Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Angels on High

Being too brain-dead to do anything else, I am actively avoiding all pressing and necessary labor by uploading pictures from my soon to be vacated apartment. (good riddance.)

ROOFTOP pictures because you wouldn't want to see the inside of it anyway.
Besides I know you people are tired of hearing me babble on and are just waiting to see the "goods"(^_~)

Notice the mountains faintly in the background?
Korea is apparently nothing BUT mountains.
Mountains and STAIRS.


Cheers! (^_-)-☆

Thanks again for stopping into my little corner of the 'net, and Happy Browsing!!

Ads make the world go around. Help us out!

More Happy Racism

We were dragged into the chairperson's office in the middle of our ONE real break between classes (a whopping ten minutes) to be incoherently informed that two teachers here had come into contact with some people diagnosed with SI and were forthwith confined to home for the next seven days.

The whole time I'm thinking SI? SI? ...SI? and throwing questioning looks at the towering 'A' next to me - Can you make out any of this?

I finally figured out he was meaning swine influenza. That might seem obvious to you, gentle reader, but no real English speaker here uses that phrase so between my overwhelming disinterest and his broken English, I didn't catch on right away.

But that wasn't the even best part.
That came in the form of a semi-coherent, delusional YET stringent warning -- You need to keep two meters between you and the other teachers. Everyone. Kids. And wash hands. (mimic hand-washing here.)

I just wanted to walk out then and there.

I had suspected the man knew NOTHING about what went on in his school, particularly the classrooms, from early on.
Like from week one.
But this utterly confirmed it.

At best you are two feet from the little snots and that's when you're not constantly crouching down to try to figure out what they're saying or being grabbed and petted. (My nails are a big hit.) Same goes for the teacher's office -- at best two feet from every other person in ALL directions.

And washing hands?
Well, I know I do. But I also know that the kids DON'T. Many times they don't even flush the toilet, they are in such a rush to get back to class. (Although what do you really expect when you give 100 students 5 minutes to use six bathroom stalls?)

So we had our marching orders - stay back! and stay clean!! - and were summarily dismissed to face the angry, unclean hordes.

We had liquid soap in the bathroom now.
I felt better already.

But, no, wait! It gets even better!

I finally got some coherent information about the whole situation from the KBS Japanese broadcast. Apparently there was an overnight conference for English teachers - both foreign and Korean. Fifteen unspecified participants tested positive for swine flu. The foreigners were staying at the unspecified lodging together but they also had "free time". And in this free time they Went Out Into the Public.
So, the news goes on to report, if you came into contact with the FOREIGNERS during their outings you may be infected too!!

Beware the White People!

They obviously don't say that straight out but neither do they remind you that there were both Korean Nationals together with the foreigners at the conference in closed quarters for hours on end. They are immune, I guess, but their very Koreaness? After all, it's just naturally understood that it's the foreigners that spread disease in this country. It certainly couldn't be the Korean habit of not washing hands or dishes thoroughly, nor the ages old tradition of everyone eating off the same plate. That was quaint about 200 years ago, but it the world of global epidemics, it's long past time to reserve that for an "at home" tradition.

So, we all had our marching orders now:

Screw the threat of impending war!

Cheers! (^_-)-☆

Thanks again for stopping into my little corner of the 'net, and Happy Browsing!!

Ads make the world go around. Help us out!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Why do you speak English?

When I lived in the glorious state of Maryland {regarding Ohio, no comment as always} I distinctly remember my mother having a very 1970's looking hardcover on the bedstand titled KIDS SAY THE DARNDEST THINGS.

Yes, they do. Particularly in an ESL classroom.

"Why do you speak English?"
~Student A asked me this recently in a conversation about my stamps.
I have many, many. All of which are invariably from Japan.
In response to the question of why I have these Japanese things, I said, "I lived there."
That was followed by a brief moment of silence.
Then, "You lived there? Why do you speak English?"

This is actually very interesting twist to the common expat experience of being a stranger in a strangeland. In Japan the formula was White=>Foreigner=>AMERICAN.
A distinctly skin color-based formula for assessing your opponent in conversation.
(And incidentally there is a sub-rule of Foreigner=can not speak Japanese.)

However, in the little Korean girl's mind, the formula was geographically-based: regardless of skin color, the fact that I lived in Japan equalled I should be speaking Japanese, not English. You could just see the misconnection of reality and facts etched on her face.

However, first week questions top the list for me.

"Why are you so tall?"
~For all the foreigners supposedly around here in Seoul I've always been struck by how misplaced this was. I was never asked this by children in Japan even in the rural areas where it's NOT unusual to be the only foreigner.

Some questions, however, are universal:

"How old are you?"
~As this inevitably comes up not once, but several times I turn it into an ESL activity to practice numbers by making them guess my age. They're always shocked. Even the adults.

