Hello everyone, sorry for the lack of updates, but here’s my entire week! lets see if I remember everything…
So I’ve been keeping pretty busy, day 5 looked a bit like this:
went into work, and it started to really dawn on me that i’d be teaching kids for a year. I sat at my desk just thinking, “holy crap, am i really going to be able to do this?” I’m not gunna lie, I’m a bit scared. But everyone keeps assuring me I’ll be fine, and to just take it easy and take everything that happens with a grain of salt. So, that’s what I’m hoping to accomplish.
Also, I broke the laminator in the upstairs office : ( (but Joe can apparently fix it.)
In the afternoon, Devin and I started going over all my classes and we made a lesson plan for my Monday classes. Hopefully this gets the ball rolling and I’ll have all my week’s planning done soon.
Georgia moved t0 her new desk downstairs, which means I get very lonely now. Erica’s never at her desk, Sharolyn is, but she’s always pretty busy, so I’m basically isolated upstairs. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad. I kind of like to be in an environment where I can see others working hard around me.
Anyhow, the day finished and Devin, Erica, Amanda, Wattchala (I hope i spelt that right), Anna and Meg went out for “All you can eat” umm,…something. Basically, you’re sitting at these traditional tables, where you’s down on a mat and in the middle of the table is a metal pot where they put hot coals. on top of the pot, flush with the table, they put down a metal grate, and it was help yourself to any kind and any amount of meat.
Most of the meat was pre-cooked, so we were basically warming it up, but i ate SOOOO much! the bad thing was, you couldn’t sit properly and it was hot and humid to begin with, but now we were all sitting around hot coals so the whole lot of us were sweating all over the place.
The way you eat it, is you grab a leaf of lettuce, grab a piece of meat, maybe put some sauce on it, and then they have any number of other items to put on it. various kinds of kimchi, sprouts, etc. VERY good.
So after I had all I could eat, I left my share of the bill, and met up with Britney and Alix. We hung out in their apartments for a bit until Christine and Georgia met up with us and I decided to join them for dinner and have MORE than I could eat. It turns out Korean food fills you up temporarily. For me, anyway.
We ended up going to this small noodle house and it was the most ridiculous fiasco ever, because Britt ordered her food and got it, I asked for the same thing and got nothing, Christine asked for sushi and got hers, but then Alix asked for noodles and got sushi as well! then, Georgia asked for noodles with chicken, and got nothing. Then, this other couple came in and ordered what is apparently called “OmRice.” which is basically a big omlette wrapped around rice. with delicious sauce. So I asked for the same. Alix ended up getting a noodle soup with vegetables and Georgia went back to Chicken and Beer for some spicy boneless chicken.
We then went to the department store, HomeEver and did some shopping before turning in for the night.
a side note for the evening, Italian food is really popular here. if you don’t mind spending the little extra for it, we passed by a whole bunch of Italian restaurants on our way to the noodle house.
So i’ve been here almost a week! I think I might start writing one post for the week, and with less detail, because if I keep this up, I’ll have a novel written in no time.
Moving into Saturday, my feelings of unprepairedness increased and in an effort to ease that incoming stress, I went to school on my day off to grab my notes and files to go over at home. I’ll go over all opf that stuff today (Sunday, day 7).
I joined Devin, my boss and her boss in one of the empty rooms, since Saturday is only one AM and one PM class. We sat, listened to some music and talked and drank beer. (yeah, at work. also, it’s socially acceptable to be drinking beer practically anywhere. also, corner stores sell beer. you can buy a BIG bottle for less than 4 dollars!) Anyhow, they were warm beers because Devin had them in his bag all day, but they weren’t bad. After, Devin and I met up with his buddy Albert and hilariously, managed to swap out the remaining warm beers for cold ones at the Seven-Eleven. We drank those outside and then made our way to Devin’s place.
