Y.A.N.A.

Hello again!

The Dr Who fans out there will know what the title of this post means. You are not alone. And if you’re wondering why I would chose that as the name of a post, I’ll tell you why. I discovered that there are 3 other foreigners in the area this week. I’ve only met 2 of them, but who cares. Anyway, so I’ve met R and E. Well, actually I met E first. She was at the teacher sports day that we were forced to go to this last Friday. E is a South African woman who has been teaching in Korea for 6 years now. She didn’t start teaching til her 30’s though, so she’s a bit older than most of the other foreigners that I run into over here. R is younger than me, fresh out of college, and going home as soon as her contract is up. She started in August apparently, and the past 6 months haven’t treated her the best apparently. Sounded like issues with her school. R is actually from the PA like N is, which I found interesting. Anyway, so I ended up hanging out with them today (Sunday). We went to the Garden of the Morning Calm. Which is okay, it could have been more interesting, but the company was good at least. It gave me an excuse to wear a tanktop and not try to cover up my dragonfly, which I was very grateful for. Especially as it was very hot today. Plus as there was a group of us, I didn’t feel like I stuck out so much which was nice. I’m going to have to see if they want to get together during the week for dinner, cause it was nice to just be able to speak without having to explain what I’m saying a billion times, and still being unsure if what I said was understood.

They both have pets here too. Which I’m very jealous of. If you’ve been following me on FB, you already know about my short-lived Faustus. Faustus was a kitten I bought at an open market in town. Cute little kitten that was probably barely weaned and didn’t seem to much like me that first day. However he started sleeping on the back of my neck when I was in my chair at the computer. Unfortunately, he seemed to have had some sort of bug or illness and died before I had even had him for 3 whole days. Needless to say, I was not a happy camper, and it has only made me miss my kitty back home even more. I wish I could have brought Emily here with me, but I don’t think she could have survived a plane trip anywhere, let alone one that was 14 hours long. Luckily Mom sends me pictures every once in a while of her latest antics. They usually end up as my computer wallpaper.

Tomorrow is the school’s founding day, so we have the day off. Which is nice, because I was sore when I woke up this morning. Between the teacher’s sports day on Friday, going to a theatre festival in Suwon on Saturday, and the sort of hiking we did today, I’m going to need a break. Probably spend it cleaning and watching Being Human (Brit version). Thinking of asking Mr. Cho if he can help me find a pet store in Chuncheon. I miss having something to cuddle with. Plus I’m sure I’d be able to find all the necessary supplies that I’d be missing there. Or see if the girls I’ve met know of a pet store. Although it seems as if their animals have been found or pawned off on them by others here. R has 2 dogs, and E has 2 cats. Anyway, I’m going to get going now. Love and miss you all.

Sorry

I’ve been very bad about posting. I’m sorry. Things get busy and I get all caught up in life and tend to forget my online responsibilities. Sorry again. So since last time, I managed to get the banking figured out for the most part. Except now I have to go back and have the other account that I had to open to do foreign transfers set up for online banking because the only guy at the bank who speaks English, is kinda forgetful and sucky at his job. Can’t complain too much though as I still can’t speak any Korean. Although I have ordered a book and it’s being delivered, but I probably won’t get it til the end of the month. I do plan on working on it, cause I have a feeling that once I start learning it, I might get treated a little better by strangers here. I really hate how people talk about shit in front of me that I can’t understand. Mostly cause I’m a nosy brat that likes knowing everything, even if it has nothing to do with me.

Let’s see, I ordered groceries online from a store called fatbag. Unfortunate name, but it got me real cheese and not the stuff they like to pretend is cheese. Which means I was able to make mac and cheese from scratch. Although I couldn’t bake it afterwards like we do back home, but it was still pretty amazing. I also have a bunch of boxes to get rid of now. I will also be able to make tacos, and pancakes, and green beans and broccoli. No idea how much I missed that stuff. I also have syrup and nutella and I bought a pack of Dr Pepper. Now, you’re thinking, but Tao, you have no excuse to go to the PC Bang now, and that is right. Found out that he has a kid, which with the way this society is means that he is more than likely happily married. Koreans don’t tend to wear wedding rings, so yeah… Anyway, I do still talk to him when I run into him, I’m just not forcing run-ins to happen anymore.

I am planning on hanging out with a girl, N, from Orientation this weekend, and possibly her friend K. We’re going to go tour the palace, which I was supposed to do 2 weeks ago but didn’t, and walk around Insadong, which is a artsy craftsy stores street. I enjoyed it and I think N will too. I’m not sure what else the plan is. Maybe the kitty cafe again. N isn’t really into cats, although K is, and I don’t know what else they have planned for the weekend.