"Are you married?"
~Because at MY age, how could I possibly not be?!?!!?
Is the Asain mindset.

"Do you have a boyfriend?"
~Lacking a proper husband, surely I must have one of these to attest to my basic worth as a female. >.>

Cheers! (^_-)-☆

Thanks again for stopping into my little corner of the 'net, and Happy Browsing!!

Ads make the world go around. Help us out!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Weather Obsessions

If you live in Japan or Korea you are obsessed with the weather. I have never paid so much attention to the weather in my whole life previous to living in these countries.

I mark it up to reliance on public transportation - whether it's on foot, by bus or subway nothing like standing around at the office looking like a drenched rat.

Japan was different though. I just flipped on a channel and listened to the weather girl/eye-candy cheerfully explain what miserable weather I could look forward to today. BUT if you don't happen to understand what our fashion statement is chatting on about, there are two sites I've found very reliable over the long run:

Weather Channel: SEOUL
Weather Channel: PUSAN/BUSAN
Weather Network: SEOUL
Weather Network: PUSAN/BUSAN

Oddly enough, as much respect as I have for the BBC, I have found their weather forecasting way off - lacking even the marginal bit of accuracy you can expect from your average forecast. They will show up in your goggle search but make sure you stay clear of them.

Happy Travelling~
Cheers! (^_-)-☆

Thanks again for stopping into my little corner of the 'net, and Happy Browsing!!

Ads make the world go around. Help us out!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

If this were only the least of my problems

Ok, now I'm mad.
Really irked.

I'm finally about to escape this trashy shopping mecca and the local Dunkin Donuts {current haunt of choice} finally starts selling the original brew again!?

I walk in Wednesday morning and there are boxes, nay CRATES, stacked high in the entranceway mostly blocking it, all snuggly stuffed with the ambrosia of modern man.


This whole time I was being generous thinking the coffee machine was broken or something when the reality was they were just sitting around waiting for the next shipment!?

I see them deliver fresh donuts there EVERY day. They couldn't have thrown a box or two of coffee in with them? Considering there's some kind of coffee shop every block and sometimes even several in one block, I find it unfathomable that Dunkin D's only ships its coffee once a month, but there you have it.

It goes without saying:
Even aside from the current economic conditions, you might want to fire the logistics guy if you want to compete with the Krispy Kreme and Starbucks next door because he's obviously not examing his spreadsheets very closely.

Cheers! (^_-)-☆

Thanks again for stopping into my little corner of the 'net, and Happy Browsing!!

Ads make the world go around. Help us out!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Good riddance to bad Rubbish!


As much as I love the shopping in Seoul, it still does not quite make up for the fact that Seoul is a stinking, flighty, trash-filled warren of spit-hacking snobs. {Service here even gives the hideously low quality of service in America a run for its $$ .}

The air quality is so bad I've had breathing difficulties, a prepetually stuffed nose, and frequent fevers since the day I stepped the plane. I thought it was because the city itself was like a garabge dump - a bacterial pathologists dream {nightmare?} - but a mere 6 hours in Japan cleared up all my symptoms. And that's when I knew it was past time to move on.

So, so long and thanks for nothing to all of that!!!!!

Here's where I'm headed next!!

Pretty, yes?
Ulsan. Slightly North of Pusan and its 3-hour ferry to Japan.

Let's see that again.

I don't necessarily expect the work conditions to be that much better but as long as there isn't a hysterical, incompetant, insecure b1tc4 running the office, I'm good. And no more Elementary students. So to Seoul I can only say THANK YOU

Cheers! (^_-)-☆

Thanks again for stopping into my little corner of the 'net, and Happy Browsing!!

Ads make the world go around. Help us out!

Sunday, May 03, 2009

MichiKusa {道草を食う}: hiddey (donut) holes

My current territory that I've acquired as my personal lair is the local Dunkin Donuts.

Complete with balcony and a view.
The view from MY chair: (Always the purple one by the window. Although if I'm lucky I get the orange set by the trees.)

Of course, much like Japan it's not just a donut shop, it's an EXPERIENCE complete with chocolate mousse desserts and NY Cheesecake.

Does that just not bring tears to your eyes?
And I assure you that it DOES taste as good as you think it does.

But standing out even more than that for me was an incident that took place in front of my eyes only and one that surely you can only see in a Seoul Dunkin Donuts...

Sitting in one of the second floor cushy purple chairs sipping an iced cafe latte and reading Murakami Haruki's AFTER DARK in Japanese while a Korean girl across from you pulls her Stephen novel in English.

Cheers! (^_-)-☆

Thanks again for stopping into my little corner of the 'net, and Happy Browsing!!

Ads make the world go around. Help us out!