Saturday, July 29, 2006

Canada, Baby! Yah!

So here I am in Canada. I'm happy as a clam. As a lark! Happy Schnappy!

The journey here was pretty nuts. We got to the bus terminal about half an hour before the 2am express buss was set to leave for Incheon, and the lady at the window informed us that all the seats were sold. I just smiled and said "exactly!" because I am an idiot when it comes to traveling, and if I can manage to screw things up, I do! I miss connections, don't make reservations, and I've missed more than one flight. Embarrassing, but true!

Anyhow, my friend did some fast talking to the bus driver and he agreed to let me on the bus and handed me my seat, in the form of two pieces of newspaper. It was Floor City! Holy hell, that was uncomfortable, but luckily I only had to stay like that for over an hour, as the bus driver met up with another bus driver on the highway and 3 of us were able to move over to the other bus which was headed to Incheon as well. So I got a great single seat right at the front of the bus for the rest of the 4 hour journey. Unfortunately, even though I was so tired I was about to hallucinate, I couldn't get much sleep because I was very afraid the bus driver was going to kill us all. He, I think, had delusions that he was actually piloting a rocketship.

Otherwise, the first flight over to Tokyo was a short one, which was a blessing as I was sitting beside about 6 little babies who wailed in harmony the whole way pretty much. The parents, (though I know 2 of them weren't actually parents, but were escorting 2 little girl babies coming over to America to be adopted) took the crying babies with a good sense of embarrassed humour. I wondered to myself if the children might enjoy the muffled seclusion of the overhead compartments.

The flight from Tokyo to Detroit was long and uncomfortable. A pre-teen Japanese girl sat beside me and spent the whole trip clinging to her mother on the other side of her, so mostly had her bum pressed up against me. They were very quiet, those two, and I can't recall them speaking much at all. I wished I hadn't requested a window seat as I was trapped in there and didn't want to wake the silent sleeping Japanese koalas beside me when I had to visit the facilities. So I suffered.

Detroit's airport is a bloody racket. I had about a 3 hour stop over, and I was starved as I had slept through the 2nd (and final) feeding on the overseas flight. So I was in the airport with a mecca of choices in food, but I had no American dollars. So I went to the currency exchange booth, hoping to change 20,000won so I could get something to snack on, and I was told they have a $5.50 US handling fee.
"But I'm only changing 20 dollars!"
The woman just shrugged at me.
On principle, I wasn't going to give them 25% of my money, and I wasn't going to get more American currency because I wasn't going to be there long enough to warrant it. Plus their exchange rate sucked, to ass insult to injury. So I decided to have a cigarette to try and quash my hunger pains, and the security directed me to "the bar near the escalators over there." I asked if I could just go outside, and was told yes, but then I'd have to go through security again, and I didn't want to do that, as I'd just been felt up only a few moments before by a some security lady. I don't know why I ALWAYS set off the metal detector, even after I remove all the metal I can. Maybe I have a bullet buried in me- and I've forgotten that I was once shot. But, like, I've repressed a lot of my past experiences in Nam and all that.

So anyway, I went to the bar and some Italian gentleman invited me to sit at his table, but just as soon as I had lit up, the waitress came by to take my order, which was "nothing," since I had no money, and she was a total snot about it. I explained I'd been navigated to the bar by security and she bitchily said what she probably says a couple hundred times a day, "Yes, we are the airports only smoking area, but we also are a business and we do require an order to,....blah blah blah."

So whatever, I went to my gate and waited until I could board a plane and get the hell out of that airport. (It is a pretty nice airport otherwise than being a big con game.)

Short hop over to Toronto after too long a wait on the tarmac with no air conditioning and my armpits starting to really protest smell-wise. A sea of people waiting for other people coming off planes, and there was my brother. Yay!! What a hero, he had a cooler filled with ice and some tall Canadian beers in the back of the car. Perfect!

Nice ride to my mom's house in Niagara listening to some good music he's going to copy for me (I'm really digging Nelly Furtado's latest!) We got to my mom's house and spent awhile talking before finally going out for something to eat. I could have photographed my steak and cheese ciabatta which was delicious, but I inhaled it.

Back to my moms, my brother took off for his house up north, and I was in bed by about 11:30! And up at 8:30! Which is unbelievable for me, but understandable considering I'd had almost no sleep for the 2 days previous. I just had a big mug of my mother's strong coffee, and my mother's taken my grandmother out to visit a garage sale and buy some peaches. I might indulge in another nap, then some lunch, then some shopping, and later a sunset on a beach with old friends! Ahhhhh, Canada!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Hello, How are You?

In just less than 24 hours I'll be leaving my little apartment and setting off toward the bright lights of Seoul, and then the bright lights of Tokyo, and then the bright lights of Detroit, to finally end up looking at the bright lights of Toronto. 30 hours later. THIRTY HOURS! (Here's where I insert am emoticon of a sick looking face. For Kevin. Because he sure does love the emoticons.)

Don't steal my idea, but I'm going to develop and market Emo-TEE-TEE's where with a push of a button you can display emoticons on the front of your t-shirt, thereby letting the whole world how you feel- or how you feel about the whole world. My name will be Jelly J. Fudd and I will own a mansion and a yacht.

Right now, I'd have one of those "yawny" smiley faces blinking on my chest. I've only had about four hours of fitful sleep each night over the past few days, and the exhaustion has seeped deep into my bones. Deep, deep into my core. Hopefully I'll never know for SURE, but I imagine this is what ebola feels like. A couple weeks back when I was still going to the doctor every day for my face, I told him I wasn't sleeping and he gave me 4 nights worth of sleeping pills. I didn't take any of them, because I've never taken them before and was a little nervous I'd be all groggy for work. The pharmacist assured me after 8 hours of zzzz's I'd wake up feeling right as rain, but still, I didn't take them. I think I might test-drive them on the long flight though, see if I can ease myself into the Bizzaro EST zone. I've got a fairly long stop-over in Tokyo, I think, so will be able to check in early. I've never been bumped up on a flight to business class, and I doubt it will happen (though I have hope- as my brother experienced that joy from Sydney to Toronto, so I know it occurs from time to time!) If it were to happen, the ticket agent should expect a very long kiss on the mouth from me. I'd skip the sleeping pills in that case and spend the whole flight gleefully rubbing my hands together and laughing manaically. I won't expect any kisses from my fellow business class travelers.

I'm feeling much better these days, apart from the exhaustion. My face is almost completely healed, with just a slight bump on the forehead. My heart is almost completely healed with just a slight bit of scar tissue. Everything happens for a reason though, and I might not be headed home if I hadn't smashed my face up. If I hadn't been with C. I'd never have gone to what turned out to be one of my favourite local restaurants. If I hadn't been all sad, I wouldn't have been out sitting crosslegged on some bench drinking a beer and watching the sunrise about three weeks ago. I wouldn't have run into the nice restaurant guy and his wife, who have quickly become wonderful friends. I wouldn't have met their brother in law, who is downright lovely and who will come and look after Kamikaze everyday while I'm gone.

