You have failed and now you must Daegu!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I made a boy cry yesterday just by looking at him. We did a Halloween lesson of sorts this week. He tried to steal candy. Then again, maybe his hand was just cold. I caught him with his hand in the bag of candy. He was clutching a few lollipops. I said, "No candy for thieves," and then gave him the infamous Stare of Death(patent pending). He started crying in 10 seconds. To celebrate my victory I bought a milkshake.

Tomorrow is a school festival. I don't know what this means because no one else seems to know. I may or may not show up to work. Would anyone notice? Would anyone care?

I'm considering switching schools. There are just too many self indulgent assholes here and the last English speaking principal is retiring this January. It might be time to pack the bags and find another school. It's too bad. I really enjoy the classes we have here. It's just the other bullshit is becoming untenable. I'll set myself on fire before I ever apologize to anyone here again. I don't care. I could run up and down the halls naked, hitting people with my penis. I'm not apologizing. I'm done with it. If I make a mistake or hurt someone's feelings, I act like a gentleman. I apologize. I do the right thing. If the other teachers here hurt my feelings...well, nothing. They never apologize. You could have someone dead to rights, like the candy thief, and they still won't do it. The double standard is maddening. Of the 60 or so teachers here, there is one adult. Me. The rest are 30, 40 or 50 year old babies.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Good news and bad news....

Good news. I'm healthy and the weather is beautiful.

Bad news. I ate this. I ate it when I was sick and I only had about a 1/4 of a bag. All the research I've been able to do indicates that while melamine is poison, it doesn't effect adults nearly as much as it does children. I feel fine. My kidneys are fine. Since I ate it when I was sick, I was drinking gallons of hot tea every day. It was probably flushed out of my system before any real damage had been done. Hopefully. Either way, the Chinese have tried to kill me. I'm 90% sure I can put this on my resume.

Su-jin's birthday was a fairly tame affair. We went out for dinner. She got presents. We went out for coffee. She got cake. A competition for my affection has started. It's Su-jin vs. her dog, Dalong. Whenever I visit Su-jin's apartment, Dalong essentially attaches herself to me and won't let go until it's either time to eat or I make my escape. However, Su-jin will always win.

School was insanely tame this week. Tuesday's classes were canceled for a test. Thursday's classes were canceled for an ice skating trip. Then, on Friday we gave a reading and speaking test. I played a Mr. Bean video for the last few minutes and asked questions about it.

Everything is coming up Matt this week! Well, except the poison.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


It turns out my coteacher drove the kid home after school and had a talk with his mom. It turns out, the parents divorced 3 years ago and the kid has taken it really hard. Also, he rarely comes home after school. He hangs out with a tough middle school crowd and usually doesn't get home until 10:30. We're expecting a change in behavior next week, but we doubt it will last.

Also, I went on a boring as hell school field trip last night. We went to a mountain, but it was also used as a set for Korean dramas. Not the modern ones. The ones set in ancient times with swords and beards. We walked 6 km. Students came with their parents. We didn't get dinner. If I had known about any of this, I wouldn't have gone. I stuck with the 5th grade English teacher and her friends. Most were cool, but 2 of the guys are gigantic douches. First, their English sucks and they won't try Korean with me. I guess its embarrassing to speak Korean with a foriegner. Whatever. These guys are both in their late 20's, married and act like total fags. They were holding hands and skipping for a portion of our walk. Then, we found a "snack shop" of sorts. They did all the ordering. They picked all of my enemies. Bundaeggi(roasted bugs), squid and compressed fish parts(odaeng, the hotdog of the sea). I was waiting for one to comment on my eating habits so I could punch him in the face and not feel bad. Sadly, neither did.

With nothing else better to do, I took a lot of pics. I get them on the blog soon enough. Su-jin's birthday is in 2 days. Yay for her!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Well, I am mostly healthy. Let me put it to you this way...I had my first cigarette in two weeks yesterday. Yeah, I'm healthy enough to smoke.

