Sunday, November 30, 2008

Weekend Update

So tomorrow should be interesting. I'm going to be working for a new franchise. I've been going over the new materials I'll be using in class, and it all seems pretty solid. We've already had a couple parents call in to complain about the new school, and I think my co-workers are doing a good job at assuring everyone that everything's going to be alllllright. We shall see, but I hope so.

I met my old manager Jane on Friday night and that went well. Grudges schmudges, I can't be bothered with them. It was good to see her and I had a fun night out. I was concerned with Jane's friend who came along. She was very stylish but absolutely skeletal. It wasn't hard to notice that she stuck closer to her shot glass and smokes than the chopsticks, and after a short while she was absolutely smashed. I thought as much, because she kept talking and talking, though no one seemed to be engaged in conversation with her. But then she got up off her stool and crashed to the floor. My co-worker helped her toward the loo and for the rest of the night one of us was in charge of holding her upright. Back in Canada this woman would be totally cut off by the bartender, but here,...well, not so much. She was having a good time and for the most part was aware of what was going on around her. She wasn't belligerent or weepy, and other than being unable to stay vertical she was ok. During one of my turns propping her up gravity got the better of the both of us and I've got a massive bruise on my shin as a result. She sat beside me at the noraebang and I spent most of the time with my arms out, trying to shield her from the dangerous shifting table and tilty floor. At least that's the way things surely were in her world. Still, she managed to elude my grabby arms a few times and she must have woken up completely black and blue on Saturday.

Still, it was an interesting night.

Apologies for lack of posting. I got a short list of sad news from back home this past week and haven't felt so, uh, blogivated.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sunday Stuff

One thing about living in a little town is I can often easily tell when something's going on 'round here. The sound travels through the air and bounces around off the mountains before wafting in through my screen door. Something was happening today at the bandshell in the centre of town. I don't quite know what it was, but for sure there were some people shouting through the echoey boombastic sound system, and that was interrupted by samplings of Wonder Girls and Big Bang. If I were to guess, I'd say that perhaps there was a Dance-Taekwondo demonstration going on. Something like that. I don't know because my curiosity wasn't even close to being great enough to drag me from the happy place I'd created in my mind whilst snuggling Mister Kamikaze and watching "The Weather Man" on TV.
Mister Big-Face.

When the things-going-on at the Bandshell concluded, they had a spectacular five minute or so long fireworks extravaganza. I took some shaky pictures from my balcony.
Bada Boom

Bada Bing


This upcoming week should be interesting. It's the last week I'm going to be working at my school!

Noooooo - I'm not leaving. But my school is leaving. My new boss has given up on our franchise association. In it's heyday it was very popular, but it's been sliding downhill for the last few years. There used to be eight franchises in the city, but after we close there will be only one left standing. We're joining in a new, and hopefully up-and-coming franchise and we're incorporating new texts and a whole new program. So far I'm completely in the dark about what it's going to mean for me. I haven't yet looked at the material I'm supposed to start teaching coming the beginning of December. So I anticipate being busy for the next little while.

There are some other disturbances in the work world here as well. My lazy co-worker doesn't want to teach any classes and instead wants to take up the managerial position she was promised when she was hired. Fair enough, I suppose. Thing is, the amount of students and managerial duties required at our school needed doesn't warrant a full time manager, so she'd end up spending most of the day surfing the net or using the extra time to increase her frequency of "Oh! I'm COLD!" complaints (though I can't see how that's possible unless she starts answering the phone with "Anyonghaseyo, Yongo hagwon emneeda, ah choowayo! Jinja choowa!") Everything she does - from working to sleeping to eating a cookie - is just a stop-gap between the hours she can spend at church anyways. However, her desire to do little to nothing for her paycheque is creating some bad feelings amongst my boss and co-workers. Three of us wish she'd just shaddup and work hard already.

In other news, my boss and other co-worker are losing their shirts in the stock market and aren't too pleased about that. Seriously. Most of their savings have gone down the toilet in the past few weeks. My boss is now trying to sell his recently purchased apartment and has a marital separation looming in the near future. Still, you might not know this if you were to visit the staff-room. So far everyone seems to be pulling through and slapping a smile on, which pleases me.

And for some reason, Jane - my former manager that I haven't spoken to in almost a year now called me out of the blue today. She made a lame joke about standing me up at Christmas last year, and then talked about meeting up next month sometime. Perhaps she wants to make the Christmas stand-me-up a yearly event!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bok Bok Moo Feast

Recently I had a feast with a bunch of fools friends. I had brought back some packages of Mesquite Marinade from Canada and decided to prepare some meat for my pals who own a BBQ restaurant here in town. So we headed to the open market on a sunny Saturday afternoon and I bought a couple chickens to add to my stash of ten breasts I'd already bought the day before, and a mess of samgyeopsal. I was going to feed about fourteen people. I also picked up a load of fresh vegetables, dirt cheap. I love the markets here, though if you go to the ones in smaller towns like mine, you're bound to get a lot of stares from the vendors. If you smile, though, you're bound to get a smile back.
Under the umbrellas ellas ellas.

Mmmmmm. Garlic!


