You are currently browsing the monthly archive for March 2010.

I enjoy grading my Albatross Plus Listening class’s review tests for two reasons.

Reason One! They’re good students so for the most part, they get A’s and I don’t have to correct too much or sigh because they’ve made a really obvious mistake.

Reason Two! They tend to finish early and spend the rest of their time doodling on their tests. Doodles that make me smile. Here are some of their doodles:

Julia’s Pictures

The First Apperance of the Cute Face (3/11/10)

Return of the Cute Face (3/25/10)

April’s Picture

I love the explanation (3/25/10)

Harry’s Picture

Some good ol' pirate pics (3/11/10)

Unfortunately… I can’t remember who drew these pictures…

That's Korean food for you

I know how you feel Average Height Guy. I know how you feel. Also... what's up with the yellow slipper?

I’ve saved the best for last (sorry other students). David draws Monkey D. Luffy on every single review test, and he usually draws Roronoa Zoro too. I love it.

David’s Pictures

The first apperance (3/11/10)

A third appearance (I don't have a picture of the second...)

And today for their Critical Thinking Protect they had to draw propaganda posters to make certain taboos socially acceptable… AND I FORGOT MY CAMERA! How could I do that?! I should have known they would draw awesome pictures. And they did, but I cannot post them…

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English + Korean = Konglish

English + German (or rather, Deutsch) = Denglisch

English + German + Korean = … Kongsch?

Yesterday and today I taught Eagle Reading (one class, I subbed for – yay extra cash for no extra prep work!) and two of the readings had reference to German in them. One reading, in fact (addition transition!), was entirely about Schadenfreude, or the feeling of pleasure one gets from the misfortune of others. And by the time we got to the reading that had a reference to the Autobahn, my Tuesday Eagle Reading class (for which I was a sub) guessed that I could speak German.

My class, however, did not. Because they are not as awesome as Nicole’s Tuesday IRE class (… *sigh*…) Although, today was one of their better classes. For my class, I wanted to play Avenue Q’s Schadenfreude but… I counldn’t cut it down to a length that was both illustrative and free of vulgarities… Oh Avenue Q. So I played this instead.

I’ve been encountering a lot of random German here. First of all (listing transition!), Quinn also speaks German so sometimes we’ll practice with each other. Second of all, there were at least two other people in our training group that spoke German (or some German). And there are random German signs here, mostly restaurants. Like the Garten Bier that’s across from the bridge I walk over to get to work. Oh Garten Bier… It’s supposed to be Biergarten…

Anyway, just thought I’d comment on that. And I’m reminded that… I’ve been ignoring my Korean studies again… But I did learn a new word today! Temple: sa, or in hangul:사. I might be visiting a (random) temple in Gangnam(강 남, by the way) this weekend followed and/or preempted by a trip to Butterfingers, which I keep hearing is a restaurant (also in Gangnam) that serves the best breakfast foods. Holy Buddhist French Toast, here I come!

I had to do something that turned out to be pretty hard on Sunday.  After thinking it over long and hard, I decided to give  Watson up for adoption. I really didn’t want to because she’s already changed homes once (plus I DID just get her spayed). But in the long run, once she’s finds someone else to love and take care of her she’ll be better of off and I’ll be better off. Without going into detail, her living in my apartment wasn’t working out and I don’t think she was living the best life because of it.

So right now, she’s living at Dr. Pet and I’m sure is very sad. That said, if you happen to live in Korea and are looking into getting a pet – please consider Watson! She’s a sweet rabbit and pretty smart. PLUS, she’s spayed so you don’t need to worry about any aggression/baby-making/health issues related to that.

Even if you don’t want to adopt Watson (or don’t live in Korea), please spread the word to those who might want to adopt her! Although I’m sure she’s getting love and attention at Dr. Pet, it’s not the best environment for her and the sooner she can move on to a permanent home, the better.

Today, Quinn, Alex, Derrika and I met a bunch of the training gang in Dongdaemun for some discount shopping and later dinner in Itaewon. It was a weird, rainy day, so a pretty good day to be indoors shopping. I mainly wanted to get a new jacket so I don’t wear out the hoodie that I’ve been wearing. It’s served me surprisingly well in the cold winter months, but I want to give it a break.

Thanks partially to Derrika’s insistance that I need to indulge myself, I also got a few other things (although Quinn was NOT the barging help that I thought it would be or that he claimed to be! Fail, Quinn!). Anyway, for the most part I got pretty good deals on everything. My replacement hoodie was a really reasonable price.

