Saturday, September 1, 2007

many random updates

so here are a collection of random thoughts from the past week:

the powers that be have deemed it much better to stay MORE anonymous. therefore, i guess first and foremost, i have to go through and dissociate my blog from [Fulbright] "The Shiny Program." My adventures are now from [Cheongju] "Chicago." And my position will be referred to as "GIK" (gyopo in korea). ok that took all of 30 minutes. it was a really productive use of time (sarcastic a bit)

there is this one 5th grade teacher that everyone is playing a horribly mean but REALLY funny prank on. he is one of 2 male homeroom teachers for teh grade and really REALLY excited about me being the new english teacher (don't worry, he's married and treats me like an honored guest/younger sister blend). But all the other teachers have told him that i speak NO korean. so he pulls out these HORRIBLE english phrases and sentences to try to communicate with me and everyone else laughs hysterically (some have even fallen out of their chairs) and he just thinks its bc he's bad at english. and once i caught on (at first i was confused why ppl i had just been having fluent conversations with were telling him i couldn't speak korean) i kept turning to my coteacher to translate and it was SO hard to keep a straight face, i don't know how min does it. but he is REALLY REALLY nice and got me a printer for my room within 24 hours of my request (in english). hehe

one of the times of day when i feel MOST american .... is when i use my citrus burst Listerine in the shower. lol. i have NO idea why, considering there is a big sticker in korean on the back giving all the Listerine information but from the moment i pick up the bottle to the second i spit out the swished up listerine into the drain, i feel ESPECIALLY american. maybe i feel like fluoride is a uniquely american obsession (dental hygiene in general seems to be very american). but i just get this huuuuge surge of "wow im back in america/i am SO american" when i listerine. i seriously have no idea.

my school teachers LOVE my laugh and smile! i had no idea they were so charming~!! hehe but my coteachers and other homeroom teachers have said that my smile is exceptionally happy and lights up the whole room/area and that my laugh is so sincere and joyous that it just makes them feel like everything in teh world is ok and happy. i am glad they think so (also my korean voice is apparently "soft" and adorable and not WHINY like my english speaking voice).

also, i was really stressed out this week because there was some miscommunication and i was under the impression that i had to basically write a SCRIPT for class in english that featured the homeroom teachers and i did basically nothing but PREPARE for the class that the 13 homeroom teachers would lead. after talking with my host mom i brought this up with the coteacher and she was so nice about explaining how the sample lesson plan and several miscommunicationy conversations that had led me to this conclusion were all wrong. it was up to me to divide up the roles of the homeroom teacher and myself and i was to prepare SOME english phrases within the lesson plan for the teachers to use (bc they have very little confidence in their ability) but NOT my responsibility to provide THEM with a lesson plan to teach from while i stood back. SCORE for open communication. Fulbright has SOME very good advice from workshops (another is BE FLEXIBLE)

i may have said this already, but i have NO class on fridays, and i love this.

i had no class till 2pm mostly this week and so i hung out with host mom and we did errands and she helped me with random stuff i needed (bank acct stuff, etc.) and it reminded me so much of hanging out with my mom. we got lunch and cake/coffee afterwards and owuld just talk about stuff (both with hostmom, and also my real mom) and i'm pretty lucky that they are very similar characters, but it will both help AND make me miss my mom more.

my daddy's bday is saturday (they haven't woken up yet in the states) but i meant to send his bday card (which i wrote) but have not mailed yet. it'll just have to be a little late. oops =(

i might get over a week off for chusok. =) since i only teach mon-thurs and chusok break is until wed. my teachers have decided its kindof silly for me to come and teach 2 classes on thursday plus if those 2 classes get ahead it messes up our weekly teacher workshops. so my break is from 4pm when i get off on thursday, sept 20 until sept 30-the sunday before i teach again! altho this break is so long i wish i could travel, the bulk of it will be spent on JINDO with the chin-fam (chin means dad's side). hoom, oh well, it'll make my 할머니 very happy, at least and i can just play with my little cousins and try out english games on them haha.

i love my special advanced english class. theyare so adorable! they're 3 6th grade boys. i was opening up my email and they could see on the big projector screen bc i wanted to show them some articles i had emailed the links to myself (worst sentence ever). and i had an email from my sister that was subject: HERRO. one of the boys goes, oh that's korean-HERRO. lol it was so adorable!!!

also, one of my boys wants to go to DUKE!!! at first i was really surprised bc when i introdcued myself and said i went to duke he did the intake of breath, and i was like NOOOOO he can't know where duke is (mostly bc NO koreans know!) but then he asked me about it a few days later and i was like, HOW DO YOU KNOW DUKE!??!?! and he said he wants to go tehre and it is a very good school and he would love to go for math or science related majors! then another boy asked if it was ivy league and when the answer was no he did not believe it was a good school so then i whipped out the US news and world report (because we all know the schools all ACTUALLY pay attn to these) and duke was #8! right in the middle with 4 ivies above and 4 below. so there. besides, we all know dukies have more fun than ANY ivy league kids do =) lol actually i was a little nervous bc i hadn't checked the rankings since my senior year of hs and had no idea where duke would be.

i have started to wash my underwear by hand. this was something i was SURE i would NOT be able to do no matter how long i was in korea. although i guess now i can see all the signs were leading up to this. from the beginning of my brilliant wearing taekwondo uniforms INTO the shower after each day's class to rinse/soap them up, and washing my seven jeans by hand because i was sure they would mold, i have slowly been progressing to washing my underwear by hand in the shower (as apparently many, if not most, korean women do). it started with curiosity, at first i collected all my underwear and did it myself in the machine. then i felt bad about how expensive water is and how much water even my small load needed. so then i was like, ok if everyone else does it i guess i can give it a try. also, host mom says that hand washing actually makes it cleaner AND preserves longevity of my delicate underthings. so i tried it, and actually, its not that hard or gross or anything at all. plus it makes so much sense. it's so efficient. however, my one complaint is that it doesnt dry all soft and fluffy, but it wasnt gonna do that anyway since we line dry everything here. =]

ok, now, one small complaint, its pretty freaking impossible to do ANYTHING w/o a 중민등녹번호 (i thinkhope i spelled that mostly correct) here. it's basically like americans' social security # but abillion times more important. you use it for EVERYTHING. banking, blogging, eating, going to the bathroom, printing photos online ... seirously ... its such a hassle to try and do ANYTHING w/o one. i feel like korea is REALLY a closed off little country at times like this. haha. oh well. im much happier with my blue american passport than whatever hassle its worth not having a korean citizen #.

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