I didn't tell you guys this, but a couple months ago I met C. downtown after work. He showed up wearing a knitted sweater vest with a large picture of Donald Duck embroidered on the back. I should have gone with my instinct and dumped him right then. HA!

Yesterday morning at about 7:30am, I should have been sleeping, but my mind was racing around and not letting me. I watched the grey clouds blow by my window. My heart was skipping a little and I suddenly recognized that feeling in my gut.

"Ah! Joy! Hisashiburi! Long time no see!"

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Sammiches and Soon Doobu

About three weeks ago I made a sammich. It was deelish. I got the recipe online from Canadian Living dot com. All the ingredients are easy to get here, this is one surimi-loving country! (Surimi is fake crab!)
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That's one tasty looking sammich, eh? You know you want to eat it, ya hoser. The recipe is to follow, but I'll mention that I substituted alfalfa sprouts for the cucumber slices, because I didn't have cukes, but I think there should be a law that all sammiches have sprouts on them! I also used a baguette instead of the suggested hamburger buns or rolls.

California Roll Burgers with Wasabi Mayonnaise

Sushi lovers will enjoy these golden burgers with all the fun elements of a California roll. Surimi – imitation shellfish usually made from pollock and flavoured with crab or lobster – is available in the refrigerator or freezer section of most grocery stores and makes these large patties affordable.

Ingredients

2 Eggs
1 cup (250 mL) Dry bread crumbs
2 Green onions, chopped
1/4 tsp (1 mL) Each salt and pepper
1 lb (500 g) Surimi (imitation crabmeat), chopped
2 tbsp (25 mL) Vegetable oil
4 Crusty rolls or hamburger buns
1 cup (250 mL) Thinly sliced cucumber
1 Ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced

Wasabi Mayonnaise:
1 tbsp (15 mL) Wasabi powder
1/4 cup (50 mL) Light mayonnaise

Preparation

In bowl, beat eggs. Stir in 1/3 cup (75 mL) of the crumbs, onions, salt and pepper; mix in surimi. Shape into four 1/2-inch (1 cm) thick patties. Sprinkle remaining crumbs into shallow dish; dip patties into crumbs, turning and patting to coat. (Make-ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.)

In nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat; fry patties, turning once, until golden, about 10 minutes.

Wasabi Mayonnaise:
Meanwhile, in bowl, stir wasabi powder with 2 tsp (10 mL) cold water to form paste; stir in mayonnaise.

Cut rolls in half. Toast in toaster or under broiler until golden. Spread wasabi mayonnaise on cut sides of rolls. Layer cucumber, patties then avocado on bottoms; sandwich with tops.

The next day I made a different variety for the teachers at school, just a chopped mix of surimi, onions, salt and pepper with the wasabi mayo binding it together. And sprouts, of course. The teachers liked them.

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For the last two weeks I've eaten the same thing for brunch and dinner everyday. It's my favourite Korean dish, I think, and the place near my school makes the best I've ever tasted. I've posted about soon doobu jjighae before (and even have a recipe for it.) The restaurant I go to also has outstanding panchan (side dishes) and I've suggested the owner lady who makes them should adopt me.
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I got a great present from one of my students. She made it at art school- I guess it could be a paperweight, but I'd like to figure out how to stick it on my wall. I LOVE it!
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Big Baby (WCB 58)

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My baby's got his back to me, all snuggled up consoling himself at the thought of me leaving him for 2 and a half weeks. I'm worried about him. Yesterday the guy who's going to stop in to feed him and change his water and litter everyday came by. Kamikaze was pretty well behaved, but hissed at him at one point. I haven't seen him hiss in SO LONG! I asked what had happened, and the guy said he had whispered to Kamikaze that he needs to go on a diet!

So, yes. Kamikaze's a big spoiled baby, but he'll be okay- right? Cats are resilient. I once read in a book somewhere that he (all cats) actually just regards me (cat owners) as a bigger litter-mate. He better be ok.

Poor baby!

Good news, though- that Clare's back!! Yay! Go visit her and Kiri at Eat Stuff for more fur-babies.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Amelia Bedelia Goes to the Movies

My mind has been distracted for the last two and a half weeks now. I haven't been sleeping well, often going to sleep when we're well into morning and even then waking up a bunch of times and having a hard time getting back to sleep. Most days, I've been walking around on four or five hours of zzzz's.

I found a name and phone number on a scrap of paper in some jeans the other night and couldn't recall where I'd gotten it. I called my friend and asked her if she recognized the name. We had met a bunch of men a couple nights previous and they had given me their business cards, but I didn't remember a scrap of paper. "This name," I asked, "Is it a boy's or a girl's name?"
"Sounds like a girl's name."
"Hm?"

Then my boss asked me two days ago about a woman I'd run into near the school who was an English Lit major at university. She wanted to meet me sometime for a coffee and a chat, and I was in a bit of a hurry, but gave her my telephone number. The next day, she was in the lobby of my school's building waiting for me, saying she had called the night before, but I didn't answer. "Oh!" I said, "I got home late!" So she gave me a scrap of paper with her number on it.

Funny thing is, before my boss mentioned it, she had been absolutely removed from my memory. And still it took two days to connect that scrap of paper now on my night table to the woman. I finally connected it all today while trying to clean up. I'm usually not so absent minded!

Actually I had a conversation with someone back in Canada the other night - and now I can't remember who it was, but they'd asked me if I'd seen any good movies lately. I watch a lot of movies. Suddenly, I couldn't remember a single movie I'd seen in recent weeks, either good or bad. Nada. Thinking about it now, I remember a British movie with an almost unrecognizable Rufus Wainwright.

Anyhow, because I'll probably forget about it in a couple hours, I just finished watching Sixteen Blocks, with Bruce Willis. I thought it was great. I agreed with a review on IMDB, "definitely one of the best dirty cop movies I've seen in a long time." (Or the quote was something like that.) If you've seen the movie, you'll know the answer to this, but if you haven't:

There's a big hurricane and you're driving your car and come to a bus stop where three people are waiting. There's an old woman who's really ill and probably going to die if she doesn't get to a hospital. There's your best friend in the world who has saved your life before. And, there's the woman (or man) of your dreams. You've only got room for one in your car. What do you do?

I also remember watching "The 40 Year Old Virgin," a few weeks back with C. When watching the "waxing" scene I laughed so hard I was in tears!

Friday, July 21, 2006

By the Way

One of the changes my boss talked to me about tonight was that she's hiring someone to take her place. Apparently this woman speaks English very well and has a lot of experience teaching and working with foreigners. It's going to be very interesting to see what happens.

I'm going to miss my boss, but she levelled with me that so far, this has been one of the worst years of her life. I didn't mention it, I don't think, on here- but a couple months ago she had a car accident. I was freaked out when I got to work and she wasn't there and I was told she'd rolled her car. Turns out she'd only 360'd it a couple times, but screwed up her shoulder and neck in the meantime. It happened because she's a terifically nervous and unsafe driver, and a bit of paper on her windshield freaked her out.

