lunch and dinner!), and hit up the wine tunnel for some much appreciated tasting. I'm not a white wine fan, but this persimmon wine was decently tasty.  However, I didn't buy a bottle.  We were there for about an hour 1/2, after the hour they cut us off because we were drinking their whole stock. 

After we took a short ride to the bull fights.  It's not like a Spanish bull fight where there is a Matador.  It is two bulls fighting with each other.  Before you go all PETA on me for enjoying the shit out of this day, you need to remember that bulls do this in the wild all the time.  It's innate.  If they are going to be in captivity at least they get to exert their dominance like beasts should.  And oh boy did they exert.  THEY DO NOT KILL THE LOSER, NOR DO THEY DIE IN THE RING. I don't think they even served beef at the stadium.  I've posted a video so you can see.  It's very exciting.

So instead of sitting here and writing out how the matches work, just watch.  After was also very cool because they had karaoke on the bus ride back.  Well at least it was cool for me and a couple of others, I don't know how the rest of the people felt.  And I don't care.

Cheers guys.  And as always, thanks for reading (and more thanks for comments).


P.S- SORRY but I can't get the video of the bullfights up just yet.  Youtube isn't letting me. But I'll keep trying. Check back!

Thank you pants inventor

Quick story...and I'm sorry for the last posts being all about bodily fluids...


These kids put everything in their mouths, well my 3 year olds do.  So when they have a wet hand I don't think much of it.  I'll still high-five them and then hit that sink and soap.  I shouldn't do that so readily.  At the end of my class last Friday,  my student Justin decided to high-five me.  Of course I left him, if I didn't he would have cried.  It was a little wet but nothing I wasn't used to.  The smile on his face was too wide for anything to be wrong.  BUT we forget...nothing is wrong in their minds.  That class left right after the high-five and I realized that his spit smelled a little funny on my hand.  Then I noticed there was a puddle on my floor.  Yeah...he pissed his pants and touched me with it.

I definitely ran out of the room and washed not just my hand, but my whole arm.  And not once, but three times.  I didn't have to clean it up, nor would I have cleaned it up.  My friend that lives in Seoul teaches K too and he said it happens about 4 times a year.  It happened once last week and today I came in to no carpet on my floor because another kid had an accident on that.  But what could I really expect?  They are basically babies.  It won't be quite so disgusting when I have my own.  Or at least I hope.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Tomorrow tomorrow tomorrow.

I don't quite have time now to write this because I'm going to bullfighting.  Yes bullfighting.  Not like a Spanish bullfight, but an event where two bulls actually fight each other.  It's a little barbaric, but they use the loser for eating after.  I might have just lied to you but I wouldn't be surprised if there were beef samples upon departure. 

Tomorrow I'll be writing about the bull fight, and a post entitled "Thank you for making pants...now let's think rubber."  It's a wet one. 

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The greatest gift

I walked into work today and started to set up my classroom like any other day.  After I finished, I walked out to get coffee and was greeted by a little guy wearing a problematic face.  Almost as if he had a problem and he had no idea what to do.  I found out his problem.  He raised his pointer finger towards me as E.T did in the movie, but more like he was presenting me with an award.  On his finger was the biggest and most disgusting booger I have ever seen.  He WAS NOT my student so I just kinda looked around and walked away.  Of course, he followed me into the office, never putting his finger down.  There were other teachers in there so I pointed out the problem.  I was scared he was going to become SO desperate he would wipe it on me just to get it off his finger.  It was a gift I could not accept. 






As a post-story story...I have this student who is always drifting to sleep.  Not the nose picker, but in the same class.  He is good at catching himself and never really getting in trouble, but I think there might be a little bit of a problem after today.  I had them stand up prior to singing a song chock-a-block full of movement and while I was having them repeat the words they would be singing this kid's eyes start closing.  In slow motion he started to go down.  I knew what was going to happen so I got there before he fell...but he was falling asleep while standing.  Does anyone else think this is a problem???  I should tell the teachers to tell the parents maybe...I mean really, who falls asleep standing up besides that drunk guy I saw at 4am on the N.Y subway...but that is another story. 

