Friday, November 30, 2007

dear old duke

wednesday night i went to a duke korea alum end of the year dinner. it was interesting. it made me think. the dinner was at the ritz carlton and the food was amazing. but i'll talk about that later. other than me and soojin (both 07 trinity girls) the alum were all old men. they were mostly fuqua alum, LLMs from duke law, and a few MDs. there were also a few who had gone as visiting scholars (does this mean they were students? or lecturers?). there were almost NO women. the few women who were there were the wives of duke alum men, and half the wives were also duke affiliated. there were maybe 2 couples, one was both fuqua and the other was both LLM, where both the man and wife were dukies. i wonder if they met there, or if they were both accepted bc they were a package deal?

anyway, duke alum in korea are surprisingly a lot like those at home, it's an old boys' club. it makes me wonder also, are there less duke women grads in korea? or are they in a society that keeps women from attending bc they have to take care of the kids? but from the looks of the alum last night, these ppl are members of korea's elite society. they are all in the upper echelons of their respective corporations, or are doing really well in their own business/hospital, or are so well-off they're jus chilling doing philanthropy. so the point of that was, these WOMEN if they are graduating with duke mbas and llms, is that they definitely are in a class where hired help is a given. for more on why being a woman in korea SUCKS, refer to LJ's entry on korean womenlife.

i would NEVER EVER choose to be a woman living in korea. even though i am from america, ppl STILL try to fit me somewhat to the korean woman mold. i'm so happy that i am enough of an "outsider" that some ppl are nice and understand and don't ask me to do all the normal traditional woman roles of the house and whatnot. i enjoy my guest status in that respect. like at restaurants, i am never expected to pass out the chopsticks and spoons even though i am the youngest female bc they all know i was not brought up like that. which brings me to my next point: entitlement and prestige?

these ppl went to a diff duke than me. we definitely had differnet experiences. this i know, just from observing the international undergrads. our duke experiences may have overlapped in a few areas, but overall were vastly different. however, were our reasons for going the same? did we know that duke offered us very similar things? entitlement, belonging to the (academic and social?) elite, school name, better opportunity, bragging rights, etc. korea is crazy competitive and clearly studying in america was a leg up, but studying at a place like duke was a super duper double leg and arm up.

anyway, dinner was delish. i had scallops for the first time since coming to korea!!! winty!! i missed scallops soooo much!!! and DIP!!! i haven't had any kind of dip yet, and i miss it sooo much!!! you girls KNOW how much i love scallops and how much i love chips and dip, GOOD dip!!! oh well, i didnt even have time to TRY the dessert bc they moved on to entertainment and bonding games before i was ready. =( oh well.

on another note, a source at duke (ok, john) tells me that this year's team is the best in the whole country. i am SOOOO mad i'm not at duke to enjoy this firsthand, but SOOOO proud of our boys and hope to find a way to watch their games SOMEHOW from the motherland!

Thursday, November 29, 2007



i'm sorry. it's the most stressful thing ever. and altho there were parts i LOVED. mostly there were parts that were ok. and overall, it's one of those things where i'm like, hmm OK experience, glad i had it (ok, "glad" is a stretch) but NEVER AGAIN. PLEASE.

The kids, as a whole, were great. it's nice to know students from other grades. it makes the school a less lonely, and more friendly place. walking around the buildling or schoolgrounds and recognizing students taller than my knees is nice.

but also, i don't want to know any more. i'm pretty happy with the current group. first of all, the kids (as a group) are horrible at english. and i get 3 days with them. so 3 days of "fun" english with kids who can't speak my language. and the teachers haven't said anything yet, but i can see in their faces, are not pleased when i speak korean to the kids. but they are so freaking terrified when i speak english. and korean serves multiple purposes. 1. it breaks the ice, the kids are more comfortable. 2. my errors make them laugh and they feel more comfortable making english errors. 3. THEY UNDERSTAND WHAT THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO DO.

next, i get a new group every week and a new grade every 2 weeks. they are all such different levels (and soetimes HUGELY different levels WITHIN groups). and i never know what to expect. and the coteachers are NO help. i asked about the first couple groups "what level can i expect? what level should i plan for?" the response: oh a little above average. .... what is average??? they look at the roster and say, "oh a little above average". ... like that's supposed to mean something to me. so basically these aren't the really good kids who can afford the supergood hakwons, and they're not the braindead kids who sleep during english class. ok great.

next, they CLAIMED i'd only have to make 2 sets of lesson plans. one for 5-6 and one for 3-4. yea ok. i made one per grade, and usually a huuuuuuuge revision between each grade's 2 weeks, so, yea i've made NOT 4, but 8, that's right EIGHT brand new lesson plans, for english levels that i'm never sure of.

i HATE english camp. not the kids. not really. (a few i dislike, bc they are here and don't really care, but that's more the parents i dislike not the kids' fault).

PLEASE, GOD. NO MORE ENGLISH CAMP. SORRY, next year's students. BUT I JUST DON'T WANT TO. Nay, I JUST CAN'T. If they ask me, I will be all D.A.R.E.-esque and JUST SAY NO.

maybe i am really selfish and cynical. maybe i'm negative for thinking that these 3 days are so pointless and a waste of my time and definitely my energy. i could SLEEP and write novels and save the world instead of stress over lesson plans that no one understands anyway. maybe 3 days is not enough to improve students' english skills but just to whet their appetite for english. to get them more interested and liking english. well, whoop-dee-doo i can't say i really care. (i know, this is horrible - i'm a horrible english speaker and an even worse english TEACHER). but ... the amount of effort that IIIII have to put into this endeavor ... is not worth a FEW kids PERHAPS becoming a LITTLE TEENSY bit more interested in english than their overzealous parents are making them be. i KNOW i should be all like "stand and deliver" and BELIEVE in the positive impact i'm having, but i really doubt that cranky overworked me is ANY kind of inspirational. ESP if i am not wanting to be there. like i've said before, i'm pretty freaking transparent and horrible at faking. so these kids can TELL if i'm not enjoying myself. and it's REALLY hard for me to NOT enjoy being around kids ... so yea...

Q.E.D. I should not do any more English Camp.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

ameri카 (engrish!)

Class 1-1 Cloud family members (as told by students)
아빠 구룸
엄마 구룸
색기 구룸 (오잉???)
correction: 아기 구룸

student 1: 선생님, 운전해요? (teacher, do you drive?)
me: yes, in america
student 2: 뭐레? (what did she say?)
student 1: 응, 운전하신데, "어메리 카"라고 하셨어 (yes, she drives, she said Ameri Car.)

(2nd grade lesson on breakfast, lunch, dinner foods in america)
breakfast: cereal, toast, bacon and eggs, omelet, french toast, pancakes
lunch: bagel, sandwich, salad, hot dog, pizza
dinner: steak, spaghetti, roast beef, meatloaf, chicken
me: okay, so those are some of the foods we eat in america
student 1: what about rice? you don't eat rice?
me: mm, no not really, not at every meal
student 1: so just 고기 (meat) and 밀가루 (flour)?
me: yes
students (to each other): ohh, that's why they (americans) are so fat!!!

me: what is roast beef?
student: 고기 떵어리 (hunk o meat)

me: what are string beans?
student answers: 고추, 오이, 깨잎, 당근, 지렁이, 고슴도치 (pepper, cucumber, sesame leaf, carrot, worm, porcupine...)

teacher workshop today: post-food lesson
teacher a: miss christine, so you REALLY eat eggs and bacon for breakfast?
me: yes, sometimes
teacher b: they go together?
me: YES!!!
teacher c: and you eat omelets, too? eggs and cheese and ham?
me: YES!!! (mmmmm~)
teacher d: and you can NOT digest KOREAN food for breakfast?