Her son, who wasn't strapped in, may be suffering from PTSD- and I've been quite hard on him when he hurls himself to the floor and weeps when he loses a game in class. But then again, he's almost eight and his mom just very recently stopped accompanying him to the bathroom to wipe his butt. Last week she took a hundred dollar taxi ride to retrieve her little prince, who'd developed a tummyache on his school outing. Her son speaks Korean well for his age, and English quite well for his level, but his primary language is WHINE.

It makes me cuckoo
Yah, I said it.

Right now, I kind of wish my boss would wipe her slate clean, fire the current K-teachers, and we could start fresh when I come back from Canada.

And yes, I got my golden ticket. Approximately 21 hours after I leave Seoul, I'll arrive in Toronto. I bit it, and paid just over $2,400 Cdn, (not including the tie and cost it takes to get me to Seoul) but by God this time next week I'll be on the way to the airport.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

I Said, He Said, She Said.

Did you pee?
I did!
In a squatty toilet, which it seems I may have finally mastered after 4 and a half years. I can most times manage to pee without soaking the top of the back of my pants. I know, that sounds strange, but it's happened, and I think it's a triple whammo of not enough pants-pulling-down, not enough squat, and wrongly positioned pelvis.
This satisfies the TMI requirement of every post, doesn't it?

Back to our story.

We were at, "Lady, don't ask questions you don't want to hear an honest answer to."

I've probably said it before here somewhere, but I suspect that Elizabeth might be manic depressive. Her "highs" are really too high, and if you've read the archives, you'll know her lows are way too low. Lately we're on the upswing so she's all over the place, and it's exhausting. Two days ago she declared (again) her desire to study English. Do I know a foreigner? She wants a woman. She wants foreigner friends. She's super keen. This has been an on and off thing for the two years I've been working here. She gets all super motivated, "Let's (you) order English Bibles from Amazon! Let's (you) put ads on the internet! Let's (you) find free church-based classes! Let's (you) find English news-sites!" And I do, but there's no follow-through on her part. And that's fine by me. Really, if she doesn't want to study English, that's up to her. If I were a super-busy woman (or SuperWoman) I might resent the time spent trying to help her out, but I'm not, and I don't.

Ideally, she wants to study with me for free. I'm not keen. Finally she called me last night and asked for private lessons, but I don't want to do that either. I conceeded, and said maybe we could go eat dinner at my local once a week and study- but she cluck-clucked that, saying then neighbourhood folks would think her English is poor. I find 30 hours a week with her to be exhausting, whether she's up or down. I don't need any more.

The other night we were walking downtown and she suddenly wasn't beside me anymore. I heard, "JEEEENNnnnnyyy looooookkkk at mmmmMMEEEEEE!" She was sitting on some low silver barrier thing that stops cars at crosswalks from driving up on the sidewalk. I looked at her, and she was laughing so hard. I didn't get it.
"Oh!" I thought, "You're using something (a barrier thing) that's not supposed to be a chair, as a seat? It's like me picking up a banana and holding it to my ear, saying 'Hello?' OH!! I get it! Yah that's,.... well, not very funny at all. Nice try."

Fact is, she called me three times last night between 1:30 and 3:00am and said a whole lot of things. Her final call was to ask if she could correspond with my grandmother. Could she correct her English?
"Uhhh, I really don't think you could understand her writing." (She writes letters single spaced curly cursive writing with a shaky hand.)
"NO! I mean by e-mail!"
"(Big laughter!) Elizabeth, she's eighty-three years old. I doubt she knows how to turn on a computer!"
"How about your aunt or your uncle or your brother?"
"Welllll, I don't get e-mails from them, so I doubt they have time to e-mail you."
"Oh. They're not interested in Asian culture?"
"(Stifled laughter.) Ah! Are you the gateway guide to Asian culture?"
"What eez 'gateway?'"

We're back to sleepless nights with her. Grand ideas. Great plans. She's taken up quilting, and whenever she says the word "quilting" it's accompanied with a very dramatic mime (pulling an invisible needle through and pulling it up as high as her arm will go - with pursed serious fish-lips. Wash, rinse, repeat.) She quilts through the dawn and comes to work with her head in a doo-rag and takes her glasses off to fall asleep at her desk. Visiting parents, I'm sure, love to see that!

Tuesday night I taught her final class. They're a nice bunch of kids, but one is unruly and he seems to dislike Elizabeth as much as she loathes him. She has lost control of her emotions quite a number of times in that class and whipped books at him, broken pencils, and thrown sticks. He is a decent kid, very smart but very loud. And he can be very rude. I've tried many different approached with this class, and lately what's worked is about 10 or 15 minutes of free conversation- an then I can settle them into some studying and we play some kind of game if I get what I want done in time. The conversation part works well, and I try to come up with interesting things to talk about. They're young teenagers- 13 or 14, but pretty saavy, so I speak to them fairly frankly.

The other night I taught them the word "cuckoo." I say it often enough, as do I the word "crazy," which is far less provocative back home than it is here.
"That's crazy! Don't be crazy! Why you actin' all crazy-like? I'm crazy about you. We're crazy in love."
You know what I'm talkin' bout, Willis.

But here, "meechin" can be fighting words.

And so I taught my students "cuckoo," because they've heard me say it, and because they asked. So I told them about the bird who sings daily in the forest beside my apartment. (I love that bird most times.) And I told them about the bird who lives in the clocks. And I told them cuckoo's a playful name for crazy. And right after the conversation turned to the reason for Elizabeth's most recent freak out on the class- and I believe I said "that's cuckoo."
Aw shit.
"Teacha, I'm is talking Elizabeth you say she cuckoo."

One kid had slid his borrowed pencil across the table to Elizabeth and it slid right off the table and landed in her coffee which was sitting on a chair. She went (crazy, mental, cuckoo-- pick one, we're speaking English here, afterall) on the kid- and this is the GOOD boy! (The bad one had already been kicked out of class, which is surely why she was so on edge.)
I'm not sure what I said, but "cuckoo," and "Elizabeth" are all mixed in, and so - again, "Teacha, I'm is talking Elizabeth you say she cuckoo."

I chuckled and said, "Don't!"
"Really, don't. That's not what I said, and you will make her very angry. Don't"

I'd since forgotten about it, but tonight, after the bell rang and I had spent my whole last free period talking to my boss about upcoming changes to our school, Victor came bursting out of the classroom and into the staffroom and proudly shouted: "Teacha, I'm is talking Elizabeth you say she cuckoo!"
Awww shit, shit!
Elizabeth also quickly emerged and stood beside me just shaking with angry. No sing-song this time. "Jenny. Did you say I'm cuckoo?"
"No, I didn't."
She stood shaking and staring at me. Koreans have the "angry eyes" completely down pat. Angry shakey stare-down eyes.
"Stop looking at me like that. I didn't say you were cuckoo."
She started to walk away but then decided I needed more angry eyes. "Really."
"Really."

