Saturday, November 28, 2009

Everything but the Bathroom Sink

Once again, another month has zoomed by. As I begin my last (!) month at school, I've been stressing about finding a new place to live, as well as rethinking my decision to have two month holiday between jobs, since I'll be broke by the time I next get paid.

Anyway, after a short, but stress-filled search for an apartment, I found a place that is the right mix of close to school, cheap, and big-enough-for-all-my-crap. It wasn't easy, especially since my new school is near a couple of unis, so most of the cheap accommodation is the size of a closet. I found a place that is walking distance to school, in a house (so I don't have to worry about loud college students), and big enough for all my crap.

I went to view it before school one morning, so I made the most of the trip to "the city" by having other viewings directly after. So, it was a bit of a whirlwind tour. As soon as I saw it, I wanted it. It looks like a five-year-old added it on the rest of the house. Since I was in a rush when I saw it, I didn't look closely for things like power outlets. I confirmed that each room had them when I called to say I wanted the place. I had had two places snatched out from under me, so I didn't want to waste any time getting this one. The landlord assured me there were outlets in any room.
Which there are. They all look like a college dorm-- every room has extension cords which have the overhead lights plugged into them.

I tried to post photos about a dozen times, but Blogger is being a bit If you're my FB friend, you can see them there, in all their glory.

Things have been pretty busy here over the last little while. Since the summer, I've been working on the International Conference. It finally happened last month. I was elected secretary of the National Council, so now I'm getting a handle on that. It's a bit more involved than the "take minutes at the council meetings" job description I was given. Sigh. It's only one year. And I've got a much easier job at next year's conference. Who knows, I may even get to see a presentation or two...

Before getting the apartment today, I went to my orientation at my new job, which starts in March. I'm pretty excited about it. Ill be teaching fourth grade at a bilingual immersion elementary school. Now if I can just get my current director to extend my contract for my two-month vacation, I won't have to go to Japan. She gets back next week. I've been there for over six years, so I'm hoping she'll do a favor for me.

Stafford starts his new job on Wednesday, after going to Japan on Monday and Tuesday. He'll be moving next weekend, since the school didn't really plan for him to have the apartment until he started work. Nice. His new job is in Bucheon, so he'll be about an hour away from me-- ironically now that I live in Seoul, we'll be further apart.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Busy Busy Busy

I can't believe it's been 6 weeks since my last post. And a pretty crap effort that one, as well. I've been busy getting ready for the KOTESOL International Conference, which is mere weeks away, and I'm woefully unprepared for.

I've also been getting the new semester going at work. We've been down two teachers, out of four. So, I've been taking up some of the slack. One of the teachers has arrived, so I've been training him this week. His wife arrives next week, so after I train her up, things should be smooth sailing for the last few months of my contract. That's right, after how many years of saying I was ready for a change, I have given notice, asked for letters of recommendation, and started looking for a new job in earnest.

To that end, I have sent off my criminal background info, which my mother is once again being kind enough to help me get apostilled. I have also procured a Korean criminal background check. Ten years in Korea, and not a single felony. I must be an anomaly among foreign teachers. Oh, wait, it's the Chinese-Koreans that make up the vast majority of foreign criminals. But I digress, the visit to Bundang CSI was awesome.

There is a huge sign, in English, going down the wall, announcing that they are the CSI office. I've seen all three CSI series, so I was expecting large, oddly-lit rooms with super-cool, ultra-high tech machinery. Haha. It had three cubicles, and the only "crime solving equipment" was the ink pad and roller, which the guy had search to find. But he found it, and printed up an English form, cutting into his lunch hour no less, so I have nothing but kind words for the Bundang CSI. :-)

In my extended blogging break, I also went to Mokpo with Staf. I've got some pictures, but I haven't even gone through them yet. Eventually... This is one he took on the ferry that goes around the 1004 islands off the coast there.

I also finished a Leisl sweater for the ultra-talented Ysolda Teague, but I haven't even photographed it yet. I'll see if I can get Staf to take some photos next time he's here.

