Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Highs and Lows

Was not poisoned. 

She wanted to be a fairy.

I made a crown, wand, and fairy wings. My poor friend.

Nothing like tape, paper, and some imagination! Presto, fairy wings!

One of my students, Sophia, illustrated her favorite place - A Jungle Gym. 

Chalk talk with my new student, Rayna. 

When I was engaged in my frat's government during college, I remembered an ice breaker that we'd perform before every meeting: Highs and Lows. As the name suggests, everyone would briefly state the low point of their day and the high point. This simple trick cleared the air of whatever had been on our minds and allowed us to continue with chapter politics and business and all that jazz.

Upon arriving at work, one of my students had left an apple upon my desk of which made me smile – a token of my station as a teacher. While I didn't succumb to the child's bribe, it had set what would be a good day for me.

A new student had joined our academy, Rayna, who is a 10 year old girl who is polite, well mannered, and a pleasure to teach. Already off to a good start, my class session with her went fast! With little time left over, I decided to draw cartoon characters to see if she recognized them: Spongebob, Shin Chan, Monsters Inc ( or according to her, Monster Company ) and Sailor Moon! Apparently, Despicable Me is known as “SuperBad” in Korea ( I'm quite certain that Gru and the Wolf Pack are not synonymous ).

Being that I'm halfway through my second week, I had been getting the hang of my classes and I started to feel comfortable as a teacher. Or so I thought.

A different student, someone who I taught skype class to last week dropped out of the school because of between miscommunication between the boss and myself. I felt awful, thinking I had performed well in my duties, but as my friend explains it – highs and lows.

Despite the small hiccup, this is proving to be a new and fun chapter of my life!

I'm nearing the end of my second week, and I'm looking forward to what opportunities lie ahead!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Baseball is a corporate affair.

Start of the game. 

My friend and I with our boss' kid. Clearly, he's not having as much fun!

Yes, there's a car featured in the stadium. It's KIA afterall!

Heading home.

Gwangju Stadium. 

The players line up for a farewell bow. 

Apartments, Apartments Everywhere!

Chicken so good it makes you pause for buffering!

Homemade baked chicken and poppers. We even had watermelon with it!

Local team. 

Rather than give yall a daily detailed account of my life in Korea, I'll be talking about highlights and experiences worth remembering. This past weekend, I was treated to a baseball game!

Apparently, everything in South Korea is owned and produced by a corporation. For an instance, there's a fast food franchise called, Lotteria. They're owned by Lotte, who's responsible for food and shopping. Their logo can be seen just about everywhere. LG, Kia, Hyundai and NC have their shares in some facet in the public's life whether it's the vehicles that takes them to work to even the paper they wipe their asses with – corporations everywhere.

And as a result, the corps have their stake in major league baseball. The local team is called the Kia Tigers, and they're pretty much like the Mets. My friend was telling me that they're apt to blow a game because of crappy players or poor management. Whatever the case was, I was invited to a free game and moment to experience Korean culture at its finest.


Vendors sell reasonably priced food and drink! Beer's like...$3! Ice cream cones ( and I'm talking about REAL icecream, not that dip-and-dot clown crap that kids sucker their parents into buying ) goes for a dollar! Oh and did I mention, YOU CAN BRING YOUR OWN FOOD! The Koreans have it set up so that there's picnic tables arranged along the 2nd tier of the stadium so that families can enjoy their food. Heck, there's even vendors outside the stadium who'll cook up your food!

One would think something owned by a corporation would be tedious, advertisement filled and mind numbing that we're all part of some machine – NOPE. The game is devoid of any serious marketing! Very few beer ads, product placement, heck even spokes people! I don't think the game even had an announcer narrating the game!

I will say this, the Koreans love their fried chicken! Just about everyone was nibbling on that fried goodness!

Oh, I should probably mention this. My friend and I were so loud that we got our neighbor, who was an older Korean male to join us in heckling the other team. We got him saying, “Ooooohhh yeaaauuu!!!”

The game went quick, as it turns out, the Kia Tiger's pulled through and managed a close victory 6-5!

It was a great experience overall! I'm starting to think if I should ever come back...

Monday, June 2, 2014

Day 2

I work in the building on the right. Twin Moon Tower?

View from work. 

Art room. 

Art room, view 2.

My first day was...quite a doozy.

Like any first days, mine was filled with excitement and trepidation at what I may be facing. Somewhere in my mind, I had created scenarios whereby I was beset with an impossible class of youngsters, a veritable army of knowledge obsessed monsters would devour me as soon as I created a mistake. ( Nothing like first day dread, eh? )

Rather than being introduced to my first class, I had shadowed my friend and how he approached his classes, which were nothing at all like my fear induced vision. Instead of 30-something-plus class, it was more intimate, 1-on-1's of which he covered English and Social studies with. It seemed very doable and not nearly as scary as I had thought. It was during the class session did I see why my friend had come to love his job – the children are eager and honest to learn ( and they're friggen adorable ). From what I seen that day, most Korean children are dressed up and eager for class, so much so, that they memorized their homework before hand! Seriously, one couldn't get that level of commitment in America. Most of the class time is spent babysitting and reprimanding the class before any material is covered.

Despite feeling like I walked into something way bigger than my head, I had gotten the gist of my friend's style and eagerly awaited my turn to guide a class.

And then, when I least expected it, the boss guided me to a mini classroom where a makeshift table rested. “You teach my kids art, ne?”

I had finally gotten my moment. It seemed like something out of Despicable Me, where I was making mermaid drawings with an adorable 4 year old girl.

That day, despite being overdressed, over worried, and sleep deprived, I knew that it would be the beginning of an interesting week.