Victor skip hopped into the TV Room, happy to have lived to torture Elizabeth another day, and she stalked back into the classroom, only to re-appear in the Teachers' Room a couple minutes later, whip her books and pencil onto the table, slam a few other things around, and when asked by Judy what was wrong, she went into a screaming fit about me and cuckoo and whatever else.
My, "Hey, I'm right here and you can talk to me about it," was met with more shrieks in Korean.

I went to the TV room where the boys were huddled and laughing and said "VICTOR! I TOLD you not to say that to Elizabeth. Now she's very angry at me! Go tell her you were lying and you're sorry!"

He did, but by that time Elizabeth was bawling. And my boss was pissed at him (and maybe me) and my co-workers are pissed at me.

(Yo, Liz? Why you acting so cuckoo at being (maybe) called cuckoo?)
Maybe because you're cuckoo?
But I didn't tell the students that.

And me? I'm just TIRED of all the drama.
I don't want to go to work tomorrow.

Intermission

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Let's all go to the lobby! Let's all go to the lobby!
Let's all go to the LAW-AW-BEE!
And have ourselves a snack!

She Said, I Said, Dey Don' Said

I guess seeing three penises the other night made me think I was on some kind of roll, but alas, I'm not. So I'm giving up counting cats or penises. I haven't seen either in the last couple days, except for the big furry blob whose bum is in my face when I wake up. Counting him, over and over,...well that's just odd. I have seen lots of rain. Lots and lots and lots. I counted. I've seen 8 billion 3 hundred and 24 raindrops. That's A LOT, considering I have been doing other things in my waking hours besides counting rain.

As far as work days go, today sucked a whole lot of ass. It's difficult to work with women, and I'll include myself in that sentiment. I can be short tempered, and I've told you all how I really need to work on my patience. Overall, though, I'm fairly easy going. 95% of the time at work, I'm alright- and I do spend much of the day smiling and laughing. Not today, though.

I've been spending so much time this week trying to secure a golden ticket to get the hell out of Dodge. It's been frustrating because it's high season and my indecisiveness as to whether or not I was going at all now means that many of the flights are over-booked. My ability to search for flights is also impeded by language barriers, and the one English speaking agent I contacted didn't seem so interested in my business. My co-worker advised getting a ticket online, and showed me a site where they had lots of flight options ranging from about $1500Cdn upwards. I started drooling, until we realised they're all sold out. So I asked for her help to sort something out and we did find a nice direct flight on Air Canada at a reasonable rate. She reserved it in her name because- well, I don't know why. If I share all the details as to what happened after (over the last 2 and a half days) this will be a long story, but let's say it was an exercise in futility. And yes, I was getting frustrated. Not specifically with my co-worker, but maybe more so about how ineffective I am compared with how blasee she is. Sure, she's got no vested interest in my leaving, why the hell should she help me out? But she agreed to. It seemed like everytime I wasn't asking her about what was happening, the fire would die out and I'd have to re-light it. I know what I'm like, and if it was a matter of getting through to someone via e-mail or the phone, I'd be dialling and typing until it got done. But I'd come out of class while she's at the tail end of her hour long break, and ask her what was up, and she'd mumble something like "Yah, I'm is call, but dey don' peeck up." So I'D call, and dem IS peeck up, and I'd say "chokkum manyo" and hand the phone over to her and she'd get the run-around and they'd give her another number and dem is NOT peeck up. Round and round we go.

Finally, even after I apologized for seeming frustrated and explained it wasn't at her, she complained I was bogarting her time and she was spending every 10 minute break trying to help me. Kamsa hamneeda, pal. So I just gave up and said, "Awwww, man, I've been thanking you all along." (A couple of times she even told me I owe her a big present when I come back from Canada.) "So, whatever, don't bother then Judy." and I went back to class and a gust of wind (that surrounded my hand) slammed the door shut. Then she was pissed off at me, and said so. And I mumbled "Ah well, you'll get over it," because I'm mean like that. But 2 minutes later I called her out of her class and apologized and said again, I wasn't frustrated at her, just frustrated, and again, I'm sorry.

But truthfully, I am frustrated with her, and have been for quite awhile. She's unmotivated and seems uninterested. I have a hard time with her classes because there's a lack of discipline. Some students enjoy her, because it seems like "goof off" snack-party time. It'd be easier (on me) if I just followed suit and developed an "oh well," attitude- but I don't want to BE that kind of teacher. I also have a hard time with her because there's a lack of English. I, hand to heart, can't understand what she's saying most of the time. She, really never utters a gramatically correct English sentence and her accent's so mumble-jumbled I have to pick out words I can recognize and try to infer what she's getting at.

This will now segue into my other co-worker, the infamous Elizabeth. Likewise, her English is shite. To clarify, it's not bad at ALL for the average Korean person. I can usually understand what she's talking about. We have spent hours at a time together, outside of work, and it's good. One thing is, though, she tends to speak English in a sing-song voice. Everyday I'm greeted with "HEllloooo jeeennNNEEEE!" that goes as far up and down her octave range as is possible. The students get, "PLEEESE! TAAKKKEE OOOUUuuuttt yyyooouuurrr boooOOOOOKKKKSSS!" That's part of who she is, and she exhibits the same exaggerated speech patterns in Korean as well (you should hear her extension of that throaty Arabic sounding thing Koreans employ for emphasis!) A couple weeks ago on the phone she complained that I had ruined her confidence about speaking English by a comment I'd made while we were shopping MONTHS ago. I don't remember the exact details, but it was something along the lines of her asking "JEEEENNnnnyyy what do you theenk of my EEENNNnngggllleeeEESSSHHH?" I answered honestly, but as kindly as I could, similar to what I wrote above. She was much better that the average Korean, but as an English teacher she should practice more. So she stopped practicing. And we stopped communicating. Because she lacked confidence. Because of me.

I'm going to break up this post now. There's more, but this is easily a two-parter, and you deserve an intermission for a stretch and a pee, and maybe some popcorn. Evil popcorn! Go to it, now!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Wow!

Yesterday I was linked by the Lost Nomad and I had more hits in one day than I've ever had!
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Holy smokes, I should get flashed and write about it every day!
Well, hopefully not, but you know what I mean.
Thanks Nomad!

Survey Says!

On my walk around the other night - the one with the "byuntae" encounter, I was really amazed at the number of CATS I came across. Seriously, DOGS: 1, CATS: 7. I guess cats just aren't as apt to wander around in the daylight where they're likely to get kicked or hit with a thrown rock if they're not stealth enough to get away. Unfortunately, 2 cats I came across were injured. 2 had no tails- which isn't uncommon here or in Japan. I always call them "Bob."
"Hey Bob!" (kiss kiss kiss) "What'cha doing?"
All 7 cats were far more interested in getting the hell away from me then sticking around and listening to my kissy-kissy calls.