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Adorable kids and St. Patricks Day

Today was St. Patricks Day at school and all of the kids on the ESL side of the school dressed in green. They were already really cute to begin with. Only 2 1/2 years old and always running around on the playground screaming and playing. Today was even cuter because they all had their faces painted with stickers everywhere. I would believe that their parents did that to them as a way to revert back to their childhood doll dress-up days; but I also wouldn't put it past the teachers to do while in school. It's very common to see teachers brushing their kids hair and fixing their shirts in the name of appearence. I am not saying that is good or bad, I'm just saying.

Anyway everything was green over there and it was entertaining to say the least. MY students aren't in green. They wear uniforms. The girls have grey skirts and the boys grey pants. They all wear a button down shirt underneath a purpuly maroonish sweater vest. Name tags seem to be an option. I can't tell you how many times these 3 year old girls come back from the bathroom with the backs of their skirts tucked into their stockings. They either don't care, or don't realize, but this is where the teachers jump to fix them. I don't fix anyone except if they are picking their noses or coughing in my face (if I'm sitting down they can reach...some of them).

Speaking of picking noses...Sometimes the kids will start to fall asleep in class, and almost ALL of the times they will be exploring for that unseen treasure. But yesterday I finally witnessed those two things rolled into one hilarious moment. This was an after lunch class so most of them were pretty tired and ready for home. I was reading them a story on the carpet and one kid was picking his nose hard core. As his eyes close more his finger slowed down, and when they were shut, there would be a split second his finger would stop moving and his head would start to dip. He would wake up slightly startled with his eyes only half open and, yup you guess it, the finger would start going again. This repeated almost 2 or 3 times before I started to laugh. I felt bad but I had to wake the poor kid up and make him stand because it was the 10th time or something I had to tell him not to fall asleep.

I was also called a diaper baby by a 4 year old. And elephant teacher, and dung teacher...I might want to re-think teaching these kids anything more...They are getting good.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

GET THIS

I just went to get a haircut. I went in with a text message of what I wanted in case they really didn't understand me. It turns out it wasn't necessary. The lady who cut my hair lived in New York for 15 years. What is even crazier is that she lived in Bayside, on Rocky Hill RD which is about 15-20 minutes away from where I live. EVEN CRAZIER is that her son went to the same school that my mother taught at. AND THE CRAZIEST OF ALL IS WHEN I SAID HER NAME HER MOUTH DROPPED AND SAID "I KNOW HER!!!!!"

What are the odds. Her English wasn't great because she worked in Korea Town, but still good enough where we had a decent conversation. It is crazy how coincidental things can get.

The iLL proposal


Before I begin let me say, for all of my lovely ESL friends, "ill" means good.

So last Sunday in Korea was what is called "White Day." Traditionally, on Valentines day, the girl gives a present to the boy. Then on White Day, it's time for the boy to give a present to the girl. Now enough with the traditional stuff and let's get to the juicy part.

As some of you may know I was thinking of a nice and original way to propose to my lovely girlfriend (now Fiancee'). Getting the ring was easy enough since I have such great great taste:) (At this time I would like to give a shout out to Markens Jewlers, who also happen to be my second family, the Strauss's, for helping me out. Also my cousin Annah for coming with and trying to make me spend more money!) But it's hard to think of a way to propose while still being original because it's been done so many times before. Now, my way might have happened before, and it will def happen again after, but I have never heard nor seen it...so if you have, shut the hell up.

I sneaked out of bed in the morning, while she was sleeping, and went to the bag where the ring was hid. The bag was about 2 feet away from Jin's head. Luckily she sleeps like a log, but I was still very nervous she would wake up. The zipper on the bag opens up to where the handle of the suitcase is stowed, so it's a very small compartment. The zipper itself is maybe 10 inches in length but it still took me about a minute to open. All the while I was looking back to make sure she didn't wake up. No noise, success. I then went to get the ring, which was in a case, which was in a box, which was in the noisiest plastic bag in the world. As my luck would have it, the ring was really wedged in there. I wrestled with it for about a minute before I got it and then immediately ran into the bathroom to hide like a kid stealing a cookie from the jar. That is the downfall of living in a smallish studio apartment with two people. You hear EVERYTHING.