That's about it. I've been crazy busy, but not with anything particularly blog-worthy. That, and Staf comes by the blog every now and again, so I shouldn't talk about him. :-D

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Thursday, August 06, 2009

How to Teach Etiquette

I'm at Starbucks, ostensibly writing progress reports, but there is the loudest American here. She has been going on and on about how rude Koreans are. After listening to a diatribe that was in progress when I walked in and continued while I organized my stuff, ordered, received my order, and for a few minutes after that, I finally realized she was teaching a private. When she finally paused for breath, her two students added ways they think ajummas are rude, then she finished up by asking if there was anything else to say about etiquette. I wanted to jump in and say-- how about not yelling about how crap you think the residents of a country are when you are in public in that country?

I live and work in an area where even the ajummas that push fliers in your hand can speak some English. It's not too much of a stretch that the various people in here with their English language dailies and novels are capable of getting the gist of the "lesson" on rude Koreans. I know, venting about the rudeness one deals with in daily life is one of my hobbies, but I try not to speak at 11 in a quiet, public space while doing so.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Slumber Parties: Not Just for Teenagers

Last night was Jackie's No Boys Allowed Slumber Party in scenic Cheonan. We grilled veggies (some fresh from Jackie's garden), roasted marshmallows, and even shot some fireworks. They are sold a convenience stores here, so are presumably legal.

Jinksy somehow slipped in unnoticed...

Stephanie and I were ready for bed earlier than everybody else, so we stayed at Jinksy's. We had a nice visit this morning before I headed back to the burbs.

The view from Jinksy's apartment. Nice-uh. That's the bonfire pit and the lake in the background.

On the home front, my cat has been getting acquainted with Stafford:

I've been doing a little (very little) knitting, too:

A hat, of course. Small projects are all I seem able to get done these days. This one's for Stafford. I made one for myself first, as a gauge swatch, but I haven't taken a photo of it. Hopefully, I can get a shot that's a little clearer. The pattern is Turn a Square, by the brilliant Brooklyn Tweed.

School's been keeping me pretty busy. This is the last week of regular SAT classes, and the first week of summer camp. So, this week, I'll have eight classes a day, but it'll be back to six per day after that... unless some of the SAT students want one-on-one tutoring. I've let my strong preference against private classes be known, so we'll see.

Overall, the SAT classes are going well. The kids are starting to get a little burnt out. Not that I blame them. The rockheads are starting to get discouraged, because their lackadaisical efforts are raising their scores and the top students are over it, because they are already consistently scoring over 2200, so their scores aren't going up that much. They've been keeping themselves amused, at least. On Friday, one of the students asked to change his name to Sanchez, and another suggested he change it to Dirty Sanchez. I tried not to laugh too openly, you know, since I was the adult in the room, but teachers need amusement, too.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

It's Facebook Official

In case you're wondering, my head has not shrunk, I'm just farther away from the camera.

In semi-related news, I will soon be single, in the legal sense. PBMX told me he would file jointly, but then got himself hospitalized. He has been in the hospital ever since (a month? six weeks?), but he should be getting out this week. He has promised to file the papers this week. Fingers crossed. If I sound unsympathetic, it's only because this has repeated itself so many times.
Update: OK, I wrote this about two weeks ago, but forgot to post it. PBMX is finally out of the hospital, after a week's delay for unspecified reasons. He's now convalescing at home, so I'm still no closer to being divorced...

Friday, June 26, 2009

Life's Like a Box of Chocolates

I'm swimming in chocolate at the moment. I think it's going to be a good weekend. By "good" of course I mean that I may go into a diabetic coma. :-)

Last night Stafford came over and brought me some swag from John: two cakes of homemade Central American chocolate to be used to make real hot chocolate. Like Water for Chocolate hot chocolate. Mmmmmmm..........

Homemade Chocolate Cakes

As if that weren't enough, tonight, I got home from work and had a birthday package from Aaron waiting for me. A book, a stack of seed packets, a variety of engineering swag, and American junk food! Nice-uh!

Russian Nesting Packages

American Junk Food

Potential Plants

Engineering Swag

Kitty Approved

I can't have plants, because my cat will eat them, but I'm willing to bet that between Joe, Stafford, and Jackie, I can find a loving home for the seeds. Jackie's having a sleepover in a few weeks, so some seeds might be a nice hostess gift. Probably not as nice as liquor, but whatever.


