You have failed and now you must Daegu!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Quick update.

Morning classes start this week. Ugh. I'm teaching three classes from 8:50 to 11:25. I do get a break on Thursday. I have only two classes in the afternoon on Thursday and one of them is my beloved seven year old monsters.

In the aftermath of Christmas, I've gained some popularity among the students or at least it appears so. My monsters don't punch quite as hard as they used to and when they claw at me, they don't use all five fingers.

This was a slow week. Slow because my favorite Christmas gift made it here. All three seasons of Justice League cartoons! I forgot how much I enjoyed these plus bonus points for the use of The Question and the Suicide Squad episode. (My two favorite 80's properties that no one has ever heard of, let alone read)

On New Year's I'm going to Bell Park(not the official name) to watch the Buddhists ring the bell at midnight. It's what Koreans do here, apparently.

More after New Years'.

I brought my phone and the cord, fully intending on taking the pics off of it, but my battery died.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas and Happy Nude Year!

This should be a massive update, so get a cup of cocoa now and park yourself for a while.

I guess I'll start at the beginnning. I've got a new workout partner for the gym. I'm hanging with one of the few British guys in Daegu. Thomas(his family name is Jones, so he chooses to go by Thomas, I applaud this decision), is probably one of the most interesting individuals I've met here. I've been helping him with his workouts since Monday, so that's the reason this gets put at the beginning. Not a terribly interesting opening paragraph, but it should get better.

On Thursday and Friday we did Christmas at LIKE Academy. My Aunt Randi sent me one of the Christmas trees from the "Charlie Brown Christmas", it's a fairly scrawny thing, with three tiny branches and one red ornament. My seven year olds destroyed the ornament in about 30 seconds. I should have just thrown the thing in the trash and cut out the middle man. I told the kids, "Oh no! Now this is a sad tree." I guess they got the guilt trip, so they pulled out oragami paper and started crafting candy canes, stars and angels for the tree. It was adorable. The tree is now a happy tree.

My big activity for the kids was making Christmas cards. I was surprised that the older kids got into it, I would have thought they were too old to want to do arts and crafts, but I guess its better than a lesson. The majority of the cards were painfully cute. Even the negative ones. I had one from a middle school boy that said "Merry Christmas" across the top with a picture of me lying in a pool of blood underneath it. "Who is that? Santa?" No, it is teacher!" "What is the red stuff?" "Teacher's blood!" "Merry Christmas."

I bought snacks for some of my classes, I probably blew 30,000 on bullshit. I bought pizza for one of my monster classes. I wanted to smooth things over a little. Didn't work, at least not yet. Whatever.

I hung out with Kee Young on Thursday. We were asked to leave a restaurant. After a few rounds of soju and sake(possibly the worst alcohol combo in the world. More on this later), he decided he wanted some eel. I said okay. He asked the waitress and she said they didn't have it. An argument started. I told Kee Young to let me do the talking. I think the exact words were "smooth things over." Things didn't go well.

Sake is a vile, slightly palatable drink. Soju is just vile. Combining Japanese with Koreans isn't a good idea, especially when the battleground is my stomach. I almost called out sick on Friday because I felt so shitty. Bizarre story. One of the girl's I met and went out with stalked me for one day. She sent three text messages and called three times while I was teaching. I called her during my break and she was in tears. She sent me a text later, I forgot to reply and she called me in tears again. I handed the phone to Kee Young so he could work his Korean mojo and see what the problem was, but she wouldn't speak to him. Her last words were, "I'm sorry Matt. Good bye." I picture her hanging in a closet somewhere in Daegu.

Big news! My cousin, Paul, is visiting Seoul in March. I can't wait. I high fived a random student when I read the email.

I worked on Saturday to get Christmas off. I was offered work on Saturday and get Christmas off or come in and type for 7 hours. I think I made a wise choice. I had to teach five classes. It's likely I won't see most of these kids again, so I was able to use all of my dirty tricks to get them to learn. I had fun teaching and most of the kids appeared to not hate my guts. I had to ask one boy to leave my last class. Every answer was "Teacher is crazy!" It got old. Fast.

Saturday I hung out with Daren and Keddie along with a few Korean friends and Western friends. We wound up taking a nap at one of the bars we were at. Daren and Keddie had a massive fight. Keddie had a bad break up and Daren was sad because Keddie was sad and it evolved into a small tussle. I stayed out just to make sure they didn't do anything they would regret and we would up taking a siesta on a couch at Old Skool.

Sunday was the Christmas party at Daren and Keddie's apartment. I made potato latkes and they weren't a disaster. The egg nog was a highlight. Rum is hard to find in this country, so we used 151 and a lot of it. People were drunk in fifteen minutes. The party was hailed as a success. Bizarre note, Andrew showed up for one minute. Literally. He poked his goofy canadian melon through the door, said hello and bailed. He took his shoes off and put them right back on. This guy is twisting my mind into a pretzel. Why even leave the house?

