Posts Tagged With: days of the week

)'( And the beat goes on…

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I’ve left Korea for an extended time now. The trip is that I pulled out a couple months ago and have had a wild time since.

I started in LA, went to Burning Man, then to Symbiosis, bought 9 plane tickets since my last post, met a particular woman as a key co-operator in this trail I’m on, am writing from Ecuador, and will need to change the title to and/or address of this blog. It will need to migrate, as I have done so as well. The new name and address will be created and published at a later time.
For now, a blog-post:

View from Quito off the edge of the rooftop lounge of The Secret Garden Hostel.

View from Quito off the edge of the rooftop lounge of The Secret Garden Hostel.

Wow!  What an amazing ride! I am in-fact in Ecuador at this moment at a cool little hostel made of stone, bamboo, palm fronds and hard wood. Populated by as many dogs as people, this place is a chill reality here in the mist of low-season on the beach-side of Montanita. I arrived here yesterday after a strenuous trip that brought me and my travel partner to places that had no name, places that were closed, places that were inappropriate-but-perfect and included a whole freakin’ lot of sitting on bumpy buses through the countryside of Ecuador.

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For the first leg, I was kept awake as much by the need to pop my ears as we came down from the highlands as much as anything else. Unfortunately, it was night-time and couldn’t see the scene roll by. What I found the next day as our journey continued, was that the scene going by was questionable at least, and considering more, sad. There’re a lot of broke folk here in Ecuador, and it was apparent as we traveled that where people sometimes don’t have the same access to certain material elements, they can certainly improvise to create and maintain a way of life that brings about a happy and beautiful existence. Am I wrong to totally appreciate the graffiti? There was so much of it that I couldn’t get enough of!

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Further in, I landed at a cool town that is finally chill enough that I can get some writing done. I’ve put pages into paper, I’ve caught up on some letters, and am finally re-emerging here in the text of Dataland. Not that I wasn’t in great places, but I need places that don’t have external elements popping about in order to write. I need to have something of a space that isn’t talking at me and asking for me to go have fun~ And lately, I’ve had a lot of fun!

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To begin with, I landed in Los Angeles where a friend put me up in a space she runs that contains hundreds of artists in dozens of studios and shops that were all creative in their own ways~ This was a brilliant way for me to land after two years in Korea~

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For two years, I’ve been able to work on being a graphics man, but nothing with weight to it, nothing that required a power-tool or anything of the sort. That was brilliant~ August 9th, 4pm, I got on a plane in Seoul, got off a plane in LA August 9th at noon. From there, I fell straight into the action of creative design and activity provided by that space. That~ was simply elemental.

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After a few weeks there ~ only leaving for deli sandwiches and evening events- either with my cousins or hosted by Burning Man camps ~ I finally found myself headed to Burning Man with a band of strays from the City of Angels who were both organized and disorganized at the same time. Quite the cluster-f*3k at times, I was somehow able to have quite an amazing time in the center of the storm. Later named Gasket by my campmates for my positioning as an instrumental if somewhat only marginally effective buffer between two strong forces that were pressed uncomfortably against each other in the form of people in my camp, I was able to participate with some success such that I left the event feeling much better for the experience, including the meeting of the above mentioned lady-co-conspirator.

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Coming from Burning Man, I was planning on visiting a friend who was in Utah~ An old friend who I consider one of the rare few who are worth extra effort, and as such, had planned a visit for a week with her. The visit was fun, peaceful, pleasant. As an odd overlap, the lady I alluded to earlier happens also to be a resident of Utah and had invited me to visit with her as well. Initially, I had expected it would be impossible. Luckily, there was an unplanned business trip that allowed me to visit with her for three days in an Idaho cowboy-town built around a set of hot-springs that provided quite a nice cleansing after the dusty event that Burning Man is, not that I hadn’t cleaned off, just~ very centering~ especially as I was hoping to get to know this particular human a bit better.  I went back to my other friend’s home with clear eyes and an open mind, enjoyed the rest of my visit and traveled on to the Bay Area where I had two other friends expecting me within the plan of both social visiting and a design of a new tattoo for my back. The first friend I met was an old friend who sketched the lines, the second laid me down and scratched my back with needles for an extreme amount of time resulting in a beautiful bit of art adorning my epidermis. To those two humans, I am deeply grateful.

