Tuesday, October 21, 2008

It's ALIVE! Or Not

Today we had a meeting with another campus to talk about a certain program that we are doing. We all had to go around the room and introduce ourselves along with our campuses. It felt like an AA meeting, from what I have seen on TV, since I have never been to one. I'm Josephine and I'm from Centum. I'm . . . and I'm from Centum. I'm . . . and I'm from Centum.

After the meeting was over, we had lunch together. It was seafood. All of the other times when I have eaten with a big group like that we had beef or pork so this was quite a treat. It was communal eating, which is the manner in Korea. There were three stations that had a boiling pot of bean sprouts, mussels, shrimp, oysters, and a large crab. Then, as we were sitting down, somebody came and put a live animal in the pot. In one of the pots, the critter crawled out before it was dead! Eventually it died and we were able to cut it up with scissors, which is how all meat is cut when it is cooked at the table like that. After I had a piece of a leg I asked if it was octopus or squid. I was told that it was neither but it was a creature similar to an octopus or squid. I can't remember the Korean name for this beast.

Friday, October 17, 2008

It said WHAT?!

The other night I went to E-Mart. I was looking around on the second floor. I went over to where they keep the cleaning supplies. The toilet seats are there too. I saw the labeling on something that was rather shocking. It said, "Sense fabric a piss pot Sheet cover." I could not believe this bad translation was on something available in a store like that. I think what was supposed to say was scented fabric toilet seat cover. I guess whoever put that on there was not taught proper English.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

What's in a Name

Today there was a new student in one of my classes. She did not have an English name and did not have one in mind, so I gave her a list of possible names that I wrote as the students were listening to today's story. She chose Susan. I did not give her the possibility of some weird name that nobody has ever heard of and doesn't know if it's a boy's name or a girl's name. Most of the students have pretty normal names. As far as the ones who go by their Korean name, I don't know if they have a boy's name or a girl's name or some name that isn't a name. Kevin and Jack are pretty common for boys and Sally and Jenny are common for girls. Right now, I have three students named Chris, 2 Sams, 2 James, 2 Lauras, and 2 Amys. One student has had three different English names so far. He started out as Sonic, then Megatron, and now he is Pedro. I once had a student who went by Belly until she chose to go by Cindy. One student went by his Korean name and now he is Brocky. On the first day of class, I tried to get the students in my lowest level class to get an English name. I asked one of the students if he wanted to go by John and he adamantly informed me that his name was Joonho. I think the students in that class did not know what I was asking. I gave up trying to get them to use English names. I don't mind calling the students by their Korean names, but on that day, the names were not Romanized and so I had to write the Hangul for each student who did not have an English name. Then, I had to point to each name and ask the students what their names were. I can read some Hangul, but I read it really slowly and I make mistakes, usually with the vowels. Sometimes the students decide all of a sudden that they want to change their names. It gets confusing then. There is one student whom I have taught for three months and recently he decided he wanted to change his name from Jack to Harry because another student in the class is named Herald. More than once I've called him Jack since his name change. It's an instinct. "Jack! Get in your seat right now!" It's about like Grandma yelling "Rachel" when she was calling Sparkle.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

No Overheated Pets Here

Yesterday, I went to E-Mart and paid on the second floor so I had to go up to the third floor to leave. As I walked over the the elevators, I saw something that I hadn't noticed before and have never seen in the United States. They have pet cages so that you don't have to leave your pet locked in your car as you shop. Many department stores here have parking above or below the shopping floors because the parking would take up too much space that could be used for apartments and office space. The third floor is the lowest level of parking at E-Mart and this is where I saw the cages. I don't know if they have them on the other parking levels or not. All the people have to do is leave the pet in the cage and take the key while they shop downstairs. If they had this kind of thing, people would not have to write to Dear Abby complaining that people leave pets in the car without opening the windows.

Parent-Teacher Conferences

I listened to a lot of Korean speaking on Wednesday and Thursday. Both of those days I had to come in early for conferences. Tuesday was also a day for conferences, but my co-teacher and I do not have any students at that language level and so we did not have to come. On each conference day, one pair of teachers would give a presentation to the parents about the procedure for the class. Since most of the parents do not speak English, the branch manager had to translate what the foreign teachers said during the presentation. The Korean teachers had to translate during the meetings. I had to give a presentation on Thursday. I talked to only two parents directly. Friday, we all had to come in early for classes because it was a national holiday. All the other hagwons were closed that day, but not the one where I work. Instead of holding our regular hours, we changed the times for four of our classes so that we could leave early. I left at 5:00. It was a bit different to be able to leave work when it was still light outside. The classes went a bit smoother too because several students were absent due to the holiday.

Answer to the Question of the Week

What is the main international airport in Korea?

  • Narita International Airport-0 (0%)
  • Gimhae International Airport-1 (33%)
  • Incheon International Airport-2 (66%)
  • Gimpo International Airport-0 (0%)

The correct answer is Incheon International Airport. It is 52 km west of Seoul and is located on a little island. It was officially opened in March 2001. Gimpo International Airport, in Seoul, used to be the main international airport, but it could not keep up with the increasing number of international passengers after the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Gimhae International Airport is in Busan. Narita International Airport is in Tokyo.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Slap Bracelets

They were popular when I was in elementary school and now they are popular here. I have seen several students wearing them. Today, I had to confiscate seven of them (one girl had five), because it is basically just a toy. The students just keep taking them off and slapping themselves with them to put them back on. The picture is an example of what slap bracelets look like and how they are worn.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Josey in Disguise Without Glasses

If anybody wants to see a picture of me with my ophthalmologist, go to this link http://www.hellolasik.com/eng_site/op_result/04_foreigner.asp?page_id=05. When you get there, hover over my name and you'll be able to see the picture. I couldn't get it off the site to be able to put it on here.