I didn't have the balls to take a photo of the adjumma sitting on a platform, sleeping with her head on a stool, proped over bowls of hairless chopped up dogs she had for sale. I was getting some stink-eye from the neighbouring vendors for showing a bit too much interest in her stall. Next time I'll be more stealth in my secret undercover picture taking!

I came back to my apartment and hacked the chicken up into pieces, mixed up a big batch of marinade and dumped all the meat into various big zip-lock bags and containers.
Mmmmmmm. Marination.

Later, I got to vegetable chopping to prepare this "Oriental Coleslaw" recipe that I'd found online.
It turned out pretty well and there was loads of it, (another giant container as well as this big-ass bowl) so my friends ended up serving it as panchan to their customers the following day.

The staff arranged a variety of other panchan and sauces to accompany the mesquite-meat-feast.
See the ddoek? (Logs of rice cake.) That stuff is so yummy on a grill!

And so we got to BBQing!

Mmmmmm, chicken!

My friends really enjoyed the smokey flavours and it was a different take from the regular sweet-bulgogi or spicy yangyam style flavours. Yummy!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I Need to Jump Back in the Blool.

Well, the weather finally turned and today's temperatures required a winter coat. I like it. Tonight's temperatures mean mittens and a scarf even. Bring it. Last I checked, there was a 30% chance that we may even have some snow tomorrow night which almost never happens here. I'd like for it to just blizzard once this winter. I'd love to have a snow day. I haven't had one in about a decade or so.

I haven't felt terribly bloggy these days. Have you noticed? If I don't just dive the hell back in, this month's blog tally is going to be pitiful. So here's something that I was thinking about today.

While I was in Canada this past summer I got scolded at mealtime on more than one occasion. My gaffe was to serve myself up some food with the utensil that I had been using to eat with. *Gasp!* This gesture was something that I didn't even think about, so when I heard "Hey!" I didn't know what I was being yelled at for. I remembered all of that last night while I was sitting around a table with seven Koreans eating out of two big pots of delicious kimchi jjigae. The various bowls of panchan were all communal as well, and it was pretty common for our chopsticks and spoons to have traffic collisions. I can't even remember anymore if the spit swapping via utensils freaked me out when I first came here. it's probably not the best means of keeping oneself from catching a cold, but ah well. There is one cup at the water machine at my school and all the kids drink out of it everyday. I think the idea might be that you pour the water to your open mouth without actually placing your lips upon it, but I know for sure the kids haven't been taught this yet. So I wonder if my family would be freaked out having a meal over here.

A couple weeks ago I was sitting on a rock listening to some tunes and enjoying the afternoon sun. This grandmother was walking toward me and as she got close I smiled at her and she smiled back with a mouthful of gold teeth. I watched her as she passed by and it was only when she was a good distance away that I keyed into the fact she was carrying a massive red plastic basin on her head. I smiled and shook my head. This was definitely something I would have noticed first off years ago, my brain would have been "Wow, man - that's a big thing she's balancing on her head. I could never balance that on my head. I wonder what's in that thing on her head. Is it heavy? If I run up and tickle her, will she drop it?" But now I'm apparently not even registering the existence of strange big things on little grandmas' heads. I may be assimilating. I might be Borg.

But, not quite.
Sometimes I feel like I'm living in In-Between Land. I couldn't stop myself from acting different back in Canada. I caught myself smothering "anyong haseyos" on the way out of stores, and my friends teased me because my Canadian "eh's" have been replaced by Korean "uh's," (which take the place of "mmm's" and "mmm-hmmms" we use to let the speaker know we're following what they're saying.) I tossed my basket of whatever up on the conveyor belt at a couple stores and was served up with a nice "wtf?" look from the cashiers. I'd totally forgotten that the customer unloads their goods back home.

It's the little things that creep out unconsciously that I find pretty interesting. Or maybe it's just all the cold medication I've ingested. Damned communal cups.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Half a Month Ago

It was Halloween.

I was a cat.

I've been a cat for the last five years running. Bah.

I was going to write all about the Halloween party at school but I've lost my motivation in the meantime, so I'll summarize. My co-workers are pretty lazy. Half the activities I'd organized didn't get done. Whatever. Mid-day, kids were roaming around with nothing much to do except join the long line that was waiting for me to paint them. I sat down at 3 o'clock to do some face painting and I didn't, for the most part, stand back up until about 8:30pm. At one point I got up briefly to go into the Teacher's Room where my co-workers had been gathered for over half an hour to scold them to "get back to work already!" Ha!

My boss had decided to show a Halloween movie, and so I rented Tim Burton's "Corpse Bride," but the students had a hard time following it because we couldn't get the Korean subtitles going as the remote for the DVD player was missing. So that was a bust.

I didn't have any time to take pictures, really. These little taekwondo boys were my last customers of the day.
Up and coming wrestlers: El Gato Black-Belto and Le Tigre FĂ©roce avec le Ceinture Rose.

I did not paint these faces.
Devil Woman and Scary Witch Clown Thing Girl.

Much candy was eaten by the little children. Volume: SUPER loud. The end.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


I'm not ignoring you, Inner Nets. My PC is all brokeden down and I can'ts connect. We should see some resolution in the next day or two. Meanwhile, have fun.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Screams Judge Me.


"Why you not blogging about Halloween party? You so LAZY!!!"