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Oddly enough, parts of the same group I camped with at Burning Man were also planning on being in the Bay Area at the same time and they asked me to join them to another festival for another production. As such, I went to Symbiosis and helped create a piece of art named Occam’s Razor. It was a 25 foot steel structure that we both produced on-site as an installation of performance art and utilized in a final show at midnight of the Friday/Saturday (I forget) of the event in a percussion format where we put all the people up on top and showed it off. The full video is here. That was fun.

Following that~ I went to SEATTLE~

Have I expressed to the internet (read: you) how much I love Seattle lately?

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See, it’s the city that so amazingly welcomed me when I was looking for a place to call home so many years ago with the warmest embrace that I can never forget or lose the feeling of. It was the most amazing thing to me to have been travelling between 1995 from place to place until 2001, when I arrived to Seattle and found a community that was able to take me in all my weirdness and animation and show me how I could be useful and appreciated at the same time, with gusto. So, of course I’ve called it home ever since, even if I have mostly lived in Asia since 2007. No matter. Seattle is still where I go back to. I have my closest friends in the highest density there, I like the weather, the city still prides itself as being a leader in the world of arts and all things cool. Just try and sell me on another city, I’ll show you a hard sell.

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So I went back~ for three weeks I planned on being there~ Friends had offered their homes to me to use while I was there, and events were planned, leaned in on, and improvised so that I could see as many of my friends as humanly possible while I was there. That was good.

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Okay, so dig~ Not only all that~ but the lady I mentioned that keeps requiring extra words came north to visit… She induced me to become a tourist in my own city~ much to my pleasure~ where we went as far as actually signing up for one of the underground tours through the old city- which I had never done~ Glad I did~ She was great company~ we went all over the city together~ To many places that I recall as my favorite places just so she could see them, and I was pleased as punch to share them with her. So pleased~

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So now I’ve left Seattle and am chillin’ on the coast in Mantanita, Ecuador getting ready for a 5-week class based on becoming a better teacher by relaxing on a beach.

So that’s how far I’ve gone since my last blogpost~

Freakin’ far~

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Goodbye Korea~      So long and thanks for it all…

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Geumosan

Gumosan Hiking:

Trouble Squad plus a few, minus a few, tromped up to the near top of Gumo Mountain this after noon. Joined by Nichole, Marcus, Natalie and a spare Dutchman; Ryan, Tom, Cortney, Rene and myself all hopped onto the stroll of the adventure of the hike in a way that brought smiles to the miles. Fun stroll it was, heading from the train station. We meandered to the hill in about a half an hour and found ourselves going by the lake to the inevitable incline that would come.

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I saw one bro, Tom, go off his own way and the others to the left so asked what was up. Heard he was hiking the first half and the others were taking a cable car. Decided to join my man who is a veritable rock-hopper. I was notably slower than him and blamed it on half a hangover and the ice cream I’d had for breakfast which I mentally marked up to extra calories available for use. So we spun up the hill past a Buddhist temple to a waterfall and I had to walk on in. It was brilliant. The rocks were green with algae and the water was cool as a dream after the crazy-swift assent we’d just pulled off. We actually got there faster than the guys in the cable car. When the others arrived, we all hung out and played like children in the water and with our cameras.

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The beginning of the next stage was stairs. About 500 yards of stairs. That’s a lot of stairs. We almost lost a few of our group to amazed exhaustion that the rest of us played off somethin’ ridiculous. The folks soldiered on and we headed into the interior.DSCN6261DSCN6284

The mountain-proper was a delight of challenging rocks and interesting switchbacks. At one point we even found a guy carving a tree with a saxophone nearby. It was pretty awesome… Until… The rain started.

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At first, we cursed it and hoped it would let up. It was just a slight drizzle, then it just opened up ~ The water was pelting us somethin’ fierce! Folks ran for shelter under bushes and cursed the storm again, but with such meaning… We knew we’d turn back.

