Who I'm Listening To

  • Lupe Fiasco - Love Letter to the Beat (single)
  • N.E.R.D - Nothing
  • Janelle Monae - Without a Fight (single)
  • Cee Lo Green - The Lady Killer
  • Kanye West - G.o.o.d Fridays

Monday, April 19, 2010

My cherry-na....(My Sharona)...relax...

I’d like to start this post by talking about some things that made me smile/laugh the past week and a half.

Everyday I give the children a letter of the day. I give them 5 words that start with that letter, and they're usually words that aren’t given in their textbook but that I think they’ll find useful in their daily lives.  On the letter K day I gave them the word “knot.” I asked, “Ok, my friends, who can tell me what this word is?!” Jenny, one of my smarter and more ambitious students stood up and said, “Teacher, KUNT!” Bless her soul. I tried to be an adult about it, but I was expecting if she messed up for it to be along the lines of "kah-not." I laughed, but caught myself and told her I was laughing because of the class clown behind her, not her mispronunciation.

The day of letter P was great too. In Hangul, the Korean alphabet, there is no “f” sound, but rather all “f” sounds are said with a “p.” When I asked the students if they knew any P words before I gave them their vocab for the day, these were their responses: pish, pight, and priend (pronounced puh-ren-duh).

As for the rest of the week, I signed up for Taekwondo, at the same place where all of my students practice. The meeting with the master of the dojo was a task. Imagine my speaking to someone with the same grasp of English that I have for Korean. We stumbled through an hour-long meeting in which we both went through our rolodex of foreign language knowledge. As of now I think I am supposed to be in at 10pm on Monday to have a special class and program for my age/skill level. Part of me thinks I’ll walk in Monday night to a room full of my students, in classic Kramer-esque fashion (better longer version). I’ll be sure to update.

This weekend, though. I’ve noticed that since I left California and the spoiled weather situation I’d grown so accustomed to, I have a deeper appreciation for the sunny days. Saturday was perfect. The sun was working overtime and the zephyr its friendly companion. A group of us rented bikes and cruised the city of Gyeongju where cherry blossom trees were in full bloom. It was a solid 6 hours on bikes, stopping off in a park for an hour, and ending with a sunset by the river (listening to E.Badu on my ipod-priceless). Here are some pictures, and the video is comedy. Adrian was trying to retrieve a Frisbee for some folks and it went all wrong.  You can hear my crying at the end. 

Thursday, April 15, 2010

My rain check

I regret to inform you that as for the promise I made to attend either the cherry blossom festival or Cool Kids concert last weekend, no dice. The plan was to go to the cherry blossom festival on Saturday and soak in the rustic scene in all its virtuosity. Unfortunately Mama Earth wasn’t feelin’ it that weekend. Rain check for 7 days, don’t fret. 

We were, however, able to go to Busan again, this time checking out the aquarium. There’s nothing better to help put the mind at ease than walls and walls of slow moving marine animals. They had an enormous shark tank that was definitely my favorite scene. There were theater-style seats that I made myself at home on for a good hour, in tacit awe.

We spent the night in Busan, and made friends with some local Koreans that promised to stay in touch for cultural exchange. Success. I was able to get my Rosetta Stone up-and-working (shout out Gold Chhim), and I think I’ve made some positive strides in understanding the language. Of course, I have a ways to go, but I’m excited for my progress thus far. Having some new friends in different cities is always positive, and gives me a little more motivation to keep my linguistic game sharp.

The next day I purchased a new camera. Stoked. And was able to take a few trial pictures at the beach before heading back to Ulsan and to lesson planning. Lookit:
ahh peautiful pusan...
cherry blossoms after all...
looking for rachel solando led me here...
"the sea was angry that day my friends...
like an old man trying to take soup back at a deli..."
ez says, "no being casual here..."

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

My last week

My last entry I mentioned a couple of my students bringing a baby hen to class. Ol’ Jeung-Jeung. Well the following 2 days went as such:
he needed a nap they said, he was still breathing...
day 3, you can read...
Also, check out the effigy the kids created for me:
created in my exact likeness, two pupils per eye...

This week was also the first time that my kids took interest in, and ask questions about my race. They, of course, call me Obama, but this was different. Before class there was a coterie of students that surrounded my desk. They were holding and examining both sides of my hand.  Feeling my skin they asked, “brown or white?”  They felt on my hair and said, “teacher your hair different.” I couldn’t help but laugh. To the first question I responded that “yes, my skin is brown, and I do have white palms, but I’m called Black in the USA.” I was asked why I was called Black and not Brown. Answering this question was like explaining childbirth to a 3 year old. I’ve got to create a few lessons on black history to satiate their curiosity. To the second question I responded, “My hair different? Your hair different to me…” They laughed and said I was wrong.  I hope they stay curious and ask questions, and as my Korean gets better there should be a nice back-and-forth between them and I.

This weekend I have the option of a Cool Kids concert in Seoul, or Cherry Blossoms festival in a city close to Ulsan. Stay tuned for that one in a few days.. 

Thursday, April 1, 2010

My classroom

1) The word next is pronounced with three-syllables. (Neck-su-tuh)

2) Two of my students pictured below decided to bring a baby hen into class. They feared that students would mess with Jeung-Jeung if they left it outside the classroom, so I had to teach a 50-minute class speaking over ambient chick noises. Imagine a cricket with a megaphone.
Andy, Ruby, and Jeung-Jeung...

3) I speak English to my co-teacher with a Korean accent. Syntax all jumbled up, I use no contractions or articles.