Tuesday, August 30, 2005

weekend update... part three: the revenge of the kimbap

i am so cheesy, as my subject obviously proves.

so i'll try and finish up writing about my weekend. ok, i left off at the bier garten. basically all i wanted to say was i had a classic tanya moment where i was on my way to the bathroom, tried walking through the open door, and smack- walked right into the glass wall. now i have a good sense of humor and have no problem making fun of myself, but it feels entirely different when you're in another country trying to make a good impression with the native folk, and you do something that draws attention like that. it was pretty loud and literally everyone turned to look. i let out a laugh to let them know i was ok and sought refuge in the bathroom. had it been america, i probably would have stood there next to the glass for a good 5 minutes just cracking up at myself.

anyway, then i got really really tired and everyone could tell, so yung su drove me home. all i could think about was crawling into bed and sleeping because i was still really tired from the night before. but yung su wasn't a fast walker (and i am just the opposite) and he kept saying "slow! slow!" on our walk to the car. he tried talking on the drive home, but i wasn't really paying attention because 1) i was afraid he was going to ask me out on a date, 2) i was really tired, and 3) i was preoccupied with praying we wouldn't hit anything on the drive home. we got to my apartment, and i was ready to just jump out of the car and go to bed, but i think he was insisting of walking me to the elevator. so i had to wait for him and he continued talking, and i still had no clue what he was trying to say. and it's definitely possible that i closed the elevator door while he was still talking. lesson: don't mess with me when i'm tired, because i've got a 1-track mind.

turned out they all stayed out till 5:30 in the morning- no way i would have made it that long. so i may have gotten a reputation as the american girl who can't stay out as long as them, but i really don't care too much. i think they felt bad anyway, because they were saying that next time we'll just go out and have dinner. sounds good to me. i did have fun, too bad i was so tired.

yesterday was my first day teaching the regular schedule, and i ended up indirectly beating a student, which i feel bad about. well, not beating exactly, i exaggerated a little bit. but this kid has been a problem for a while and it was finally the last straw yesterday when he was holding the door shut after class not letting anyone out. a girl was trying to pull it open, and he let go and of course the door came flying back at her face. i chased him down the hall, and then led him to the vice principal, saying "he is problem" and showed her his record of days he's misbehaved. she dismissed me and as i was walking away i could hear her slapping him and i felt absolutely awful, i couldn't walk away fast enough. but that's the way they discipline here and there's not much else i can do about it.

out of time again!

Monday, August 29, 2005

weekend update: part 2

so it's monday at 3:30 in the afternoon and i teach in about 2 hours and i have 9 minutes left at the computer.

this weekend was definitely interesting. saturday night johnny and i went out to old downtown, which is basically a bunch of bars and shops and small streets, and pretty crowded at night. we went to 2 bars- cool bar, where there was a jazz band playing, and j-rock. it was ok, good to see what the nightlife was like, but it's definitely a popular place with foreigners, who i didn't realize were so sketchy. i saw a lot of older foreign men, and definitely got the stereotype stuck in my head that most of these men come over for a mail-order bride, minus the mail-order part. they want to land a pretty korean girl, and most can because these pretty korean girls love the idea of america. and i saw some frumpy women who reminded me of 30 year olds who still hang out at johnny-k's. they were tearing up the dance floor and by tearing up i mean making complete fools of themselves. but it was a pretty good night. old downtown is definitely further away than i expected it to be.

last night i went out with some korean teachers. that was pretty interesting and a bit awkward at first because i heard that one of the math teachers likes me, and i definitely felt like i was being set up. we actually split up on our way to the restaurant/bar- i rode in his car and johnny and the other girl took a taxi. this guy drove like a maniac and actually hit a car that was pulled over. somehow no damage was done (and it made a really loud bang too), and we continued to go to the bar. we got there, they only had a sausage dish and i don't eat sausage, so we went to another place (i felt bad about that one). so we were eating at another restaurant and i was given what was thought to be raw fish, and as i was eating it it had a really weird texture. then the math teacher saw me and said "ohhh" and i had to spit it out into a napkin. turned out to be pressed pig parts- intestines and brains or something. i was surprised by how well i handled that one.

another math teacher showed up, who was quite funny, and we went to another restaurant/bar. it was a bier garten where there are cupholders in the tables that frost over and keep your beer cold. pretty neat. crap, out of time, i have to post this and finish later.

