Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Karate Kid

I can't wait to get in the classroom again. Testing this week means it's pretty much an office job right now and I really don't need this much time to prepare. I could never work a straight-up office job again. I almost wish I had more than 4 classes a day so I could have more personal interaction. I don't want to use the internet! At my house I use the neighbor's wi-fi and probably won't get my own because I'm trying to stay off it, since I have it in abundance at work.

I want a purely social existence with minimal media. I can't even remember the last time I read a book. I've been reading Final Crisis, and I'll probably read the next Seaguy, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and Frank Miller Batman when they're released, but otherwise I don't read comics. It's nice to have access to it in an international setting though via torrents.

I've been listening to an audiobook of Flann O'Brien's The Third Policeman, which is equal parts Alice in Wonderland, Crying of Lot 49, and Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. It feels like a dream that he expanded into a novel. Some of it I like.

Last movie I watched was Hannah and Her Sisters. Nothing special.

Yesterday I left work early and went for a random walk around my neighborhood, winding through a bunch of discount shops and ending up inside a tennis shop. I asked the clerk (with gestures) if she could direct me to a local tennis court and she pointed so I wandered more and found a court but it was full. I don't know if I'll take up tennis here. Probably not. In the early evening I see lots of people doing their daily exercise on this outdoor exercise equipment and it looks like they're maintaining cars. I don't feel like I have the time for tennis right now, either. I'm still not settled yet.

When I walk around in Bucheon everyone is Korean. I can't imagine growing up in a place where everyone is one ethnicity. I know people look at me, although children are the only ones who sometimes stare and point and giggle if I say hello or wave. My brain played tricks for a while, scanning a crowd and expecting to see different ethnicities. Eventually it gave up and realized everyone will always be Korean. I'm the last caucasian on Earth.

Same thing with language. I'd hear voices in the distance and the intonation led me to believe it might be English. When I got closer the truth revealed: eternal Korean.

It's very insightful to be a foreigner, an outsider.

Looking over the English textbook used at my work, it says that if you cross your index and middle finger at someone it means "good luck". What a load of crap. The book also has an American who interacts online with Korean students. His name is "Cyber Bob". Here is a pseudo-IM interaction straight from the book. Snow White is a Korean:

Snow: Hi, Cyber Bob. What's your favorite subject?

Cyber: I like math. Do you like math, too?

Snow: No, I don't. I like English. I like my English teacher, too. He is very nice and smart. His name is "Michael Jackson."

Cyber: Does he look like Michael Jackson?

Snow: Yes, he does. He sings and dances well, too. Next time, tell me about your favorite teacher.

Cyber: Okay. Bye.

Perhaps the implication is that Michael Jackson is now teaching in South Korea.

There's a picture of Cyber Bob at the front of the book and he looks like William Zabka, the Aryan bully who Daniel-san KO's at the end of The Karate Kid.

Got off work at 1 because of the testing, yay, met Sangmin, a language partner from San Francisco, and we went to lunch and then Toona (the clothing mall across the street) where I got pants and two shirts. Then to E-mart to find a cable to connect my PC to TV and my TV doesn't have the right outlet so I have to get another thingy and then back to my neighborhood and another restaurant for fried chicken and beer and then Sangmin went home, I stopped at the bakery for bread and then home to come down from my first alcoholic buzz since I returned to Korea.

I had mustard on fried chicken for the first time ever. It was surprisingly good.



Blogger kev said...

Are your boss(es) cool?

I stupidly agreed to go to my boss's pool party next weekend. Pool party in antioch.

Belated happy American Independence (from Great Britain) Day!

6:25 AM  
Blogger Cutup said...

Everyone at my work is pretty cool to me. I'm supposed to go to a head teacher's house next weekend for lunch with his family.

On Friday I learned that all the other teachers and kids go to school every other Saturday morning at 8:30 AM (ouch!) for club activities. I'm the only one who doesn't go in. I learned about this and wasn't certain if I was expected to go in, and asked the secretary if I should (not wanting to, of course). She called one of my co-teachers who said my contract doesn't require me to. For some godawful reason I said that maybe I could stop by some Saturday anyway, damn the contract. But (I said) I already made plans for this Saturday so it wasn't gonna happen then.

There is a sense of school "togetherness" that I don't necessarily like, but in general everyone's been obliging, and nobody has tried to overstep the bounds of my contract, which limits me to 22 teaching hours a week, and only requires my presence at the school 8:30 - 4:30. This week I got off every day at 1. And I get a lot of extra vacation time (paid) over the year.

7:57 AM  
Blogger kev said...

so basically it sounds pretty awesome so far. except the weird saturday stuff.

7:59 AM  

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