Wednesday, September 28, 2011

My Bum... it is...Toasty!

Thought of the day:
I wonder if Koreans now spend HUGE amounts of money on heated toilet seats.. because their butts had to go without a resting place for oh-so long??? I mean, I'm not hating on the squatting toilets or anything.. but daaaang my bum feels like a princess' when the heat radiates off of that seat!

And as an added bit of goodness: In the lower left hand corner of the picture.. that would be the University's seal and it also has "Chonbuk National University" on it as well (in Korean)... I guess just in case anyone was wondering where they were, and why they were in that tiny room, and why their butt is now roasting.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Note to Self

When having a discussion/debate about the successful sex strike that took place in a rural Filipino village ( ).... don't be surprised when you try to turn the last 10 minutes of class into a discussion about plans for the weekend and a student (::cough:: Professor) interrupts:

"I heard they give out condoms to students in high school in America?"

Umm.. ok, different topic, out of no where.. well kind of.. I now know now that this will be a good discussion for a different 50 minute class! They were all very curious!! It cracked me up considering when we first started talking about the sex strike, and the same man chimed in and said a.) "I'd never have to worry about that, I'm too old." b.) "This would never work in Korea.. Korean men have OTHER ways ;)"

AND that would be referring to the prostitution that runs rampant in Korea... totally different subject... but in case you're curious to know... in 2010, 13 Million US Dollars were spent on prostitution... there are brothels/parlors everywhere you turn... if you see 2 barber poles spinning in opposite directions at a business, welp, you've found yourself some prostitutes, good job!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Entertaining My ADD Needs

돈 Sounds like 'Don' in "Don't".... I got quite a big chuckle over this while waiting forever to get my cell phone ^ ^

돈 = Don't .... Get it?! :)

Oh Nooo You Di'int

Intro to my class: Level 2 (out of 5) English Conversation Class, 9 students attend the University, 2 students are adults (1 we will call Dr. Smiles.. is a doctor)

Teacher (me.. hehe): Can you think of some more illnesses that are not listed in the book?

(very short 2 second lull)

Dr. Smiles: CONSTIPATION! (with a smile on his face... hence the name)

Teacher: Uhh... (takes about 0.5 seconds to think... looks at Dr. Smiles... erupts into laughter... stops... giggles...) Uhh... hmph... okaaaay... does anyone know what that means? (tilts head to the side, gives Dr. Smiles an evil glare) Oh my gosh! I can't believe you said that (giggling... thinking about writing it on the board) No! Sorry, oh my gosh, another illness, a DIFFERENT illness!

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Kimchi People

What happens in the Hanok Village.. stays in the Hanok Village... HA, right.. this aint Vegas baby!

Story time...

As a good little Jeonju-ite, I picked this past weekend to be my first official weekend in town. It's been a bit difficult to actually STAY in town on the weekends, because I now have friends in many different cities! However, I've realized that I need to make Jeonju my home, make friends here and get to know the city. So, I went to one of the major attractions in Jeonju... the Hanok Village, a traditional village that still runs and is fully functional. There are people who live here and there are many little tourist shops and cafes to hang out at. It was bloody hot on Saturday though (90 degrees+), so Chelsea and I scurried through it real quick. LUCKILY we had great entertainment.

To our amazement, there was a huge fight going on between 2Men/1Woman & a different man. Because we don't speak Korean, we have noooo idea what was really going on.. but hope to have it translated soon!

What happened right before I began filming the fight, involved everyone screaming at each other, and then the man in white picked up a medium sized kimchi pot and tried to hit the other guy in the head with it.. he failed and crashed it into the mailbox, thankfully.. that could have seriously done some damage to the guy.

(super thick ceramic, we kept a couple of pieces :) ).

