Monday, November 30, 2009

I am not as clever as I thought I was.

I got to the bus stop this morning about the same time I always do, but I guess I just missed my bus. I had to wait for over 10 minutes for the next one.

The buses were right on top of each other again, so I figured if the first one was full, I would just wait for the next one and ride in comfort and style. Well at least not get gang dry humped.

By choose the later bus, I think I got just as gang dry-humped if not more. I had briefly considered waiting it out for the next bus, but it was due in 5 minutes which means up to 10+minutes. As it was I barely got to school on time.

Its not like anyone notices anyway, since I have been banished to the dark recesses of the school Engrish lab.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Book tour

So yesterday I was abducted. I had planned to go to Salsa lessons with my sister in law, but my co-teacher and the Head of the Englishee dept had other ideas.

Previously on Mr. Awesomecool's fantastic Voyage, I was given the responsibility of purchasing 2,000,000 won worth of Englishee books for the school(dont bother looking for a post, I did not write about it). As of yesterday I had done absolutely nothing about it. I had briefly checked out the esl cafe idea cook book, but that was it.

My co-teacher mentioned that she found an Englishee language book store, so Mr. Lee got all hot on that and scheduled us to go after classes on Wednesday. At first I was kind of psyched to go,I thought I might be able to pick up some books for myself and my kids. My enthusiasm quickly waned after we arrived.

It was an Enlishee Teaching bookstore, full of textbooks and all the useless lesson and learning books on tape and shit. Like a honey baked ham, my eyes quickly glazed over.

I tried to look for books that might be interesting to the students, and easy to read, but they were hard to come by. Sure the kids might like Harry Potter, but I had a hard time understanding what was going on in that book. JK Roweling being the crooked toothed Brit she is, chocked that thing full of Brit slang, and terms not used in the US, and that definitely would not be understood by Korean teens who read at a 3rd grade level. Everything I tried to pick up was "too differcurt" or "too herd" for my precious students.

My co teacher kept suggesting the most boring god awful books and books with cassette tapes (we dont even have a cassette player in the lab). "I tink da Student wourd rove to reern abert da piramird" But I dont tink so!

I wanted to get students Spongebob, the Simpsons, or Buffy the Vampire Slayer with Korean subtitles, but they only had Spongebob on video tape. Holy shit! Is it still 1990 over here? You cant even buy video tapes in the US anymore!

We ended up spending about 600,000 in the store, on nothing I wanted but as I learned from Asmith, I did not get involved in the Mongol bullshit. Every time they asked what I thought about something I just nodded and smiled. All I know is I wont be using any of the crap we bought yesterday.

Originally I guessed that the whole thing should take an hour and a half or so. We left around 3 pm, it took about 1/2 an hour to leave work. The drive to the bookstore took about 30 minutes or so. When we got there, we had to have tea first. We did not finish shopping until about 5:30pm, for some reason it took almost as long to actually buy the books. Afterwords we went to dinner, we drove around for about half an hour before finding a place(I will write more about that later). Dinner took about an hour, and then we had tea again. After dinner they drove me to a bus stop (another half an hour) and I finally got home about 9:15pm or so. The whole thing took over 6 hours, and I still have 1.2 million won to blow on books and DVDs. I think I will be ordering the rest online though.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I hope it was just gum

Today I just barely missed my bus on the way to work. I had to wait about 10 minutes for the next one. By the time the next bus rolled up there was a sizable crowd of people waiting. The bus was already standing room only, and packed in like sardines. The next bus was due in 4 minutes. I said fuck it, I dont feel like dry humping to work today. I waited for the next one.

I have never seen a Korean just wait for the next one. I dont know if it is an American thing, with our issues about personal space, or maybe the Koreans are always running late to get to work. The next bus rolled up in less than two minutes, and while all the seats were filled, there was plenty of standing room. I felt very clever for waiting, and while the bus did eventually get crowded, it was not filled to capacity like the previous one.

While I was riding, I noticed a man on the bus. He looked like he had a wad of gum stuck to the base of his skull. It is entirely possible that is was a piece of gum, Koreans have a reputation for passing out all over the place. It is more likely that it was some hideous growth caused by the pollution here, but as I did not get a chance to rip it off the back of his head (I really wanted to give it a good tug, but I was afraid it might be contagious) I could not say for certain. I really hope that was gum.