teacher english workshop: listen and fill in the blanks of "wonderful tonight" by eric clapton
after filling in the blanks, listening to the song several times, and discussing the meaning line by line, my teachers came to this conclusion: first they thought it was a sweet love song, but then you REALIZE that clapton is very 답답해 (frustrating) because he only 마음 만있어 cares about the woman in his heart but doesn't show it in his actions or words. they decided he clearly doesn't show her his appreciation bc the woman keeps asking him "do i look all right?" and "do you feel alright?" and if she has to ask, then he's being very annoying by not telling her. then they say this part: "And the wonder of it all Is that you just don't realize how much I love you. " is NOT a wonder (mystery) at all because of COURSE the woman can't realize if the guy is not TELLING her and she has to wait and ask him point blank. they decided eric clapton is an idiot(바보). this somehow took me to explaining that he was somewhat drunk by the end of the night (his "aching head" and she took the keys) which led to me teaching "to have a hangover" and "to be hungover". it was a very interesting class.

tomorrow is the thanksgiving/turkey/thankful lesson with 1st graders that i planned from start to finish!!! can't wait!!!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

winter roadtrips (nostalgia)

me on alligator at mooee outdoor art exhibit

with welcome to dongmakgol totem poles, on set!

me and hostsibs on set of welcome to dongmakgol

inside welcome to dongmakgol set kitchen

this weekend i went on a trip to 강원도 with the hostfam. it was supergreat. i got to eat a lot and sleep a lot. basically that is mostly what i did. we did sightseeing too. but mostly the eating and sleeping made it fantastic. it did, however, remind me loads of winters at home, mostly though, of last winter.

it has occurred to me that this will be my first winter spent away from home. EVER. i've been abroad in the summer, and at school during most summers and some springs. but ALWAYS ALWAYS home for the holidays!!! not this year tho. so the first snow here was odd (a few days ago last week). considering that i spend all my winters at home. winter = when it snows and i get to sit inside my house and watch korean dramas all day and say "no" to meeting ppl bc i feel that lazy. (darn you ppl who ACTUALLY come and drag me out - jp i love you the most!)

so anyways, this winter road trip from the past weekend ... reminded me of my two main drivings last winter: to and from home (duke to home and back) and ski trip staying at the baiks' house. and of COURSE those two drives reminded me of: my sister, ashley, skiing, baik bros, bbfl, chow fun, cherry tomatoes, nrb, beirut, and more. it reminded me of the hectic few days after finals packing and making sure i said bye to everyone before heading home. the early morning wakeup and drive home, stopping off in md for ashley. mosley and my singing most of the way back from md to nj. haha. that was fun. then surprising my mom by showing up at church (which turned out to be like 5 min from mosley's house where i dropped him off). then picking up my sister at the train station! then going to see hannah in the nutcracker the very next morning!~ then it reminded me of ashley coming to visit, going skiing, that nice cold air smell, my sweet pink ski outfit, walking around in underarmor, deeeeeeelicious hot cocoa, etc etc etc.

anyway, i'm getting too nostalgic, this would be a good time to focus on the "present" and work on teacher workshop english class lesson.

p.s. i have a sty(e). i am probs going to die. wish me luck.

thanksgiving in korea

last year's spread (minus candied yams)

me, post-thanksgiving last year

so seeing the first snow here, and realizing ppl were going home for tday break and i was going to have to WORK, well, that was a little over the top. luckily, i am a super duper trooper and made a lil substitute thanksgiving on my own. in addition to thanksgiving lunch/dinner at the us ambassador's house the saturday before (which was good, and by all means i am so grateful ... but just not as delicious as thanksgiving at my house). and the pumpkin pie was not up to par. sorry, but i am pretty picky when it comes to thanksgiving food.

maia cutting up some more bread to satiate minsuk's stuffing love

me + "yams" (sweet potatoes)

the spread: stuffing, broccoli w/almonds, mushroom gravy, chicken&cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes

the boys: me: min picture! min: i'm eating

hostfam's "first" "thanksgiving"

nytimes article: gratitude journal i think it sounds viable, i might try doing this in altered form

*You should be grateful all the time, they say, and one of the best ways is in writing — by keeping a “gratitude journal.”
* keeping a list of things you’re thankful for can make you happier

Thursday, November 22, 2007

teacher forever (false), angel students (true)

i am thankful for all the amazing ppl i have met in korea. who help me, take care of me, make me smile, make me laugh, and remind me of the beauty of life. (separate thankful entry)

if all my classes were like my 1-4, i would be a teacher all day everyday, no problem. those angels just make my life here wonderful. they are among my highlights of the week. they answer my questions in unison, when we do "listen and repeat" they are so loud and enthusiastic they knock my socks off. they monitor each other's discipline so i never have to. they chastise each other for not trying their best. apparently many of the kids in that class are firstborns. hmm, interesting. they are usually the only class who finishes every single part of the planned lesson without running out of time or skipping any activities. they are so great.

and remember my little angel? the one in the beginning of the semester who told me "just couldn't do english"? well, he's a very 식식한 boy now. i picked his name on a popsicle stick during "last week's review" time and i was worried, but DEF had no need to be. he stood up and said "MONKEY" super clearly and loudly and sat down! and i had been worried bc last week he FINALLY raised his hand and so of course i called on him, but he got it wrong so i thought he'd be all sad and discouraged this week but he WASNT!!! both me AND his homeroom teacher were pleasantly surprised with his performance. he's been raising his hand a lot more, and apparently he's picked up his spirits in general lately. 1-4 coteach and i are very pleased about this.

i LOVE my 1st grade teachers. like REALLY REALLY love them. i sometimes feel guilty that i like them more than my 2nd grade teachers, but they are so much more thoughtful and caring about me and my classes. mostly bc the 1-1 teacher is a great example so the others follow, but they are a great group. they're a lot of fun, they really look to help me, and care a lot about the students, too. that much is evident.

today at 1st grade workshop, the teachers had ordered chicken for the meeting. it was soooo delish!!! i knew i was having thanksgiving later but i'm pretty sure i ate half a chicken. i think my body jus craves protein/meat and when it's near my protein radar goes up and i just inhale it all to stock up for the next drought of protein.

anyway, today was last day of 4th grade english camp. this was prob one of my fav groups so far. they were so funny and outgoing. i got a twin. he walked in the first day and i said "didn't you already come last week?" in a kindof annoyed voice bc he was a handful ... but he said it was his twin brother. this one was GREAT. he was so helpful and kind to his english-retarded partner and always a sweetheart. i keep getting siblings of kids who were in my earliest advanced classes ... i like to think it's a personal compliment that the other sibling couldn't stop saying good things about me so their mom signed up their bro/sis for my camps!!! haha ... probs the family is jus ubermotivated in general and has nothing to do with me ... but i like to think of it my way. ^^

i had one kid who "translated" (if you can call it that) as he pleased. i would say "read with your partner" and he would announce in korean "hand in your nametag" or i would say "now we will play a game" and he would say "open the book to page 20". like REALLY random stuff. and he DEF thought he knew what he was doing. it was sooo funny. his nickname/label was "마음데로 회석 boy".

today i sat in on 1-1 korean language class. they had to learn compliments and complimenting and when to do it and how to do it properly. it was a good lesson. also, 1-1 is one of my fav teachers and (in my opinion) one of the best teachers so it was good to see her in action (not in english class-where she's good, but clearly not in her element). she had some good strategies for classroom management and flow and stuff. one of the most adorable boys is in her class. he ALWAYS answers my questions by standing up and pushing in his chair (which actually a lot of the students do) and saying "저는 _______이라고 생각합니다" in this cadence that apparently is normal in korean classrooms. so they did a compliment chain where A compliments B who then compliments C and so on and so forth. he was the first person to be complimented and he chose one of the WORST behaved students in the class (who i KNOW is not his friend). he complimented him by saying he has great english skills (true) and he is very good at drawing (also true) and i was surprised at the largesse of his heart to pick someone who the teacher is always calling out as misbehaved and who he wasn't friends with.