Friday, August 26, 2005

tv surprise

kate and i used to have this thing almost every night called "movie surprise." basically, before we went to bed, one of us would choose a movie to watch and not tell the other what it was, and we'd have to get what it was. i think we both still miss that part about college. for some reason we must have watched keeping the faith about 50 times, and i think it was mainly because of the part when ben stiller goes on a date with that over-excited jewish girl, and he punches her in the stomach, then later she goes of on her not-so-pc rant about her headband that was made from the "heavily supervised" mentally challenged.

before we go on, i would like to apologize in advance to any church people who may be reading this. nothing i'm going to say is really that bad, i just mention some questionable material. anyways, in my own way i get a little bit of tv surprise every night here. let me back up a little bit. a few weeks ago, at night, i was watching friends. i went to brush my teeth and when i came back it was scrambled porn. figuring i must have accidentally changed the channel, i started flipping through the stations again. couldn't find friends so i figured it was over and went to bed. a few night later, i was flipping through my favorite channels late at night, and once again i got some scambled porn. this time i figured that channel 57, one of my favorite channels that plays quite a few american shows, must change over to porn at a certain time every night. i also noticed a little playboy bunny in the upper left corner. so, it's the playboy channel! this week, again i was watching friends, and literally in the middle of the episode it switched over and i began to hear that oh-so-cliche sleazy 70s guitar beat. i looked at my watch and saw that it was 10 pm. alas, i had found the answer. every night at 10 pm, good ol' wholesome channel 57 changes into scrambled porn. and even though i know what's going on now, it still doesn't help when i'm on autopilot flipping through my favorite channels at night and all of a sudden i hear women screaming. in fact, last night when i came back from the pc bang i turned the tv on, and i had been watching channel 57 before i left... but now it was after 10 and i could hear what was going on even before the scambled image showed up. tv surprise, indeed.

kind of funny, too, now that i think about it. the clarks have been watching "the girls next door" on e! and apparently they think i remind them of/act/talk just like hugh heffner's "girlfriend no. 1," minus the long blond hair. i am not saying this to brag, i guess the opposite. and somehow i thought i'd return the "compliment" by telling john that he reminds me of house (from the show)... but he didn't take that so well either, although i didn't really think it was an insult. i stand by my opinion. i guess my point is there's a little bit of playboy inside all of us... including the little 10 year olds who wander around here not knowing that the cute little rabbit on their tshirts is indeed the playboy bunny. i've seen quite a few girls wearing these shirts. guess they're getting an early start.

subject change:

i did some quick calculations and i figured out exactly how many hours i'm going to be working. not counting the half hour that i have to be here before i start working, i am working a total of 17 hours and 20 minutes. take away the dinner breaks and 10 minute breaks, and i'm actually teaching 15 hours and 40 minutes. it's a mad mad mad world, and i'm loving every second of it.

also, i finally bought this drink i keep seeing a commercial for. there's a girl walking down the street drinking and saying over and over something like "saramandi... sarani" i completely made that up but in my little tanya-land i imagine it's something like "he loves me he loves me not." anyways, it's iced green tea and i got the blue bottle, jasmine flavored. well i can definitely taste the jasmine... it tastes like my jasmine breeze bath and body works lotion smells, which just confuses my senses because i felt like i was drinking my lotion.

i swear my posts are getting weirder and weirder everyday... which means i must be relaxing more and becoming my normal weird self.


world's biggest slacker

yep, that must be me, because i think i somehow completely lucked out at got the world's easiest job. yes, it can be stressful- there are a few kids who just won't chill out, but when monday rolls around i fully intend on sending them out of the room next time they act up. apparently a trip to the vice-principal is the big threat around here.

today was the last day of summer vacation, which means this monday we go to the regular schedule. i got my schedule yesterday, and i almost choked when i saw my hours. the earliest i start work is 4 pm on wed and fri, but then i start at i think 4:45 on tues and thurs and 5:30 on monday. and i finish mon wed fri at 8:30 pm and at 6:50 on tues thurs. so my longest day is only 4 and a half hours. seriously, that's crazy. i only have 23 classes a week, and each class is less than an hour so i'm not even working 23 hours. granted i still have to come in a half hour before i start, but that's cake. basically i'm being paid full-time for a part-time job. i have plenty of time to enjoy the day, and then time if i want to go out at night.