There, Devin started packing and I moved my suitcases into his place. I would be moving in officially on the 31st (today). I ended up joining Britt, Alix, Christine, Georgia and Gavin for spaghetti and in the same vein as the day before (but opposite order), skipped out early to meet up with Devin, Erica, Amanda, Meg and others for their going away party. But first, (a second) dinner! We went to a place called Kraze burger. (we decided it was supposed to be pronounced “Kray-Zee” but all the Koreans with us insisted it was pronounced “Kraaze” with a long A and a softish E. I’m not sure if i’m using the right words to describe that…) Anyhow, at this point, there was maybe 18 of us all together.
We all pretended it was Dev’s birthday and the staff brought us an ice cream cake with candles. We gave him the slow-clap. and a big, single “Devin!” cheer.
After a mediocre “American burger”, we headed out to a different Monkey Beach. It wasn’t as bad as the other one, This one had fun lights and fire spinning and pize winning basketball hoop thing, tables with poles where people could step up and dance on them and it was FULL of drunk westerners and LOUD club music.
I had a bit of a headache, so I didn’t drink much, but Erica won a bottle of tequila and Nigel was gifted a bottle of triple distilled vodka by some random. Amanda and Devin marched off with the bottles, basically coaxing our entire group to take a swig from each bottle. Eventually, people got extra drunk and one of the girls with us had to be helped out of the bar, because she had clearly drunk WAY too much. Outside, and actually, a bit inside the club, emotions came pouring out and Meg and Amanda (who were teaching partners at Maple Bear) did a bit of boo-hoo-ing.
I was about ready to pass out, thankfully, so was Nigel and He and I took a cab back to Yatap. He started chatting up some random girl walking alone on the street. He deduced that she was a prostitute, but she basically just seemed confused by two guys talking to her in english. We grabbed water, and as it turns out, he lives right across from the Love Hotel.
So that was my last two days. I woke up this morning, watched Star Wars episode 3, packed up my last remaining bag and checked out. I’m now at an internet cafe wasting time until a time that I can safely assume Devin will be awake. That’s all! The adventures continue soon!
So day four is just coming to a close, here’s what happened:
firstly, I would like to say i’m feeling much better than i did this morning. And, apparently Alix and me left in a cab to go home and it dropped her off at her apartment and amazingly, I navigated home safely. But anyhow, I got to school, typed up my day 3 and then promptly got to lesson planning stuff for my classes.
Today was a really relaxed day, which helped a lot, given how I was feeling. I spent half of it just wandering around thinking up ideas for things and talking with the other teachers. Then, a very hung over and still kind of slightly drunk Devin stumbled into work. We just had one class today, and as per usual, the kids are insanely cute. We mostly played games, but since Devin was the way he was, I did a bit of teaching today. the kids kept mockingly repeating what I said, and Devin made them stand up with their hands on their heads, shake their hips and say “Sorry Carson”. Jaden was assigned to be the Korean Police (which means he calls out his fellow classmates if they let some korean slip out during class time) but somehow ended up being the only one repeatedly using korean.
We learnt about leaves today! and then because Gavin was tired, they had an impromptu naptime. The kids all joined in, lying down around and on Devin, using various Devin body parts as a pillow. Next, following that same theme, we played the “Lying Game” which when they said it, sounded like the “Lion Game”. but basically, it involves lying down and staying really still. If you get caugh moving, you’re out and have to get up. suffice to say, after learning the rules, Devin said, “Teacher’s playing too!”
And so it went. after class, I did more socializing. Tonight was Maple Bear Bundang’s one year anniversary! So there was a wonderfully catered dinner, with a slideshow, the owners of the school and members of a sister school and some other randoms were present. Also, a friend of the owner came in and sung a few traditional Korean songs. very interresting! I think Alix took a video, maybe she can post it on Facebook and I’ll grab the link.
I had planned to do more with my night, but Joe came by to grab me and Georgia, since Georgia would be moving into her not so shiny, but newish apartment, she had left her bags in my room. We grabbed them and moved them to her new place, and now I’m here at the internet cafe.
ta-da! my night. tomorrow is prep day and then next week, i start the teachy-teach. should be exciting! take it easy, folks, if you have time, send me updates about what’s up on your side of the world.