I had Sports Day this week. It was on the day I was supposed to have off, but I was hardly going to request it on such a busy day for them. Think I might bring it up though, so I can go fix my banking issues without possibly getting penalized for it. Anyway, idiot that I am, I forgot sunscreen, although I did remember my sunglasses. Which I’ve lost since then. Yeah, I know, I’m a special kind of person. Anyway, so my face and collarbone area are a nice bright lobster red. My coteachers found it amusing when they I called it that the first time in front of them. Seriously set them all off laughing. I didn’t realize it was that funny. It’s actually more my collarbone than my face, but whatever. So I’m been lotioning it a lot, and am in the market for sunscreen if I ever make it to the store. N is supposed to have her school’s sports day today.  

Let’s see what else… I’ve hung out with a couple of other people from Orientation, but I have a feeling I’ll mostly be hanging out with N and K. I just feel more comfortable around them than the other girls I’ve tried hanging out with. Anyway, I’m writing this at work, and I should be getting back to work. Gotta make sure I’m ready for Monday and all that jazz. Anyway, I’ll try to make sure to post more frequently. I really am bad about this, sorry again. Tata for now darlings.

Money is the Root of All Evil

Hello all!

So I had to try to set up internet banking and global banking today, which was a tremendous fail. The local branch in my town (which is the only bank btw) doesn’t handle that, and I have to go 3 and a half hours to a bigger town which should be able to handle those tasks. Granted, work is going to give me most of the day to go do that tomorrow. Well once I finish with my 5th graders. Hopefully tomorrow’s lesson will go better. I am actually doing better with the younger kids here, which I find surprising since I was better with the older kids back home. Anyway, so I get to leave right after my 5th graders, and I’ll be going to a bigger city to set up certain aspects of my banking. Then I get to come back to town (yay another 3 and a half hours) to meet with Unni, so that I can go get a smartphone. That’s right, I’m replacing the crappy phone my recruiter gave me. You know why?

BECAUSE I GOT MY ARC!!!!!!

Yes, that deserves all caps. Deal with it.  Anyway, so I got that today and I wasn’t expecting it til the end of the week. It made today not a total fail. Well, besides my 1st graders, who for some reason love it when I come to teach them English. I’m not sure why. Probably cause it’s something different and I’m still shiny new to them. It was fun with them today. We’re still working on the alphabet, so they got to watch a video, stand up when their letter was called, write the alphabet and play a whisper game where they had to whisper the letter to the next person til it reached the front of the line and the person in front had to run to the board to write the letter. They adored it, once they understood what they were doing. And the alphabet was up on the board for them so that they could look at the letter to see what they needed to write. All in all, it was kinda awesome. Oh, and Alphablocks, is like one of the best videos out there for teaching the sounds that the letters make. The kids in the second class were practically entranced by it.

Let’s see, so to recap quickly, banking sucks, got my ARC, and my 1st graders are amazing. Should be getting a phone tomorrow, and hopefully my coteacher will call so that we can get the internet set up in my apartment. Which is a little sad cause then I won’t really have an excuse to keep visiting the PC Bang and talk to the guy (Oppa) here. Well, actually I will, cause he said he’d help me learn Korean. 🙂 That and it’s still the only place I can find Dr Pepper. Once my Korean is better, I’m totally going to try to see if I can convince them to sell me a case instead. Well, at least I’ll try to do that.

Oh and the one sucky thing about the PC Bang, besides the fact that it’s technically public and makes me slightly paranoid about posting anything anywhere or watching anything that’s online, is that it has a smoking section, so half the time when I leave, I smell like smoke. And it really doesn’t help since I’m still getting over a cold. My nose has been running all day. Anyway, I’m going to get going. Tata for now darlings!

Orientation and Sick

How is it that I don’t get sick around all these little kids that forget to wash their hands, yet I’m around fellow Waygooks for a couple of days and I get sick? Orientation was fine otherwise, met a good group of people, some which really amused me. Think I’ve got a couple of girls to hang out with on a regular basis. I actually hung out with one of them in Sinchon and Itaewon this weekend. I didn’t start feeling crappy til Friday night, but it could be ignored until Sunday evening. That’s when I got the full blown sore throat and the occasional cough. I also got some good teaching ideas which is nice. And could someone tell me how it is that so many of these teacher don’t know ‘Around the World’? I can’t be the only person who played that in elementary school. I just think it’s slightly ridiculous, since if you can make flash cards for a subject, you can play around the world for it. And my 4th graders loved it. Like, I think that is the most excited I’ve seen them ever.

Anyway, I just wanted to do a quick update before I go home and pass out. Oh, I’m also trying to cook at home more. We’ll see how good I am about it. Anyway, bye for now darlings!

Oh Jin Sil

Hello all!

So today I taught 5th graders. Was good, besides being told that I used too many handouts. But that class is really active, so I understand why I was being told that. It was also my first time with them, so I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. Anyway, not why I’m posting today.