speaking of going out... it's friday night. i still have yet to see what korea is really notorious for. i hear they can easily drink americans under the table, i'm sure they could even take the clark brothers who never quite got out of college-mode. anyways, i told johnny i needed to see the night life, so apparently we're planning on going out tomorrow night- maybe to j-rock... "the most popular foreigner bar in daejeon." and speaking of j-rock, i finally met justin today, which means i've now met all 4 of the foreign teachers. he's the one who owns j-rock and works part time at the school. turns out he's from new york- went to high school in oneida and graduated from oneonta. oh yeah, and i'm definitely the youngest teacher here, which kind of surprised me. i think all 4 of the foreign teachers are around 30, maybe a little younger. well, i know johnny's age, fred is married and i think he's around that age, and justin graduated college in 96, but i'm not sure about nial. which makes me not only the new teacher, but the youngest too.

i was thinking the other day about how fast this time is going. when i was getting ready to go to guatemala, it seemed like such a huge thing that i would be there for three weeks. granted life was a little bit tougher there, but now that i've been here for three weeks i think "oh wow, it's like guatemala's over with." and i still feel like i just got here.

i still suck at the language. and i really better to learn how to count money soon. or at least be able to recognize the numbers... because sooner or later some shop worker is gonna take advantage of me. i wanted to buy a flowerpot today so i could dissect a flower in my science class and then have the rest of the flowers to bring home. i took 30,000 won out of the atm because i had no clue how expensive it was going to be. at the flower shop, i asked the man how much a plant was and i thought he said 40,000. then i asked him if there was anything for 30,000 and gave him the money. he looked at my bills and said "noooooo" and just took a 10,000 won bill. turns out it was only 4,000 won. yes, i almost tried to pay for a $40 plant when it was actually 4,000.

the foreign language director is very nice. i came in this morning with my flowers and she ooh-ed and aah-ed as i walked to my desk. she came over and said "very beautiful- they are korean flower." i think she thought they were to make my desk look nice, so i said "for science class" and she thought that was cool. then she came over (i was at the computer) and couldn't get over my necklace. "very unique." i told her my mother got it for me. she said "oh pretty necklace and pretty face." then she asked how i was doing here. i said fine, i like the school a lot. she said, "i worry for you." i tried to convince her she didn't need to worry, i was perfectly happy. which i think made her happy. felt like a genuine barney moment. not to mention, she brought me kimbap on wednesday morning. yum.

those iv people are multiplying, i swear. i've since seen two women and two other men hanging around outside attached to their liquid goodness. i hope they're not contagious. i really wish i had a digital camera so i could take a picture of them.

in other news, here are some more random thoughts. i was watching friends before i came over here, and ross, joey, and chandler were eating a pizza. it looked incredible. while the food here is very good, i just know i'm not gonna get good pizza for a while. on the plus side, because the food is lower in fat, i've lost a few pounds. kind of funny how i was running about 6 or 7 miles a day over the summer, then i come here and haven't ran at all, eat a lot more, and i've lost some weight. but i am definitely doing a lot of walking and standing, which i think has a lot to do with it. i've heard that most people lose weight when they come over here. just surprised me because i've been eating almost whole boxes of snack cakes in one sitting. nice, huh?

also, i thought i'd mention this out of bitterness and jealousy. it's always great when you're out of the country and you hear that your friend got to sit in conan o'brien's chair. thanks a lot arthur for rubbing it in my face on my blog. now see if i send you anything korean.

i got my package from my mom. i was pretty surprised to see it sitting on my desk, she only sent it last week and i thought it would take a few weeks. along with my shoes she sent some clean shower, thai noodles (ironic), my tiger from "grandpa ray" and a note from cheri foster, pat hebert, jan o'rourke, dayna greico, and michelle culver. pretty nice.

kate is in zambia now. which means 3 out of the 4 of us from trailer 13 are in different countries. katherine, you're slacking- and you were always the most asian out of all of us. if you're not working at jazz times, then you should move to antarctica with your penguins.