I took the box out of the bag, the case out of the box, and the ring out of the case. I put the ring on my pinky finger facing inwards to my palm. I walked out of the bathroom and got back into bed. She was facing away from me so I snuggled up next to her. I don't think I've ever been that nervous. My heart was beating as loud as I've ever heard it. I kissed her on the cheek to wake her up but she wasn't having any of that. She obviously still didn't want to wake up on her Sunday morning off. Finally she started to come to and I told her I love her, and she said it back. I asked "are you sure?" She made a noise that I knew to be yes. With her eyes still closed I told her "Then I have a question for you." I slipped the ring on her finger and asked her if she will marry me. Her eyes opened wide and she giggled, hugged, and jumped on me. After about 15 seconds...I just wanted to make sure...I asked her "so is that a yes?" And, of course it was. I found out later it wasn't my voice or my kissing her cheek that woke her up. It was my heart beating. She felt it AND heard it. She was a little curious what was going on.

After we woke up, both of us still in disbelief, we went downtown to eat our favorite food. We went shopping for some stuff we needed for the apt, and then came back home to spend the rest of our Sunday together as an engaged couple. All in all, an excellent day.

SNAGS: When I got to Korea she unpacked all of my things and I thought she found the ring. She didn't. I also watched a movie called "The Time Traveler's Wife." It was one SHE downloaded...and in the movie he actually proposed to his girlfriend very very similarly to what I wanted to do. The movie came out in Oct of 2009. I've had this idea pre Sept 2009 and I have proof! So I was just scared that she watched it. That would have ruined everything. I knew she didn't because I asked her all sly like the night before if she saw it yet.

So yeah, that is the story. Sorry for the length, but you asked for details. There they is ya'll. Stay cool, PEACE.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The man at the desk

I am writing this at my brand new awesome and wonderful desk. It is truly fit for a literary genius; so I guess I have some work to do. Korea is pretty well known for it's markets. If you ever need anything second hand (sometimes first hand) you can be sure you will find it at one of the many markets.

When you get there it's basically a maze of streets packed with people selling things. It's a flea market lovers dream. It's all organized so that the same things are next to each other. At the one we just went to we were dropped off right near the fish ladies. They are the oldest people I have ever seen, sitting on these mini stools, with there old lady perms and old lady clothes. I asked one of the old women (in Korean) where the furniture store was. I understood the pointing part but she just started ranting about the directions like it was the most difficult thing in the world. My girlfriend and I actually had to walk away from her after about 3 minutes of her going on and on. We walked to the end of the block and turned right. It was RIGHT there. Hardly worthy of a three minute speech. First store, good deal and free delivery. Also no taxi ride back needed. SWEET.

RE: Korean old ladies. Once you hit a certain age tradition dictates that you must get a perm and cut your hair short. You also apparently have to loose all fashion sense...not that I am particularly stylish myself. I have come to the realization that I HATE old Korean women. There sense of entitlement is ridiculous. They walk three or four wide, slowly, down the street, without the courtesy to realize that people want to get around then. If you are standing in their way, or they want to get onto a packed subway car, here come the elbows. They must go through training because they elbow you right in the kidney. Every time, direct hit. It's frustrating to say the least. Anyway, I'm desked up and I'm happy about my Saturday with some sunny weather. Stay cool. PEACE.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I want to destroy my fridge. If it had a family I would end them too.

The title says it all. It's so bad that when the motor STARTS it get's quite. After it stops...forget about it. Pops from the cooling off, and then the worst 'bloop' 'bloop' 'bloop' draining sound in the whole world every 2 or 3 minutes for 20 minutes.

My school called a repair man to come and look at it. Of course when he showed up the fridge didn't make a single noise. Even after I explained it to him (with a little translating help) his response was that every fridge makes those sounds. And that it was just the model. I doubt Samsung makes all that money from selling loud home appliances. I've taken to sleeping with earplugs.

My apartment is pretty nice, even with the purple floral patterns on parts of the wall and the ceiling. But I want to throw my fridge out the window. It amazing how inanimate objects can frustrate people so much.