i hearts my students. they are usually pretty freaking amazing. they surprise me with how much they know. they surprise me with how kind they are. they are so patient sometimes.

i'm a rambler. but last story i promise. there is this boy w/some kindof mental/learning/behavioral/cognitive disorder in my 2-2 class. he gets frustrated super easily and loses control and can't calm down for the rest of class. he has trouble concentrating or participating. his desk partner (purposely by homeroom teacher)is the SWEETEST most patient brighteyed girl in korea. she always helps him out and explains things to him. when we play card games she helps him word by word and praises him to no end when he follows her leading and always gives him advantages at her own loss. she whispers him the correct answer when i pull his popsicle stick. she is the only one who can calm him down ever. she is so helpful and so wonderful and kind it amazes me. i REALLY HIGHLY doubt that i could have that kind of patience with ANYONE EVER. and to see her at work with him, it really brings tears to my eyes every time bc it's so beautiful. i worry about what'll happen if they get separated next schoolyear or what'll happen when they're a little older and she tires of it (like in korean dramas!) and realizes he's only slowing her down. i'll jus focus on the good/positive right now. and allow myself to be inspired by my students every week.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

"king sorry" (adorable)

here come a bunch of adorable student stories. i'll update on my life and thoughts separately.

more STUV fun:
T is for Tea

me: what is tea in korean?
student answers: 우유, 물, 꽃, 삼뿌리, 컾, 멕주: milk, water, flower, ginseng root, cup, beer

U is for Ugly

me: what is ugly in korean?
student answers: 쭈굴쭈굴 아줌마, 찐그리다: wrinkly old woman, squinting

after the correct answer:
me: what is the OPPOSITE of ugly?
student answers: angry, witch, tired, 아저씨 (ajussi)

me: What is "teacher"?
student: (stands up, points to me) YOU!!!

What words start with U? (i get the standard: umbrella, UFO, up)
genius CNN girl?: UNESCO

1st grade singing "Old MacDonald"
they are all very very VERY good at singing "E-I-E-I-O". i did get a lot of "And on his farm he had some 떡" ... (to my knowledge Old MacDonald had some poultry that goes "quackquack" on his farm, the song says nothing about rice cakes). they are always asking each other why i am doubling up in laughter.

coteach: What day was yesterday?
girl: elephant

on sunday, i had a sad incident downtown. i was walking and i see a familiar looking boy walking towards me. i recognize him as one of my students so i tap him on the shoulder as he passes and say "안녕!" (it slipped, i should've said "hello"). his dad(?) asked him who i was, and the boy shrugged and said (in korean) "i don't know i've never seen her before". by that point we had both walked further away in our opposite directions and the crowd kindof filled in and i didn't get to say "i am his english teacher NOT a creepy pedophile woman." so today in class: (punchline is the end)

me: i saw you on sunday (acting this out very well w/motions)
student understands, but looks bewildered
coteacher: (to student) did you see miss christine?
student: no
coteacher: (to me) where did you see him?
me: downtown (to student-reenact my tapping him on the shoulder, "안녕")
coteacher: (to student) did you go downtown on sunday?
student: yes
coteacher: did you see miss christine?
student: no
me: (to teacher) i was wearing glasses
coteacher: (to student) you didn't recognize miss christine bc she was wearing glasses?
student: (dawning look of realization) OOOHHHHHHHHHHH~~ she looks REALLY similar to that woman in the glasses!!!
me: THAT WAS ME!!! i'm so sad (fake crying hands on eyes)
coteacher: 너무 했다! (it's too severe(?) for you to not recognize her!) apologize, silly~
student: (looks so embarassed and is still staring at my face) I'M SORRY I'M SORRY
me and coteacher laugh
me: it's ok
student: no no, miss christine, KING SORRY KING SORRY
(in korean, it is completely normal to stick 왕(literally king) in front of many things the way americans use "very" - it is alternately used as best, huge, big, etc.)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

smarter women = no dates

op-ed from nytimes Should Hillary Pretend to Be a Flight Attendant?

"Men did put significantly more weight on their assessment of a partner’s beauty, when choosing, than women did. We also found that women got more dates when they won high marks for looks.”

"It isn’t exactly that smarts were a complete turnoff for men: They preferred women whom they rated as smarter — but only up to a point ... It turns out that men avoided women whom they perceived to be smarter than themselves. The same held true for measures of career ambition — a woman could be ambitious, just not more ambitious than the man"

"men — and female secretaries — are not considered less competent if they dress sexy at work, but female executives are."

interesting points. and all true. in my experience. all but the most confident and/or comfortable (with who they are) of men have been turned off when they realize i'm smarter and more ambitious than them.

to be honest, high school is where i learned to be dumb. bc thats how you got boys to like you and laugh at you and pay attention to you. the more bimbolike you were the more attention you got and the more ppl try to take care of you. they tease you but mostly in that friendly i wanna get to kno you better flirty way.

let me correct myself, i didn't "learn to be dumb" or to fake being dumb. i hate fakers. rather: in high school, i learned to use a "skill"/trait i already had to my advantage. i'm not gonna lie, it wasn't that much of a stretch - mostly bc i realized in middle school that i tend to be booksmart and lack most sense and logic in the streetsmarts way. as such, i naturally tend to say kinda airheady things bc i talk before thinking through the implications of all that i'm saying and so a lot of what i say makes NO sense.

letting this side of me go, letting my mouth run all its thoughts before i'm done forming them is still the easiest way for me to make friends. its a long time before i can talk serioiusly or be serious around ppl; esp guys. even girls are more likely to approach me when i play the dumb card. it puts them at ease. they are more comfortable and less intimidated. i dont know why this is true. i dont even take myself to be that smart. this is maybe why most of the ppl close to me are well rounded/confident/comfortable/super nice and/or at the very least pretty happy w/themselves types of individuals.

i have noticed tho, that my closest guy friends (gal pals take a different route), and even the ones who i'm not that close to but know me so well, are all the ones who have called me out on this. all 3 of the main "loves" of my life (i put it in quotes bc i don't know what to make of "love" right now-am i even allowed to have 3 is that too many?) ok i'll change it: all 3 of the main interests in my life have completely called me out on "why do you have several sides to your personality? why do you front differently around different ppl?" and it's never that i mean to.

i have a fragile self and so i think it comes out naturally to be the easy to get to know non-threatening mouthrunning airhead. there is much less avoidance/rejection/shunning this way. no one likes a smartypants knowitall. not really. they're not so much fun. this is such a tangent from my main point. but mostly, it's true that pretty not as smart girls are more well liked IN GENERAL. i guess this was just my anecdotal evidence to back up Dowd's point. (she writes lots of pretty good/interesting gender issue articles).

another hillary-related op-ed: Hillary Fries the Waffle

i like the columnist's tone and style in this. it makes a good point.