The crazy part, was that when the police came.. the first police officer was smiling as he was talking to the people... they NEVER handcuffed anyone, the officer had to push the guy in blue a couple of times to keep him from assaulting the lady more, he managed to squeeze by one of the cops and push her.. AND STILL, no handcuffs. The police officers allowed everyone to keep quarreling in the middle of the village, and didn't try to get the huge crowed that had gathered to leave. It was insane, but so hilarious to watch, we just took a seat and asked everyone that made eye contact with us if they spoke English... one guy was a Chinese tourist, and he spoke amazing English.. he was so confused, because he basically began to walk directly into the fight because he didn't realize it was going on, and the man in blue started screaming at him.. but he doesn't speak Korean, so he had NO idea what was happening. We told him that Korea isn't normally like this.. then we kind of took our words back and said welll..... when soju is involved a lot of ajushis (older men) get in arguments, but they're more funny and not so serious.... he told us that he had heard that "The Kimchi People" had bad tempers.

KIMCHI PEOPLE! Ha! That was the funniest thing that Chelsea and I had heard in a long time!!

That was basically the end of the excitement, another Korean man told us that two of the people owned the auction that they were standing in front of.. so maybe the man broke something/stole something.. oh and he also said that the man punched the woman twice?! Not a clue!

Welcome home Paula :)

Radiostar - A Live Band Bar in Jeonju

Korean Rock band from Jeonju that broke into some Christmas music.. starting with Feliz Navidad ending with a Korean version of 'Santa Claus is Coming to Town'. That would be the only one I understood! (I'm guessing, they didn't know too many songs, so they had to add that in :) )

Great times though.. ear drum bleeding loud, but different from the norm!

Friday, September 16, 2011

A World Without Adoption

Can you imagine a world without adoption?

I know I would be minus a few amazing friends, many families would be 'missing' something in their hearts, and I think it would feel quite... lonely!

Think of all of the 'adopted' family you have in your life today... I know I personally have 'adopted' sisters, an 'adopted' grandmother who used to cook lunches at my old Korean Kindergarten, and the list goes on and on! I am so thankful for each and everyone of them, and I know that had life turned out differently & I somehow ended up adopted into their family, I would be loved!

Isn't that what we all want? Even if some people seem like they only want money, or things, or beauty.. they still all want LOVE!

I had a seriously mind-boggling conversation with my professors class today, which got me to thinking about all of this. I introduced the concept of a 'Cup of Conversation' today, to ensure that everyone had a chance to talk in the discussions (some are quite shy about voicing their opinion), each professor went around.. said their question, and gave their answer/explanation.

When it was one professor's turn to speak, he looked at me and said, "This is a very elementary question."

I'm thinking... uh oh... "Okay, go ahead." :::smile:::

"What makes a family, genetics or environment? :::huff of air::: A brother is genetic!"

Well, okay. How do you respond to that? "Alright, so this topic is about abortion. Is this a very popular thing in Korea?"

The general idea was that no, it wasn't popular.. but it did happen.. and when it did happen, kids were often never told that they were adopted. One of the other professor's friends had adopted a child.. he is 12 now, and she is afraid to tell him that he is adopted, especially this late on.

So we discussed the popularity of adoption in the USA, and how kids are generally told at a younger age, and often given the option of whether to meet their birth parents or not. I told them that I have friends who never plan on meeting their birth parents, and others who have met their birth parents... some whose birth parents are actually Korean, living in Korea!

The conversation just broke my heart a bit, I'm afraid to bring up other topics like .. I dunno, donating organs and environmental protection.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Your Girlfriend My Introduce

What happens when you walk down a street in Korea?

 a.) you dodge cars, mo-peds, ajumas/ajushis, bicycles and you try not to trip on the bricks
b.) lots of giggles... is he seriously wearing that? is his bike purple? did her shirt seriously say that (in English)?
c.) you smile at the people staring at you as they walk by.. and they just continue staring (cultural thing)
d.) when the occasional ajuma/ajushi smiles at you, you get all excited and bow

  E.) A man pulls his car over on the side of a 4 lane highway, gets out and starts a conversation with you. First telling you his name, asks your name, asks if you know you say 'chokum' (a little)... he starts speaking in nothing but Korean, when you give him a blank stare and say, "Sorry, I can say Hi, Bye, and count to 4.. I don't understand". In his broken English he asks where you're from, he responds with an "OooooOooh America! You girl friend america" "Friend? Yes" "You girl friend america my introduce" "Boyfriend?" "Girl friend married" "No, I'm not married. I have friends" "You girl friend america my introduce, card-uh card-uh" I'll spare you the rest of the details.. but after about 7 minutes I managed to nicely get myself out of the situation so I could keep walking back to my school. But I took his business card and just said, "OK, work, I call you, girl friend my introduce! OK? Thank you! Nice to meet you! Bye!"