Monday, November 23, 2009

the new ManDate

My co-teacher is trying to set me up on man dates. She wants her husband to do a fun activity with me sometime, but he is really shy so that does not look like it will happen. She has a brother in Law, and apparently he wanted me to call him, or have phone conversations with him, but I thought that was weird so told her I don't like talking on the phone.

Today she asked if would be OK if I went on an overnight trip sometime. I thought she meant for a school activity, and I said sure. Then she asked if I wanted to go camping with her sister in Law sometime.

I was like "Your sister in law?"

She said "Yes my sister in law"

I said "(Is she cute?(in my head)) She wants to go camping with me?"

She said "No he wants to go camping with you."

"Ohhh, your brother in law!"

He did not actually suggest this, it turns out this is all her cunning little scheme to man-date us. Even though she said she could "guarantee" his personality, I was pretty sketched out by the idea and she could tell. So she backed down to a day long fun activity, and I said maybe. It would not be too bad if I got to go somewhere and have some strange dude foot the bill.

It turns out he is the principle(her words) for some university, so if I play my cards right, it could mean a University gig for me sometime in the future, which would be schweeet!

Kim Chi season

It is time to ferment some cabbage here. Outside all the stores there are massive piles of cabbage, some are whole, some are halved, and some are pre-wilted to make your kimchi production easier and faster. It seems like the cabbages are available all year round, but for some reason people are just making insane amounts of the shit right now.

I went to home plus over the weekend, and along with small mountains of cabbage and radish they had special refrigerator units for sale. Most of the Kim-chi enthusiasts here like to use these little rectangular containers to hold and ferment their cabbage in . The refrigerator units they had were designed to maximize the number of containers that they could hold. I thought it was funny to have a special refrigerator just for storing your Kim-chi, but you have to remember they eat it with every single meal!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Memior of a Banished teacher

Well its 2:00pm on my first day of banishment. So far I have had zero students come and chat me up. Usually in the teachers office, every break a dozen students stop in a talk to me. They at least say "hi" or something, usually a "How are you? I am So So" or maybe a "Teacher like...Kim Chi?" or some other Korean food.

I am not complaining though. I like being banished so far. Its a little bit boring, but I am not being bothered by stupid questions like "How are you? I am So So" or maybe a "Teacher like...Kim Chi?" or some other Korean food. I have less people looking over my shoulder as I surf the internets, and I can watch videos if I want on my giant 72 inch touchscreen monitor, so its pretty chill.

Lets see if any students take advantage of the new open door policy for english practice. I am betting no one will. I am hoping no one will. I hope the VP does not find out that no one is.

Hilarious post

I read something funny today. It was about Butt love.

I went to the foreign market yesterday with my sister in law. It was a pretty uneventful trip, though we did purchase a dragon fruit.

I had seen them before (not in the USA) in the Hundai Department store, for about 16,000 won apiece. I also saw them in Jinro Mart for 22,000 won for a box of 4. I bought one for 4,000 won.

They also had Durians, which I had not seen in this country. If you have not had a durian, well it is a life changing experience. They are the most unique fruit I have ever tasted.

One of the reasons I really want to visit Thailand while I am in the East is to have a fresh Durian.

They are called the Heaven or Hell fruit, because you either love them or hate them. My wife and youngest hate them. My oldest and I like them. She likes them more than me though. It is kind of hard for me to really love something that tastes like a cross between vanilla pudding and onions.

Getting back to the dragon fruit, it was OK. I dont know if it was all the way ripe, because it was not very sweet. It had a taste like kiwi, and sorbet, and a little like melon. The kids liked it and devoured it like the wild animals they are. I swear you would think we are starving those kids. But I feed them last week!

We had a white one.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

My boobs hurt

I finally made it to the gym on friday. The gym I joined is slightly below ground level, and it has windows along the street. As I worked out for a good hour or so on friday, I noticed all the people stopping and staring at the Waegook working out. Some of them were my students, who stupidly waved and gestured through the windows at me.