There’d been a turn-around-and-call-it lobby for a full kilometer already. One of the leaders of the lobby grabbed the fastest hiker and turned around and disappeared. They were out of sight before the rest of us had our heads out of the bushes. Well, to be honest, I just stood there under my umbrella with a playful smirk and waited for my friends. They were getting drenched. I kind of had to laugh. Earlier, I’d been one of the two who’d gone under the waterfall, so I was wet already, but my bag was staying dry~ That was important. But yea, I waited for my friends to re-emerge, coming to terms with the fact that they were in fact, going to be completely soaked through and the rain was going to stick around for a while. We began our descent with our eyes on the rocks underfoot, knowing that they had thus become slippery and we treaded through the path which had since become a stream.

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All but one of us took a spill at one point, that one being Nichole, but we made it down full of laughter and pleasure at the weird turn of events. In fact, one of the nicest parts was when we took the cable car down. The view was brilliant, and it was a nice way for us to catch our breath.

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All in all~ a very good time, even with the calamity.

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12 Weeks left

As I notice the clock on the wall, I notice that the alarm is about to ring.

I’ve spent nearly two years in this small town, and it’s almost time to go.

My time here has been all over the map with how I’ve felt about it. There were times that I would have liked to go home, and times that I could stay forever if I thought hard enough about it. The thing is, I’ve got to let go of this peninsula and all the people on it so that I can get back~ get back to where I once belonged…

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Obviously, I’m seeing good sights around here. But the time is coming, and I’ve got to be off.

The plan is to get back to the states, Check out Burning Man with an angle on the arts, Travel to visit my family and friends, and Get back out into the world again.

Right now, it looks like I’ll be headed to a city in Saudi Arabia that is known for its large sculptures. I’ll see if I can’t get aligned with the artists in the area and we’ll see what we can do about some good sidelining. What a great way to learn the language and the culture, yea?

So that’s what I’m looking at. And so I thought I’d poke my head into this blog to smile a broad sunshine warped smile because the summer’s come, and that’s what I get to remember.

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//

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The long strange trip continues

Somehow the experience of my Korean phenomenon is still in action almost two years into the third go here. It’s absolutely amazing the abstraction of actually being here. It’s late April, we were celebrating Spring’s arrival yesterday, and woke up to snow. It just never ceases to amaze me how strange the planet Earth can be sometimes. But I feel like I’m still ahead of the curve, no matter how bent it all seems to get. Went out with some friends for dinner and drinks afterward and understood them all to have woken up with hangovers. I’m not sure how that happened. Maybe they just drank more than me. Maybe my body is comfortable more easily with a barrage of sedative chemicals than theirs. One of them seems genuinely damaged. I hope he feels better soon. Life is hard on folks when they land in a new land sometimes. There’s the local bacteria to get used to, the local allergens, local languages and customs… It ain’t always easy travelin’ the planet. I like it well enough though.
I’ve been applying for jobs in the Middle East all week. I finally got my hair cut and a good mugshot made for professional purposes, so now my applications can be submitted completely. Not to mention the lovely reference that my co-teacher wrote for me.

Yesterday…
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Yea, I know, I won’t have any more late night bar-hopping if and when I go, but that doesn’t really bother me. I like booze, but I like chocolate and apples too. It’s just a random substance that makes me happy. I can swap one for the other and not worry too much about it. It feels kinda cool to be going somewhere that’s dry anyway. It’ll be an interesting juxtaposition with Korean style which puts ratty cheap booze with every social gathering possible. Why am I dismissive of the style? Because it’s cheap, ratty booze. Soju’s lame. Their beer is lame. It’s like shifting from fresh apples off a tree to one that fell off a week ago and got lost under some grasses, turned brown and kinda got soft. Yea, that’s measuring soju against nice beverages such as Bowmore, or Jameson, or Laphroag, nice things. Things that you don’t gulp. This is a land that Jack Daniels is treated as an expensive, classy drink… Carlo Rossi is sold in 700 ml. bottles and given shelf-space half-way up the wall… Do you get what I’m sayin? Anyway, I certainly won’t miss it… Fun fact~ Diesel was found in soju last week. http://koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2013/04/116_133238.html Seriously, the stuff is poison.
Okay, so clearly I’m good letting go of that. 🙂

