Week 3 (days 14 – 22)

So hello again, I’m sorry I’ve reverted to posting only once a week…things move so fast here, last week felt like it took forever and this week just whizzed by like nothing. So I actually barely remember any of the fine details, but let me see if I can get the gist of each day or just important things down. The days may be way off, so we’ll just assume these things happened at some time during this week.

I did end up going to that place again and having the curry chicken, it wasn’t exactly what we had in mind though. It was more like a thing you added soup to. I think it was me, Gavin, his friend and Brittney. During dinner we found out that Gavin’s friend also did swing dancing. She’s from the states too (Britt’s from Florida). Afterwards, the 4 of us went back to Britt’s place and Alix and I watched the 3 of them swing dance. basically, Britt was teaching Gavin and his friend. I got really sleepy, came back to my place, uploaded photos from Saturday (on Facebook) and then I went back. By then, they had given up on dancing and were just on the computer looking at swing dancing videos. 
Oh, Brittney has the most hilarious swing dance DVDs, the hosts are just so…weird. I can’t explain it, but it’s kinda like my P90x DVD, how they’re just over enthusiastic and use weird terminology and stuff. 
So anyhow, this week in school wasn’t too bad, some of my kids are still about as smart as a bag of bricks. Some of my kids, I found out this week were supposed to put on a play about the 3 little pigs. Except that when i asked them to tell me the story, they had no clue. So, we re-read it, and then i asked them again. Nothing. I tried to explain the concept of Before and After (because apparently Devin had taught them) and nothing at all. I ended up spending so much of my time just trying to explain that. SO FRUSTRATING! i actually got angry at these kids, because we went over the events together, wrote it all out, and then I had them do a quick comprehension quiz, where they had to sort through fragmented events of the story. like “the third pig built a brick house” and “the wolf huffed and he puffed and blew down the straw house” and so on. They failed completely. I’m convinced that maybe these kids can’t read the material, despite the fact that they’re supposed to be in the advanced class. 
Oh also, Sharolyn – my boss – was watching all my classes this week for the first hour of each one (once for each different class i have) and that kinda put pressure on me to have better lesson plans and have my kids work harder or show that they’re learning SOMEthing
anyhow, I also really buckled down on some of them near the end of the week. I took a watch and some weird MapleStory Pog looking things from my kids. They brought them to circle time, and were messing with them, so i just grabbed them and said “mine now.” I forgot to give them back! I’ll give it back to them next week. hopefully that makes them think twice about bringing toys and stuff or just messing with random things while I’m trying to teach. I might come off as the hard-ass teacher, but I want them to learn and pay attention. Their parents are paying good money for them to be here.
Anyhow, the rest of the week’s events aren’t solid in my head, but basically, one night I went over to Alix’s for some dinner. Dumplings and stuff. We also went to Kim’s Club (a big multi-level department store) and I bought weights. Ive been using them every day, a few sets of random stuff, I’m trying to keep it light, since I have to watch my back. But I feel like it helps. If I keep myself motivated to use the weights I’ll be able to stay in shape and feel less self-conscious about my appearance. I always feel too thin and lanky. oh  and they were ridiculous to carry back home from the store.
But moving on, hmm…what else…I know there was a night that Britt, Alix and myself all had dinner with Gavin at his place. I brought apples that I’d  bought. I forgot to mention this before: FRUIT IS EXPENSIVE HERE!! hugely expensive. I bought these apples from a vendor on the street. I kept calling the fruit floor fruit because the lady just arranges them in bowls on the sidewalk. But these vendors are everywhere, you can buy all sorts of vegetables and fruits from them. but I bought 8 or 9 apples for 5ooo won (a little less than 5 dollars Canadian). In the mornings sometime, you can see a whole bunch of them on any given sidewalk, washing their vegetables or roasting something. LOTS of street vendors. The other day, some dude came onto the subway and tried selling the commuters a chestnut opener. Apparently soliciting isn’t illegal.
Oh, i completely skipped Gavin’s dinner thing. So anyhow, I got there early and we found out that Gavin gets cable. Nothing special, but he does get the two Starcraft 24/7 channels and Discovery Channel. I wonder If my TV gets anything? I think we have the same internet plan.
Oh another thing that started happening this week: both Alix and Brittney have been leeching internet from unsecured wireless connections in our building, the most promising one being a 4 or 5 bar connection called Unicorn. But Unicorn has disappeared and all the other connections are 2 or 3 bars, so it looks like they might have to start buying internet like the rest of us 😛
So Thursday, we discovered, or had our suspicions confirmed, that Sharolyn is leaving. She`s been in Korea for 3 years now and it`s time for her to go home, or move on to other things. Her and I keep having conversations about art and commissions and illustration, i think she wants to get back into the scene and start doing that again. That to me, is encouraging. I don’t want to get so sucked in by this teaching English thing that i disregard the idea of pursuing what i really want to do. Hopefully, I can go home and become an art teacher. 
Okay what else, what else…So this Friday was Chuseok. That’s basically Korea’s Harvest Moon Festival. the kindergarten kids all dressed up in really cute traditional Korean clothes and basically, it’s a Thanksgiving equivalent. They eat lots of food, do lots of family things, and bow lots to their grandparents. For us, it meant a 3 day weekend. 
Friday, I was also thinking about going out to swingdancing with Britt and Gavin, but Gavin forgot about me and bolted off to the subway before I even let my kids out of my classroom. Soooo, I just went home and didn’t do much.