I felt more awkward and uncomfortable than I ever have at a gym. Its not that the equipment was that different, or hard to use, but the gym manager insisted on following me around and explaining on how to use everything. I kept telling him that I did not need help, but that only seemed to encourage him.

He showed me how to use the treadmill, no different from those in the US, save the 20 inch TV screen mounted on each one, with a remote control. I have to admit that is pretty cool.

He showed me how to adjust the standard equipment equipment found in every gym in the world.

The only thing I had to ask about was the water. There was a water cooler with what looked like a box of tissues on top of it, and no cups in sight. I asked him how you get the water. He looked at me like I was an idiot, and pointed to the box of tissues. The tissues turned out to be little paper envelopes that you fill with water and then discard. I felt kind of stupid.

When he finally left me alone I worked out. I lifted, sweated, and struggled my way through a lose upper body workout and then called it quits.

I grabbed a couple tissue sized towels and headed to the locker room. I need to take a piss, but strangely there was no toilet in the locker room. I decided to hold it. I took a shower. No one was there. I decided not to hold it.

I left the steamy, slightly urine smelling shower, got dressed and went home.

And now my boobs are sore, my triceps are sore, every part of my body that I worked out is sore.

Why the hell did I want to join a gym so bad?

Friday, November 20, 2009


The idea behind my banishment is for the students to have more opportunities to come and have one on one conversations with me during lunch and between classes. Right now, when I am in the teachers office, students swarm in during lunch and the breaks between classes and practice their English with me. The office is centrally located, and the student often must go there to talk to teachers, see the nurse and occasionally get punished.

So obviously it would be much better for the students, and more convenient for them, if I would go sit in a classroom at the far end of the building, at the end of long hallway, where no students hang out, or visit except for when they have English class.

I can see how this is going to increase the amount of daily conversation practice I have with the kids, from being at the nexus of student activity(totally inconvenient) and being moved to the Ass end of Egypt, because you know how kids like to go out of their way to practice English.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Things are changing.

So first of all, starting next week I am not allowed in the Teachers office, lunch, breaks and between classes. When I don't have classes I may go to the teachers office. So what does that mean, it means I will only go to the teacher's office to get hot water for tea.

The Vice principal wants me to be in the Language lab full time, to allow students the chance to Converse with me one on one or in groups, for every break I get in the day. Right now I have a "Conversation Class" that is suppose to meet Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8:30 am (right when I get to work) for about 30 minutes. This does not count as teaching hours since it is just a conversation class, and not a regular class. And yet I have to make a lesson plan each week for this class.

Since I started the having "Conversation Class" two weeks ago, students have shown up once. Two weeks ago. I am not complaining mind you, I am fine with no one showing up, less work for me! I have not turned in a lesson plan for this class since first week and no one has noticed yet. So I have the appearance of more work, without the responsibility.

Going back to getting kicked out, it kind of sucks that I am basically losing one of my desks, and the occasional free food, company from other teachers. I am being banished to the other side of the school.

On the upside, I dont have to come into the Office and Bow to the Principal anymore, as currently I bow and "Anyang Hasseo" every morning and "Anyang Kesseo" when I leave as per instructions. Now I just go straight to my office, and leave straight from my office, no butt kissing required.

Another plus, with all this extra work of me sitting in my PRIVATE office in the Language lab, and no one showing up to talk to me(they would much rather hurl tennis balls and sandals at each other in the hallway), I will not have my shitty 3rd year classes anymore. Instead I will be watching videos and surfing the internet, not even pretending to work anymore.

Also, next year they want me to do Art Classes in English for extra Cash. I am down with that, I finally get to use that stupid fucking degree.

Quadruple fail.

Uhhhhhh!!!! I forgot my shoes yesterday, AGAIN! I will never work out, ever...I am doomed to be a fat usless lump, oh well.

In other news, I shall recount the riveting tale of my stinky shoes that was accidentally deleted on Wednesday.

It all started one fateful morning. Having failed the previous two attempts to join a gym and work out, I got on that bus with my determination in my heart, and a bag with spare shoes clutched tightly in my sweaty little hand. The bus that day was not packed to massive forced dry-humping standards as is the usual 7:50 bus to work. So the day was starting out with a bang and not a gang bang, but still I was in a good mood. I chose to stand next to the rear exit for easy egress, just in case the bus became once again packed to the gills.