The White Sox just made a trade. I guess we're waving the white flag before the new year. I'm glad I'll be in Korea rooting for my beloved 06 Champion Samsung Lions. Seriously. I love my Sox, but I'm a little confused.

Monday, December 18, 2006

S1: Do you know what Reclining Figure, 1936 is.
S2: No, I don't. Please tell me what Reclining Figure, 1936, is.
S1: You must know what Reclining Figure, 1936 is.
S1: Do you know what a friend is?
S2: No, I don't. Please tell me what a friend is.
S1: You must know what a friend is.
S1: Do you know what a sculptor is?
S2: No, I don't. Please tell me what a sculptor is
S1: You must know what a sculptor is.
Ohdaewoskin: I can tell you what a cockbag is. It's someone who keeps insisting that people know what things are when they clearly do not! KNOCK IT OFF DICKFACE!

I just spent the last forty minutes typing this nonsense and I developed a strong hatred of S1. Dude, just leave S2 alone.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

This week was fairly slow for me. I was painfully sick for most of it. The last remnants of my illness take the form of a wet, hacking cough. Other than that, I actually feel pretty good.

I laid low for most of the week. The only time I'd come out of my room was to go to the gym, eat or play with the puppies that Vegan Brian was dogsitting this week. I've been hanging out a lot with David and Jerry recently, they're funny guys. I'm really just trying to stay off of the 2nd floor as much as possible.

I had an actual date on Thursday that went poorly. The girl seemed fairly outgoing when I met her, but she was fairly dull when we met on Thursday. Whatever.

Classes weren't much fun this week. It took actual effort for me to get excited for classes, it's probably just the fact that I was terribly sick. The only funny story I have from this week is when seven little Korean girls decided to gang up on me when I had my back turned and I was sitting at the computer. They decided they were going to mess up my hair. I had fourteen tiny hands rubbing against my mop as hard as they could. As soon as I could subdue on pair of hands, two more would spring up in their place. Eventually I just ran away.

We had a meeting on Thursday to discuss our holiday plans for the school. Story reading and sandwich making. Tuna salad sandwich making. I hate tuna salad. It was actually a very fast meeting all things considered, but with none of the hilarity of previous meeting. Robert didn't show up, Heeduk didn't say anything asinine, Mr. Kim didn't even play guitar.

That reminds me, apparently Robert believes that I am trying to "kiss up" to the Kim's for some reason. My actual goals are unclear to him, but part of my plan involves taking over his spot as "favorite teacher." Robert has said all of two words to me in the last month, both of them being "hello." How he has deduced any of this is beyond me, but he made his announcement the same week as I threw my Mattrum at Mrs. Kim. I show up a little early each day for some prep work, that's it. Are the Kim's going to pay me more money? Are they going to give me milk and cookies whenever I teach a class? I want to succeed at my job, I couldn't care less about being "the favorite." No matter what, I'm still just a white guy to them.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Special video link of the day.

and for Kotch and Slechta...

That will never get old.

Thanks to Mom and Ben for their comments. Mom, you would have definitely would have frowned. Ben, you probably would have cringed.

I am now painfully sick. It started Friday night after one of my workouts of death. I woke up with dizziness, fever and unusual body pain on Saturday, but I still went out. I didn't drink or smoke either night, but I still felt like crap. It was the last night that one of the foreigner bars would be open, I felt like I had to pay my respects. It's been sold to a Russian consortium. 10,000 won says it will be a brothel.

I spent almost all day in bed on Sunday and just barely made it to work today. The headache, fever and vicious body pain(try working out and then getting sick in the same night, it tears you up) are gone. I still have the cough, little appetite and lack of a will to move. Things could be worse. Daren has the flu AND her apartment was broken into. Welcome to the neighborhood. She took it better than I would have. I'd be bolstering my arsenal of pellet guns and declaring war on the fruitcart vendors. She just went to the police.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

This week was just horrific, but its over and in two days I get to do this all over again.