Likewise, I didn't mention that it wasn't just the "byuntae's" penis I saw. I actually saw 3. The second spot I chose to take a rest and just watch my environment was right across from a restaurant that was, by the sounds of it, pretty happening. Across the way (outside the restaurant's entrance, turn left, walk a bit) was a public washroom. I didn't notice it right away, but I guess the restaurant had no internal loo, as men kept exiting to drain their mains, so to speak. Within about 15 minutes if sitting there, I'd seen two more willys. One inbound (the guy had freed himself well before he was inside the washroom,) and one outbound (the guy took his dear sweet time pulling his shorts up after exiting.) The 1st guy was completely unaware of my presence. The second guy saw me just before he hitched himself up, and gave me a sheepish smile.

So, in the interest of research, I'm going to record all sightings of both cats and penises for a week.

Today I saw one cat. He lives with me, which might not be fair, but I SAW him nonetheless. I just now turned around twice in my chair and saw him two times. I'll only count one daily viewing, though. Seems fair. I went for a long walk after work, and think I probably would have seen more cats- but it's been pouring rain for 3 days here.

I saw one penis. A guy was peeing against a tent that serves "street food" on my way to work. As I passed him I used my peripheral vision just to say I'd seen a penis today.
(I could also say I've seen two more, from googling "average Asian penis size" but I'm going to just count VIRTUAL penises. (Penii?) Let's face it, with a little web surfing I could easily see a plethora of penises in the next 5 minutes.

Tomorrow I'll walk around after work again, and it may have stopped raining by then, which means definitely more cats and perhaps more penises. So, to sum up:

Cat and Penis Viewing:
Sunday: Penis: 3 Cats: 8 (Kamikaze included)
Monday: Penis: 0 Cats: 1 ( "" )
Tuesday: Penis: 1 Cats: 1 ( "" )

Monday, July 17, 2006

Wanker

Last night I decided to go for a walk. The rain had stopped but the mugginess was seeping back in though. After awhile I was all muggy myself so I decided to sit awhile on a bench at a bus stop. Buses that whizzed by were creating a lovely breeze.

A man passed by with an umbrella and a white "doctor's" mask on. He was pulling a shopping cart filled with something that looked like a net. He stared at me, and turned around a couple of times to look back at me while he was walking away. None of these things are unusual.

A few minutes later I heard footsteps and turned to see the same guy minus the cart walking toward me up the sidewalk. I noticed he stopped behind me as I glanced over my left shoulder. "Ah well," I thought, "maybe he's waiting for a bus?" I popped my earphone out, though, so I could listen in case he said something.

He didn't say anything, but yet I heard something. It kind of sounded like he was slapping his tummy. Or spanking his own ass. You know where this is headed, right?

So I turned around and sure enough, his shorts were down around his hips and he was showing himself a good time. I yelled at him, and he tucked it back in and scurried away, only to return a minute after and start all over again.

"YA! Byuntae!" (pervert) "Fuck OFF!"
"I gibbu money." He said, tugging harder. "Oh my Got! Oh YES!" he groaned.

I yelled at him again, and then chased him away with my umbrella. I was really enjoying my nice dry seat, and didn't want to relinquish my territory. But when he came back again and started up, I got worried he was going to try to land some goo on me, so I took off. He followed me, but I finally lost him.

Ah, another exciting night in Korea!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Clarification

In my last post I linked to a site about cats that look like Hitler. (Click on Best Kitlers for the most excellent ones; the first one cracks me up!)

But I want to be clear. I, in no way, endorse cats looking like Hitler. Cats should look like regular kitties - with their whiskers and wee triangle noses and catty eyes. (Or, as Koreans refer to them, "Ooooh! SCARY!") I've had a bunch of cats in my life, living with me and what-not, and I've known plenty more. I'm no expert, but I think I can say with a certain amount of authority, cats aren't TOO bright. Some are brighter than others, but in general they cannot speak any language we can understand, they cannot use a pen (or a fork or *gasp* chopsticks,) and they can't solve even the simplest arithmetic. I'm pretty sure they have, at best, a very loose grasp of history. Perhaps they can remember where they left their favourite toy, but this is actually quite debatable. None of them were alive when Hitler was, and even if their parents told them about Hitler, chances are they forgot five minutes afterwards.

So.
For all you cats reading this, let me just tell you that Hitler was bad. Very bad. He might be the most hated person ever to live, besides Paris Hilton. Listen to me kitties, invading Poland is bad. Mass genocide, very very bad. And that mustache? Just bad grooming sense. I know, I know,...Paris sports one too, but even SHE has the sense to have it waxed.

My feline friends, I know you've forgotten what you just read already, so I'll reiterate. Leave Poland alone. Don't kill anyone. Ixnay on the ustachemay. In general, the look you should be going for is like this:
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Friday, July 14, 2006

The Weather and Work

Lawdy Lawd, it's HOT! I was so thankful when, at the beginning of summer last year, my boss had an air conditioner installed. The summer before that I was just bloody miserable. Since there are no windows in my apartment - just a heavy entrance door at one end and a sliding glass door leading to the balcony on the other, the only way to get a breeze through here is to have them both open at the same time. No problem on the balcony door, it has a screen and it's open pretty much always, unless the air-con's on. But if I have the back door open, then people passing by outside have a nice look-see into my house, and all their noise freaks the cat out. And all their looking freaks me out. Worst of all, the creepy-crawlies, including mosquitoes, have no manners whatsoever and just come on in as if I'm hosting some kind of dinner party with me as the entree. I hate them. Spiders I don't mind so much, considering they eat mosquitoes. As long as they're not, like, ON me. Earlier this week I opened my freezer and a big spider leapt out onto my chest. Seriously. That made me make a very strange noise, but it also showed me that spiders are smart. I'd crawl into my freezer too, if I could fit.

So, anyhow, boss - air conditioner, bravo, yee-haw! Trouble is, I'm not sure she did much shopping around to determine the appropriate model needed to cool an apartment this size. I think what she was looking for is "cheap." The thing's mounted right over my bed, so as long as I'm lying down all's well. Otherwise, the rest of the apartment is muggy. The built-in thermometer in the unit must be surveying the air directly surrounding itself, as it says the temperature in here is now 25 degrees. Riiiiight. I think it's a suitable size, maybe, to cool the interior of Kamikaze's carrier. It's regrettable, because I think if I had a bigger better one it wouldn't have to labour so hard, and it'd be easier on my electricity bill.

It's hot. I've bitched about it before. I'll probably bitch about it again, as it's supposed to get miserably hot this summer, I read somewhere recently. Then again, I was told last summer was going to be the hottest it had been in a hundred years, yet I didn't think it was SO AWFUL.