The woman who was fortunate enough to claim a much coveted seat on the public bus, had the bad fortune to pick the one next to where I would stand. The poor thing had a kind heart and graciously offered to hold my bag of shoes, whilst I clung for dear life to one of the few vertical poles on the bus.

For those that don't know, riding public transportation in Korea is considered a full body workout, even while seated. Fun fact! 50% of reported injuries and fatalities caused by buses in Korea actually happen inside the buses! They are caused when a person loses their grip and are flung around inside the rocketing vehicle until their neck snaps.

Bus drivers are hired out of local insane asylums and sent to America to train on the NASCAR circuit. The regular foot brakes in all buses are removed, and thus only the emergency break can be used to stop the vehicle. All the drivers have been convinced that there is a bomb on the bus and if it slows down to below 55 at anytime between assigned stops it will go off, just like in speed.

The woman smiled at me and motioned for me to give her the bag, she was not robbing me of course, she was just trying to be polite. I had seen people do this before, so I knew she wasn't going to "Jack my shoes". I briefly considered not giving the her the bag to hold onto, but I have a family that depends on me, so I decided not to risk only being able to cling for dear life with one hand. As soon as her tiny hands latched onto the plastic wrapped payload, the smile disappeared.

Perhaps some background on my feet is in order. Many years ago, when money was very tight my wife and I heard about selling shoes on E-Bay. We found out that there are people with specific fetishes especially for used shoes. Yes, people on E-Bay would like to buy my used running, workout, and work shoes and sandals. There were two requirements for this though. The shoes had to be worn enough that there was an imprint of my feet in the souls and the second was, the stinkier the better. If your shoes really smelled, you would get good reviews, and if they really, really smelled they would offer you more money if they could send the shoes back to have them "recharged". (this is all true) What was really funny is that I often sold my shoes for more than what I originally paid for them.

To comply with EPA regulations I should have labeled that bag with a Bio-hazard symbol. The woman began to look kind of uneasy holding the bag, and maybe it was just motion sickness from the bus, but she began to look kind of sick too. I felt bad for handing them to her, but she wanted to do it. When someone finally exited the bus, leaving a seat open, she frantically gestured towards it. She thrust the bag at me, and I took it thereby ending her suffering. I sat down and in my lap, closer to my face. I could barely tolerate the smell wafting from the bag. And everyone always prefers their own product.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Triple fail!

So I left work yesterday, totally convinced I would finally feel the burn! I headed off to the gym, and ran into my wife on the way there. It was really cold, and she told me not to go to the gym. She said I should not join the gym, she told me to just come home with her.

"But I want big muscles!" I whined.

"Your muscles are big enough!" she said as the skinny 130lb. woman dragged me towards the bus stop with one hand.

I finally convinced her to stop womanhandeling me, and I went on my merry way. I reached the gym (no random bus attacks) and went inside. The man who stopped me from coming in last time looked up from behind the desk, ready to pounce the moment I put my filthy outside sneakers ohis pristine floor. Aha! I was prepared this time though! I pulled from the depths of a plastic sack, a pair of clean GYM SHOES! Take that tiny Mongol warrior! I slipped my shoes on, I was ready to face him!

I strode up to the desk confidently, I pulled out my wallet.

"I would like a one month membership, please"

"OK" he said "Just one montheu?"

"The four month offer was tempting, a lower rate plus a shiny new gym bag, but my history with consistent working out was shaky to say the least. I thought I better play it safe this time.

"Yes, one month"

"OK, what is your cerr phone numbereu?"

"Uh..." I had to think fast, the phone is new and I dont call myself. I could not remember it, maybe it would tell me? I opened my phone, on previous phones my number was always displayed when opened. This cursed mongol phone however, did no such thing. Blast! What now?
I thought to my self maybe my home # would work, it is in my phone.

"How about my home number? I cant remember my cell"

"No!" he screamed. Well, actually he did not scream, I was being dramatic. But he did say "Cerr phoneeu only prease!"

Shit, did I come all this way, just to fail now? NO! I did not give up I had to succeed! "How about my home phone?" I cleverly suggested again.