Tomorrow I have a ConComm meeting for the KOTESOL international conference. Of course, I am not at all prepared and am pretty much ready to go to bed. Decisions, decisions. Sigh. Obviously, blogging was FAR more important than getting my shit together. Procrastinator to the end... Maybe a Hostess pie will give me some sugar power...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Little Light Reading

My students had to read 120 pages for homework tonight. A sample from the prologue:

I could introduce myself properly, but it isn't really necessary. You know me well enough and soon enough, depending on a diverse range of variables. It suffices to say that at some point in time, I will be standing over you, as genially as possible. Your soul will be in my arms. A color will be perched on my shoulder. I will carry you gently away.

At that moment, you will be lying there (I rarely find people standing up). You will be caked in your own body. There might be a discovery; a scream will dribble down in the air. The only sound I'll hear after that will be my own breathing, and the sound of the smell, of my footsteps.

I think some of the prose may be lost in translation. Not to mention that Death is the narrator. Sigh. In the 120 pages, no less than half a dozen German curses are translated into English with helpful usage tips. Seriously. What I would give for books chosen by someone who actually reads. Can't wait for tomorrow's discussion. It should be lively and full of interesting insights. That or blank stares all around. One of the two.

Friday, June 19, 2009


So, at 4:30, my director tells me my final class has been cancelled. I packed my stuff as quickly as I could, and got out of there. :-)

On my way home, I stopped at the bookstore and got some awesome new stickers ("Don't be a chicken shit." "Please...someday a stalker." etc. etc.) and random fobby stationery to send to various people. Thus continuing my good mood. I then made the mistake of stopping in at the super in my building.

It's owned by a couple who are there 13 days out of 14, each taking half the day. I've lived here for five years. They know me. They know me well enough to have conversations with me, such as Korean conversations with me are.

Today, Super Woman (as I think of her) made a big point of letting me know I have a muffin top. She said it (a couple of times), then grabbed her own to make sure I understood. Thanks. I've been here ten years and still don't know exactly what response people are expecting when they give me some "news" like that. "What?! I have a muffin top?! How could this be?! I better run put on some fat burning sweat cream and head to the sauna! I'll only eat green tea-battered chicken fried in olive oil for the next week. It's well-being!" Grrr... Bite me, Super Woman.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Best Birthday Present Update

Karl arrived in Korea earlier this week, but my boss doesn't recognize that as a reason to miss work, so I just got to see him last night. He, Stafford, and I met at his hotel, where he had booked a meeting room, and we taped a special In the Bag about the changes that he's noticed in Korea in the 15 months (!) since he moved back to Canada. This being Korea, we recorded for over an hour.
He also brought me the much-anticipated T-shirt!!! Stafford took all the photos in this post, because, as usual, I forgot my camera. It is even better than I had thought it would be. :-) The only thing I would do to make it the most perfect shirt ever made would be to add some glitter or rhinestones on the Junior Miss Thug Life lettering. I honestly don't think I'll wear it out of the house, since the image of the naked woman on all fours is pretty big, but I'll love wearing it in the privacy of my home. :-)

After we finished recording, Joe showed up, so we had some dinner (it was about 10 at that point) and all caught up. Joe and I missed the buses/subways out of town, so we had a slumber party at Stafford's house. I can vouch for the fact that he has the least comfortable couch for sleeping in the world-- I lasted four hours and it took my knees an hour or so to regain full feeling. Joe must have had an equally comfy spot on the floor, because he also lasted just four hours before he got up and went home. Looking at the photo, if I'd realized how thin the shirt was, I may not have worn it for pajamas at the slumber party... or at least would have kept my bra on. Well, at least I wasn't wearing a transparent shirt at church. Again.

Hopefully, Karl won't be too busy to get together one more time before he heads out...
Yesterday, I made my annual trip to immigration. Usually, it's a blood-pressure raising event that helps me understand people opening fire in a government building. Yesterday, they redeemed themselves.

Okay, so I went on the last day possible, because my school kept forgetting to gather the documents and confirm whether I needed a new criminal record check and/ or drug test (I did not). So, here I am, Friday before SAT classes start and I'll have no time to go.