TOMORROW IS FRIDAY. Baby it's the freakin' weekend I'm gonna have me some fun. And by fun, I mean rest.


P.S- I found this sweet computer chair outside. Now it's inside under my butt. Free chairs. High five.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Why Cinder Block

It may or may not be important to know why this is called Cinder Block Diaries. I feel it my duty to share with you the joke that spawned this nickname. I don't know who originated this joke, but I would like to thank them for the laugh.

For those of you that don't know me, I'm not THAT bad:)


There were three girls in the back of a car on their way to a family vacation. On the way one of the daughters asked their parents, "Hey, why is my name Rose?" Her mother responded, "After your birth, when we were on the way home from the hospital with you, a rose pedal flew in through the window and landed on your forehead. So, we named you Rose."

The second daughter immediately wanted an answer to the same question. She asked, "Mom, why is my name Lilly?" Quickly, the mother answered, "well when we were on the way home from the hospital with you, a lilly pedal flew in the window and we named you Lilly."

The Third daughter spoke up and said, "DUUUUUURRRRRRRRRRRRRR!" To which the mother replied, "SHUT UP CINDER BLOCK!"

Kids: day 1

In Korea most people, depending on the time of year, are 2 years older than their ages in Korea. For example, I am 25 in America, but I am 27 here. This probably stops a lot of you older folks from coming to visit me. So when they told me I was teaching 5, 6, and 7 year olds I forgot to remember that they would really be 3, 4, and 5. They are really really small. Literally midgets. I have one student named Apple, who is such a little girl, she comes up to the middle of my thigh. What is most important to remember is that I am no giant.

My first day in school with the students I was only observing the class. While walking through the hall I was greeted in many different ways. Some foreseeable pokes to the butt, which plagues most foreign teachers in this country, and a whole lot of hellos. I even scared some of the 3 year olds into tears because they have never even seen a foreign person let alone been introduced to one. But perhaps the most memorable greeting came on the way to lunch. Apple, the tiniest of them all, opened her classroom door just as I was walking buy. Because she was right near me I stopped and said hello. She looked at me right in the eyes with a blank expression. "Hello", I said with a smile. While retaining her military like bearing, she proceeded to position her hand like she was holding up the number 4, and poked me right in the penis. Then, simply walked away, sat down, and continued eating.

Luckily for me she isn't very strong or she would have done some real damage. She will probably grow up to be a sniper, or even Moses. She defintely could part the Red Sea, so to speak. I was a little shocked but couldn't help laugh at the innocence of it all. She had no idea that it wasn't a kosher thing to do, but she didn't care. She thought it, and acted.

It is a little distressing to realize that most of my students thing like this, because one of my little dude students enjoys trying to kick, punch, prod, grab, and possibly telekinetically (probably not a word) destroy my private area. This I will say I don't enjoy too much, but the Korean teachers are helping me control him. I can't really complain because I have a feeling I would have done the same thing as a kid...or worse. Being moved to three different elementary schools in three consecutive years...you get the point.

Even with the pokes, these students give me joy. In the classroom and out, they hug me and tell me they love me daily. I am two days into teaching solo. I am sure I will have more stories.

Until next time ladies and gentlemen.

Cinder Block: OUT

Date: March, 2010. Mission: Kindergarten

Hello to you all. I've taken quite a long break since my last post, and an even longer break before that one. What can I say, when my job sucks, so do I. But that was last year, this is next.

I am back in the city where I first started; Daegu and I have taken a job at a kindergarten right outside one of the American military bases.

I have been back for about two weeks and I am into the second day of actual teaching. These kids are about 3, 4, and 5 years old and needless to say extremely cute. It's still a little hectic around here between getting accustomed to working at 9am and memorizing all of the lovely English songs that the kids will memorize. I have been working at it so much that I caught myself singing "Good morning to you" at the bar last weekend. It's actually kind of catchy. However, "Let's spin" is possibly the best song of the year...

Working with little kids has reinvigorated me and inspired me to start writing again. So here I am, back again for round 3. I hope you'll take the trip with me.