"OK, home phone OK" he conceded.

My power of persuasion is formidable indeed. I paid the man, and he showed me around the gym, where to put my stuff, and gave me an orange. Yeah an orange. He also said that I dont need to bring a towel because they provide them as a free service. Nice.

"You change in here OK?"

"OK!" I said after receiving a complimentary towel, roughly the size of a paper napkin. While putting my stuff away, and wondering roughly how much the towel would actually be able to conceal/dry off, tragedy struck!

My gym pants were gone! I could have swore I packed them last night! I checked again! Damn! they still were not in my backpack! Perhaps a triple check, would yeild a different result! NO! They still were not there! I had my money, check. I had my shoes, check. I had a phone #, check. I had my work out clothes, no check.

I hung my head in shame, I left the locker room, I gave back the towels, I left the gym, I put back on my street shoes and went home. All I had to show for 3 days of trying, and after paying 30,000 won for a membership was one tiny, albeit very tasty orange. It had better be fucking tasty for 30,000 won!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Third times the charm!

Today I am going to the gym. At least I am going to try again. I have been trying to join this gym that is kinda close to my school since monday, but have failed at every attempt. I choose to try to get a membership at this one because the one in the town I live in(which is larger and more convient) cost 85,000 won a month for a membership. That is pretty fricking steep. The one by the school is 30,000 won a month, or "not so fucking steep" as some might say.

On Monday(which was payday) it was not really I who failed, but stupid, fucking NH bank. For those of you that don't know NH bank is a pretty big bank in Korea, but it is also a farmer bank. They have big ass bags of rice sitting in the lobby for fucks sake. Well anyway, banks here close at 4:30pm which is when I get off work. So when I got to the bank, and my bank book(I dont have a bank card yet) would not work, I could not get any money out. So after randomly smashing buttons on the Korean language ATM (if I tried the English button it instantly failed) I had to concede victory to NH bank. You may have one this battle, but the war is not over yet...

The next day I was able to get off work early to go set up automatic gas payments at the bank. That is another weird little fun fact about Korea. When you get a gas bill, you pay it at the bank...I know crazy, right? It can be any bank, even if you don't have an account at it! Back in America, they wont even give you change for a dollar if you don't have an account with them! You can also set up automatic payments for a set period of time (at your bank), crazy but very convenient. So I was able to kill two birds with one trip to the bank, and set up my gas payments and get my monies out of the bank. Why did I kill two birds? Well that's my business.

So with thousands of Korean won in my sweaty little hand I went to the gym, next door to the bank. I went inside with a change of clothes, wearing my gym shoes, ready to join up and work out. But it was not to be! They would not let me in! Why, you ask? Because I did not have a second pair of shoes! They had a two shoe policy! How was I to know?

I knew that in a lot of places in Korea, for example my school, you wear slippers inside, and leave your shoes at the door. Of course you don't have to do that in grocery stores, or movie theaters, or aquariums or places like that. You have to in schools, homes, and some restaurants. I though the gym, where you don't wear slippers it would make sense just to need one pair! So once again I failed.

Today I have money, I have workout clothes(also a must for working out) I have extra shoes, so I should be able to do it! Unless I get hit by a bus or something on my way there. Its entirely possible.

Son of a BITCH!

On my google Dashboard I have a tool that allows me to compose and publish my blog. I just spent the last 20 or minutes composing one of the funnest, most insightful and brilliant posts of all time!

Well probably not, it was about my stinky shoes.

Anyway as I was wrapping up the tale of riding on the bus, carrying my stinky shoes in a bag, the story suddenly disappeared. I don't know if it was from my ham-fisted typing, or if the screen just refreshed, but everything was lost. In a blink of the eye, a page and a half long essay about my odoriferous feet coverings disappeared into the ether of the net.

I will try to retype the masterpiece, but I fear the brilliance, the shine, the shear beauty of what was lost, will never again be found. You will never know the joys of this flash of brilliance, a post which would have surely been remembered for all time.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I'm lovin it.

I was teaching a class one day, and in the lesson there was a story about a dog named Yeppie who destroyed someone's flower garden. Naughty Yeppie! Well anyway, I was interacting with the class and asking what should the owner do with his dog? Should he keep Yeppie inside? Should he keep Yeppie on a leash?

