Friday, July 18, 2008

So Close, So Far

Tonight I went to Hongdae in Seoul to meet with one of the Korean girls I knew in America. I specifically picked this neighborhood because there is a Mexican restaurant there, and I haven't eaten Mexican food in over a month (major tragedy). I got off work at 4:30 and caught a train, getting there half hour before the girl, scoping out the neighborhood. I found the Mexican restaurant and checked out the menu (made my mouth water), and couldn't wait to return with my friend.

I might want to mention that this girl hates Mexican food. I didn't really care about her opinion, knowing I could easily subvert her to my will. But then I got a text from her that says she's bringing a friend. I winced, feeling my plan crumble. One Korean I could convince to eat Mexican food - but two was probably impossible. Because Koreans are raised on kimchi and athlete's foot soup, their taste buds work as well as Stephen Hawking's legs.

The girls arrived and I tried to steer them to Dos Tacos (the Mexican place), but they weren't having it. I considered pretending to receive a text message - some sudden emergency - must leave immediately - and go to Dos Tacos alone. But I stayed and we ate duck and pork and soup - which was okay, but my stomach craves the texture of pinto or black beans. At the grocery store the bean selection is pretty 'tarded: either red kidney beans, what I usually get, or these heavily sauced pork and beans that just aren't my style. Or Asian beans. You get the point. I was really looking forward to a fat burrito, and now I'll have to wait for another day.


Today at work I was in the teacher's lounge alone. I'm usually the only one in the teacher's lounge because everyone else is downstairs at their desk doing shit on the computer or teaching a class. Not only do I like the teacher's lounge because of the silent, solitary atmosphere, but there's also a couch. This weather makes me feel like I'm constantly drugged - like I have the blunt senses of smoking a ton of weed - without any of the positive feelings. When I wake up in the morning it's like I'm floating through a warm sponge.

Anyway, so I like to lie down in the teacher's lounge on the couch, sometimes falling into a light sleep. I keep a piece of paper in my hand in case somebody walks in, and yesterday that's exactly what happened. I was just about to fall asleep when the door opens. It's one of the tech guys from next door. He sees me hard at work (just lying down) and says, "Lunchee?" - the perennial sign that it's time for lunch. "Oh yeah, yeah!" I said. "I was just about to head down." He goes to use the restroom. I go down to the cafeteria where some of the staff is eating. I grab a tray to get food. Then one of my co-teachers calls my name from the end of the hall. "Adam! You're supposed to be teaching a class!"

I put the tray down. Oh yeah, the schedule has been changed to shorten the days so the kids don't have to suffer in the heat of the classroom and the school doesn't have to waste a lot of electricity on air conditioning.

I followed my co-teacher to the classroom. What class is this? What am I teaching? Who am I?

Oh yeah, handwriting. Easy. Barely any talking to do. I teach them the cursive alphabet in a half-awake daze, and then I really get to go to lunch.

Oh, so back to my original point: I was in the teacher's lounge today lying down, when I hear voices in the hall outside. I bolt upright and look engaged in planning the summer program. The door to the lounge opens and a teacher comes in with three students (boys). The teacher points to a table across the room and the boys have to write a paper or something as punishment. The teacher leaves them there.

As they're working, I get a text message and my phone chirps or whatever the hell it does. The boys light up, realizing I have a phone (I didn't when I started working at the school). The boys take out their cell phones and come over to me: "What is your phone number?" they ask.

"Uhhhhhhh..." I say, unsure of the protocol behind this. Do teachers in Korea give students their cell phone number? "Later," I say. "Finish working."

I'd planned to ask the other teachers about it because it wasn't the first time the kids have asked for my cell number. I asked my Korean friends at dinner tonight and they said it's normal.

However, the kids treat me different from the other teachers. I can't walk down the hall without them shouting my name, waving, telling me I'm handsome and that they love me... and many other things that would freak me out in America but which are normal here. I'm the only teacher they do this for, and I thought it would wear off after a week or two, but it hasn't. Maybe it's because I'm the only teacher that doesn't punish the kids Korean style. The worst thing I do if they're messing around is drag them to the front of the class and have them act as my helper, or test them on the check board. They hate going in front of the group like that, but at least I don't rap them on the skull or make them hold a soccer ball above their head for ten minutes or hit them with a stick. All the other male teachers do some kind of archaic punishment, and some of the female teachers too. I also don't talk down to the kids the way they do. There's something very 1950s about Korea. I can't imagine what it will look like in fifty years.

So the point: I don't want kids calling me all the time!

Anyway I'm rambling and have a headache and it's hot and I'm going to bed to end it for a while.

Labels: ,


Blogger John said...

Yes, yes; but what did you think about 'The Dark Knight'???

1:05 PM  
Blogger Cutup said...

Here's my review of Batman Begins:

You'll probably have to wait a few years for my "Dark Knight" review.

Kudos to the re-invigoration of I'll post a link when I do another John Ulmer post, John.

I hope we don't have to wait till the next superhero movie for more reviews. (Watchmen?)

1:43 PM  
Blogger John said...

I'm not much of a superhero fan. It's coincidence that my last two were for Hulk and Batman. I think the Watchmen trailer looked rather rubbish and, seeing as it's from the same director as "300," I have no intention of going out of my way to see it. My next reviews will probably be for the TV series "Dexter" and/or "Harold and Kumar 2." H&K2 has a rather funny one-liner from Neil Patrick Harris that I'll remember for the rest of my life. It involves testicles being wet.

5:26 PM  
Blogger Cutup said...

If "Dexter" is a comedy show please let me know.

I saw H&K2 and don't remember a soggy-testicle reference. I do remember Bush calling Kumar a hypocriticizer.

5:56 PM  
Blogger John said...

Dexter isn't a comedy, although there's a good amount of dark humour in it. I found it to be a bit "gimmicky" at first, but as the season progresses it develops an interesting plotline and I heard the second season is a lot better.

NPH's line in H&K2 about wet testicles is when he's talking about Whoopi Goldberg's stand-in, Tashonda. He says: "Not a day goes by that I don't think about Tashonda. And whenever I see a bag of Hershey's Kisses... my balls get *sooo wettt*."

4:26 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home