Although a little morbid, we are all in agreement that Skull Hoodie was also cute, and in line with Korean style.

As an added bonus, there is a mouth in it's pocket! Time to find a red tie for a tongue...

One of the items that Quinn did NOT help with negotiating on... For some reason, Quinn and Alex were set on me buying this. But it will have to wait for Summer to be worn.

I got the jacket for a pretty good price, and some cheap shirts for mixing and matching.

After shopping, we all ended up going to Itaewon for dinner. I wish I were hungry since I ended up eating at this delicious Mexican place. Sadly, there’s nowhere to get Mexican food in Yeongtong… Following dinner, we had some hot chocolate and tea in Starbucks (neatly avoiding the loud American revelers out celebrating St. Patrick’s Day) and I decided to head home since it was getting late.

And its a good thing I did head home at that time, if not for me that for the guy I was sitting next to on the subway! Before I get into that story, let me just say my hunch was right. There ARE two subways that run on Line 1, one that goes to Incheon and another that follows a minute or two behind and goes to Sinchang or Cheonan.

Now back to the man, who was lucky I was on the subway! On the train to Cheonan, I happened to sit by this guy who was listening to an ipod or something. I too was listening to my ipod. BUT! Fortunately for the man, I had to pause my music occasionally to hear what stop was coming up because the electronic sign that normal tells the stops wasn’t working in my particular car.

Right around Guro (where Line 1 branches of to Incheon and Sinchang) I paused it so I could double-check I was absolutely on the right train (burn me once, shame on you, Seoul subway…). When I did, I heard a slight thunk and looked down to see the man’s cellphone had fallen out of his pocket. I figured he’d probably notice it, since he did sit on it. And since he was sitting on it. But he didn’t notice it and when he got up to leave about two stops from Suwon I saw he didn’t take his cellphone.

Now, I won’t say I’m necessarily prone to loosing things, but I have on occasion thought that something was securely stowed on my person only to find later that I am no longer securely carrying that thing.  So I wasn’t about to let this guy walk off with his cellphone. When I gave it back to him, he was very grateful and there was much bowing until he finally got off.

So ended my day. And with this blog, I start my Sunday.

Given that the Spring Term started March 1st, I think it’s about time I get around to posting about it. First of all, here’s my NEW schedule, courtesy of Microsoft Excel!

BEHOLD!

The whole My-Friday-Class-Doesn’t-Start-Until-7pm thing is a little annoying but that term things kept getting in the way of enjoying my early release anyway, like subbing for other classes. And so far this term, I’ve already covered two classes during my breaks so there you go. As long as I have Saturday off (at least four teachers now don’t have that luxury), I’m good.

Last term, I had two counselors for my eight classes. Now I have one counselor for all eight classes. Which I like a lot more. First all all… she’s a better counselor. She actually get’s me the things I need for classes and pays attention to the information I write down on the Daily Reports and has actually asked me for my feed back on classes.

However, another counselor… another go at my stupid heater issue. Today in class, my counselor randomly comes into class and starts speaking Korean and messes with the heater. Then one of my old counselors comes in and is talking to her and eventually my new counselor turns to me and says ‘It doesn’t work. The heater has no air.’ Um… I know. That you for interrupting my class to tell me that bit of information that I’ve known since I moved into this room, for informing me of this class room phenomenon that is the reason why I have a space heater in my room.

Sarcasm aside, she is a good counselor. It was a little… weird, however, that she randomly came into my room and did that… It’s not like the room was cold or anything.

And now for the Sunday part of the story.

Sunday morning was pretty relaxed. I took my time cleaning my apartment. Sweeping is much easier when you don’t have two rabbits sitting in your dust pan. Then around 5pm I set out on my rabbit retrieving adventure. And the disasterous day began.

First of all, I knew from Saturday I wanted to buy some things at Gangnam station but you can haggle with cash, which I did not have, so I went over to Hana Bank (which is by work, so convenient on Monday-Friday but slightly inconvenient on Sunday when you’re trying to catch a bus). I put in my bank card and my pin… and do not get any money. Unfortunately I could not read the error message since it was in Korean. I try a couple of more times and decide that it looks like my pin number isn’t working.

Ooookay. That’s a problem but… I can fix it on Monday. So I head across the street and wait for bus 5100 to take me to Gangnam. When I swipe on I realize that I have just enough cash to get me to Dr. Pet and back before my T-Money card (the card we use to ride buses, subways, taxis, etc. here) runs out. Well it’s a good thing I’m not planning on making any pit stops!