I needed three documents with my ending date and official school stamp. I did not check these docs before I packed them up to go. One was dated 20 June 2008, one 31 June 2010, and one had the correct day: 31 Dec 2009. The guy looks at the docs, and informs me politely that 2008 has passed and FYI there are only thirty days in June. He didn't even notice the third one, so I just went along with 30 June as the ending date. Someone in the back noticed it, though, so he changed it to the correct day. :-)

Oh, my contract, the one document with the correct date, consists of the school letterhead, the start and end dates, my name and the director's name. The end. I've worked there so long, that's all we do. He was pretty unimpressed, but I just told him that I've been there a long time, so we don't do detailed contracts and they pulled an old document out of my file, so it was outdated, and that was good enough for him. Try that at a US Immigration office...

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Best Birthday Present in the World!

I can without hyperbole say that this may be the most awesomefulest gift I have ever received in my life. Okay, so I've never been given a kidney, but I've gotten some good gifts before. None like this, though.

After MONTHS of saying how much I needed the image from that article on Korean men and the butt sex made into a T-shirt, Karl has come through in a big way. In less than two weeks, I will be the proud wearer of this:

I may never change clothes again. :-)

Monday, May 18, 2009

The End of May Already?

I was reading Michelle's blog wondering why it had been so long since she posted, then realized I hadn't posted all month.

It's been a busy month, but I don't really feel like recapping. :-)

If you want to see pictures of Evil Jen and I meeting IRL, go over to ZenKimchi's food journal and scroll down to Cinco de Mayo.

This past Saturday was the annual KOTESOL National Conference. It was in the middle of nowhere, so Seoul chapter provided a bus for members. Stafford and I went down for the day. It was lots of fun. We sat next to different crazy foreigners coming and going, so that was interesting.

I've been feeling kind of ready to move on from my job of late, but I won't be able to get out of my contract, as I had been hoping. Another teacher left at the beginning of the month and another gave notice last week. That's out of four teachers including me. So, I can't leave right now. I'm taking that as a sign that I need to stick to my plan and go home when my contract ends, even though it's not really a good time to be going and looking for work. I suppose I could always work for one of the US branches of my school...

SAT classes start in two weeks, so that will be something different, anyway. Even though they all go to school in the US, so have American teenager attitudes, I like the classes. It's challenging coming up with justifications for crazy English grammar on the fly. :-) It's ten weeks of advanced grammar, so I always learn a lot.

I know there is other stuff going on right now, but it's Monday, so my brain isn't firing on all cylinders yet.

I got an email from my mother this morning letting me know she was out of the hospital and fine, but nobody had told me she was in the hospital. It turns out she broke her ankle in three places and had to get pins and some other metal parts put in her leg and she's in a wheelchair. That must be interesting-- her house is nearly 100 years old and has very narrow hallways and steps at all of the entrances. Not to mention her tub is a claw foot. So, I've got that on my mind, too. Not that there's anything I can do from here...

Is it wrong for me to hope that a lot of my students are away at school camp this week? 'Tis the season, and all.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Why I Don't Teach Privates

For those of you not on the peninsula, teaching privates is a lucrative sideline which most foreigners do at least occasionally. Basically, you meet with a student and frequently just have an hour-long conversation with them in exchange for $40-50. Sounds good, right? Yet, I haven't done them in years, partly because my free time is worth more than that to me. Mainly, though, I don't like teaching one-on-one. I'm not a big chatter, and neither are students that need to pay someone to speak English to them. You know when talk shows have guests that don't talk? That's what it's like. For an hour.

Unfortunately, for me, my school has a student about to interview for a boarding school overseas. About two months ago, the parents realized he couldn't speak English and now that it's his last four weeks, he's coming to see me ten hours a week. One-on-one. I'm not a miracle worker-- two months of twice weekly lessons has not made him fluent. Now, I've got to get him ready for an interview. Sigh.

Here is a breakdown of our daily two hour session:
About 20-30 minutes of actual work.
Three trips to the bathroom, not during his break.
At least thirty minutes of robot/ machine gun sounds.
My "firmly" reminding him to sit down, about every other minute, sometimes more frequently than that.
Him saying, "I'm not doing that," as each new task is introduced, while simultaneously pretending to fall asleep.

Despite the fact that he has been pulled out of school, he has not had time to do any of his homework yet. So, a fair amount of the precious few productive minutes are spent on work he should have done at home.