Went and applied for my ARC (Alien Registration Card) today. Got a piece of paper that will act as a temporary one until I get it, in about 2 weeks. They’re actually going to send it to the school, which I don’t like, and don’t suggest doing if you don’t trust your school, however, mine has been good to me so far. That and Unni kind of just filled in the paperwork and then asked if it was okay. I said okay mostly cause I figure if there is a problem, she is better able to handle it as she can speak Korean and I cannot. We ended up talking about celebrities quite a bit on the drive to Chuncheon where the immigration office is. I surprised her by how much I knew (Thank you Family Outing and K-dramas). She said, and has also been told this a lot by various coworkers as well, that “T- likes that? Maybe she’s Korean.” I’m finding that anytime I like or enjoy something that is distinctly Asian, it ends up with someone saying that. Like there was some sort of mini pancake with veggies and seafood in it at lunch, which I adored. It was amazing. Apparently it gets eaten a lot while drinking makgeolli. Which I’m not really fond of, but oh well. The only food I’ve really not enjoyed so far has been the beancake. I thought I only had issues with red bean paste and foods from that. No, it’s just got to be the way they prepare beans here. I mean, come on, bean CAKE? So not cool. Anyway, should get my ARC in about 2 weeks. Monday Unni is going to call about getting the internet connected to my apartment so I won’t have an excuse to visit the PC Bang anymore. Well besides the Dr Pepper.

Oh, and Unni is my main coteacher. I’m calling her the main one since she’s ferrying me around and translating for me so much. If you recall, the co-teacher I was supposed to have retired the first day of school and then they didn’t hire a new one until this last week. So it wasn’t very long without one, but still enough to make me worried. She told me to start calling her unni since she’s older than me and helps me out so much (unni=older sister). Also, I was given a Korean name during the car ride to the immigration office. It’s Oh Jin Sil (think the words gin she). Unni even taught me how to write it in hangul. Oh since my last name starts with O, and Jin Sil means truth. I’m not quite sure why she decided on that, as my name means fair or a doe, but whatever. I can sort of see the connection with fair, but still. Oh, and she gave me a welcome to korea gift. It’s a traditional korean music/jewelry box. It seems to have broken sometime between when she bought it and I received it, however it is gorgeous. Once I’ve got internet in my apartment, I promise pictures will follow.

Oh, and tomorrow is payday. According to Unni, the school should be able to pay me using the temporary ARC paperwork, so that’s all good too. Even with all the taxes/pension/social/cafeteria fees taken out, I’m making more then I did as an aide back in the States, before taxes. Although that reminds me that I need to do my residency certificate. Ugh. Oh well, I have some free time tomorrow morning.

One thing I’m having an issue with is how quiet my apartment is. I am almost considering buying a bird or hamster or hedgehog or some other small pet just so I have something that will make noise and breath. My cactus may add color, but it doesn’t do much for the whole noise thing. I should probably check to make sure that my building allows pets first… Did I mention that my building manager is really good at speaking English? I was very surprised when we first spoke.

Oh, and I startled some old man today. Just said hello in Korean, and he said it back and then he looked at my face. I guess the blue eyes kind of gave him a shock cause he said something about them. At least, I’m assuming that he said something about them as he was gesturing towards my face and smiling. I just smiled, nodded and kept walking. Anyway, I’m going to get going, time is almost up at the PC Bang (oh and I did ask the PC Bang guy his name, can’t remember how to say his first name though). Much love to you all!

PC Bangs and Convertors

Another post. Aren’t you the lucky ones?

Anyway, just thought I’d waste time at the PC Bang cause it sure beats sitting in my apartment. Although I should probably do laundry.  Yeah, again. And I really need to find out the name of the guy that works at the PC Bang. He always says hi when he sees me. Even if it is in Korean. Although I never see him outside of the PC Bang. I’m probably just not going out enough or in the right areas. Let’s see, I’ve also been emailing this guy that happens to be my mom’s coworker’s boyfriend’s son. Yeah, that’s interesting. Yes, all the new fluent English speaking people I seem to meet have been male so far, don’t know how I managed that. He’s been in Korea for 5 years or so now apparently, and is looking for a job. Not sure how he lost the last one, but oh well. I’m a little jealous cause I got an email from him today saying that he was just taking a random train trip and was thinking of going to some island near the Southern tip of the country. I wanna be able to just go places. Too bad I have to work.

I also have to come up with the curriculum for all my classes for the entire school year by Wednesday. I managed one grade today. But I had 4 classes, and I’ll only have 2 tomorrow. Granted they’re first thing in the morning, so they’re not exactly going to get me at my best, although who knows? I’m still waking up in the morning and eating breakfast and practicing good eating/sleeping habits so I’m nowhere near as grumpy as I would be at home. I’ve got orientation for GEPIK on the 20th-22nd of this month, so that’ll be interesting too. It’s in Seoul, which is nice, since I haven’t actually been able to see it. And the recruiter I went through is having an event while I’m there, so I should be able to meet some new people, hopefully somewhere near where I’m living at, through that.

Oh and I bought a plug converter today at this hardware store. I must have had a blonde moment cause I thought it was 14000 won for it, and it was actually 4000. In my defense though, there was a black line near the 4 that made it seem like 14. Anyway, the old man there just laughed at me and pointed at the price tag again. Then he really laughed when he heard me say “Ohhhh”. Alright, that’s it for now. Love you all and you’ll probably hear from me again soon.