that's really all i've got for now... go asian or go home.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

handuh-phone land

i got a cell phone today! i'm actually feeling more settled now. i got my debit card yesterday (that was an event in itself, resulting in the bank's security card hovering over me trying to use his killer english skills to help me understand what was going on). so this morning i went to the sktelecom headquarters and got a cell phone of my very own.

for those of you who are thinking about coming to korea and are wondering about how to acquire cell-phones... you may have heard that unless you have a korean to sign for a plan under, you have to stick with the prepay cards, which ends up costing you more. not true! if a place doesn't let you do that, go to another. i heard from fred, my coworker, that he had problems the first year with that, but i think when he went to renew his phone or something he went to the company headquarters and they gave them no problems with that. same thing today, although it took me a while to get them to understand what i wanted (a lot of "no prepay... no carduh... i want plan... pay every month") i was soon on my way to becoming a part of technology again.

oh yeah, something else, again if you are planning on coming to korea, make sure to ask for a phone with an english menu. luckily i knew to ask for that and was my number one requirement when i chose my phone- there's a pretty good selection of them available, too.

anyways, i got to talk to my parents and celeste, and i tried calling amber but she didn't answer her phone and she wasn't at work. hopefully i'll be able to talk to her sometime too.

oh, i told my parents and roommates this story, but i'm sure you all want to hear it too. i have encountered quite a few strange things here, but here are definitely the top two:

first, last week when i was walking home, i walked by what must have been a hospital or clinic, i'm not sure, but out on the sidewalk, just kind of chilling, strolling around, was a man in his 40s or 50s... wearing his hospital scrubs and hooked up to an iv stand. i have no idea what his deal was but i thought it was very weird and kind of forgot about it. then yesterday again i was walking by the same place, and there was a different man, the same age, hooked up to an iv stand again wearing his hospital scrubs. but this time the man was leaning against the building smoking. correct me if i'm wrong, but if you need to be hooked up to an iv, should you be standing around smoking? oh korea.

the next story is not for those with queasy stomachs. i was walking by a bench on sunday, watching a man who was sitting down, thinking about the groceries i was going to buy (in particular, thinking about ice cream). this man was kind of posed like the "thinking man" statue so i was just staring at him, wondering what his deal was. at that moment, he opened his mouth and i got to see his last meal, which appeared to have been a chocolate milkshake. by then the damage had been done and for some reason i couldn't take my eyes away. seems that he might have started happy hour a little to early- it was only 5 or 6 pm. needless to say, i was no longer craving ice cream.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

weekend update

i have 10 minutes left in the pc bang, so i'll try and make this quick.

well, i was on my own again this weekend, but it wasn't too bad. i had some fun and explored a little bit. on saturday i went to lotte department store and got some cabernet sauvignon (yeah not korea, so sue me, i miss red wine). looked around a little bit, then went to a store next door called "elves,"- pretty cute clothes there for decent prices. i got a greenish sleeveless shirt/dress (i'm sure it's a dress for the girls over here, but it's more like a miniskirt on me- fine to go out in but i'm wearing jeans with it to work). and thank god it fits, because i didn't really want to bother with trying it on in the store. size-wise, the only problem for me here is being taller, i know a lot of american girls have problems here because asian girls are so small, so a dress shouldn't be a problem. so it fits, and i'm happy.

on my way back i actually tried eating at a restaurant by myself for the first time here. went to a restaurant behind my apt. building and found a woman standing outside. went up to her and said "bibimbap?" and she nodded and led me in. best meal i've had here by far- the kimchi itself was worth it. some of the times i've had it since being here it's been kind of fishy... at this place it tasted really good. so i enjoyed my feast of a million side dishes (including 2 soups) , not to mention the bibimbap itself. i was so inspired that today i picked up some rice and dried seaweed squares to make bibimbap for dinner (already had the eggs, sprouts, leafy stuff, and red pepper paste)... surprised myself because it was about just as good as the restaurant's! (then again the meal is kind of fool-proof.

today i wanted to take a bus to donghsak-sa (i think that's the name), which is a temple on a nearby mountain. but i couldn't find the bus stop (map said it was at the express bus stop- later saw there was more than one of those) so i enjoyed the art museum and a concert by the daejeon philharmonic orchestra instead. on the program: schubert's "rosamunde" overture, schumann's a-minor piano concerto, and mendelssohn's italian symphony. very enjoyable- oops, out of time here!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

anarchy in the classroom!