Monday, November 19, 2007

mean teacher (grr)

today was a first for "mean teacher" christine. but it seems about right. one of the etas i was talking to last week yelled at her students for the first time. so maybe it's just a time thing until the students finally waer you down.

one of my teachers is on a business trip (출장). i actually am suspicious of that phrase bc ppl are ALWAYS on 출장s and i don't have nay idea where teachers need to go off to that often. but anyway, she messaged me yesterday to ask if i could handle her class alone this afternoon. normally they are pretty well-behaved (2nd place in star stickers) so i agreed. they arrive and all is well. class starts and all is pretty well. there is a grouping of 4 boys (i don't know why she hasn't separated them yet) who ALWAYS fool around and poke at each other and generally just don't do English class. Today they were out of hand, the girls were out of hand, in general everyone was talking and not paying attention and the little rascals had no 눈치 to tell i was getting in a worse and worse mood. i was scary (i think) - actually i probably wasn't bc they werne't really getting any better... and anyway i wasn't smiling the whole time and any time i faced the board away from them i was muttering under my breath "WHAT THE HECK!?!?!?"

it doesn't help that i'm always the "teacher" and the coteacher is always walking around disciplining during my classes. so i have no idea how to discipline or get them to stop talking or pay attention and their english is so limited that w/o the coteacher there to help (at least THEY usually have 눈치) it was ridiculous. i don' blame JUST the kids - i know i failed as a teacher today bc i have no classroom management skills ... and that's why i'm debating 1 or 2 stars. 2 stars bc they acted just average for a class w/o a homeroom teacher.

when class ended, i let them out one at a time by calling on them. the ones who were sitting down with all their materials in a pile on their desk were allowed to go. the little fools (oh i will regret this later) couldn't figure out (some of them until the very end still had no idea) that i was only calling on ppl sitting still at their desk not talking and kept jumping out of their seats and getting in line. i was sooo confused at how oblivious some kids are ... omg. anyway. that's my guilt for the day. i am so not in the mood right now for teacher wkshop and english camp. followed by some errands that i'm also not in the mood for but totally have to do.

also, ppl are being annoying again. jeeperz. it's all a black hole today. haha. imo said she's make one of my favorites for dinner tonight tho since i (re)decided last night that i'm probably dying. and she knows that there are too many annoying stupid ppl in the world. i don't care how i'm coming off right now. i'm an elitist and i know i'm in the smarter 50%ile on earth.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

STUV engrish. charades. weekend.

STUV engrish:
What words start with S?
socket (WUUUUUUT???)

What words start with T?
tell me, tell me, t-t-t-t-tell me
what's something you can eat that starts with T?
(correct answer: tomato)

What words start with U?
universe (impressive...)
유도 (judo)

What words start with V?Volume (impressive)
바가지 (no)
very good

What do you put IN a vase?
김치!!! (kimchi)
american culturally correct answer: flowers

sometimes i am a glorified IT assistant. in thursday's "open class" i said "what's this" 4x total and "bye" at the end of class. i was also instructed to give the directions to a puzzle game that the students had previously learned.

i dont understnad why so much of korean culture revolves around charades, ceremony, and false gestures. it sometimes feels so fake i could puke. but the PEOPLE i work with aren't fake. if anything i think they're genuninely nice. me, on the other hand, i'm pretty fake i think. i can trash talk with the best of them and then smile to your face. sometimes. nevermind, im actually pretty transparent. and a horrible liar. but anyway, you know what i mean. the people arent fake but here are all these hoops we jump through and i dont know why. maybe it helps the society work better? i dont know. but it annoys me so much. like it's so OBVIOUS the class has practiced and practied and pre-learned today's lesson mateiral. in america our "open classes" were never like this (at least where i grew up in my public schools). the teacher would say the principal or VP was coming in for a few minutes. and they would come in and sit in the back and take notes. we would behave mildly better than usual and that was that. none of this rehearsing for 2 weeks in advance. packing the lesson full of "fun" activities we normally don't do all at once. its just so FAKE. orchestrated. i feel like so much of korean life is scripted and orhestrated. yes thats the exact word i was thinking of. orchestrated.

i'm a horrible cultural ambassador. what kind of ETA am i? i mean what would it prove if i pointed this out and said i was unhappy and said it was a cRAPPY open class cuz it doesnt show what real class is like at all? like who would that help? would i feel better for outing my superbly caring and warm coteachers and making them painfully aware that yes they normally defer to me in the classroom bc they suck at english? no. but still this irks me so much. i mean they're here for the rest of their careers/lives so they need the good feedback. im outta here in a few more months so i should jus bite the bullet and let them use me as a prize show pony. right? but it still totally rubs the wrong way against something inside of me. something like pride? i dont know. but ugh. it disgusts me. and yet i have to keep reminding myself that THIS is the noble road. THIS is the one of quiet deference and following what is BETTER for everyone in this situation rather than what i think is RIGHT. i guess this is growing up.

thursday: open class followed by 회식 with 1st grade teachers at 마중 (yummy hanshik restaurant i ate at over the summer-mommy we went here with 임신부님). yummy 산사춘 w/teachers = fun.

friday: wake up late go to school to meet teachers to go on faculty/staff/employee hiking trip. after hiking eat duck and kimchi. must give formal 검배 in the namsung traditional style. beer with principal = entertaining. then nails and cake/tea with maia =) much needed

saturday: wake up. meet maia at bus terminal to go to seoul for thanksgiving lunch at us ambassador's house. the house is gorgeous. i think that is what my dad is doing to our house right now. .... haha so glad i'm missing most of the construction. insadong, 이대, and kangnam/apgu with the girls for joan unni's early bday. ice cream with other ETAs. last bus to cheongju (gahhhh almost missed it!~ thanks to maia's antics for making the bus driver wait while i RAN like the wind)

sunday: sooo relaxing. mostly. woke up to hostbrother screaming on the other side of the door "BANG THE PIANO!!! BANG THE PIANO!!!" (there is a piano IN my room - and more on me and hostbro's relationship later) .... get out of bed and chase him around the house yelling "DENNIS I'M GONNA KILL YOU!!!" ... then eat spagetti for lunch and head out to visit subway unni. chill with her for 5+ hours. come home and 딩굴딩굴 until bedtime. =)
it was a good weekend.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

korea is too freaking small (observation)

so in korean dramas .... ppl ALWAYS run into each other ... mortal enemies, estranged lovers, your husband that you are cheating on, your cousin's boss's neighbor's hakwon teacher, etc. etc. etc.

i always thought this was such BS and false and such random drama stuff ... but i'm starting to think it's not so far-fetched. the 6 degrees of separation that "exist" in the world, i think in korea it's like 2 degrees. EVERYONE knows everyone, and i run into ppl all the time. korea is just THAT small a piece of land that running into someone you somehwat remotely know and will soon fall in love with and then give your left pancreas to bc they have cancer but they're carrying your brother's child is pretty probable.

examples that made me see the light:
*my family's last day in seoul we run into hyunji ajumma in insadong. we are jus walking down the street and she comes running out of a cafe to flag us down
*cheongju - i had dinner w/a teacher's friend on tues and the next day (wed) i run into her near 사창사걸이
*cheongju - same night, me and tom oppa run into franklin in the same area in the middle of the street
*half my students are my coteachers' children (there are 13 coteachers)
*my first little aunt graduated in the same high school class as my hostdad in kwangju (she came to pick me up for chuseok and as we drive away after insa-ing to my hostfam she's like, he looks really familiar, and i told her he's from kwangju her hometown and i talk to both of them and they graduated in the same year from the same HS)
*tom oppa's old VP from oksan is min's current principal whom i had lunch with on yonsei day
*i ran into tom oppa's old oksan coteacher in jeunesse
*cheongju- i was in the dressing room but maia saw (one of our) shoe oppa in subway shopping
*seoul - amelia and i were transferring subway lines and we ran into joan/bryan in subway
*c.arrozal from the Program met my friend from home rosa at severance where rosa's interning
*jamal's HS is across the street from my elementary school (we do lunch sometimes)
*hostsis is going to be a student at min's HS this coming school year
*we have three family friends from home all in cheongju(a most random city) (they take good care of me)
*hanging out with joan unni and rosa in insadong walking down the street we run into joan unni's 할머니 friend
*in busan me and jess run into 2 other ETAs (that we hadnt come with) on a street corner
*i run into teachers all the time downtown and near sachang
*running into some of tom oppa's students near sachang, actually i have yet to venture out in cheongju and NOT run into the other ETAs students ... i dont have that bc mine are so young i dont think most of them are allowed out there by themselves (i run into them all the time near my apt tho on my way to and from the gym and mart)

i'm sure the list will jus go on and on

Boys=Shoes (reflective and deep) *^^*

So I was walking to school the other day, looking at my shoes/feet because I tend to do that ... admire my own clothing that is. And I had a deep and epiphanical moment, Boys are just like Shoes. You see, I have these new navy blue ballerina-ish flats with double mary-jane straps across the top (see picture above) and I LOVE them. Like really really love them. I think more than I loved my pink suede argyle slip-ons (they sound weirder than they actually looked). I LOVE these shoes. I’m already considering getting a second pair bc I will need one when these wear out (and you think I won't want them anymore but I regret NOT buying a 2nd “backup” pair of my pink slip-ons every day!!!).