But then, to my horror, instead of turning around at Kyunghee University (which is near my house and where I normally pick up the 5100) it stops there… And the bus driver kicks me off… Because this is the end of the line for him. Whhhaaaaa?! He couldn’t have warned us about this? SO I have to wait for another 5100 to come along and WASTE another ₩1,700 to get to Gangnam. Shoot. Now how will I get home.

But it’s okay! I can use my debit card to put more money on my T-Money card. Right? Right? WRONG! But we’ll get to that later.

After getting into Gangnam, I take the subway two stops over to Seoullung Station and look for the exit opposite the Burger King, since that was the exit Quinn and I entered from the day before. I figured that one intersection couldn’t POSSIBLY have more than one Burger King.

Well. I was wrong. I wandered down the street opposite from Burger King for around 15 minutes before I decided it was clearly the wrong road (I had a feeling it was from the beginning but it was opposite the Burger King so it HAD to be right). And this point, it was dark. And I had the Dr. Pet business card in my wallet so I could take a taxi there except NO I COULDN’T BECAUSE I WAS OUT OF T-MONEY NOOOOO!

At this point, I start walking about to Seoullung Station, jogging a little since it’s getting late and I don’t want Dr. Pet to close because then my rabbits would be stuck there until I could pick them up again next Saturday (as in yesterday). I call up Dr. Pet and they tell me I need to exit the station from exit 7 (I had gone out exit 1). I leave through exit 7 and IMMEDIATELY recognize the street (which is weird since streets in Korea look way different at night- another reason I didn’t turn around when I didn’t recognize the street opposite the Burger King).

And after a ten-ish minute walk, I arrive at Dr. Pet’s. Now let me back track just a moment. This whole trip I’m thinking that something is going to go wrong when I get to the vet. He’s going to tell me there was a problem and one of my rabbits will be dead or something horrible like that. So I get there and I go into the doc’s office to get my rabbits – who I could both see and they were both fine – and the vet tech tell me something happened… uh oh… But… they’re both okay so it can’t be that bad. It wasn’t but it was annoying.

It turns out both Sherlock and Watson were girls, which I was annoyed at for two reasons. Reason 1: I didn’t have to get them fixed after all. However, it is a weak reason motivated by cheapness since responsible pet owners get their pets fixed (and sadly I keep reading how female rabbits that aren’t breed or spayed usually die of cancer after a year or two).

Reason 2: Getting a female rabbit spayed is more expensive (at least in Korea) than neutering a male rabbit. And by a lot too. Paying for sherlock to get “neutered” wasn’t a big deal but when I saw the higher price tag for Watson I was like ‘Wha?!’. Aww man, they’re going to make me pay the difference before I got home, aren’t they? They asked me to pay some of the difference but Dr. Choi gave me a discount because he made the identification mistake in the first place. *sigh* Couldn’t he give me a 100% discount? Well, whatever. It’s over and I’m not going to have to deal with having to do this again and hopefully it’ll make Sherlock less aggressive towards Watson (although by this point she had mellowed a lot) and they’ll be healthier. I wouldn’t want to take them back to the US (which, as a responsible pet owner, I am planning to do) and then have them die of cancer in a couple months. As a final note, the vet tech said I would have to bring them back to get their stitches removed in a week. Maaaaaan. At least now I know exactly how to get to Dr. Pet.

Taking my rabbits away (after paying the last of the bill *grumble grumble*), I popped into a nearby Mini-Stop and tried to refill my T-Money card with my debit card. The cashier was really confused by my debit card but tried to fill up the T-Money anyway. But she could not. Because you can ONLY refill your T-Money card with CASH! NOOOOO! Okay. So basically I’m stranded in Seoullung because I don’t even have enough cash (I had only ₩300 on me) or T-Money money (₩200 on the card) to get me back to Gangnam (which costs ₩900), let along enough to get on the bus back to Suwon.

At this point, I was pretty angry with Bus 5100 and the fact that my pin number was continuing to not work. I started thinking about people I could call to come get me, including some of my training buddies who live in Seoul, but eventually I called Quinn since I figured, having come here with me on Saturday, he’d be the most willing to come get me now.

When I called him, it turns out he was eating dinner with Alex. I explained the situation to them and after they assured me that sometimes the debit cards have ‘black-out hours’ where you can’t withdraw money during these hours and that I COULD get money out if I keep trying and after I assured them that no, there’s something wrong with my pin number and I had been trying to get money out for hours, Quinn agreed to come bring me cash so I could get home. We agreed to meet in Gangnam.