In the next couple days I have to shop around for plane tickets. The prices I've seen online are ridiculous. I just don't think I can justify $2,500 U.S. for a 2 week visit home. Yet visit is what I really really want to do. I think it would do me a world of good. If anyone knows of a good travel agent, please let me know. I know my boss doesn't want me to go. It's going to screw up the special summer classes. I don't know what she's going to do if I do go, but I guess it'll sort itself out. It's not really my problem, exactly. There's a good chance the K-Teachers might resent me going as well, as they have to teach all their classes. Boo hoo.

Actually, there's been a bit of in-fighting this week between them. With the typhoon on Monday and the fact that both of the elementary schools in town have had the kids going away on field trips, some being over-nighters, on average about half the students have been missing from classes. Sometimes only 1 or 2 out of 10 students will show up. When that happens, a teacher with a fuller class might take the students from the other class. In that case, one teacher gets the period off. On Wednesday, that meant Elizabeth only taught 1 class! Judy got to go home early as well. Ha - I've had NO free periods, but have opted to not even let it bother me. The K-Teachers are keeping count though, and today started to refuse taking each other's students because they felt the other should be the one teaching. Meow!

Lately I've been feeling really attached to the students, and have a better time in class with them than I do with the bitchiness that goes on in the Teacher's Room. These women can be so catty. "Whatever!" say I. Put all the kids in one room and I'll teach 'em all, all day long. Go yank children off the street and drag them in. I'll teach them too. Meanwhile, you guys just close all the air-conditioning vents, eyeball each other up and down all judgemental-like, and re-apply your lipstick 156 times.

My face is much better. Eyes are all better. The knot on my head is much less colourful, and sensation is (unfortunately) returning. That's surely a good sign, but I say "unfortunately" because it hurts. Having a headache all the time isn't good. Today was pretty bad. Nothing I took made it go away, but I think it might have prevented me from slipping into a full out head clutching migraine sort of situation. So, I guess that's good.

However, I have to remind myself every few minutes to stop clenching my jaw. I'm Blah. Still, blah. Quite Blah.

But this made me laugh:
"Does your cat look like Adolf Hitler? Do you wake up in a cold sweat every night wondering if he's going to up and invade Poland? Does he keep putting his right paw in the air while making a noise that sounds suspiciously like "Sieg Miaow"? If so, this is the website for you." Visit Cats That Look Like Hitler. Ha!
(Oh, and click on "Best Kitlers!")

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Songs for the Sad

In an attempt to try to purge my blues, I downloaded a few songs to my MP3 player and have played them over and over. I've developed a new habit of walking after work. Whereas the last couple weeks I was trying to hide my hideous face, this week I am Ubiquitous Woman. I'm not hurried either; I have no plans and no set path. I'm wandering and I'm thinking and I'm looking around. Truthfully, most times my eyes are down. I'm consumed in my own thoughts and trying not to trip over the uneven and buckled cobblestone that form the sidewalks here. Truly, I think if I landed on my forehead one more time I would die.

So, if you're interested in wallowing, or staring at the sky with tear-filled eyes, check out these songs. I give you "Songs for the Blech:"

Sour Suite by The Guess Who. I can't tell you how often this song has been running though my head the past week. I eventually fall asleep to it, I wake up to it, and it plays all day. I sing it when I'm not trying to impart the English language during the day. Check out the cello and the strings. Awesome melancholy.

My Immortal by Evanescence. I'd never even heard of this band before I googled "saddest songs ever" last week. But yesterday after the typhoon had let up, I stood stock still in the middle of a street watching the clouds whip by a full brilliant moon as this song played through my earbuds. I shoved those suckers in so deep they almost went right into my brain. The moment was profound. Yah, I leaked. Yah, I looked cuckoo. But I didn't give a shit. I played it again.

Mad World by Gary Jules (original by Tears for Fears, and from the "Donnie Darko" soundtrack.) So much more sad than the original one, this song puts the "wah" in "call me a 'wahmbulance.'"
"I find it kind of funny, I find it kind of sad, but the dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had." No kidding!

Wallflower by Peter Gabriel. Definitely not well known unless you've followed him forever, "Wallflower" sadly describes a person locked away in a mental institution. Heartbreaking, yet hopeful. The album from which this comes is brilliant, by the way. "Security." Go get it.

The Flag by the Barenaked Ladies. Along with "Sour Suite," here's another Canadian entry. It's my go-to sad song. I listened to it 1,396 times in the summer of '92 and it still hits me as hard as it did back then. Beautiful song.

Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone by Al Green (Bill Withers, Marvin Gaye.) Listen to the drums in the "I know, I know, I know, I know, I know,..." part. I love it. This song was well placed in a Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts movie I can't remember the name of, but he walks through a market in London through the seasons, bemoaning his love lost. The woman in the first shot who's pregnant has had her baby by the last shot. Well done. Did you catch that?

Speaking of well placed songs in film, Driver's Seat by Sniff N' The Tears was excellently placed in "Boogie Nights." It's not a sad song, but it kicks ass, and might lift you out of your funk for a few moments. The lyrics are all differently noted on the internet, but I like the above mentioned ones the best:
"Jenny was sweet
She always smiled for the people she meet
On trouble and strife:
She had another way of looking at life."

Sums it up nicely, and I always do, or at least I try to, (smile) even if I've been faking it lately.

Giving credit where it's due, this post was inspired by the wonderfully written Everything Is Wrong With Me. Occasionally he does a "Six Songs" post. Even though I've got six plus one songs in mine, I wasn't going to rip his title off. I couldn't. He's great. Visit him six hindred and sixty six times plus one.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Yesterday I thought I had gained my footing but I guess I was wrong.
It seems that my Stylist had just taken away my Blanket of Dread to have it re-woven.
"Non, non, non," he admonished the flock of Korean seamstresses that create my wardrobe, "Zees veel defeeneetly NOT DO!"
"Vhy vould you make zees blanket out of only vone eemoshun? Zere are so many more eemoshuns vee can use. And FEEL zees, eet's too light! Eet's too airy. Quickly, feel zees vit ROCKS!"
And so today my blanket is a fine weave of dread, doubt, and self-loathing. And it's filled with rocks. So it's, like, suffocating.

I should get out and DO something, but I don't know what to do. It's been raining all day and it's humid. I'll only draw attention to myself if I go out and sulk in a puddle. But I've spent the whole day inside torturing myself. Even my short nap was filled with poisonous dreams that made no sense. I got in fights with two friends back home. I was so upset with one of them I shoved snow in her face. (Actually, that person had morphed seamlessly in my dream from Sarah to Stacey to Rosie O'Donnell to Tara, so it's like I was fighting with five friends, really. Though Ms. O'Donnell's not actually my friend.) I didn't even question why there was snow, even though it was July in my dream, we were at the beach, and she (they) was (were) wearing a bikini (bikinis.) There were little kids in my dreams. Siblings of my students. When they looked at me their eyes milked over and these big white polyps sprouted out of them. It was freaky. I woke up just as I was about to eat a snail.

And my blanket seems even heavier and more constricting.