Anyway, back to the boys are like shoes metaphor. I’ve realized that despite my growing collection of shoes here in Korea, I consistently choose to wear these navy blue flats. To school and most other places. They are, in a word, perfect. They look great with everything: jeans, skirts, shorts, capris, casual clothes, dressy clothes, going out clothes. And they are super duper comfortable. I could hike in these if I weren’t afraid of ruining the beautiful little pentagonal kitten heel.

So my point is, I have lots of other shoes, and I know I won’t stop buying more BECAUSE of these navy flats. It’s nice to have variety. They do say it’s the spice of life. Sometimes you need a brown satin pointy shoe with glistening metallic stiletto heel. Other times you need that black patent leather pump. Sometimes I love my espadrilles – they’re so European and summery!~ And every girl (no, seriously, EVERY GIRL) needs her sultry black FM boots. A shoe for every mood/outfit/event nearly; that’s how I roll.

But even with all this variety, all you REALLY need to survive is that one perfect pair that goes with everything. This pair makes you feel both comfortable AND fabulous. They’re your go-to pair. They make you feel stable, secure, beautiful, down-to-earth; all these things without making me feel like I’m pretending to be something I’m not. Because the others (shoes), they’re all part of a get-up. They go with particular “outfits” because they help create that persona. That’s exactly what a good outfit is really, a coordinated representation of a fluid idea. And so all those other shoes, “spoc” shoes (SPecial OCcasion), limited use/wear shoes, those are all just reflective of one (or at best, a few) sides of my personality. If I want to feel sexy I wear the highest heels and tightest boots. If I want to look trendy I have the sweet little ruched ankle boots. If I want to look preppy I have my immaculate white tennis sneakers. Etc. But if I want to be me, I just pull out the trusty perfect navy Mary Janes.

This is what boys are like. It’s nice to have a lot of boy acquaintances and friends. Ones that answer to the various vanities in me. Some boys are fun for when I want to chill (play videogames, watch basketball, order pizza in our sweats). Others are perfect for going out to clubs and bars together; they have the right clothes and navigate that scene more comfortably than I ever could and drag me along with them. Other friends have certain exact food tastes as me. I have a few fancy food/restaurant friends … and a few Mexican $2 quesadilla friends. Some boys are just cute and flirty and make me blush with all their open compliments. Others know just how to make me smile when I’m crying and down on myself. And so, like shoes, there are boys for every occasion.

But the only one that matters for life, is the one that is perfect for me. Not perfect in the movie-love way. I know we’ll fight and I’ll drive him crazy and he’ll drive me crazy and I’ll doubt him and I’ll doubt myself and so on and so forth. Sometimes I’ll get bored and go on a stint of something different. But perfect as in the only one I’ll remember and want, whether it’s sunny or it’s cloudy and storming, the one that is my steady companion through good and bad and everything in between. Boys are like that. You need variety and diversion now and again for a healthy anything. But variety just provides options (not in the harsh way this sounds). I don’t mean I want to have many many shoes/boytoys for my many many moods. I mean that it’s good to have lots of different kinds of shoes/friends in your collection, but it’s important to stay loyal to the ONE perfect for me. Whether it’s shoes or boys, you really only need that one.

Like all of my shoes (here and in the shoe shelves back at home), I love all my guy friends. If you told me to pick my favorite, it’d be hard. Each serves its purpose and niche in my life. Okay, I’ll admit, I don’t NEED all those shoes and options, but they do make my life better. I love all of them, but I’m just saying, happiness can be found in the simple, familiar, and comfortable.

If I were going to submit this somewhere, I’d go through and tighten my writing up a little in places where’ it’s loose or strays. But it’s just for blogger, and it’s time to leave for dinner with my teachers, so I’ll leave it at this for now. If you disagree strongly or think something is wrong, you just misunderstood something I wrote. I guarantee you. It’s my own fault for not being more specific/concise with my words.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

jus stuff (random)

another sign i'm a bad teacher: every class i see kids i could swear i've NEVER seen before in my life ... no they didn't transfer in. yes they've been here this whole time. and YES i think they look like pretty generic run of the mill asians and i wouldn't recognize them if you picked one up and hit me in the face with him/her/it/etc.

one good side effect (what is the correct word i'm looking for?) of my freezing cold classroom ... i can wear the most beautiful uncomfortable feet-killing shoes on the walk home and my feet have no idea what's going on.

i am a genius: i've started wearing TWO pairs of tights to school. YUP you heard me. one normal pantyhose type stocking, and a second thicker legging/cloth material type stocking (like actual stockings that victorian schoolgirls wore in 1905). yes i've started doing the double layer stocking to school ... and at first iw as like oh im not gonna be this much of a 할머니 and wear 2 layers of stockings ... but it's prob one of the best ideas i've ever had. it's SO much warmer than jus one or the other ... and it's what keeps me half alive/surviving my freezing cold school. i have never gone to a school where students wearing their winter coats INDOORS was necessary and/or NORMAL. they also wear gloves/mittens/hats/fleeceblanketjacketcapes(only in korea?)/bring handwarmers of the type we take when we go skiing ... this is ridiculous. korea needs to speed up to 21st century and heat my school better!!!!

i PROMISE tomorrow i'll finally post my boys=shoes essay. other more pertinent (to me) stuff keeps coming up.

and the thrilling topic to another short essay i've started: how my dog, rocky, taught me about love like jesus/god love

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

i bleed blue

i was looking through my planner, where i have fastidiously written down all the dates of the duke games ... and our preseason is off to a healthy start ... we're ranked lower than i expected ... but i hadn't really expected a particular rank so i'm not sure how that makes sense but it does ... to me ... haha anyway ... i started reading the goduke website then i started youtubing for video ... and as per last year ... the new bodies on teh court threw me off at first ... they move differently and are shaped differently and the games have a different rhythm from last year's team (and other previous teams). seeing that hardwood and the court and the stadium and hearing the chants ... gahhhh i could feel my heart YEARNing to be there ... to be a part of that history ... today as i was walking home from school ... somehow the only thing in my head was "drive home safely ... drive home safely" a lovely ending to any duke game ... =) i don't know how much of a fan i'll continue to be later in life ... but for now ... let's just say i miss the whole thing ... the atmosphere ... the camaraderie

ok the first one only made me tear up ... this one made me cry:

this one is good, too ... mostly bc it has a few of my favorite moments of duke all time ... the paulus/mcroberts straddle hug, redick at the dukev.texas game billions of points, gahh too many to name:

no more real live me at duke bball for a while .... i will miss: D-MARC. ZOOSH. duhon pounding the floor. monstrous landlord blocks. redick from a million miles away. seandockery (my fav forever) and his 40 foot vatech beating shot. paulus/mcroberts beautiful assists. mcroberts monstrous dunks. redick's one and only dunk ever. haha. all the silly stuff the crowd/band/mascot does during TV commercial breaks. standing in kville with hot choco/mcnuggets. getting freaking excited when my BF for life pocius gets subbed in. crying bc we win. crying bc we lose. getting lost in the crowd back to rick's/tommy's after the game. bouncing up and down for 2 hours going "uhhhhhhhhhh". jj finally learning to drive. dicky v's crush on jj. jj's smirk/smile. melchionni's "sh~ooop shoo~ooP". stalking seandockery in target. never getting the nerve to say hi to pocius. paulus saying "gbless you" to wint. making ashley tell mcroberts goodluck on unc gameday!!! i miss it all!!!! =) i'll be back.