Today…
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Wow~ the country is pretty awesome when it isn’t snowing on what was supposed to be the first summer Saturday~ I really look forward to the summer here. It’s bound to be right around the corner. I guess… Anyway, with it will come long bike rides, warm winds and blue skies. My last summer here in Korea for a while I figure~ Then off the USA~ I haven’t had a summer there since 2010~ I love the idea of going back the way I’m doing it.
Going back for Burning Man~ It’s going to be so chill~
Can’t talk about that until it’s in the past tense, but the future looks good from here, real good.

To warm weather!!

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Shelter from the Storm

(Today my neighborhood was threatened by nuclear weapons, foreigners directly warned.)

-_-

Shelter from the Storm~

Sure could use some~ Looking around in the April skies the wind is blowing hard.
I offer to play cards, but all they are are words that fall on the deafest of ears busy ignoring more important noise.

Living in the shadow of imminent nuclear destruction is less warm and fuzzy than is sounds…

World leaders are ever so proud, not caring the crowd has to listen to the bellicose sounds they make wondering if we’ll lose the game ~ all for a game…

It’s nothing but a game to the ones who write the embargo pages, these ever-tightening strangle holds on wild beasts that are known to strike out when threatened.

It’s as if they kinda like the feeling of the old-fashioned brinkmanship game, but forget that the opponent is someone new.

Someone unbridled by memory of terrors, emboldened by new guns, old generals and a lack of access to fancy cars.

You think it’s more complicated than that.
It’s not.

I’ve got 4 months left in this country…  I’ve made it 20.  20 months and I’m really wanting to cut out~

Contract requires 60 days notice, and they’ve locked up well over 7,000 usd in holdings they won’t let me have until I leave~ Real nice.

Even if I gave it today, it would only be two months early and I’d lose 2,000 usd more in bonus for the early ditch.

Math is this~ If I leave in two weeks after my next check, I take 2,000 usd.  If I leave in 16 weeks, I receive over 18,000 usd in the closure.

So I’m in for the haul until  the last day possible. Ultimately, I know that there’s more than math to it, but I don’t always make the salad like this, so it’s important to harvest on time and not early.

Applications are now in play~ I am now open to trade as a free-agent~ I just hope that the coliseum doesn’t collapse underneath me.

Life is short enough without the settling possibility of local annihilation.

Cross your fingers for us over here~

It doesn’t look like anyone with actual impact is doing anything to help.

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Photos + It’s Getting Better All the Ti-ii-ime~

I almost wrote an entry talking about how nice it was to have a lovely Monday this week, but found myself busy with so many time-sensitive things that I never found my moment for writing about it.
Garfield would have been confused…  Sure that it was some sort of trick and would likely have had to walk away, fully convinced that somehow he had slept completely through a day, landing on Tuesday, or maybe that it was a dream, for no Monday could ever be so clean and easy.

First thing of the day, every day is that I walk to the bus station~ which, mind you is 15 minutes away, and this week the temperature has leveled on freezing and just stayed there, or gone up or down depending on the wind-factor~ suffice to say it has been cold lately and I do not like walking to the bus station in this weather…  So on my way, it’s about ten-till eight, and I’m walking on the left-hand side of the road’s sidewalk.  Passing, going in the same direction is a car that looks familiar~ looks like an SUV that a co-teacher drives that I used to ride with until her schedule changed…  So the car does an illegal u-turn about twenty meters up and comes to a stop next to me~ but it’s to let out a passenger~ her father~ it is her.  Jimmer did not have to ride the bus that morning… Got to work half an hour early, had a nice chat with a nice lady on the way and landed with ease 50 minutes before the bell.

I teach three classes on Mondays, all of them before lunch which lately, has equated to sitting in the English room all afternoon working on personal projects and such, but that day, my co-teacher wished me well and allowed me to leave at twenty after one so that I could do some banking~ Super-cool~ Then off to the bank to pick up an envelope full of cash for my holiday at the end of the month so that I can sew hundreds into my thigh and have two dollar bills ready for the rickshaws.