Friday was a loooooooooong day. We had to change the class schedule around because of a school wide fitness test. I didn't start teaching until around 10:30, but I didn't finish until 3pm. My last class usually ends around 2. Our last class was our most difficult. Class 6-4. They've got a few kids who can really speak English well, but they've also got a few nasty bastards that need to meet the business end of the board of education. Class went reasonably well. We started with a listening test that went for about 15 minutes. Then it was activity time. First, we did a brainstorm on the board, then we played a game using the ideas we generated. It went well enough....until it was time for the class badass to speak. He refused. He wouldn't speak in English. He wouldn't speak in Korean. He wouldn't move. The other students attempted to assist. He wouldn't speak. So, it was time to take it up a notch. We waited. We waited until it was time for class to end. He wouldn't speak. We waited. Some of the bigger kids were ready to strangle him. We waited. Everyone put their heads down. 3:15 rolled around. The class was dismissed, except for Mr. Tough Guy. We waited. Eventually, I left. I had some paperwork to get to for one of my other classes. My coteacher stayed. First, they waited. Then, the badass cleaned the room. First he swept. Then he dusted. Then he washed the windows. Then, they waited again. Eventually, my coteacher went back to the office. She brought the kid with her. It was 4:30, I went home, but she stayed with him. As far as I know, they will both be waiting on Monday.

I'm usually not that tough on kids. Seriously. As long as they're not goofing off or screaming while I'm trying to get something accomplished, I'm fairly leniant. If a kid tells me he doesn't know the answer, that's okay. I'll help, but if a tough guy refuses to tell us anything, well, we can't always be friendly. I think my co-teacher went a little overboard. A 2 hour punishment is a little extreme, but its her culture and I think its up to her to decide what's suitable and what's not. Stuff that would get teachers arrested in the US are no big deal here and I do stuff daily that puzzles my coworkers. When I was younger, I don't remember a kid that wouldn't all. In Korea, it's common for Koreans to essentially shut down when they feel uncomfortable. In the US, that would never happen. Not get in someone's face when I'm pissed off? Whatever. Either way, I'm sure nothing is resolved and the tough guy will continue to be a problem. Good times!

Next week is Su-jin's birthday. I'm working on a surprise party. Shhhhh.

Sunday, October 05, 2008


2 weeks ago, I was invited to a party for new teachers working in the Daegu public school system. Enough of my contemporaries agreed to come, so I joined them. Henry, the most honest guy on the planet, and Simon, the most polite guy on the planet, both turned up. Henry is brutally honest and he doesn't like anyone. He has no use for others. I've got to respect that and he's from Chicago. Simon is English. I've seen what it takes to get under his collar. He's a better man than I. My good buddy Heath is now working in a high school in Daegu. He turned up with his Australian buddy, Stuart. A good time was had by all. I even won the raffle, but I erm, forgot the prize at the restaurant. Oh well.

After the party, we headed down town to get some dinner. This was the last time I have felt like a human being until present. We got terribly ripped, then I woke up with a hangover. Then I felt a cold coming on. It turns out it was bronchitis and I was fighting it all week long. Since I was sick, unable to move or speak and at home, I watched the last two regular season White Sox games. They showed more heart in those two games than they did all season. I've made two trips to Dr. Cho. I get the impression he's keeping me sick so I keep coming back to practice English with him. I think he's switching the real meds with the fake so I can stay just healthy enough to be alive and useful. If I die, he's lost his free English lessons.

I'm still on the mend. I can't shake this sore throat, but I can function and speak. Not speaking was scary. I couldn't muster more than a whisper. I was worried it wouldn't come back.

On to better news. Kyeong-su introduced me to his family. They wanted to say thank you for inviting him to our home in Chicago. I met everyone. Mother, father, brother, sister, brother's wife and nephew. They taught the nephew how "cheers" with his grandfather, but "one shot," was too difficult. He's not really speaking yet. Just mom, dad and "네." He has a great family. He looks a lot like his brother. His sister, thankfully, does not.

I've been hearing rumors of a KNFL. A Korean National Football League. I've found team pages, but I can't locate the league page. In Daegu, our team is called the "Daegu Pheonix." Seoul has the coolest logo and nickname. The Seoul Vikings, but with a real Viking as the logo. I'm a little jealous. I really want to attend a game here. I've found schedule info, but nothing about a venue. More research is needed.

I still feel awful. Go White Sox.