Now… given that this blog is public… I won’t say exactly how I got back to Gangnam but… it may OR may not have involved me waiting around until certain check-in and check-out areas in certain subways stations were reasonably vacant and then…

Poof! Like magic I was in Gangnam. It’s ashame I had no cash on me to buy some of the stuff I wanted as I waited for Quinn. Once he got there, we hopped back on the 5100, which was packed so I stood with the rabbits between my feet for the 30mins-50min-ish ride back home.

And yesterday, when I took them (without a single hitch, all by myself, in beautiful weather) to get their stitches removed, I put about ₩50,ooo on my stupid T-Money card (having fixed the issue with my pin number first thing last Monday) so this stupid day doesn’t happen again.

*grumble grumble*

Okay, so last weekend. Here goes the story:

On Saturday, I took my rabbits to Gangnam in Seoul  to get fixed at Dr. Pet Animal Hospital. I choose Dr. Pet because the location was convenient for me, the head vet, Dr. Choi, speaks English, I found tons of recommendations for the place on the web, they work with and foster animals for KARMA (Korean Animal Rights and Management Association), they’re open on weekends and don’t require appointments and, most importantly, they can actually operate on rabbits (the vet in Suwon cannot). As an added bonus, I’m told they can help you send your animals oversees when the time comes to leave. In the event that they can’t, I know of another vet in Itaewon that can.

Back to Saturday, I managed to convince Quinn to come along so I wouldn’t have to go alone, and it was probably a good idea I did. We arrived in Gangnam around 12:30pm. And we didn’t get to the vet until 4pm. Why, you might ask, did it take so ridiculously, freakin’ long to get to the vet?

Well first of all, we had the wrong directions. We thought the vet was at 3 Samdong Bldg. When we got to Gangnam, we couldn’t find the building right away so we popped into YBM, another English academy, and asked them to get us directions. Problem is… getting directions in Korea… sucks… they don’t use street names…

The secretary there printed us a map. And it took us THREE HOURS to find the place. We found the right area, a few blocks away from Gangnam station, but without street names we couldn’t find the building. Eventually we took a taxi… which went around the block  and took us to a building we had passed THREE TIMES. And it was very obviously the wrong building.

So we went to an internet cafe and got the correct directions (35-3 Samsungdong Building).  Then we took another taxi and got there in about ten minutes. Also, another failure in the directions I was given, I had been told to go to Gangnam Station, but the vet was closer to Seoullung Station.

*sigh*

At the vet,l, there were no dogs or cats to play with… (which is how I convinced Quinn to come along). You can sometimes play with Dr. Pet’s foster. Dr. Choi saw the rabbits pretty quickly and he told us Sherlock was a boy but Watson is a girl. Welp, that settled it – they were getting fixed.

Unfortunately it was too late for him to do the surgery that day so he said he would do it Sunday morning and I could pick them up on Sunday after 6pm.

And I will pause this story there and continue the Sunday story later.

Okay, so I haven’t posted in a while, because sadly I haven’t had internet for like… a month. And it’s all my fault. A couple of weeks ago I started getting a spotty internet connection, which was weird because all my cords and what not were hooked up… Until I realized one of the wires and IN FACT the most important cord, as in the cord that delivers magical life-giving internet to my modem, had been severed. And it took me three or four weeks to ask Mr. Park to fix it (magical, magical Mr. Park, who paid us today – wee!)

So a lot has gone on in the past week. One thing… kinda sucked. And by kinda… I mean really, REALLY sucked… but let me post that in a different post tomorrow.

Right now I’m going to veg out and watch some Daily Show. How I’ve missed my mindless TV.

Yesterday was Independence Day, when South Korea celebrates it independence from Japan. The March First, or Sam-il (literally, 3-1) Movement (삼일 운동) started on March 1st, 1919, when independence fighters declared their independence… and were then captured, tortured and killed by Japanese forces.  But eventually Korea did get their independence and hopefully one day, Korea will be united again!

Suwon celebrated the holiday by hanging flags through the city on Saturday. And I had my Korean Flag hanging up on my classroom wall next to my American flag. There were however now fireworks, as far as I could tell, like American Independence Day.

Yesterday was also the day that I got my Spring 2010 term schedule, but I’ll have a separate post for that. The reason I bring it up is that the lessons I was teaching for my Monday classes (Bridge Reading) was about flags and I had every intention of bringing up the holiday in class to get them thinking about what flags mean and why did the city hang them up to celebrate… but I forgot. However, we were still able to have a pretty good class without me mentioning that.