Monday, November 12, 2007

joy of my life (good)

rosa and me in insadong waiting for joan unni: new earrings!!!

my mom and me on skype chat:
mommy:omg 가 뭐야? 네 일기를 읽을때마다 무슨뜻인지?
me:oh my god
mommy:진짜 오 마이 갓이다..

in english:
mommy: what is "omg"? every time i read your blog i wonder what it means?
me: oh my god
mommy: that really is "oh my god" (with an air of finality-hard to translate the meaning/tone apparent in the korean)

weekend: equals success - i was tired overall but did a lot of good stuff for *ME* .. got a little annoyed at some ppl i didnt even see and ppl who are miles away but it's ok - life is like that sometimes

so friday: i went to ochang w/the hostfam for hostsis high school interview at min's school so i called out minsuk who was a wonderful sport and showed imo all around the school and we got to meet a bunch of his students (so cute!) and i'm suuuuuch a fan of their uniforms!!! im gonna go steal my hostsis' blazer if she goes! we had lunch w/min and then came back home for family naptime. THEN we did our long-awaited girls' night out (me, hostsis, imo). we had dinner at riccone. went shopping for new clothes for hostsis (apparently her first time in OVER a year --- i can NOT even imagine what that would be like ...). then some light grocery shopping at homever. then we walked through a park i didnt know existed behind lotte plaza and got the ORIGINAL hodduk!!! overall it was a satisfying and fun day!

saturday: wake up and go to seoul. meet one of my 작은엄마s for quick cafe lunch then 4 back2back interviews for ED duke applicants. it was actually quite amazing. these kids were so accomplished and passionate and motivated and all that. i was totally wow-ed by their resumes. what really cheered me up tho was their bright-eyed optimism and how great they expected college to be. which is true - i LOVED my college and my college years (which is one reason i volunteered to do this) but at the same time it really put me through the wringer (is that the right expression?). as many wonderful opportunities that i had through which to grow, i had to jump through as many hoops and make as many hard decisions. i was so excited by their fresh-facedness ... hehe its rare that i get to think someone else is naive and innocent. after the 4 interviews i was pretty wiped and so happy to hear from an unni i knew from nj that she was getting back to her apt earlier than she had expected. so i met her and got to rest a lil at her apt while she went to pick up her dog ... her puppy reminded me soooo much of rocky i teared up and nearly cried ... we went out for dinner (OMG DELISSSSSSHHHHHHIOUS) then tea/coffee at SUCH a chic cafe, then jjimjjilbang for 2 diff kinds of massages and threading. it was quite the pampering myself experience. also it was so good to talk to an unni who had been here for a year (dealing w/diff language issues-she's a professional interpreter) and discuss all our issues and talking about our moms (we grew up together-so all know each other). we got done at 4am and turned in for the night pretty early in the morning (i love my cleverness)

sunday: wake up, get breakfast to go at the biggest freaking coffee bean in korea (3 stories PLUS valet parking!) (this might be one of the reasons i love apgu/kangnam). unni drove me to apgu subway stop so i can go meet rosa. yayyyy for meeting rosa. oh yea before that ... i was on the subway eating my bagel and i couldnt stop hiccuping!!! i was lucky enough to have a seat but the ajussi next to me kept readjusting and giving me strange looks every time i hiccupped!!! i thought maybe he thought i was a drunk ... hehe. sooooo i meet rosa in insadong and YAYYY she gave me 2 ginormous pepperos!!! haha mostly bc she wanted me to carry them around all day (oh how i missed our sadistic relationship!). we walk around/shop then joy of all joys meet joan unni for a quick free tea bit!! then rosa and i headed off to myeongdong to see about some more shopping. around 4:30ish i realize that i have not eaten lunch yet and i'm ridiculously tired!!! so i head back to express terminal to find me a bus home for some love from the hostfam. busride was uneventful except for the woman next to me whispering into her handbag ... i thought she was on the phone ... but as the bus driver turns off the light .... SHE WHIPS OUT A TEENSY WEENSY PUPPY!!!~ what if i was ALLERGIC??? that crazy useless korean woman (ugh i hate this about them - they are so inconsiderate) who had no consideration for rules/laws - can you take tiny little puppies on public transportation? anyway this one was NOT cute - it was one of those toy dogs that looks so useless and stupid and has no brain of its own cuz its so teeny. it was very well behaved - but i dont think it was that it was just too stupid to bark or move around or anything. ugh - i hate tiny little dogs ... gross. anyways traffic once we got INTO cheongju so we were liek 2 blocks away from the bus terminal for 30 minutes ... finally come home scarf down dinner and sleep.

today: school was pretty blech. it was a bad monday. maia and i got our flu shots at 2:30ish tho. at a pediatrician. hehe. so that was good. then maia came to visit and here is the damage from that:

maia being an adorable english student

me being pissed about other ppl's stuff in MYYYY storage space

me and maia being gossipy schoolgirls!

me and maia studiously discussing the english subject matter

that was a quick update. now back to interview evals. and english camp plans for the week =)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

back to hating korea (tears)

a student just made me cry. he is 9 years old. and i appreciate his honesty.

i knelt down to help a group organize the matching/speaking game we are doing on seasons and weather. one of the boys looks at me and then i see in his face and body he RECOILS IN TERROR. and he says: 선생님, 귀신이에요! (teacher, you are a ghost!). i ask why? and the girl next to him is like hitting him on the head and saying "teacher no listen. he no english. he is crazy" after class i asked him in korean, why did you say i am a ghost?. at first he wouldn't answer, an then he says "선생님 여드름때문에" (teacher bc of your pimples). i said "니네들 때문에 생기는거야!" (they are because of you students). and he smiled and ran away. i closed the door wailing and crying.


Thursday, November 8, 2007

i am important

ok, so as i have previously blogged, i volunteered to do alumni interviews for current duke applicants in korea. so this weekend i will be interviewing 4 early decision students. anyway, in case they are super nerdy and/or committed (as they prob are-they're all international HS students and clearly very motivated/on top of their game) i google searched "christine lim duke" to see what they would see if they decided to research me ...

and graduating from college has made me much more prevalent on google searches ... before this i never got any real "hits" about me ... just other christine lims in singapore and cali and stuff like that. here are some of my sites: *^^* (they are not too exciting ... i'm just listed on my majors' department webpages)

this one im a little upset about ... one of my profs "miscalculated" my grade and didnt correct it (even after i emailed him and he said he would fix it ASAP) until after graduation and therefore i am under "cum laude" ... altho i am "magna cum laude". at least my diploma has it right! =) hehe altho i wanted my honor to be right in the program for other ppl that i "lost touch" with for "personal" reasons (aka we had a falling out) to see so i could say, "HA! eat that" .... yes i am mature .... i know

ok, hmm there may be a problem ... the last link on the 2nd page of my search is my blog. aka THIS. RIGHT HERE. i am going through and deleting any reference to "Duke" now.

ok ... google is creepily stalkerish and goes through and "captures snapshots" of your webpage randomly!!! jeeez ... so even after deleting my duke quote and other references ... my blog shows up in the search. oh, well. if i'm interviewing you on saturday and you're reading my blog, well, congrats for trying to be prepared - ppl like you do well at duke.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

religiosity (good)

this one is brief and notes-style (mostly)
so i went on a catholic retreat this past weekend here in cheongju at the suggestion of a family friend who happens to be working/living in cheongju. seeing how the last church retreat i went on was my senior spring of high school and i was the retreat leader and it was mostly a stressful (yet rewarding) experience from the giving end and not the receiving end, i thought i'd give it a shot. plus his suggestion was that i go light-heartedly (i have been 냉담ing-on a break from church) and just go to make friends so i was like, ok why not? this'll be an interesting korean cultural immersion experience.