so this was something that happened last week and i was giggling in my head when it happened, but i forgot to mention it to anyone!

we were going over homework in one of my classes, and as we finished the page i asked a student why he was putting a big "0" on his page. he said that's what they did when it was all correct in korea. i thought it would be interesting to tell them what we did in america when it ws all correct, so i showed him the big "C" we used to love to write over the page when i was in elementary school. i also showed them a big "A". well, this student really liked the "A," so he took it upon himself to draw A's over his past assignments that already had a 0's on them... and the result was a bunch of anarchy symbols. i thought it was really funny but not quite appropriate to tell them what he had just drawn, so i held my giggle back and continued the lesson. ah, god bless anarchy in south korea!

ted turner for peace?


i truly believe that ted turner wants to own the world, one country at a time. he is a scary, scary man.

then again, cnn asia has been fascinating to watch (and then again, it's really the only news i can get on tv here besides arirang, which i definitely wouldn't classify as "news")

that's really all i have for now. i promise i'll update if something noteworthy happens... like maybe a piano falling from a building on my walk back, just like they always have in cartoons. hopefully i'll live to tell about it.

Monday, August 15, 2005

three-day weekend

well, it's monday on my three-day weekend. i bought two hours for the computer, and paid in coins. i thought it was funny because the guy counted them a few times, and said something which i figured meant i didn't have enough for 2 hours, so i pulled out a bill and was just like "um, two..." and he said "oh, two hour?" goes to show you never know when a person will speak english.

yesterday was pretty interesting. i've been frustrated because i don't have the money yet to take a bus or train somewhere cool and touristy- like a temple, mountain, or another city- so i'm stuck with walking and seeing what i can find. i've been exploring, and mainly finding uninteresting things- just the same businesses over and over. finally, i walked out a little ways past the school and found the science expo center, park, and art museum. it was so nice to find a quiet section where i could sit and write in my journal, and it smelled like flowers and grass, not like the stuffy city. i also saw an ultimate group playing, made up of foreigners, which must have been the same group i had read about before. i didn't want to bother them because they seemed busy playing, but on my walk back from the other end of the park, as i was passing them again, two of them were pulling out on their street bikes and beeped and waved at me. (i was so obviously a foreigner, even from a distance- i think my height, oversized sunglasses, and obnoxious "i love ny" tshirt gave me away) but at least they're friendly!

another nice thing that happened: my death blisters are in their weird healing process- they're itchy and sometimes break open. well, i was wearing sneakers most of the day, and i think that irritated them. i changed into flip flops before i went to the pc bang, and i noticed one of my heels was dripping blood- great! i went to 7-11 after i used the computer to get a snack, and the nice lady working there gave me some band aids as i was paying. the blood was mostly dried by that time, but it was a nice, very appreciated, gesture.

i've been mentally comparing the prices of different items as i see them. for the most part, food is a lot cheaper here, with the obvious exception of western foods. the galleria has a grocery store, which i finally checked out yesterday. they have a decent selection of cheeses (they have philly cream cheese, brie, and camembert), and of course they're more expensive than they should be. i also found some prego sauce for 6,000 won i think, pretty steep if you ask me, but i have the feeling i might be resorting to that sooner or later. they definitely don't have a ton of tomato products here. i wonder how many tomatoes the country grows in relation to other more common fruits and vegetables. or maybe they have to import them, i don't know. finally, i noticed a little organic section. the foods there were way too expensive, and i don't think i'm going to be investing in any of those products no matter how desperate i get.

alcohol-wise, i've also been interested in the prices. some things are definitely more expensive, and some things are surprisingly cheap. whiskey isn't too bad- about 30,000 won for a bottle, depending on the brand. yes, it's expensive, but not as expensive as i thought it would be. red wine is pretty expensive (the yellow tail that i saw was about 11,000 won, but it also came with a bottle of olive oil for some reason, and that is expensive itself), but chardonnay isn't. i also saw some champagne running for 3,000 won. i can imagine the quality can't be that great! i've tried a few things so far- some bek se ju or something like that, a traditional rice wine. it was pretty good. i also got something else that i think must be somehow related to soju, because it tasted a little like vodka, without the nasty after-effect you get when you take a shot of it (not that i was sitting there taking shots of it...) i keep seeing raspberry wine, i'm very interested in trying that too- never even came across reading about it when i was doing my pre-korea research! i wonder if it's anything like plum wine (which i've seen a lot of too).

