God DAMMIT. Last week I started a blog post in the Dongdaegu station while I was waiting for a train back to town. Stupidly, I tried to write it as a "blog post" in Word instead of a regular Word doc, and apparently because I wasn't connected to the internet and I hadn't previously saved my blog's info in Word when I tried to save Word just decided to delete what I was writing. So, I guess I get to start over now. Like I said… FUCK YOU BILL GATES.
There's a news doc on right now in the station about May 18th. My knowledge of Korean history is spotty at best but apparently today is the anniversary of the beginning of some violence and street protests that eventually led to democratic elections in South Korea in the '80s. Being here now, it's hard to imagine that only thirty years ago Koreans were fighting each other in the street for the right to have a representative democracy. Sometimes I forget how much I take for granted coming from the United States, where we've had a peaceful (well, at least domestically, mostly) democracy for over 150 years.
Where do I begin, since I can't remember much of what I wrote a week ago? Well. May has been, and will be, an interesting month, to say the least. The first week of the month was midterm exams at my school, the second week there was a two-day co-teaching conference in Gyeongju, this week we have Friday off for Buddha's Birthday, and next week the first years are off Tuesday to Friday for their class excursion and the second years will be at Jeju Island from Wednesday to Friday. What that all adds up to is, I won't see my Friday kids all month. I guess it's a good thing Friday is mostly my weakest students, so they probably wouldn't have learned that much anyway. (I'm kidding of course. Well, half-kidding.)
May 1st I went to Pohang for a birthday party. Those Pohang kids really know how to party. HARD.
Children's Day was May 5th, so I went with Mo to Busan. I like teaching in a rural area (it keeps me out of trouble and minimizes distractions from the online courses I'm taking right now) but It was nice to spend some time in a fairly big city where there were actually things to do. We went to the Busan Auto Show (note: for those of you who think you can't customize a Hyundai, you're wrong and I have photographic evidence) and later we met up with my roommate from orientation and went for a boat ride, followed by samgyeopsal and some quick drinks at one of the local waeguk watering holes. Good times.
The co-teaching conference in Gyeongju was both rewarding and fun. After the program ended on Thursday night most of the foreign teachers (a.k.a. the Westerners) walked across the street from the conference center to the nearest Family Mart and spent most of the night drinking by a nearby river. It was kind of hilarious, like we had managed to transport a Nebraska high school beer blast to Korea (minus the high school kids, pickup trucks and meth). Had a good time, although I would have had a better time if I had met some more single ladies. Am I being negative? Maybe I'm being negative.
Korean class has been going well, although my level of speaking and understanding Korean is still pretty elementary. We've reached the point where I should be able to say what time it is, if I could remember the Korean-Korean number system. (I've got the Chinese-Korean system that the locals use for math and big numbers down pretty well, but the Korean-Korean numbers that they use for counting numbers under twenty still elude me. I got "Hana, dul, set" down pretty quickly from posing for pictures, but there's only so much you can do when you can only count to three.) I am finally getting to know some of the other folks in the class, who are from Daegu. Two weeks ago when I showed up I was the only guy, with eight women. "Score," I think. After class we all went out and the girls decided to go shoe shopping. What I thought at that point was… well, it was clearly not "score," to say the least. In fact I would say that the English language needs a saying or phrase that's the exact opposite of "score" to cover such occasions. Actually, I think "shoe shopping" might be exactly the right phrase to fill that need. ("So, Barry, what did you do last weekend?" "Well, Tad, I went to the club but it was all dudes. It was total shoe shopping.") Afterward we met a bunch of other foreign teachers drinking beers outside the local 7-Eleven. (Sound familiar? I'm starting to feel a little bit like Lloyd Dobler only there are girls around and we're still all at the Gas-N-Sip for some reason. By choice.)
Hmm, there's a lot of cursing and unchaste talk about partying and female relationships in this post. Do my parents and family still read this blog? Hi, aunts and uncles!
Last week, other than the Gyeongju trip, pretty much sucked. At the beginning of the week I was having a lot of trouble sleeping. They don't seem to like window treatments too much here. The windows are all frosted in my apartment, but head of the bed is in a direct line with the only windows so now that it's getting light earlier here the light is right in my face in the morning. One of these days I really need to get a metric tape measure, size up the windows and head to HomePlus or E-Mart for some curtains and an expandable rod. I did recently figure out that if I leave the wardrobe door open it blocks some of the sun, so I've been sleeping a little better this week. I was also working on a midterm exam for most of the week, which really sucks when you haven't slept much and you're going to be out of town for two days. I did end up getting it done and I got an 85% on it, so I guess all's well that ends well.
This weekend promises to be interesting. I've got some work to catch up on but one of the other foreign teachers, Julie, is going back to the States so I'm sure there will be some get-togethers to attend before she leaves. Next week while my kids are off on their excursions I'll be visiting my friend Gareth in Manila. Not sure what all there is to do in the Philippines besides lay on the beach and drink San Miguels, other than stuff that's immoral and/or illegal in Korea, but I'm sure we'll figure out something. Gareth is a big pussy (and I say with the utmost respect and affection for the man) so I'm sure we won't get into too much trouble.
I know the blog posts have been infrequent lately but I've been a little unfocused as of late, so I'm hoping I'll make the time to post updates more often from now on. Maybe next time I'll regale you with more cooking adventures. I'll also try to update my Flickr account again soon. Those of you who have been asking for more photos of Korean trade show models will probably enjoy the set from the Busan International Auto Show.
Oh, and I finally bought a scale. I'm down at least one belt size but once I did the metric conversion I figured out I'm still over 206. How fucking fat was I when I left the States? Did I top 220? Fucking chili cheeseburgers. Why are they so good?
Hi Mom and Dad!