cultural mishap #1: after dinner friday i went downstairs to the big meeting room and no one was there ... where was everyone? ... brushing their teeth
saturday: first day in LIFE i brushed my teeth after every meal

before college the only koreans i knew were catholics. im attributing some of my comfort level this weekend to. i actually didnt really know that (most) koreans were just christian and not catholic until college. and that was a mind boggling discovery. i also realized (sorry) that i relate (usually) to catholic koreans better than christian or non-religious ones in general. we grew up with a lot in common, ykno. so i was pretty comfortable in this familiar atmosphere at first. if you think aobut it, the ONLY korean exposure i ahd outside of my family for the first 18+ years of my life was korean catholic church/churchpeople. (i grew up in an irish/italian/jewish town/area of NJ)

are my korean skills improving? or do i just know "church" korean? 1/2 of my life korean was in church. i got along just fine. i was a bit surprised. i thought i'd have a little more trouble being thrown into a 100% korean situation. but YAY i survived.

my perspective against K(organics) is bias/discrimination: i keep can't help but think that all koreans are just characterized by shallowness and closed mindedness and selfishness. it's horrible. i really dont like that view and thus have not really liked koreans (esp. girls) to this point. this wknd gave me a view at a very different DEMOGRAPHIC than the one i usually get to see (like when we "go out" it's just the stuipd shallow crowd). i think this was very impt.

i was really (and i mean REALLY) nervous going in. i was actually pleading/asking/begging my family friend (who drove me there) to take me home bc i was so nervous. but then i realized i have yet to encounter a situation i couldn't handle (in korea AND in life)-and this thought gave me 용기!!!! *^^*

lately - i feel like i keep being thrown into a situation and i just want to cry but don't/can't and power through and ykno what? i survive. which has been a very comforting thought of late. its one of theo nly things tha really keep me going. the knowledge tha i CAN do it even when i FEEL like i can't.

ok, to be honest again. i've been running away from religion for the last 2 years. i feel like religion forces things to be laid bare - it necessarily requires taking down "walls", and really letting ppl care about you. i've been super unwittingly independent. i thought i've been so DEpendent but really i've been rejecting everyone/everything/sympaty/empathy. i had a series of shallowesque involvements (w/boys not my friends-those are for real!!!) bc i haven't been able to let go/let my guard down. it's ridiculous that i'm still afraid to let anyone into my life/get close to me in a romantic sense. i hadnt really thought about "IT" for over a year seriously bc i thought it was all over. but on some level there's a part of the 상처 (hurt/scar) i've been holding on to. and i thought about it a lot this wknd (see below) and i have to just let it go. even after i thought i already had. NOT thinking aobut it doesn't mean i've let it go. another thing w/not wanting to let my guard down was my fear that i might all just fall apart(my precarious control).

things i learned this weekend:
*going to church bc of friends is never a bad a reason: i think it's true- my expeirence has been that meeting friends i;ve made through church after so long w/nothing else in common has been so amazing. we act so close like family even when the only thing we've everdone/seen each other before was a few times at church or something. iverealized this coming to college and then korea. the ppl ive meet thru church have been so ready and open to help me out and we jus pick up where we left off and there isnt awkwardness or anything.

*when catholics date, there must be prayer (an interesting thought-i must be maturing haha)

*"let's love others but not become stalkers" - this was just funny - and a direct quote

*"couple walk" - there waas this activity where you have to hold ur partners hand and you cant let go until lunch time (45 minutes until lunch) and you get a question to discuss: we "randomly" got "have you ever forgiven someone who really betrayed/hurt you?" wow. my first thoughtwas yes. and although we ended up talking aboutsomething completely unrelated it got me thinking about the sich again - about how i made one of the hardest (altho most obvious) decisions in my life to forgive someone instead of press charges. and that got me started on how impt forgiveness is and how sometimes ppl just need a chance at redemption. and also about undrestanding other ppl's situations and their life background and all that ... not just seeing myself as a victim but as the other as a victim of their situation/conditions. it was empowering to change my perspective and also to see myself as able to make my own decisions rather than ahving everything set in a course that icouldn't change.

*when you reflect on unhappiness (instead of just dwelling in it) ... it turns into "why didn't i do more?" and you realize that ur unhappiness is often your own fault/doing. there is always soemthing you yourself can do to improve yoursituation. and sometimes all you need is to realize/remember that (this attitude has been helping me lately)

*we all have our baggage. i was amazed (as usual) at the ridiculous things all these other ppl ahd overcome and dealt with and how bright and happy and willing to GIVE they were given how much had been TAKEN or denied them bythe world. an d it made me realize how selfish and childish ive been and how 마음 좁아 i've been. it's time for me to start giving back - this has always been when i'm happiest. woohoo. hehe.

light conclusion: names of korean snacks are all in english and ridiculous: polly polly, big pie, crown sand, chi choc, oh yes, and cuckoodoo.

today's gem

me: what do americans eat for thanksgiving?
....blank stares and silence....
me: ok who knows what is THANKSGIVING?
student: ohhh!!! thanksgiving day is like chuseok
me: good, but thanksgiving is AMERICAN style ... do you know what AMERICANS eat for thanksgiving?
student: RICE CAKE!!!

the powerpoint i SHOULD have made:
happy thanksgiving from madison square garden: duke game w/fam in NYC

american thanksgiving dinner (yes there is a little thing of kimchi on the table)

RICE CAKES from korean thanksgiving aka chuseok

NOT an american thanksgiving (chuseok table)

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

policy and my students (good)

if you just want the nondork part of the blog scroll down to the ***

this is just a short blurb that i really enjoyed from last week in the nytimes. i think it was david brooks (who lectures at duke every spring or something). it was so well-written (in my opinion) and i just liked the metaphor of night watchman. it so perfectly captured how i think ppl feel. (what we talked about so much in pps clases)

These voters don’t believe government can lift their standard of living or lead a moral revival. They want a federal government that will focus on a few macro threats — terrorism, health care costs, energy, entitlement debt and immigration — and stay out of the intimate realms of life. They want a night watchman government that patrols the neighborhood without entering their homes.

i totally miss classes/lectures/seminars and academia in general. i get really excited by intellectual stimulation (i'm a huge dork) and i actually relished the one chapter a night i let myself read before sleeping of my new policy book i had my mom send me. haha. it's actually pretty well written and i miss that tone and friendly yet somewhat prodding voice of ppl who write policy-intentioned non-fiction for somewhat mass distribution.

this past weekend i actually freaked out a little bit about how ready i am for the stress and toil of law school. i was all like "holy crap i'm going to columbia law --these other students are gonna be so freaking brilliant and accomplished and whatnot ... i'm gonna diiiiiiiiiiiiiiie" but these past two days, i'm all like, BRING ON THE BOOKS BRING ON THE SOCRATIC METHOD. we'll see if i feel like that still once i get there haha. but i'm really missing reading and discussing and hearing other people's (my peers') opinions on policy decisions and factions.

***wow, dorkiness over for now: some interesting tidbits from 1st grade "fruits" lesson today

listen and repeat fun:
me: this is a PEACH
students: this is a peach (피치)
student0: 선어브비치도 있는데... (there is also sonofbitch)
(he actually really believed this was a TYPE of peach - so i just told him not to say it and to come after school if he wanted to know why)

"mike" and "mina" are the two main characters in our 1st and 2nd grde textbooks. so we watched a short clip introducing fruits at the market.
me: what did you see on the screen? WHO did you see?
student1: MIKE!
student2: MICHAEL
student3: MINA
student4: (singing) mariaaaa, ave mariaaaa (a la popular korean song)

we had an activity where i said either "i like x" or "i don't like x" (x=fruit name) and the students drew the fruit i said under smiley face(like) or frowny face(don'tlike)
me: i like grapes
student5: 선생님 왜 수박 싫어해요? (in korean) teacher, why don't you like watermelons?

me: i don't like peaches
student6: 왜요? 복숭아 맛있잖아요! (why not? peaches are so delicious!)
me: i have allergy
student6: (questioning look)
me: ALLERGY. i have AL-LER-GY
student7: 아~~ 오렌지가 싫데 (ohhh, she doens't like oranges)

5th grade english camp yesterday: this is a bit of the dialogue. i was asking them what each line meant.
A: Welcome to my house!
B: Thanks for inviting me. I brought you something.
A: Oh, you shouldn’t have.

me: what does "oh, you shouldn't have" mean?
*필요없다 (i don't need it/it's unnecessary)
*i have it already
*what should i bring
*you don't have anything

and my personal favorite:
i explained the situation a little more and role-played with one of the students: if you come to my house and you BROUGHT (showed exchange) me something and i SAY 'oh you should'nt have"- think in korean- what could that mean?
*더 가져오라!!! (BRING MORE!!!)