 I still have absolutely NO idea what went on. But I had a nice giggle out of it on the way back to work!!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Do You Live With Your Parents?

It's super interesting to learn about small talk in different countries, and how what is the norm for one country can be SO entirely opposite form another.


My second class today only had 2 people in it.. 8 were signed up.. and the same class before that had 15 in it (max is supposed to be 13). Both classes were Level 2, where students are able to have pretty good conversations, but slowly and with more guidance and help.

I began the classes by telling the students about how the class is all based on conversation, with a tiny amount of grammar help, and how they need to get to know one another so they feel comfortable speaking with each other. They were put into partners and I asked them to introduce their partner to the class and tell us 3 interesting things about their partner.

Well... it was quite easy to hear the students' discussion in my second class, of TWO people.
(From the very beginning)
Girl: Do you live with your parents?
Boy: Huh?
Girl: Do you live with your parents?
Boy: Uhhm, no.
Girl: You don't?
Boy: No.
Girl: What? Why?
Boy: Uhh.
Girl: Who do you live with?
Boy: My haimoni (grandmother).
Girl: Why don't you live with your parents ::astounded::?
Boy: I live haimoni.
Girl: Where do your parents live?
Boy: Jeonju.
Girl: ::Gasp:: They live in Jeonju? Why don't you live with your parents?
Boy: ::confused:: What?

Me: Do YOU live with your parents?
Girl: No, I am married ::gasp::.

Woah, holy put someone on the spot! Later I found out that he is a third year university student, and she is a married-mother of two... how's that for diversity! The conversation DID get onto a better track though.. once pointed that way, they ended up doing well and feeling more confident towards the end. But I was a little worried that the guy was gonna get slapped for not living with his parents who live in the same city! <3 Korea

First Day as a University Instructor

Before I took my job offer at Chonbuk National University in Korea.. I honestly had some apprehensions about accepting. I'm only 23 years old, a girl, and I've had 1 year of full-time teaching experience... teaching CHILDREN! So all in all, I wasn't sure if I had enough experience to successfully teach and not make my students' lives miserable for the next year.. OH and I wanted to be taken seriously . LUCKILY my focus in these classes is on conversation... and I love talking, so I decided it was a perfect fit! The hiring manager loved that I was a Communications Major.. thank you JMU. :) And so I got the job.

Today, September 5th, is my first official day of teaching. Last week, I was told that I would be teaching some University students, some adults from the community, one class of children a day, and... PROFESSORS. Que the "dun dun duuuuuunn..".... my initial reaction was, "What?! Are they going to be mean to me? How old are they? Are they nice? Will they make me cry?!" ... so basically, University students were the least of my worries, the professor part freaked me out a bit. I knew I was going to get asked questions about my age, my experience, teaching, etc. etc... all of which I was afraid that they would judge me for.. because in all honesty they have a 23 year old girl, with a bachelor's degree, 1 year of experience, a CELTA (Thank God!), and.. mm... an outgoing personality?!, for an instructor.

Well... based on attendance from the previous 7-week conversation classes, I was expecting about 5 people, 4 being men (1 retired) and 1 woman. Today's 9AM attendance included 8 men, 1 woman... and ME!!

So far I've found that 2 are grandparents, 3 are between 30-40 (all married, one without kids), the rest are over 40, an economics professor, music professor, 2 textile production professors, landscape architecture professor... the list goes on and on. Only 4 of them attended the previous classes offered (hallelujah) .. however one has been attending for 7 years!

Of course, I got asked how old I was.. and I turned it into a joke and said "Old enough ::wink wink::"... and skipped the answer to that question. But of course a few questions later one asks me what year I graduated from Uni... I should have lied! lol Jerk!

