Archive for May, 2009

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Summer is Coming. Oh God.

May 31, 2009

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Well, summer is imminent, I’ve stopped wearing tights underneath my dresses, I had my first nengmyun of the season, and am starting to entertain the idea of a cold shower. I know I’ve been through this before, mosquito bites and all, but I have to tell you, I’m still scared. I’ve spent almost a year here, in this country with seasons, and I can’t say I’m that much of a fan of the whole thing. I’m too Californian, too used to arbitrary markings of seasons by school calendars, instead of outside, you know, proof. Spring is lovely here, minus the Yellow Dust, and I wish it could stay.

Anyway, what I mean to say is that summer makes me stupid. Too much thought devoted to, “God, it’s hot! Why is it so hot! I hate it when it’s hot!” or perhaps even, just “WHYYYYYYYY” while lying in my floor. So if the quality of these posts drops off a little, I apologize.

I’ve also been really busy lately. I took a trip to Gangwa-do on the West Coast with my work Friday and Saturday, which was fun. The Korean countryside is really peaceful, in a sort of creepy, in a hearing the thunder of frogs mating at night kind of way. I guess it really isn’t my style though. I was afraid of falling into a rice paddy.

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They are also reclaiming the sea water nearby to make more room on the island. What results is a sand beach where you can wade into sticky squishy mud:

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For some reason, spring was also the season of random visits: my parents, my brother, Aaron, Harold, and most recently, Cate came. Strange. Well, I guess spring is the season that doesn’t suck (fall doesn’t suck either, but it is beautiful and brief). Goodbye spring. See you next year (oh but where? I still haven’t decided).

That’s all for now. Catch you kids later.

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Literary Gems from My Little Darlings

May 19, 2009

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For those who can’t read, its a diary from a student named Jenny, who wrote, “I almost died today, doing my homework.”

So I guess I don’t talk about my job much. It’s not like I don’t have stories. I have plenty of stories. I don’t work at a public school, I work at what you would call a “hagwon” or an after school private school. We give the kids English names, some bordering on the ridiculous, ie, “Boiled Tomato,” “Mayflower,” “Apple Queen,” etc. Recently Russell and I named a child after  Mr. Darius Filsuf (hey Darius!). I have refused to call a child Nightmare (Harry, who always asks, “Teacher, baby?” after I’ve had a particularly filling lunch), and opted to call him Nightclub instead.

Anyway, part of my job, besides doing an embarrassing song and dance, normally called, “teaching,”  in front of a class for 40 minutes at a time, is navigating the strange poetics of elementary age ESL students. Sometimes I make them draw me pictures of monsters for when I get depressed. There has been some great work lately, fit for literary criticism, I say. Most of it is in great opening lines, like “Today I woke up in watermelon,” “The spaceship was stopped so I kicked it,” but I just wanted to share this one in particular:

Today I am eat the dark.

The dark is yummy

and dark is Hot

tham my the dark is

whew.

than I am fired, eat the dark.

– Newton, age 8 (?), Devourer of Shadows.


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“Didn’t [you] get the bulletin? Korean guys are hot.”

May 18, 2009

Here’s a video by Korea’s leading 13 member boy band, Super Junior. Uh, no reason. My students tell me this an apology letter in a song, but from the music and the video, it doesn’t seem that way.

Here’s a list of things it could be apologizing for:

– I’m sorry I’m sexier than your boyfriend.

– I’m sorry our breakup sex is going to be awesome.

– I’m sorry there’s thirteen guys in this band and none of us can sing without a voicebox.

– I’m sorry I’m not Big Bang.

– I’m sorry I only know three English words, all of which I’ve picked up in bars.

– I’m sorry I express regret with suggestive pelvic trusting.

– I’m sorry I wrote this awesome pop song instead of an apology letter.

– I’m not sorry.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about ““Didn’t [you] get the bulletin? Korea…“, posted with vodpod
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Son Dam Bi (손담비) – Saturday Night (토요일 밤에) MV

May 16, 2009

In lieu of a real post, here is a kpop music video. I don’t really like this video, but I like the song (and we uh, randomly ended up singing it at work yesterday) and tonight is 손담비! I promise to be my usual cranky self in future posts.

Edit: really dislike this video. The Wonder Girls are way better. Also here’s a simple truth: now I have nothing against all you tall people (in fact, I enjoy your stature and the way you make me, an average heighted person, feel miniscule) but, tall people can’t dance. There’s just too much excess limb action going on. Also, that part with the mirror ball? Weird. She looks like she’s the meat of a disco sandwich. Anyway, SATURDAY NIGHT was alright.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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Hongdae, Again and Again and Again.

May 12, 2009

DSCF2018Cafe Egon, again.

Even though in recent weeks I’ve experienced the nice bougie/classiness of Apgujeong (more on that later), the exuberance of Itaewon gay bars (20 guys in synch dancing to SNSD, yes please!), and Samcheongdong’s gallery and cafe explosion, Hongdae is still my favorite neighborhood. Sometimes I’ll just go there on a Sunday night and try to get lost. That’s how I usually get to know a neighborhood, because honestly, my sense of direction is nonexistent, and until I attach a memory to a place, I’ll never remember where it is. Last summer I’d used to get lost for hours looking for Dos Tacos or ending up in a fluorescent lit rooftop garden, while trying to find a decent place to have a drink. Now that I know my way around, I’ve gotten sick of the usual Hongdae nightlife scene. You know, the all too popular Go Go’s and FF’s, where you’re probably going to see every foreigner that you’ve met in your life (ugh, foreigners! What’s that about? I’m kidding. But not.)  A place like this is all about the small places (though sometimes the glut of hip cafes is tiring), the alley ways, all things tucked away. I guess other neighborhoods in Seoul are like that too, but I’ve never found so many tiny, nifty places in one place. They kind of feel like secrets.

Anyway, here are a few of my favorite things (again).

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Gam Salon (which, I think, translates to “Persimmon Salon”). Now, I love my Krazy Burger just fine (tip about Krazy Burger: it is all about the fixings), but this place is (to use a word I use too often) RIDIC.

“This hamburger looks like a car accident.”

“It looks like it threw up on itself.”

My kind of place, I guess.

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Book/Cafe. A nice place to chill and drink honey sweetened milk teas and leaf through huge art books filled with Chinese Communist Propaganda. You can watch the sunset on the second floor deck. One drawback to the place, is that it’s always filled with couples taking staged pictures of each other (like, I guess everywhere else in Korea).

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Kya Ha Ha (look Mom! I can read!) is a vintage store/cafe tucked in an alley near Sangsu station. Adorable, yet pricey selection, but I enjoy browsing every once in awhile. There aren’t that many thrift stores that I’ve encountered (except for a church run one by my house who specializes in ajuma, or middle aged lady, gear), but I guess when clothes are 10,000 won in the underground marts anyway, you don’t really need one.

I guess that’s all for now. I would give directions, but uh, most of the people who read this blog either aren’t in Korea or hang out with me anyway. But, uh, you can ask if you want.