So day 3 was party day. here’s how it went down:
Woke up, took some photos of my room and outside the window, and of a funny packet of condoms the hotel leaves there. (I found out that the hotel i’m staying at is a “Love Hotel”. the kind where couples pay for single night lodgings so they can umm…talk. a lot.
With regards to posting any photos, I want to wait until I can charge my camera, so photos wont happen until next week.
Anyhow, me and Georgia (i remember her name now!) walked to school, it’s about a 20 minute walk. then, we did schooly things, the kids are really cute, today was the last day for a lot of the kids, so they got report cards and we spent most of the classes playing games. The kids had to pick a poem and make up a tune for the songs and sing them, so we had a “Red Bear Idol” (the rooms are colour coded) show, and Erica recorded it on her camera. SUUUPER cute. Devin (the guy whose students and apartment i’m taking over) bought treats for the kids to eat, the evening class got pizza! there was a pizza printed on the box advertising 2 new pizza flavours, one had calamari and shrimp on it, the other was called “Idaho Potatoe” and had some kind of sauce on it that was drawn out like a Star of David, which confused me a lot. Maybe they meant “Israel Potatoe”? at any rate, there were potatoes on it.
After that, I walked home with Devin and Georgia and we bumped into Alix on the way. Alix and me went out for dumplings at a dumpling house in the area. It’s really nice, because all day, you see them handmaking the dumplings right in front of you. We were lucky enough to share a table with a Korean guy who worked at some company in their international sales department, so his english was good, and he helped us order what we wanted.
I then rushed home after our meal to shower and meet Devin, Erica and Alix at Yatap station. From there, we stopped at a convenience store and bought beers (2 dollar beer!!!!) and went across the street from my hotel to a loft apartment owned by a friend of Devin’s. It’s AMAZING! such high ceilings and pretty furniture. NOTHING like what my future apartment will look like. He made tacos and more people showed up. We talked and sort of watched Rambo 3. At about 10, we headed down to Yatap and took the subway to Seongnam station (i think) which is 2 stops over.
We ended up in some hole-in-the-wall bar called Monkey Beach and bad news ensued. The bar plays american club music, and there were lots of americans I dont think I drank myself stupid, but beyond leaving the place with Alix at 1 am (the others stayed, apparently bars never shut down in Korea, Koreans who come to Canada always complain that there’s no night life. I think they’re correct.) I know we were going to take a cab back, but beyond that, I have NO idea how i got home, took off my shoes, got changed, locked my door and even managed to put on the chain, let alone the act of getting the cab and paying it. I’m going to ask Alix today, so I know. I feel this big urge to know rather than live with the mystery of how I got home.
So that was party night.
I woke up this morning feeling gross, I realise it’s a horrible idea to get drunk in a city where I don’t speak the language and can easily get lost. NEVER happening again. I’ll have a few drinks here and there, but that’s it for me. I want to remember my whole experience here, not have to grab a friend and ask what happened or look at facebook photos and piece the night together.
So this morning, I had a cup noodle to help settle my stomach and now, I’m at work, supposedly planning out my first day of real teaching. I should go do that.
BYE EVERYONE! only a few more days and i’ll have my own place! If you do feel an urge to mail me something, apparently it’s better to just mail it to the school address and it’ll get dropped off on my desk. so that address is:
1,2 Fl. Daejin Bldg.,#137-1
463-806 South Korea
And I guess you can just put Attn: Carson Wong on the thing. Okay! worky time!
oookay! so day two:
today, I woke up at 4:30 am and poked around my place, watched some tv, which was all either bad american television or korean soap operas. I tried to go back to sleep, and woke up at 7, at which point i went for a walk.
So my neighbourhood is pretty cool, it’s all restaurants and randomness. I tried to figure out how to get breakfast from a noodlehouse and gave up when i found out none of them speak english or have any english menus.
i plan to take my camera out with me tomorrow, so i’ll takelots ofpictures, but basically it all remindsme of Honk Kong. all high-rises and nothing else.
So at 10:30am, Joe came to pick us up and drove us to school. there, I fiddled with the computers and managed to talk to some ppl and met some of the awesome staff here.