But all in all, I enjoyed the class a lot! We chatted the entire time and it wasn't like pulling teeth, woohoo!

My schedule couldn't have been better either, Mon-Fri 7:50AM-10:50AM, 5-6:50... so I can wake up early, teach Uni students/adults/professors, have time in the middle to get MY learn on (Korean classes at 1PM!.. guitar, Spanish), and then teaching a class of kids whom I love to teach (SO different than the kids classes I had last year), and a class of uni students.. then done!

Looks like I'll be behaving myself much more this year.. at least during the week. :)

Friday, September 2, 2011

Hammy Yummy

The title is from the name of a sandwich shop right outside a popular entrance at my University.. one of my co-teachers told me to meet her at Hammy Yummy, I gave her the strangest look, but I should have known that would be a great English name for a restaurant in Korea :)

After talking to my coworkers, I've found out that I don't really have a boss. The man who hired me, Dong Min, mainly does hiring.. and even though he's in our office, that doesn't mean you ask him any question you have. And there is a Director of the Language program, but you'll only meet him once in the very beginning (should be meeting him today!)... and there is a Vice Director, who no one has ever seen, but he likes to change things around and make everyone angry.

I asked them what I do if I have a question, and they said, "Well either figure it out yourself or ask us, those are really and honestly your only two options"!

Interesting... well, my 'non-boss' Dong-Min picked me up from the bus station when I first arrived and awkwardly began the conversation about how I can't date my students (not a problem there!) but I am totally allowed to go out with them, which is actually encouraged. He said that my students are going to ask me a lot to go out to eat/drink with them and if I want to, I can, and when I do they will most likely open up a lot more in class... which is fabulous because I teach all conversation classes.. and with how shy Koreans can be, I gotta do whatever possible!

I was walking down the street today thinking about the things I miss in America (in case you didn't know, I left America wanting to stay! Which I never expected, I was so physically and emotionally warn out from my 4 month trip to S.America that I just wanted to stay in my home country and experience a bit of normalcy!!). One of those main things being... I miss walking down the street and seeing attractive faces. That's going to sound mean, but it is a total personal opinion!

I miss being physically attracted to the men around me.. if you can't quite comprehend what I mean.. imagine this, you walk at least 30 minutes every day around the city you live in (to work/go shopping..).. can you imagine never seeing a man you're attracted to while doing this for 365 days a year?!

I suppose it just gets boring! I am a young single woman, on the prowl, with nothing to entertain my wandering mind while walking down the streets of my new home.

Now I'm generalizing a bit, I have been attracted to some of the Koreans.. mainly if they have tattoos and a motorcycle.. but for the most part it's just not there!

Some girls get serious Asian Fever when they come here.. to each his own. More for you! :)

But I chose to live in the most homogeneous country in the world, so no complaints here I've just been thinking about it recently!

:::Break Down (of the countries I've been to/have good friends from):::

1.America - many different ethnicities and accents all jumbled into one country.. you see allll sorts of people, can't get bored there!
2.Europe/Australia/New Zealand - beautiful AND with amazing accents (also many different backgrounds and ethnicities)
3.Central Americans - more attracted to than South Americans
4.South Americans - should be named Andeans.. take me to the coast and I will fall in love in a half a second (long curly dark hair, light eyes, dark brown skin)
5.South East Asia - like I said, tattoos/a motorcycle makes the men seem less feminine, difficult for me to handle if not

If you've never been to Korea.. imagine seeing guys walking around in light purple bathroom (the old Adidas style) shoes, riding a hot pink and green bike, having a romantic K-Pop song as their ringtone... their idea of 'man' is completely different than the Western idea, I won't lie it entertains me and that's why I'm living in Korea for a second year. There is always something strange going on and I am never bored in that sense when wandering around Korea!

Soon I'll be randomly meeting the hundreds of foreigners living in my city.. can't wait :)

Note: My mom just informed me that my blog sounds like I'm depressed.. my response.. life's not always bubble gum and cupcakes, sometimes you have to scrape the gunk burnt onto the pan. I'm not depressed, but living in a foreign country isn't always as exciting as it may seem.. there are two sides to every story!