The best part? This is at school, so I'm making OT, which is considerably less than private rates.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Other Than Not Being Able to Hear, My Ears are FIne

Went back to the ear doctor for some tests today-- air pressure, beeps, and speech. My problem is speech, since I can't use the phone on my left side. However, since I'm a foreigner, she used easy vocabulary, which I could easily get since it was one carefully enunciated word at a time. That I can do. Normal conversation, not so much. It's not terrible, but it's gotten noticeable. If it hasn't gotten better in a few weeks, I'll head over to the International Clinic and pay their outrageous foreigner fees.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

English Lesson Eavesdropping

So, I was at Starbucks today eavesdropping on a group of what I assume where nurses teaching themselves patient English. They were having a discussion on the finer points of this statement:
"The patient is nauseous, she might be pregnant." versus "The patient is nauseous, he might be pregnant."

Monday, April 20, 2009

Jenniferteacher Left the Batcave, and Why Aren't Grown Men as Interested in My Boobs as Seven-Year-Old Boys?

At the KOTESOL conference last month, I saw Stephanie, but was too busy with KOTESOL-y duties that I didn't have time to chat. So, I suggested we get together for some girlie fun. And, in a surprising turn of events, I actually got together with her. :-) Not that I take the Hermit Kingdom as an order rather than a description, or anything...

Some of her former co-workers at Hoseo in Cheonan-Asan were having a bonfire/ slumber party. We went and drank many tequila smoothies and made smores. I can now say that HobNobs are very thick, but otherwise perfect for smores. And they have Nob in the title. Not that I am juvenile enough to make jokes about eating a 'Nob, of course. Well, maybe just once or twice...

Jinksy tastefully removed his hand from Stephanie's boob for the camera.

Unsurprisingly, I did not stay for the slumber party portion of festivities. A little togetherness goes a long way with me. So, Steph and I hitched a ride WAY back to town (Hoseo has a beautiful campus, in the middle of nowhere) and stayed at a yogwan. We really slept in-- I still can't believe we didn't get a "courtesy" get-the-hell-out wake up call. We hung out and talked for a few hours before she went to a wedding (in jeans and a T-shirt-- Korean weddings rule!) and I trudged back home.

There was a fan at the bonfire! Actually, Jackie was the host. She will probably be on the podcast in the future, assuming she still wants to once the soju wears off...

Jackie, SeoulPodcast fan and bonfire host extraordinaire, and two people that don't listen to the podcast. :-)
Houston eating something that apparently required chopsticks and tongs.Smores!A little post-prandial refresher. I used to get teased mercilessly for the mid-party nap, so I'm glad to see it's become more acceptable. :-)

I think I may need to start actually listening to the podcast. I listened to a couple of episodes recently, but I wasn't on one of them and the other one I wanted to hear what the guest had to say. But I digress. One of the first things Jackie said to me was that she would know my laugh anywhere. Which is how Joe recognized Karl and I the first time he joined us on Seoul Survivor.

So, now I'm wondering what kind of hyena-woman I sound like on the show. I will freely admit that I go through life being inordinately amused by minor things, but most of the time I can hide behind the "crazy foreigner" flag. One of the many benefits of life in a foreign land...

I got an elliptical trainer last week, but D batteries are proving more elusive that one would think. The search continues... Now, when my pianist neighbor practices for a recital in the wee hours, I'll have some way to occupy my time other than plot her death/ loss of fingers.

Once again, a handful of my very young male students are fixated on my boobs. A week or two ago, one in particular decided that the best way to interact with me is to stick his face between my boobs and then turn his face left and right. To do this, he has to ignore me pulling his arms or pushing his shoulders away, as I try to head him off at the pass, so to speak. But he is determined, definitely not a quitter. Today, he got up three times during a test, ran up and shoved his face at my chest, like he just had to be fast enough and I wouldn't catch on. While I admire his tenacity in the face of constant obstruction, I wish it would sink in that it's inappropriate. If only I could find a grown man as interested in my boobies...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Happy Black Day!

Yes, here we are on the lamest of the Valentine's Day triple-shot. For those of you not on the peninsula, White Day is 14 March, the day for guys to give girls gifts. Today is the day for singletons to eat noodles in a black bean sauce and lament their sorry lot in life.