That was awesome~ I spent the afternoon editing my work and work by another fellow who is completing an amazing novel soon, and was finally able to start reading about the location that I’d be landing for the second half of this ubiquitous vacation I’ve alluded to.

And today is Wednesday, which means that somewhere in there I was able to have a Tuesday-experience~ which is true.  Another score: Photos for a Christmas calendar have been isolated from a year’s worth of pictures and a great beginning on a graphics project that has been beckoning for my time.
By the way~ I have reinvigorated my Flickr account and a whole new patch of photos (14 sets!!!) can be found there now.  Feel free to take your time there~
The are the photos, here.

Ahhh, Wednesday, how I do loathe you~ It is the only day of the week where my co-teacher is less-than-reasonable. (The following comment has been censored for the viewing public’s lack of interest.) But it’s cool, because today is test day and I don’t have to deal with her even slightly.  And I get to go home at noon.  Not so bad at all.

Well, I think it’s about time that I get back into working on some of these time-sensitive projects in my hands…
To give a list, I’ve got one book for a friend that I’m editing, 600 of 750 pages through.  My own short story edit~ still have to write a keen introduction for it, needs to be released to the 20 waiting draft-readers that are looking for it by the end of the week. An infographic about entering a specific website as a second-language-user, catered to the foreign language so that the user can enter into the program. And then I’ve got to finish editing photos for the calendar I’m  giving folks for Christmas, but of course, I’ve got to finish getting it done this week so that the printer can send them out on time.

~Oh, and I did end up having that coffee, and it was good.

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Seattle Journal

Click the link below to view the file.

It is 25 mb so it can easily take some time.

Enjoy!

Seattle Trip Summer 12

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What the teaching is really like

I would like to write about the experience of teaching in the four schools that I am in the employ of. I don’t think that that is something that I have quite done here in this forum yet.

There are four. One is my primary place, the other three are secondary. That is to say, that at the one, they take care of my paperwork etc. as well as having me in their halls two days of the week as opposed to the others which only get one. Their names are Eumo, Nongnam, Gaeryoung, and Gammun. They are all middle schools, so I teach the three grades of what the American system would call seventh, eighth and ninth grades, but are called first, second, and third here. In each school, may it be elementary level, middle or high, each level gets a new numbering. It’s just how it’s done.

I am writing this recollection during the winter break. As such, we are about to begin, not just a new term, but a new year. The calendar year from the lunar cycle is what the school’s calender is created from. So, come March second, the new year will begin. I tell you this, so that you not only understand the cycle, but also, because I will be making reference to numbers of students in certain grades, and my schedule from one day to the next, and I would have it understood they refer to the year that has just passed, not the one that will begin in about a week’s time.

With that, I would like to begin sketching for you what my days are like at these schools. Every Monday, I go to Eumo. As with the other schools, I am given a ride by my co-teacher. It is a courtesy they extend to me, that I understand to be so, as other teachers in the district have not reported similarly. So I meet my co-teacher at an agreed location nearby, and we set off to the school. The ride takes about 20 minutes, and is really a beautiful one. I live in a fairly rural area. The town is surrounded by farmland. Grapes, mushrooms and pears are the strongest crops beyond the ever-present rice paddies that stretch into the distances. But there is also industry. Right now, there is a large, sprawling complex that is being expanded upon that will give rise to an extension of the chemical company that claims credit for the construction on the walls that border the project. It is truly a giant campus, and must employ thousands of people. But the ride, the ride to school only sees this tumor of man for an instant as we speed past it into the hills where the school is located.

Eumo is a fairly small school compared to my experience, but it is the largest of the four at which I teach. It has only 62 students and close to 15 staff including all the teachers, admin. And the man who takes care of things otherwise. He’s more the handyman than a janitor. In fact, in Korea, it is the students who clean the schools. Every day they will pull out the brooms, pull out the mops, and go to it for about half an hour. Every day. Every student.