Portraits

Here's how I look, according to 8-year old Jesse.
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My nose is brought to you by the number SIX, and I have very pointy teeth. Scary.

Here's how I really look.
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For whatever reason, when I cry my eyes turn kind of green. Around my eyes is getting better, but my forehead's getting uglier. It itches, and I imagined baby spiders inside. I told the students in my first class that a big fat mamma spider had crawled in through my ear and made its way along my cheek and up my sinus to my forehead where she laid many eggs. Now, baby spiders live in the lump in my head, and when I cry, tiny spiders scurry out of my tear ducts.

Hence the spider in 9-year old Cleo's drawing of me.
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She does a better job of representing my lump.
My lump, my lump, my lump. My lovely lady bump.

Here's my drawing of the lady who sits across the street with her legs in a bag. It's not raining. I don't know why her legs stay in a bag.
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Here's the actual lady.
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Mmmmm, tomatoes!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Good

I woke up today after about 4 hours of fitful sleep and I was tired, but the blanket of dread that I felt yesterday morning wasn't covering me. That's good. It's Friday, and that's good, too.

So there you have it: good!
Thank you, kind people, for your kind comments.

Here's Today

I want to tell you everything's rosey, but it's not.
I went to work today and managed to pretty much hold my shit together. I kept a roll of tissue nearby and discreetly dabbed at my eyes when needed.

Truly, my circle's complete. I look ugly and I feel ugly. The large numb mass on my head has turned green (?!) and the blood in my eyes makes it easier to disguise tears.

I went back to the docor today and he pushed on the huge green lump on my head. It doesn't bother me so much. Actually, it's numb. But I've had a headache for a week and a half and I told him I couldn't sleep well the last few days. He prescribed the regiment of 6 and a half pills I've been taking for 1 and a half weeks now, but included a big fat blue pill. I don't know what it's supposed to do. I asked my boss, later, to call him back and make sure I didn't require an x-ray. He said no. His dolphin-sonar is adequate.

Today at work, no one said much of anything. Judy- who married her fella (check the archives: Going to the Chapel) and has been advocating me marrying C., asked if I was ok when I came in. I smiled and replied "no."

I worked my classes, and think they didn't key in to anything being wrong. Truth is, every tiny kindness made me emotional: a "thank you" for the borrowing of a pencil, a "you're welcome" for my "thank you," (these children would never even think to respond like that if I hadn't taught them, and now they're so proud to do so-, I love it.) The "are you ok's?" (because I missed work yesterday) cut me in half.

Really, I do like all my students. They're just kids. In social settings, like my classrooms, though, some can be such shits. I called my boss, or the K-teacher in on a couple of my classes. I was losing my patience. But I didn't want them to bear the brunt of why I'm feeling so screwed up. My wires are crossed. Kids are pretty smart, and they seemed to key in to the fact I was at the end of my tether. They snapped up. I was greatful.

Granted, I wasn't so gentle with a group of five taekwondo students who met me, first thing today, on the stairs. One made a comment I understood, and I told him to "fuck off." Then I asked him and his cronies if they understood me (in Korean) and told him a few other things about his shitty attitude. But, I got deep bows and apologies.

People who've commented, people who check in, people who feel me - I appreciate it. Honto yo jinja. I'm in a unique situation, perhaps, in that I don't have a lot of (atually- almost none, or NONE, if we're counting) friends here. Weathering this on my own is rough. I'm freaking out my friends and family back home because I call them and end up bawling. And I'm not like that. And they don't know what to do or say. It freaks my peeps out.

It freaks me out.

Yesterday I got invited to a conversation between a few people online. I didn't say anything, really, but reading them go on about this and that made me want to scrub my eyeballs with a toothbrush. The things they said, though,..
Truly, I can't understand that shit. What they said, though- it's going to haunt me.

My friend in Japan sent me a message tonight, saying she ws just going to bed, but was thinking of me. Am I ok?

I responded that I'm not great, and really- not even close to good.
This is a hard time.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Can't

The answer to "how am I supposed to teach tomorrow? (Can I?)" is "No, you can't." I feel awful for not going in, but I woke up with - I guess - a migraine. I cried until the sun came up and then cried a few more hours after. You know, for good measure. Then I went to bed and crashed. Totally.

The phone woke me up and it was my boss. She asked if I was sleeping and I whispered "yes," and she told me the time. My 1st class had started 5 minutes earlier. I hadn't heard the alarm. I've never done that. "Actually," I whispered to my boss, "I'm not feeling well. I've got a migraine." She didn't know what that was. "A really bad Headache," I explained. "Really bad." She told me to go to the doctors and get my ass to work.

So I walked to the bathroom, shielding my eyes from the daylight, and looked in the mirror.
And burst into tears.
No, no doctor.
No, no school.
Just a dark room and quiet.

I called my boss back and told her "You know that I come to work even if I'm sick. I always come if I can. But today, I can't." I told her I was sorry. I told her I'd teach Saturday. Sunday. Extra hours. But today, I can't. Sorry. She pretty much hung up on me.

But I am sorry. And I'm angry at myself for being such a baby.
I want to stop crying, but it seems like I can't.
Here's something more about Shawn Matthews. I wasn't talking to him before he died. I don't know how he felt. I know he was drinking, and I think he was probably doing that trying to avoid something.
That doesn't work.
But we can all agree something was wrong, eh?

Whether he was up atop his roof trying to clear his head, or heading to jump off, we won't know. Bless him, though. So many of us read his blog. So many of us identified with him. I miss him. Even his closest friends can only speculate what was really going on in his head though.
He probably never said.

I'll tell you what's in mine, though. And
Kevin, bless him isn't going to link me for being funny. I've been crying for 4 and a half hours. I'm crying because I'm really terribly sad. I haven't said a hell of a lot about my relationship except to bitch just a couple of times. And then again hallelujah it in my own quiet way.
But I got blindsided tonight.
It was better that he leave tonight, instead of watching me cry.
All night.
And so he did,... and I did.

Now I'm completely considering leaving.
Now I'm totally wondering how I can teach tomorrow being this closeto tears. You know, if you've read here, that I'm a trooper - going in with food poisoining and 2 hours sleep, or a face like I sported last week. But raw, and broken-hearted? Can I?

I've set up my friends and family back home for a whole new opportunity to fail me too. (So far, one questions C.'s motives, and my mother tells me to "get over it.")
After all, I had already had 3 hours to get used to it. I hung up on both of them.

I had wanted to return to Canada happy and secure. Happy. Joyous. I would have if I had gone yesterday. But I didn't.

So what was Shawn thinking? Did he share? Did someone hear him if he shared?
Hear me. I'm telling you - I'm so goddamned sad.

But

Butt.

Last night I was walking around happy.
Tonight, I got dumped.

More in a moment.
I was walking around last night and I was happy.

