Wednesday, January 16, 2013

two month anniversary

Korea and I have been together for two months as of today, Wednesday, January 16, 2013. We’ve had our ups and downs. And I don’t think Korea is the one for me. But why not have fun while I’m young? So we’re not gonna break up just yet.

Some really crazy American pop culture references have been occurring in my classes, and they have not been coming from me. Now most of the kids are around the same age in the classes but they aren’t necessarily grouped by school grade or age, though those are often similar, but their English skill level groups them. So naturally, a student in one of my phonics classes is going to speak the least amount of English. But they try very hard for me. And it is so adorable especially when they’re 7, 8, and 9 years old. So I’m in the middle of phonics class with this lovely little boy named Richard who just has the cutest little face with the biggest checks and the squintiest little eyes. I just wanted to squeeze him all the time. I’m standing in the front of the classroom trying to teach these children the “ou” and “ow” have the same sound when I feel Richard pulling on my shirt. “Teacher. Teacher. Teacher.”
“Yes, Richard?”
“Hammer. Hammer, down. (pointing down) Down. Hammer. Hammer.”
“Yes, Richard. There is a man with a hammer downstairs.”
(Some men where doing some construction on the first floor of the building.)
Then Jacob, a 9 year old Korean boy who sits in the back of the room, equally as cute, but four times as terrible, jumps out of his seat and yells, “MC HAMMER!!!!” and begins do his odd rendition of Hammer Time. It was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen in my life.

Then today, in a different phonics class, we’re flipping through our flash cards. I’m showing them pictures and they’re spelling words with “ai” and “ay” sounds. Riveting stuff. When we get the picture of rain instead of spelling the word, one kid stands up and begins to sing It’s Raining Men. Since when do 11 year old Korean boys know The Weather Girls? I was laughing so hard I dropped the flashcards.

So two months. I feel like I’m starting to figure things out. Ha…no I’m not. It finally smells normal. It took a good while for me to be able to walk outside and not smell Korea. I can’t really describe what it smells like. You know how people’s houses have different scents? Well I’ve decided countries have different scents. I can’t smell Korea anymore. I guess that means I really live here. My butt is a little bit smaller from all this walking. Not mad about that. The whereabouts of the foreign grocery store has been located, which will be key to conquering Asia. I will be pay 17,000 won for a bag of shredded Mexican blend cheese when necessary. This isn’t about survival anymore. Conquering.  I’ve been going to a church about 30 minutes from me in Gangnam. One of my favorite things about the service is that for a little over an hour I hear nothing but perfect English. Yeah, Jesus is great too, but ENGLISH! It’s like I step back into the US for a little bit. If the US were full of Asians and just sprinkled with a few white people instead of vice versa.

Love you guys. Miss you guys. It’s still pretty cold here, so if you want you can come over and we can snuggle and watch Wild America. 


p.s. please forgive any spelling or grammar errors. I now find myself saying things like most funniest and very many times. I also can no longer distinguish between no, know, or their, there, and they're. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Cat noises

Since we're an English academy and our sole purpose is to teach English, one of our classroom rules is that the students only speak in English during the class periods. They never abide by this rule. If I had a dollar for every time I said "don't speak in Korean" I would be a ridiculously rich woman. I would probably have a bathtub installed in my apartment. This one particular class of four boys are terrible about this. Their names are Harry, Steven, Joseph, and Jaehyung. (Pronounce that Jay-young. Sometimes I call him young money. He never responds to that.) Joseph is the worst. Sometimes when I ask Joseph a question he answers me in Korean. I give him that very distinct expression I have that let's you know I think you're stupid and he says, "Oh. Sorry, sorry." Which sometimes sounds like oh solly solly. And he answers again. Often the second time around only half of his words will be in Korean. Definite improvement. Well, today I was determined to have a class full of English words. So I told the boys I would bring them a present on Friday. They love food and they love free things. ( See how American I've made them already?? ) But, I told them the present had conditions. If I heard one of them speak Korean that individual did not get the present, and if Joseph spoke Korean, NOBODY got the presents. The other the boys screamed at the same time, "Joseph! Don't speak Korean!!!" Oh but I knew he would...

So we had about 15 minutes left of class and so far there had been no Korean. I'd been very proud. Then I hear Joseph turn around to Harry and say a Korean word. I won't try to spell it phonetically so no one can make fun of me later when I'm wrong. I didn't know the word but I knew it was Korean. And the boys's eyes got really big and it was obvious everybody was trying to pretend like nothing happened. I stopped Harry from reading and asked Joseph what he said. This is the conversation that followed.

Teacher: Joseph, excuse me. Did you speak Korean?
Joseph: (grinning) oh, no.
Teacher: What did you say to Harry?
Joseph: umm...
Steven: meow
Joseph: yes. I said meow.
Teacher: you said meow??
Joseph: yes. Meow.
Teacher: why did you say meow?
Joseph: I like cat.
Teacher: Joseph, I know you didn't make a cat noise.
Joseph: oh yes, teacher. I always make cat noise. Many many cat noise. All the time. Meow! Meow! (Still grinning)
Teacher: ok, Joseph.

It was hysterical. I was dying.

I also had a class inform me today that I am old and uncool. That one hurt a little bit...