So Eumo begins at 9:00. We arrive at about 8:00 so that we can get our things together, and start into thinking about our days. I will often not need all the time for preparation, so I often have a book or something else to keep busy with. More on “desk-warming” soon. And as 9:00 rolls around, well, I keep sitting there, because I don’t have a class until fourth period. Yea, between the hours of 9:00 and 11:45, there is absolutely nothing required of me other than my kind patience. So here is where desk-warming comes in. Desk warming is the term that is given to this situation where I as a foreign teacher am asked to simply sit still, and watch the clock turn until the class that they have set for me arrives, and the right tone is struck in the chimes.

So I am able to do many things with this time. For example, this is the time that I can study the language of Korean, or work on my graphics design studies, or read a book that has been waiting on a shelf for too long. The time spent at my desk is also often spent researching class methodology as well. From one end of the internet to the other, I have gazed into styles and systems that other ESL teachers have been using, and am able to grow from that time to some measure. But it is a lot of time spent in front of a screen, and it does seem quite comic sometimes. Though I must say, it does suit me for now. I have been able to stride forward with my studies in graphic design, the Korean language and becoming a better teacher due to these hours spent there. I have been able to use this desk warming time to quite some efficiency. And I’m quite pleased with it

So that is my first three and three quarter hours – then I teach. For one 45 minute session I will share what the sound of the English language really sounds like to these children who have been set in front of me. Sometimes I teach out of the book, sometimes I’ll have an activity. It depends on how far they have come, or what they need. So 45 minutes, and then lunch.
Lunch is served in the cafeteria. Teachers are given line cutting privileges, and so I’ll grab a tray and go on in. The first scoop is always rice, one big pile on the left, and then the side dishes. I never know what I’m going to get before hand, and sometimes after I get it, I still don’t know what I got. Usually I can grok it. Maybe it’s hash browns, or fish, maybe it’s deep fried squid or spam. Bus sometimes, I just don’t know that plant, or maybe the meat is just too peculiarly prepared to pick out. These things happen. There are always vegetables, sometimes steamed, sometimes steeped in a traditional sauce similar to soy sauce or even kimchi. Then there is a soup or a topping for the rice. The soups vary from one day to the next, and can be quite good at times. And of course, there is always kimchi to be had. I have become quite accustomed to it, and rather like it for the most part. Though as with anything, sometimes it ain’t so good, but those days I blame the chef not the recipe.

Smorked, yes, smorked.

With lunch over, I find yet more free time. I will not teach another class of students until 7th period which begins about 3:15. I might however teach other teachers at this time.

One of the things I get to do here is teach other adults. Teachers and admin alike are able to study with me at this time. I will usually gather my lessons from texts or from the internet. There are so many resources available, it’s amazing. I often teach about sayings. Because they’ve had so much training in the language that has been formal and distinctly literal, I bring euphemisms so that they understand things like “quit pulling my leg.” Seriously, think about it.

So that’s good use of my time as well. Sometimes they are too busy to study with me, so I’ll get back into whatever studies or reading I was doing, and whittle my time away with it. Then comes 7th period, I will again step up in front of a classroom of children, demonstrate my stunning ability to speak a language not French, have them mimic as many times as can be done while still keeping their attention, and call it good 45 minutes later. At that point, I’ll go back down to my desk in the office, burn the last moments of the day doing more of the same desk-warming things that I was doing, and wait until 4:30 or 5:00, whenever the co-teacher is ready, to go.

That has been my Monday.

I can only hope that my bosses see fit to retain me for such service, while at the same time, recognizing that it is not actually that easy to do on another level completely. What I doubt they understand is the mental stretch it takes to be so far from the people that I love and miss. Being here must be a mission for me, or it would not work. If I didn’t have the time to grow personally, such that my return will be that much smoother, I could not stay doing what I’m doing. I would not want to teach at a hagwon (a private school which schedules full days of teaching) again. Without a time structure that allows me to do the things that I’m doing, I would leave this country as fast as I came. I’m glad they enjoy me. I’m glad to be here. They are nice people, and my service does help their children, so it is a good trade off. Taxing on both ends, rewarding on both as well.

Getting into the other schools, I should say that my expectations are largely similar, as are the lunches with the exception of Gaeryoung, they always get fruit with their lunches. Hmm.