I chose not to partake for several reasons. First, I'm not really into Valentine's Day, even when I'm in a relationship, so a second-rate knock off doesn't really interest me. Second, jjajangmyun is not overly delicious. Third, I don't require a special day to complain about being single, I do that everyday. :-)

Monday, April 06, 2009

Here a Ricetard, There a Ricetard, Everywhere a Ricetard

Mission accomplished!

I've actually done some knitting this week. At Stitch n Bitch yesterday, I made this:

I'm attempting grafting for the first time. I've failed twice so far, and if the third isn't the charm, I'll just do a lame three-needle bind off. It the Tychus pattern from Knitty, which I made in LSU purple and gold for my sister last year. It's a quick knit-- all short rows. I usually don't knit anything twice, but the recipient chose the pattern.

I'm making this one for Aaron, perhaps my oldest podcast fan. Perhaps my only podcast fan... I think he's gotten tired of hearing me moan and complain about my date-free existence. At any rate, he's decided to both help me be less of a social retard and take math out of my axis of evil. The least I could do was make him a hat. And apparently, the most. :-)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

KOTESOL conference done and etc.

Yesterday was the annual Seoul chapter conference and election. We had planned for 1-200 and had 4-500 show up. Apparently, free entry and lunch are a bigger draw than we realized... We also had a great line up of presentations, so that could have been part of the appeal. :-)

We also had our elections. No surprises there. As usual, everyone ran unopposed. It seems working for free in your off-time is not as popular as it once was. So, I'm 1st VP for another year. Yay, me. :-) I'll also be filling in as Secretary until we find a new one, since the previous one became 2nd VP and will also be filling in as newsletter editor until we get a new one of those... etc etc etc. The main thing is that we are finally rid of the outgoing president who didn't seem to understand that he was not just a figurehead. The one good thing about his presence was that he caused the rest of us to pull together to do our best in spite of him.

Earlier in the week, The Seoul Podcast turned one! We didn't have a guest or show notes. We decided to just talk about our personal highs and lows of the podcast's first year. Joe was worried that we wouldn't have enough to say. As if. I'm only quiet with people I don't know. Everyone else gets their ears talked off. Joe and Stafford also have the gift of the gab. So, we ended up recording for three hours. No news. No Things That Make You Go Whaa... No Time Wasters. Just free-talking, as it's called here on the peninsula.

I'm assuming Joe cut out quite a bit, because he was planning to add in an extended clip segment. If that sounds good to you, you can listen to it here. :-) I haven't listened to it myself, of course. I could say yet, but I rarely listen to the show-- I'd rather remember myself as being witty and don't want to face evidence to the contrary... I also don't particularly like the sound of my own voice. I can get a little screechy when I'm excited. I think Joe finally talked me through the adjustments I needed to make to keep my mike from cutting out at particularly screechy moments. It only took a year... :-) Maybe I should take computers out of my axis of evil...

Other than that, life's been pretty quiet on the homestead. I got the marriage license from PBMX about ten days ago, but I haven't been organized enough to get out of the house early enough to get to the bank before work. Getting foreign funds requires the patience of Job and forms signed in blood, and anomolies, such as wanting funds in AU dollars, can cause the teller to exhibit signs of nervous breakdown. I used to have a teller that knew me and knew that I sometimes got US checks and sometimes got AU checks, but she is gone. (She once confided that we were the same age, so she might have been retired.) So, now I have to deal with the cute young girls that are only used to electronic transfers. As long as they are cute...

Anyway, it will get done. I found out about a Korean school that's at the same subway stop as the bank, so I'll probably do it tomorrow when I go take a level test. If I get up in time...

I've decided that I've been far too lazy this semester. In order to prevent a teacher being laid off, I voluntarily cut my hours 20%. I still make more than them and I'm not paying off student loans at the current (horrifying) exchange rate, so I don't mind. Actually, I'm kind of bitter that when one teacher leaves in May, she won't be replaced and my full hours will be scheduled.

But I digress. My plan was to spend those extra hours getting things done, like work out, read books that aren't for school, knit, you get the idea. I haven't. I've been completely unproductive for the eight weeks since the semester began.