That night, when Gavin and Britt got back from swing dancing, the 3 of us went to Alix’s and we all sat around and chatted. Alix told us about her Shabbat (did i spell that right, Alix?) dinner fiasco. It turned out to be an adventure and a half, because she got lost in Itaewon in the process and somehow managed to find the place after, but she claimed to still be pretty hungry after. Usually, I guess It’s supposed to be a LOT of food. and you’re not supposed to use electricity or something either, but she took the subway home. I’m all for religious customs and stuff, but I guess it’s a cultural thing.
Saturday, I got started and finished a poster that Farrell wanted me to design for him. I like how it turned out, I passed up going to the temples and stuff to do this, but i figure illustration is what i really want to be doing, so any opportunity to do that, I’ll take. Besides, I’m here for a year. I can do those things later. That evening, I was expecting to go out with Gavin to Hongdae or somewhere. Never ended up happening. according to Britt and Alix, this was out “Man-Date”. I went over to Gavin’s, we made really good curry chicken, and then ate it while watching a really bad Chinese movie which was adapted from a comic book. It was Tiger Dragon Gate or something. no wait,…Dragon Tiger Gate? (Long Fu Moon or something in Cantonese) anyhow, after that really crappy movie, I was exhausted, and didn’t quite feel like going out. That, and Gavin’s friends all cancelled on him due to Chuseok or because of other random things.
Later that night, I went back downstairs and Alix was there too, and she told us about her and Britt’s adventure climbing a mountain, getting up the thing exhausted only to find out they’d only gotten halfway up, and the gazebo they assumed was a temple turned out to be a free public gym. With workout equipment and everything. How hardcore is that?? these people climb a mountain to work out. Crazy.
Sunday was pretty fun, although everything was closed in our neighbourhood, Gavin and I met up with Vanessa (a former MapleBear teacher. I mention her in my first post, she’s the one I had my very first dinner in Korea with) and we took a bus to Itaewon. Upon getting off the bus, I spotted Georgia and Christine just walking on the opposite side of the street, I flagged them down and they joined us. 
So Itaewon is white-town. actually, no. just foreigner town. Full of Africans and East-Indians, some of whom speak PERFECT Korean. And apparently the whole city turns into Monkey Beach at night. which is kind of gross. But during the day it’s cool. We went to this awesome used and new book store called What the Book? which was great, i bought a Grimm fairy tales book and another book called Stiff, which is basically a non-fiction about what people use cadavers for. So using them as crash test dummies, or something i read about in Vincent Lam’s Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures book – Med. school dissections. 
From there, we stopped at a Foreign Food market and I bought a package of Chinese Vermicelli rice noodles. I haven’t tried them yet, I hope they’re good. I need to buy accompanying food before I make something with it. 
After that, Christine and Georgia split, and Gavin, Vanessa and I went to this Irish pub in town and I had he Sheppard’s Pie and a glass of cider. It wasn’t bad. I certainly enjoyed the atmosphere. After that, we headed back home. We met up with Britt and wandered around Samsung Plaza looking for a bar to go to. Wait, I’m missing something. Oh, okay so we went to a pizza place before that in Yatap. Mr. Pizza. and they totally forgot about Britt’s food until we asked. It didn’t sit too well in Britt’s stomach and before that, Gavin had Fish & Chips at the Irish pub, and his stomach was not happy either. We pretty much gave up and came home after not finding a bar in Samsung Plaza. 
Monday, I finalized the poster design for Farrell and then met up with Alix and Britt for breakfast waffles. mmmm
and then we met Christine and Georgia and together, we set off to the ZOOOOO!!!! Gavin was making fun of us before we left. Apparently the Zoo is not on his list of places to go. Me and Britt took lots of photos on my camera, I’ll have to upload them later. But it’s really sad, someone should do something about this place. Koreans were feeding the animals! like throwing food at the gorillas to eat. one dude threw a bottle of iced coffee, which the gorilla drank. HORRIBLE. And then people were literally whipping grapes at the bears to entice them to do tricks. (which they did) and parents let their kids stick their hands into the Llama area and it was just so weird, We half expected parents to drop their kids into the Gator pit or something and be like: “Go play!” jeez, no wonder you hear stories about kids getting mauled by animals at zoos in Asia. The kids, although cute, are SUPER obnoxious, and will shove you out of the way to see something. or they shoved me, anyway. Oh, and this one money look SO sad, he had is hand up to the glass, and looked so forlorn. Some monkey areas were just smeared with monkey shit and the windows were all scratchy. It was pretty depressing. I’m glad this place didn’t have any truly endangered animals, because they’d all die instantly due to the amount of Asians throwing food at them and ducking under railings to get closer to things. f-ing crazy. I’m missing some stuff, but that’s the gist of this place.
After the zoo, I was soaked in sweat, and exhausted, so we all went home. I got take-out from the dumpling place with Christine and Georgia got a pizza. Coming home, I took a relaxing shower and got my Skype set up. I haven’t bought minutes yet, but essentially, It’s set up. Find me if you have Skype, my name is carson.vs.korea 
That night, I made Adacar on Spore. They’re pretty convincing. I’ve got my cardboard box, and Adam has his,…robot legs and gun-turret arms. VERY realistic. oh, and wooden hair too. then, Sleep.
So it’s Tuesday morning, day 23. Almost a month!!! I’ll try to do a mid-week post. Bye guys! Miss you! talk to me on Skype or Facebook or MSN