One girl raised her hand and said "Eeh sherd eeet Yeppie."
Now I was pretty sure I misheard that. "He should beat yeppie? No you shouldn't beat your pets." I said.

"No" she said "Eeh sherd eeet Yeppie!" and then she mimed eating, a delicious albeit naughty dog.

I was shocked! I asked my co-teacher "You don't really still eat dogs here? Do you?" she just laughed and smiled. Then I asked the class who had actually eaten dog in the class, and half the students raised their hands.

People love to eat meat in Korea, almost as much as in the US. But they also eat dog, which is uncommon in the US, unless you count corn and hotdogs. Here they have restaurants that specialize in dog meat stew.

When I first decided to come to Korea, I thought that was a myth. That eating dog was a racist stereotype, that might have been true in the past but they are a civilized, modern country that would not do that now, right? For some reason I equated a modern public transportation system and abundantly available high speed internet with not eating dog.

For those who read my blog(both of you) it is important to realize that my family and I are Vegans. We are tree-hugging, earth saving, liberal, leftist, socialist, atheist, vegans and we love it. Although I was shocked to find out that they still eat dog here, when I stopped to think about it, it is really worse than eating any other animal?

My wife says yes definitely. It is more wrong to eat a smart animal. So according to her it would be worse to eat a pig (smarter than a dog) than a dog. Cow would fall below dog, but above chicken, who would be above fish. Fish would be above clams, and clams would be above Glen Beck fans.

She also says if it can love you, you shouldn't eat it. I say that I don't really believe that dogs love you, sure they might like you, but occasionally they rip our faces off. Is that love? Maybe a chicken could love you too. You never know unless you give it a chance.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I'm popular!

Well November 11th was Pepero day here in the land of the rising fun. In case you didn't know(I didn't know)it is a brand new holiday, only three years old or so. It was created by the Lotte corporation to boost sales of its Pepero products(a pocky rip-off).

So the end result is everyone comes to school loaded to the gills with these chocolate covered pretzel sticks. Students bring them, teachers bring them, and they hand them out like its Halloween. I of course had no idea, and when I got to school and people started handing me pocky sticks left and right, I was rather confused. I guess I was suppose to bring some too, but no one told me so all I could do was collect the stuff.
By the end of the day I scored 5 whole boxes, one package, and one large stick of the crap. I am keeping those in my desk in case I want to re-gift them as treats to classes later. I was offered and politely declined several sticks of the junk throughout the day, but the unwrapped and sometimes half-eaten sticks were unappealing to me for two reasons.
A: They contain dairy, and I don't eat dairy.
and 2: They were in your MOUTH! why the fuck would I want your half eaten pretzel stick?
I asked my wife how much she got, she was only offered a couple sticks, no boxes. Looks like we know who the popular one is now.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Just because I am paranoid...

I have always been a paranoid person. Growing up I always had these fantasy/delusions that everything around me was fake, and either the government or aliens were spying on me through hidden cameras placed throughout my world. Although I never really believed it, in the back of my mind I always felt like that movie the Truman show, and honestly, that movie kinda freaked me out. It was so close to what I always felt as a child. It is all part of being really egotistical, from this belief that I am so important, the center of the world really, so I am worth spying on constantly. It would have been a really boring show if you ask me. Unless you would like to watch a show about a kid who watches a lot of TV, or 14-18 year old boys masturbate constantly.
I never really, truly believed that I was part of some hideous experiment by aliens, or that the US government was watching my every move, but since I have moved to Korea...Well being the only White people in a see of Yellow, you get stared at constantly, sometimes they literally stop what they are doing and watch what I do with an incredulous look and dropped jaw. Not speaking Korean, I always get the feeling that people are talking about me but I never know for sure. To make things worse, a melody, followed by a mysterious voice will play through speakers in our walls. The message is in a language I dont understand, but I can tell it is different sometimes. It usually comes on a little while after I get home from going shopping, or getting back from work. I cant help but feel like maybe, just maybe it is talking about me. "The wayguk has returned from work, you may resume your normal activities..." "The foreigner purchased the following items today..." Anyway, it totally creeps me out.