Following some orientation and teacher shadowing, (which involvewd some really cute kids) the whole lot of us, (about 10) went out to a place called “Chicken & Beer” and had….*drumroll*…Chicken! and Beer! afterwards, we went wandering around for some secret underground Black Market.
Right now, I’m at this girl Alix’s apartment which will probably be a carbon copy of my future place, since i’d be down the hall from her and then here I am, typing on her computer. In a bit, We’ll be going to a place to buy some random stuff at a department store that takes up 8 floors.
aaanyhow, that’s my day so far. I’m not sure if I’ll be going to the internet cafe later, but this is my day thus far, have a dreat tuesday, everyone! this was mine!
(copied and pasted from an email)
I just wanted to let you know that I got here safely, and here’s what my day looked like:
-got on plane, met a couple from Halifax named Jeff and Madeleine, became friends. they’re working in another city, and had to take a 2 hour bus ride to get out there.
-Joe picked me and another girl (i feel bad, she’s sitting beside me in the internet cafe and i forget her name) up from the airport and drove 2 hours to a hotel. We’re staying there until the teachers who we’re replacing leave. so I’ll be in the hotel until the 31st. which means i’ll be frequenting this internet cafe when i want to talk to you.
-on the way there, there was this crazy tollbooth where a mannequin was wearing the tollbooth guard uniform and it had a mechanical arm that waved cars through. STRAAAANGE. i’ll try to take a picture if I’m passing that place again.
-It’s humid here, but the rain came and cooled everything down.
-Joe left us alone in our hotel rooms for an hour, wherein I discovered none of the plugs in the place seem to fit my adaptors i bought. then, i took a shower in the shower curtainless bathroom (which i’m told is a traditional korean bathroom) and completely flooded the bathroom. apparently that’s SUPPOSED to happen?!? this is also after my curiosity got the best of me, and got my shirt sprayed by the toilet which prompted the shower in the first place.
-when joe came back, he showed me and other girl around, showing us the nearby subway station (Yatap) and bought us both rechargable transit cards. we were shown the pharmacy, supermarket, and internet cafe (this one!).
-then, Joe said goodbye, and told us we were having dinner with a teacher who is finishing her term there, Vanessa. a thin, freckled blonde girl who’s leaving maple bear to live closer to her korean boyfriend.
-So while waiting to go out for dinner, I watched Kung Fu Hustle on tv, which was thankfully, in cantonese/mandarin! I also watched a Starcraft tournament. Yellow won. and by Yellow, I mean Asian.
-We met Vanessa at Yatap station and Anna and some other girl who are both korean teaching assistants joined us, and the 5 of us went out for Pho. I had my regular rice noodle with beef. Vanessa paid.
-Theeen, we parted ways and Anna showed us to the internet cafe and got us set up. End story!
So that was day one…I’m pretty homesick already though. I opened up my luggage and everything was so neat and perfect the way Mom and Dad packed my things, i didn’t want to move anything, because it made me think of you guys, and i felt if i moved anything, their mom and dadness would go away. So i’ve been carefully moving things about.
One thing that worries me is that my hotel room, being a hotel room, means maids have access to my room while i’m gone, and no “do not disturb” signs exist. so i almost want to take my luggage with me everywhere I go, but i know i can’t.
Anyhow, that’s it! day one, crossed off! 364 days to go! actually, no. more like 371, since i got here a week early. I miss you all very much and I can’t wait till I move in to my own place and can actually set up my own internet and everything and start going on msn and getting skype set up.
Bye everyone! i’ll write more tomorrow!
yeah that’s right folks, i’m out of hibernation. some recent doodles:
I’ve been really interested in doing graphite studies of people lately. Yes, it’s a move away from my exciting inky stuff, but i figure i need to refresh the fundamentals before i go off on a tangent again.
I’ll post some more soon. more conceptual work on its way as well, i promise for real this time!
My love, can you hear me?
I am broken.
I told you a story once
Of a foolish boy and his big heart
For which he gave pieces to all
Cut veins like branches and handed them down.
Passed them around.
Till he was bare and cold
And even then, he gave more
Until a gaping hole
Stretched its borders across his chest
And begged to be filled.