So, I'm going to check out the Korean school and I'm going to take a math class through LSU, if I can find a local test proctor. I've decided to take math out of my axis of evil this year.
My apathy hasn't limited itself to home, either. I've been so unmotivated at work the past week or so. I just feel ready for a change and am tired of seeing the same faces. Some of my students I've had for years now. There are a few I would happily put in my pocket and bring home, but not all of them...

Most of the students have been driving me crazy lately. I think their parents are pumping them full of Red Bull before class. At any rate, there has been far too much singing, dancing, splits, high kicks, and loud-talking for me to be a happy woman. On the other hand, one student spanked himself in class the other day, I mean with the finesse of a stripper-- he slowly swung his butt to the side and then smacked himself. Over and over. I almost had a stroke trying to hold in the laughter, especially since he was doing it as an act of contrition when he realized how pissed I was at him for all the annoying crap he had been doing just before that.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Happy White Day!

Today is White Day, part of an ingenious bit of marketing which has turned Valentine's Day in Korea into a three month extravaganza of chocolates and plush toys. On Valentine's Day, girls give gifts to boys. On White Day, boys give gifts to girls. On Black Day, April 14, singletons eat Jjajangmyeon, the Korean "Chinese" dish of thick noodles in a black bean paste sauce. It's not as gross as it sounds, but not something I ever go out looking to eat, either.

In honor of White Day, I took these photos today in Seoul. All three shops are in the Jongak Station underground shopping arcade at the end of Insa-dong. In case you want to surprise your honey with some sexy drawers. If I had a boyfriend, I could only hope he would get me the set with the pantaloons. Nothing says sexy like a man in pastel underwear and a woman in pantaloons. Notice all the options for the last set, it's like a six-piece set. One could mix and match to keep things new and interesting... :-)

I would like to go on permanent record as saying if I ever fall for a man that wants us to wear couple panties, shoot me. Ditto if he thinks pantaloons are hot.

In case you're wondering, all male underwear manikins are wearing cups, or maybe they're just happy to see us.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Teacher, what do you call the stuff Daddy's drink when they are angry?

One of my sweetest, cutest students asked me this today. I would have thought it was funny, but she has imitated "what daddies look like when they come home late" on more than one occasion.

Monday, February 23, 2009

I'm a Survivor! (cue music)

Yes, I have survived an entire week without the internet at home. In the process, I suffered excruciating withdrawal symptoms and discovered there are about four or five more hours in a day than I realized. :-) Now, it's back to business as usual, of course, and there are no longer enough hours in the day.

Computer gremlins were not the worst thing about last week, unfortunately. Mr. PBMX drama continues ad nauseum. In his bid to show me when I asked him to procure a copy of our marriage license, he got himself hospitalized and lost his apartment and was homeless for a few days. Apparently, his mother is trying to divorce him as well. Or else, sleeping on the street was preferable to spending time with her. She's a pretty miserable bitch, but I think I could suck it up in those circumstances.

So, I am now waiting with baited breath to see if he will actually send me the paperwork (which he claims he has in his possession) so that I can finalize our divorce. I hoping to keep our separation under three years, if possible. I dream big.

Karl is helping me to keep it all in perspective-- I've never been hospitalized against my will, therefore, my life is pretty good. :-)

I have a new bon mot from school: a summary of a book apparently involving Nate the Great and a drug dealer. :-) I'll try to get it posted in the next few days.

Monday, February 09, 2009

The Catcher in the Rye, not middle school reading

Once again, my admin's lack of reading has had interesting consequences for me. Last semester, I had to deal with the relatively minor issue of explaining how an unmarried woman could be a mother. You may recall that I got out of that one when the students decided it was a miracle. Romeo and Juliet of course uses poetic language and euphemisms that I could glide right past...

This time, I may not get off so easily. The Powers That Be have determined that my middle schoolers need to read The Catcher in the Rye. Sigh. Clearly, they have never read the book or even a review of it. On the upside, I'll definitely know who did their reading this weekend. The ones that DON'T have questions about why the woman took off her clothes in Holden's hotel room and then a guy beat up Holden to get ten dollars for the woman, what horny means, and why was Holden so upset that the girl he knew sat in a car with his roommate, etc etc will be a dead giveaway... Sigh. I'm warming up my jazz hands as I write this.