I've been torn about what to do in regard to my contract being over and the idea of heading back to Canada for a visit to see my friends and family. That last bit is a no-brainer. Of COURSE I want to go back home. But my thinking has been I want to return after my visit to Canada. Where would I return to? What would my school be like? My boss? My apartment? My students? My co-workers? Here, I'm safe in my apartment. It's settled and it's been mine for two years. It's filled with me. My job is alright. Fairly easy. Dependable. My boss is really quite great. Students- generally very good, but nowadays even the bad ones don't shock me. I'm used to them. I know them, and they like me. Co-workers, ups and downs. If you don't know, read the archives. Overall, though - at work, ok.

So what do you deal with? The devil you know - or the devil you don't?

A fellow who has been here seven years advised me toward the former.
Generally, I've had good luck with my employers and jobs both here and in Japan. It's been good. So I've considered cutting down my intended 6 weeks or so vacation down to 2 weeks for the sake of my current employer. She begs me to stay. But she won't give me time to go home. She explains all teachers took time off this year (Judy's honeymoon, Elizabeth's breakdown,) and she doesn't want any more time off.

I was surprised then, today, to learn Elizabeth's got Friday off. She's joining her uuber Catholic pals for a trip up to North Korea. Good for her, I say, but I did mention to my boss - in a nice way, "What the hell?"
"You just said you didn't want anymore teachers taking time off~!?"

"She's been here three years, and never asked for a day off."
(Except when she took 7 days off a few months ago.)
Granted, she didn't ask.

I shake my head a bit in awe. Last year, when they wanted me to stay on, they said they could handle a foreign teacher going home for a week or two. This year, I'm told they empathize that I haven't been home in 2 a half years, but they won't give me time.

There's extenuating circumstances. On both parts, to be sure.

But yesterday I was walking around happy, thinking, "I'm ok here."
And I just about decided I would stay.
But.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Face Update (Fear Me Still)

I'm healing, but I still look evil. So you should still fear me.
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The blood in my eyes makes me look sinister.
If you're new here, and you're curious as to what made me look so evil (read: why I'm an idiot) go !here.

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Arrrrggghhh.

My evil face has brought a new level of classroom management though. Maybe all teachers should consider sporting Phantom Menace eyes.
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It seems like the lump on my head has just started to decrease a little bit. But it's increased in bruiseiness colour. I don't mind, though. I like the lessening of pressure in my forehead.

This week goes down as one of the suckiest weeks in my life. Suck-o-rama. If you're at all interested in weeks that sucked more, leave a comment and I'll tell you a tale.

Or just keep on fearing me!

Truth in Advertising

I remember having a conversation with my friend Herb back in Japan about this subject, and he noted that there were no guidelines in place in Japan, but thankfully Reagan had but a kaibosh in America on the bullshit that goes along with advertising. I'm not going to google the validity of this, but let's just assume Herb knows what he's talking about.

However, in Korea, there doesn't seem to be any barrier between showcasing what you think you're going to get, versus what you're actually getting. Case in point, after yesterday's Market Day at my school, we all went out for a meal. Originally, the plan had been to head out to a Korean restaurant right near my school, which would have been fine with me. It's closer to my home, and frankly- I love Korean food and welcome any opportunity to eat it. I cook it often at home, and don't do a horrible job of it- but it's just never as delicious as I've had elsewhere. At my apartment I don't have a grill, so I don't do any of the Korean BBQ which I think ROCKS. I've never been to a BBQ restaurant I've found disatisfying (though my dining companions have.) At most, I've whined about the skimpiness of the panchan (side dishes.) But overall, it's good.

I do, though, crave Western food from time to time. On the rare occassion it's pasta. Then I just whip some up at home. I almost never order pasta in a restaurant (in Korea or back in North America) because it's so cheap and easy to make at home. Overall, though, I crave burgers. Not McDonald's shite, but proper thick grilled tasty burgers. When the craving becomes overwhelming, I head to TGIFridays an hook myself up. (I actually crave steak, I think, but it's crrrazily priced here. Really, I crave steak grilled on the BBQ at my cottage. Specificly. But back to TGIF.) I've only been disappointed there once, and that was because of the unbelievable staleness of my bun. They ended up comping my meal, so all's forgiven.

My co-workers wanted a more expensive meal, though, and insisted we head downtown to Bennigan's. I've never been there before, but looked them up on the web and was pleased to think I'd have myself a tasty burger.

Too bad, so sad, Korea's Bennigan's has nary a burger on their menu.
*Wah!*
There were four and a half of us in our party (my boss's son was in attendance - and in fine cry-baby form,) and it was decided we'd order one appetizer and two mains for the bunch of us. I don't blame them, the portions on the menu looked HUGE! When the food came, though, that wasn't the case. All their dishes had a fat inch or so false bottom. My dining partners ordered the Lemon sorbet salad, which was odd and kind of disgusting. A shallow plate of chopped regular salad veggies with a few nuts encircled a round scoop of lemon sorbet drizzled with what seemed like a sweet teriyaki dressing. Nice try, but "BLECH!" Another person ordered the shrimp and ribs combo, which was very nice. But because we were sharing, it meant everyone got 2 shrimp, 1 rib, and a forkfull of baked potato.

The 2nd main was left up to me, which was a lot of pressure. I'd never been there before. How do I know what's good? I wanted, after I discovered there were no burgers and before I found out we were sharing, to order the Monte Cristo sandwhich. But how well would that go over split in 5? So I got some Mexican sampler thing which pretty much sucked. The salsa that came with it, and the butter that came with the bread were served in porcelain 2 inch high containers, but with the false bottoms there was only about a half an inch of goods. Likewise with the narrow beers that were frosty, but skimpy.

After we chowed down on that, everyone was still hungry, so they ordered the seafood pasta. Again - an actually shallow deep-looking dish. And again, another reminder as to why I don't order pasta at restaurants. Ick.
And for good measure, ick again.
Bennigan's Schmenigans.

Getting back to burgers, I bought this baby later in the night at my local PC Bang.
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Mmmmm. Now THAT looks like a tasy burger. Bettermore, it's "smart!"
I bought this, not because I stupidly believed I was going to get what was pictured, but more so because I was curious about what I wasn't going to get.
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Hmph.

What's inside?
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Hmph x 18!
Here's a big bun carrying a thin slice of, I'm gonna say "ham" coated in mustard and relish. They might as well have pictured an ice cream cone or a hot male model on the outside of the package, because they relate as well to the burger pictured compared with the piece of crap inside.

Hmph x 18 x 2.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

WCB 56

Kamikaze Kamakiri Kitty,...a cat?
He seems like a cat, but sometimes I'm not so sure. Some might argue that with his 31 inch waist he's more of a pot bellied pig. On different days, though, he seems more like other animals. So what is he exactly?
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A walrus?

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A bat?

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A rabbit?

"Oh brother!" he says.
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"I'm a cat! Now quit screwing around on the computer and feed me!"

For more kitties, visit Boo at Masak Masak, who's filling in for Clare at Eat Stuff. While you're at it, why not drop by and wish Clare a speedy recovery?