It started out with me being super pissed and totally hulking out. Seriously, if you put the over/under on me totally hulking out in Korea at three months, wouldn't you take the under? I like to think I'm getting better, but I had two "What am I doing here" moments this week. The first involved one of my younger students. I've had him since he started and he actually seems to like me. Two boys were putting their coats over their heads and singing. I took the coats away, one boy stopped, the other didn't and I moved his seat. The boy in the "Special Seat" continued. I moved his desk outside the room and he lost it. I had to spend five minutes comforting him after class, like Sellers after I destroy him at Madden or like Rhea after another humiliating loss at air hockey. The next day, he was waiting for me an hour before class. He walked with me to my classroom and would not let me leave until he wrote I'm sorry on the whiteboard.(He needed help with spelling) Then he walked with me down to the computer lab and whispered "I'm sorry" in my ear. He gave me a hug and then sat in my lap while I did my work. Then in class, he took it upon himself to quiet everyone down. It was adorable. That class is probably my favorite. It's seven WILD eight year olds who started learning their ABC's with me. We have a lot of fun together. When they're that young, you actually see the progress they are making. It's probably the most rewarding experience I've had here.

Then there is my "box of rocks" class. These are the kids who will read a paragraph, then when asked, "Who was talking?" will respond with "I don't know." I'm still not sure if they legitimately don't know or if they're just playing dumb. I can tell you this much, when I get angry, they start speaking really well. So guess, which way I'm leaning? It was a typically completely disrespectful waste of time with them. I have three girls in that class that absolutely hate my guts. I told them to stop talking, they did, but as soon as I turned my back they went right back to it. I was sick of it. I didn't beat anyone, but I did something I shouldn't have and made a girl cry hysterically for thirty minutes straight. Somewhere, my mother was frowning. She wasn't crying because of what I did, but the fact that she was angry that I disrespected her. I don't consider myself a monsterous teacher. I really look forward to most of my classes and I can tell the kids actually enjoy me as a teacher. I attempted to apologize, but she wouldn't have any of it. I even spoke with the Korean teacher to have her attempt to smooth things over. I felt like a monster for the rest of the day and I still have a hard time sleeping. Part of me doesn't feel that bad. These kids go out of their way to push my buttons and if I were a Korean teacher there probably would have been a beating. I just have to remember that I am the adult and they are the students, even if they choose not to act like it. I have this class again on Tuesday and I may try to trade with Bryan. See if he can handle these kids.

I think, if I were a legitimate monster, I wouldn't be having these feelings. I'm still not very proud of myself.

I've made peace with everyone. Andrew isn't as awful as he was, but I won't be starting his fan club any time soon.

We have another new guy. As if this blog wasn't confusing enough, I have to add a third Brian to the mix. He taught in Seoul for a year and has "expertitise" He'll ask a question, listen to an answer for about three seconds and then give his opinion. He seems like a nice enough guy, I just think he comes on a little too strong. He also chose to share his sexual history with everyone the first night in Daegu, that was more than I cared for.

Speaking of Kee Young did the same thing last Sunday. He got wasted and told me about various sexual acts he prefers. I want that thirty seconds back.

My wrist feels much better, but after an insane workout I feel like hammered shit.

Hassman got his wedding present. A humidifier in the shape of a frog along with some Korean junk food. He claims he actually likes it. I don't believe it.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Okay, things aren't that bad.

I went out with my Korean buddy, Kee Young, Sunday night and that helped me have some fun and get away from the situation for a while.

I didn't sprain my wrist, I merely jammed it. Big relief, I initially thought I broke it. It felt good enough for me to go to the gym yesterday and it hasn't swollen up, but it still hurts to write and type.

I'm not nearly as angry as I was, but I'm still not happy. The problem is this, everyone else has been allowed to move out of the crappy room except me. I admit it's interesting circumstances, but I was given no reason to believe that I wouldn't be allowed to get out of the shithole. I find it very convienient that as soon as the room came available, Andrew was able to produce a "fiance." This is the same guy that as soon as I met him he was asking me about Korean girls and buying rubbers in front of me. Now, he gets both Keddie and Daren's rooms until his"fiance" arrives in Korea. Yeah, the whole situation really rubs me the wrong way.

Andrew is still a thief and a liar and will be regarded as such for the remainder of my stay in Korea. Should I choose to stay in Korea, I probably won't stay with LIKE.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Today was an awful day and I'm fairly certain I sprained my wrist.

This was a really late weekend. I was out way too late on Friday and Saturday.

Today I was supposed to move in to Keddie's room. Not happening. The new guy is getting it. I was furious. I screamed at Mrs. Kim and punched one of the walls of my room. It turns out my room is solid concrete with wallpaper on it. It hurts. A lot. What it boils down to is this. Andrew stabbed me in the back. I guess this is the thanks I get for helping him out. I have a long memory and he will get his before I leave this country.

I thought Andrew was just a chump before, now he's a full blown piece of shit. The less I see of him the better. I may sprain my other wrist while wailing on his goofy canadian melon.

Not much else to report this week. I went to another dance club. I'm still not willing to say these are fun, but they suck slightly less.

I'm really going to miss having Daren and Keddie around the apartment. Damn, this weekend was depressing and it hurts to type.