anyways, i guess that's it for now. i'm getting pretty hungry. speaking of hunger, i did notice something kind of funny: i usually don't have much of a sweet tooth, but i keep having cravings for pastries here. i have the feeling it's connected to the fat i'm not getting in my meals, as korean food is pretty low-fat. so, for some reason i keep wanting to eat a candy bar or pastry or something before i begin to eat my real meal- and i'm not really a candy bar kind of girl. weird how that works.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

not much of an update

ok, this isn't much of an update, but figured since i'd have time i'd give it a go. it's thursday night and after tomorrow i'll have finished my first full week of teaching and i'll have been a resident of korea for a week! three day weekend coming up, not sure what i'll do yet, but i'll keep you posted. money is kind of tight considering i can't exchange my money for another week, but i think if i become broke dr. kim will give me another advance. i worked for about 2 hours tonight on my korean, but honestly don't know how much i'll remember. it was basically working on the reading (still clueless on the meanings!). i can sound everything out ok, but it takes a while and i still suck at the vowels. i'm gonna try and work hard on this though because it will definitely be helpful when i want to go explore on my own. the main thing i want to accomplish is reading restaurant menus with ease!

speaking of food, i just can't get over those triangle kimbaps they sell at 7-11 (yes, 7-11s are everywhere). they're only about 50 cents in us money (well, at the 7-11 next to my school. i discovered, much to my dismay, that the 7-11 sells them for 200 more won at the 7-11 next to my apartment. another thing i discovered, good coffee can be found! well, not exactly good coffee, but better than the instant hazelnut coffee filter bags that i have in my kitchen. they sell refrigerated cups of coffee in various flavors (i had a mocha and caramel macchiato today- except they were definitely made with coffee, not espresso.)

school is still going well, the kids are all pretty cute. i have a hard time not laughing at them when they're acting up because they really are funny. i had the same problem when i was student teaching music- guess i've always been one for humor over yelling. i think, if this year goes well, this is something i might consider for a career. i've always loved english and grammar, and i think it'd be cool to take a toefl or tesl certification class when i come home. that way i can go to prague when the year is over if i still want to travel abroad.

ok, enough for now. i'm sure i'll have more time to update on the weekend.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

hello from daejeon!

well, now that i'm a little bit adjusted and have some time to actually update (yes, 45 minutes left in the pc bang!) i thought i'd let you all know how korea is going so far. i don't have the energy to write about every little bit of my escapades, so i'll try to make it brief. got in to incheon airport at 9:30. a girl from the school was waiting for me with a sign with my name, but she didn't really speak english too well. she was nice though. we tried to take a bus to daejeon from the airport, but the last one was sold out, so we had to take a bus to the kangnam station and get a bus to daejeon from there. (about a half hour wait in between buses.) the bus from seoul to daejeon took about an hour and 15 minutes, got in to my apartment (finally!) at around 1:30 in the morning (american time 12:30 pm). of course it's a little after noon back home so i wasn't quite ready for bed even though i was really tired (not much sleep on the airplane- too uncomfortable).

i unpacked a little bit, and then took some allergy medicine to help knock me out because i was meeting dr. kim around 10 in the morning. got to sleep around 3:30 or 4, and in the morning i finished unpacking. at 10:30 another girl from the school (this one spoke no english) came with a note from dr. kim saying she was from the school and i was to go with her. good thing she wasn't a kidnapper. so we took a taxi to the school, where i met dr. kim, his wife (the school's president), a director of foreign languages, and johnny, a full-time english teacher. dr. kim gave me some coffee (thank you!) and we talked a little bit about the school. then he let me use his phone because by this time i was sure my mom was just about crazy with anticipation for me to call... i called her and she started crying. she said she and celeste were worried sick that i hadn't called yet (they wanted me to call as soon as humanly possible- but i couldn't use the one pay phone i saw at the train station and there is no phone in my apartment). she was sure that i had been sold into slavery, but i assured her i was ok and was in fact about to be taken out to lunch.