Tuesday is though, another thing completely, while it is much more of the same to be sure. Tuesdays are spent at Gammun. I teach three 45 minute classes in the day here. Gammun is an interesting school, very old looking buildings. It has about 43 students, I think, and the largest English library of them all. It actually has two whole rooms in the building set aside for teaching English, one a classroom, one a library. They both have large, touchscreen, interactive boards that can be used for presentations, and the library is made more interactive by the seating. There are four couches with tables between pairs, and three large tables, each with six seats around them. Additionally, there is a series of short colorful soft stools that line the walls. That being said, we could seat every single student of the school in that library, and teach them all at once. But we never did during regular classes. I was able to use it during the week-long winter course, and the kids really enjoyed it. I’m glad to’ve had that time there.

This school was staffed by one of the most uninteresting teachers I’ve ever met. He was an older man and really had no interest in teaching these kids English. His language ability was so poor that when talking with me, I often didn’t understand what he was trying to say. Oh sure, it was better than most of the students, but not actually good. Teaching with him was such that he asked me to teach directly from the book, and nothing else, then he would go sit in the back of the room and look out the window, so distracted, that if I were to ask him a question, he would normally be unaware that I was speaking to him. And the library wasn’t to be used at all. He just kept it locked and let it get dusty. I shared as much with the principal of my lead school, and now he’s gone. Later dude. Some of us really enjoy teaching. And I do, I just don’t see students all that much because of the scheduling. Well that’s all right. As is stands, a new teacher will be there, with something of a mandate to become more involved with the teaching process. Should be interesting.

Wendesday- Gaeryoung. Fun school, again, about 43 students there. The teachers are primarily women, mostly young, and among them are three very capable English speakers, so their company is quite enjoyed. I have very few friends around here, so it’s nice to be able to chat about random things with people. This is also the only school that uses a different text, so the teacher has given me a pass on preparation and just asks that I interact with the students. That works fine for me. My co-teacher uses the time to instigate  small talk – which is actually a great use of a foreigner in the classroom. Other times, we will read from the text, and do some speaking from it, and the kids will reply, and we’ll mix it up. They’re good kids, and a lot of them really enjoy learning. So it makes it worth the time.

On Thursdays, I go to Nongnam. My co-teacher was at first rather distant, but I’ll chalk that up to not really knowing what to do with this foreigner she’d been handed. The students at this school are a bit surlier, but decent in class. This school has a bit of a problem with boys smoking in the bathroom, and lack of attention in class, but the kids are still okay. They do not show malice, and they are willing to participate, even the ones that clearly have no love for it.

This school has a rather odd collection of wall-art. I am forced to look at seriously bad translations on a wall every day. Maybe next year, with the new teacher, I’ll be able to fix them. We just got a big printer, so it might just happen. It looks like what happened was that someone took something from the internet, descriptions of famous places that pictures affixed represent, and then scanned those descriptions into a computer program that saw letters as images, and occasionally mixed them up with similar letters. The letter ‘c’ could become an ‘o’, and letter ‘h’ could become a ‘b’, things like that. But these are descriptions of places like Harvard University, Oxford, The Statue of Liberty, and other big things that really smart people have made, it’s supposed to be inspirational, you know? So then we have about 35 serious editing mistakes. I almost want to make it a contest with the students, to see who can find the most errors. On the other hand, I wouldn’t want to sully the reputation of the school to the students for having had such errors for so much time. You can give them a pass, as they are clearly making great strides when viewed from a distance. So when does it get fixed? Do they get fixed? I’ll try again next year. Heh, good times.

Fridays, I’m back at Eumo, and actually have a busy time. This day I’ll teach five sessions, and they will consist of three student classes and two teacher sessions. One for a group of interested adults, the other, a private class for my co-teacher. Her English is quite good, so I’ve been using some prepared lessons from Breaking News English for her lessons. They use current events as material, and discuss them with well built lesson plans, from which I pick and choose parts to use. Still though, five out of eight classes, leaves me three to use in my own ways, may it be professional development for my current job, or my future one, or just reading a good book.

Teaching with the public school system is an interesting time. I’m glad to have it. But I’ll be more glad when I return home.

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