I understand that not everyone likes to read as much as I do, even if I can't always see my way to dating them :-) , but there is really no excuse for not at least reading reviews before assigning it to students. Barring that, open the book to page one, which has no less that four curse words. One would think after the Kurt Vonnegut Incident a couple of years ago, things might have changed...

Friday, January 30, 2009

Mr. Please-Be-My-X, Thy Name is Predictable (in addition to PBMX, of course)

So, it turns out that I cannot get a divorce without a copy of my marriage license. Simple enough for the average person, right? Well, since my separation, I've been trying to overcome my general pack-rat-iness by culling through literally every single thing I own every three or four months. Can you see where this is going? I've looked everywhere, which in my tiny apartment is not that many places, and it is not here. So, I finally realized I was just going to have to pay the $50 and get a copy.

Unfortunately, I did not get Australian citizenship during my marriage, and without an Australian passport to prove my identity, I can't get a copy of my own marriage license. So, I was forced to contact Mr. PBMX and send him the money to do it. In what has become his typical form over the 27 (!) months since our separation, he did something to himself which lead to hospitalization.

To one-up himself, this time he got evicted "because he was in the hospital" which I am taking to mean he didn't pay his rent, which was probably overdue, since he was only in the hospital for three days. So now he is apparently homeless. He lives in a country with national health care, so these all-too-frequent hospital stays are free, not to mention in a country with dole benefits generous enough to actually live on, and he still can't take care of himself. Sometimes I wonder what he did with the man I married.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

My Students Never Fail to Amuse and I Never Fail to Not Have My Camera When They are Amusing

One of my first graders came in today wearing a fur-lined leather poncho (from India, of all places that don't really need fur-lined leather winter wear). Another girl immediately ran up to her, lifted the poncho, and stuck her face on the fur and rubbed away, mid-chest level. As I debated whether I should just let kids be kids or if I should stop one from sexually harrassing the other, the boys started shouting, "Cony's feeding Ahyun milk!" Over and over. Loudly. I just hope there are no parental phone calls requiring me to explain what happened in class.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Happy New Year!

I can't believe it's already mid-month! As usual "intensive" classes, held when students are ostensibly on holiday, are jam-packed with educational goodness. As a result, I've got a few bon mots from my sweet students. Here are some of my favorites:

Other than school, I've had a veritable flurry of brief visits. Week before last, my mother was here for a long weekend and today I had lunch with my step-father. He works for Delta, so he's here for work. Mama was here for me. :-) I was working, so we didn't get to do much, but it was still great to see her. My summer visit was cut short by the hurricane, as you may recall. I could link the post from September, but I probably won't.

School is going well, considering the academic director got married yesterday. No major lapses in planning or fore-thought. A minor miracle here on the peninsula. I finished with my SAT classes, so I no longer have to think up rationalizations for the minutiae of English grammar on the fly.

Next week, I get to fast forward through a nude scene in the movie my middle school class is watching. It's a class of boys, so I'm already snickering that they aren't going to get to see the one part of the movie that would be interesting to them. Remember the films you watched in school? Wouldn't a little nudity have made them more fun and interesting? Yeah.
My legs are dying at the moment. I've actually been sticking to my resolutions. No, not the one to randomly blackmail people that I put on my facebook page. My real resolutions: cut out processed foods and exercise. So far, I've learned that green smoothies are delicious, even if they look and sound vile; I've lost 3kg (yes, a sign of how far I have to go); and I've realized exactly how out of shape I had gotten. When I say it hurts to use stairs, I mean, up or down, three steps or three flights, I want to grimace in pain. By "want" of course, I mean that I probably am. Fortunately, I'm a foreigner, therefore, crazy. :-)
I have actually been knitting, but I don't have any good photos. A few weeks ago, I finished a February Lady Sweater in a lovely green. I finally got the buttons on after Mama left, but I still haven't worn it in public. Maybe to next weeks' SnB... I'm about 1/3 of the way finished with a Henley-style sweater (not from a pattern) in an eggplanty color. Aubergine, if you prefer. Dongdaemun was having a great sale on yarn, so I bought enough to make sweaters in four colors, including these two. :-) Now, I just have to make them. And finish them. And put buttons on them. And wear them in public.