so, dr. kim, johnny, and i went out to lunch to some buffet place where i didn't really know what was going on. i'm familiar with the korean places with the big grill in the middle, but this one had a pot with water- apparently we were supposed to grab some veggies, meat, whatever we wanted and cook it in the soup. i wasn't quite brave enough to try really fancy stuff (honestly i didn't know what was supposed to be eaten as is from the buffet and what was supposed to be cooked in soup), but i did do some noodles and green leafy stuff (not sure if that was supposed to be cooked but the color was so dark and pretty that i thought it would make the soup look nice.)

after lunch, i got some pictures taken for my alien registration card, then dr. kim brought me back to my apartment. i was told that i could exchange some money at the train station, so i bravely took a taxi (announcing to the driver daejeon yeuk (yuk?)). turned out there wasn't a money exchange place there, but the lady gave me korean directions to the department store lotte world, which i gave to the next taxi driver. wandered around there for a while until i found the exchange (some lady who worked in one of the stores took pity on me and led me to it), and then the girl at the exchange had never even seen a traveler's check. she kept trying to call for help (the only english she knew was "one moment," and when the help finally arrived (obviously called for his superior english skills), he asked me "can i help you sir?" he did realize his mistake though and started laughing. anyways, i thought i was finally getting somewhere when he asked to see my passport to verify my signature until he said "i do believe these are real, but we do not accept traveler's checks." great! i fought back the tears, handed them $40 cash that i happened to have in my wallet, and had that exchanged. luckily, dr. kim had also given me a 200,000 won advance so i'm not totally broke. didn't have time to exchange the money on monday when the bank was open, and today i applied for my alien registration card, which takes 10 days to make and they need my passport while doing it! so i won't be able to get my cash for another 10 days. must be thrifty, must be thrifty...

anyways, did a little bit of shopping later on saturday (wandered around, found a grocery store that karla, the former occupant left me directions for) and got a few basic foods to hold me over (noodles, green tea, cherry ice cream- very good- and i even got some aloe juice which is really interesting because it tastes good and sweet but there are actually chunks of squishy aloe in it. i'm sure that squishy=healthy. also got some cookies and stuff that i thought may have been ravili, but tried making some today and it's definitely not. tastes good though, has veggies and stuff in it, lots of cabbage- kind of tastes like an egg roll.

and onto school stuff. today is tuesday, and the time is currently 8:30 pm. after two days of teaching i can safely say that it is definitely less stressful than teaching music. the kids are cute for the most part, pretty well behaved, but i love their accents most of all. i have a hard time correcting them if they really kill the word pronunciation-wise. i'm also teaching a science class, which is really weird, because it's really basic stuff but the book calls for a lot of projects, and we definitely don't have the materials for them. i guess the main concept of the class is to convert what they already know science-wise in korean into english. the kids are pretty good at english in that class. the kids are all around 9-13 (i think 4th-6th grade), and most of the classes are fairly small- i think the largest class had 12 or 13 kids, but most had about 6-8 (one only had 4). after school yesterday i went to dinner with johnny and we at at a traditional sit-down place where you had to take off your shoes (which was quite a relief because i had the world's biggest blisters on the backs of my heels from my ballet-style shoes and my feet looked like they had been in a war zone (luckily my pants hid the blood). today i stuck with flip flops and didn't even bother to change into the ballet shoes i brought with me just in case flip flops weren't ok (they are, even the director wears some sort of slides).

anyways, just an update of my schedule: mon, wed, and fri i have 7 classes- one from 10:15-11, then a break until 12:50 where i have 6 back to back 40 and 45 minute classes. tues/thurs i have only three classes back to back from 1:35-3:50. but this is the summer schedule, and when the kids start regular school again we'll all start teaching around 3 in the afternoon i think. yep, schedule is pretty good, apartment is nice (despite the little flood i had with my washing machine today- hope that doesn't happen again), and the city is pretty cool. only setback is i didn't thinkt he language barrier would be as much of a hinderance as it is. i kept reading that people would be eager to practice their english with me. in seoul maybe, but not in daejeon! taxi drivers are the best though, they're very nice and a few did try to talk to me in english, and they always make sure i know where to go when i get out (one even got out to show me where to cross the road and get to the building i was going to). plus they're cheap and you don't tip. ok, only 2 minutes left on the computer. time to post this sucker.