Monday, November 5, 2007

food and me (splendid)

this is a crazy busy week for me. it has been nuts/nonstop (in a wonderful fabulous way) since last friday and will be. november (and ESPECIALLY these next 2 weeks) is chock full o STUFF. stuff i hadnt eve nanticipated and i cant FREAKING wait for december 5 bc omg it will be amazing to see those faces after a month of 차머ing. i jus took some notes for an update. i will do it tmrw at school haha. good night.

*it's 10:24am and i have no idea where my 2-3 (favorite class!) class is! i coolmessengered the teacher but no response - i hope nothing bad has happened. sometimes i feel so out of the loop-i have no idea what's going on at school.

ok, so food has been a hot topic lately. everyone i talk to (in korea) asks me about food and somehow it keeps coming up. yes, i "like" korean food. but also i am getting very bored of it. it is always rice, soup/stew, and lots of pickled vegetable side dishes. as such, i am always starving but never hungry. i am never quite full or satisfied, and yet i dont really eat much. i've taken to eating italian/american/cheesy anytime i go out to eat just bc my body yearns for it. i've greatly reduced my intake of meat though. i can't digest it as well as i used to, so giant slabs of meat (YUM!) now make my stomach churn in angst and it pains me that my body rejects what my palette so desires. but lately i jsut daydream about french fries. the waffle fries from chick-fil-a, mcdonalds perfect fries, the steak fries from the loop, chili cheese fries from cookout etc. etc. and so on. mmmm i want some french fries. also, i went to pizza hut on sunday ... and they gave us honey mustard w/bbq wings - that doesn't even make SENSE. and yesterday maia got a "caesar salad" that was covered in REGULAR MUSTARD. it was very odd. but, yes, i am craving american food like whoa (or rather, i'm just craving amore DIVERSE menu) and i think it's affecting my whole body (the culinary intake changes) in lots of ways. like i'm not drinking as much water/fluids, getting as much protein, eating as much dairy - so my nails and hair have been growing much more slowly, and i'm tired really easily.

religiosity: i will cove this (maybe later tonight?) in a separate entry - my notes are at home (yes i am a big dork and take notes during the middle of life for my blog/journal)

i am very very busy this week and next. i'm really excited tho to have a lot of stuff going on. i wsa talking with a friend last night and i go through shopping binges a lot more frequently when i'm bored/sad/lonely/upset/basically anytime i'm not completely occupied in something productive. (or something i personally view as productive). i have a hard time relaxing and letting go. i always need to be on the move or doing something or feeling like i'm somehow releasing some productive output to the world. imo says it's part of my KS nature. and that makes sense. but anyways, this weekend (which i'll write about later) has helped put some more of this coming year in korea in perspective and that slight attitude change is making a big difference on how i approach certain tasks.

i've also recently been introduced to a 24/25ish brand new taecher at our school and we're going out to dinner tonight, she wants me to meet her friend who is my age and hopes we'll get along. apparently she's (3-2 teacher) been hving similar adjustment issues as me with being such a young face at this school and not being able to be friends with teh ajumma teacher crowd. so now we visit each other during breaks and have tea and chat and so that'll be fun!~

i've recently really wanted to (and been successful!) make more organic friends. i've decided that's one way to improve my korean, to really experience cheongju/korea from a korean standpoint, and get more immersed in this mindset/reality. at first i only wanted other english-speaking friends but i've decided that sincei 'm here i might as well make the most of it and get as un-american in experiences and 경험 as possible. that way i can see from somewhere most differnet from my own POV and hopefully learn new thingsa nd gain new insights.

ok. well. i guess this class is a no-show cuz it's 10:36 and normally they would end in 4 minutes. this makes me sad. i LOVE my 2-3. they're hysterical (as is the teacher!).

Thursday, November 1, 2007

randoms (good)

me and wint at duke bball game jan 07

so here's something i've been meaning to post and keep forgetting, i got an email from duke and i volunteered to be an INTERVIEWER for duke applicants from KOREA!!! isn't that cool!?!?!? i dunno ... i got really excited ... cuz i miss it so much and they said i'm NOT too young and they LOVE having young alum do interviews cuz we can answer questions about dorm/campus life more accurately so i dont know if i'd go to seoul for the interviews (i dont expect there will be many in my area) or waht but i'm pretty psyched. there is also a duke in korea alum dinner thing at the ritz carlton later this month and i'm really excited for that ... i dunno .. im pretty desperate for any duke action in my life right now ... the duke bball preseason is up and going and i'm soooo upset im not a part of it but oh well .. i knew that when i decided to come here ...

next, it's gotten so COLD recently! i've been wearing pantyhose (or in korean-pantystocking) under my pants to school every day this week .. i dont care if it's lame and oldladyish ... it's FREEZING at school ... i also wear thick knit socks in my classroom and my coat in between classes (sometimes during them too) and basically freezing and trying not to is my newest hobby.

wint me and ashley having dinner at tosca's spring 07

wint finally got the balls to call me on my skype number. hehe. that was something i did not mind waking up to. it was such a surprise and JOY to hear winty's voice!!! she's having her first med school interview tomorrow and im really excited for her and think she'll be greeeeeeeat. ashley has her first/only job interview next week and i'm so psyched for everyone at home doing exciting things in AMERICA ... haha im appreciating life in korea for what it is ... but i really can't wait to go back .. maybe next year i'll feel completely differnetly when it's time to leave but i kinda doubt it ... haha

sister mommy and me at jfk before going to germany aug 05

ok, another great story about my fams: so i told my mom i got cyworld and she was like OH REALLY WHATS UR WEBSITE I WANNA LEAVE YOU COMMENTS ... so i was like ok ok chillax and i emailed her my cyworld ... and the next day in school im bored so i'm searching for her on cyworld and i use her maiden name, her name with my dad's last name and 2 diffferent birthdays to search for her (in korea you dont have to register w/the govt until you go to school at 8 years old so lots of ppl have wrong info on their birth records) so i was searching under her "legal" birthday (since you need to register with your citizen # or passport # for cyworld) and also under her actual real birthdate. i founda BUNCH of matches and left ppl random messages that said "are you my 엄마?" which means "are you my mom?". WELLL, i talk to my mom on the phone later that night and here's what went down: (m=mom c=christine)

m: oh i went to your cyworld but i cant write on it
c: what why
m:i dont have cyworld
c: WHAT!??!? you do NOT have an acct and you thought you could USE it?
m: mm yes
c: what??? why that doesnt even make sense
m: i dont know, i dont have a cyworld, i cant make one bc i dont have a korean citizen #
c: yea i dont either (duh) just send them a picture of your passport
m: yea i dont want to. its too annoying. and then all my information is on the internet and anyone can see it
c: ummm yea but you can change the prefences so only ur friends can see it
m: yea it's too confusing
m: why are you yelling at me
m: really?
c: uhhh YES
m: HAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA some ppl are gonna be freaked out

yes. this really happened. yes this is my life. haha i'm down for a quick nap before i'm off for the weekend. wish me luck.