Intrepid Girl Reporter

Monday, 12/24: to-do
December 24, 2007, 3:30 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

before I forget.

  • finish personal statement
  • quit beating self up for not having finished PS yet
  • finish India app
  • finish camp lesson plans
  • figure out when am going to see friends
  • wrap presents
  • empty suitcase
  • work on Miguk Yodongsaeng (little sister)’s grad present
  • work on cell phone charm for Miguk Oma
  • read

…but I feel so lazy.


Saturday, 12/22: welcome to paradise
December 22, 2007, 3:07 pm
Filed under: IGR Recommends, music, okay seriously Korea, skool, students

Going to Jungangro after the festival proved fruitless, as it turns out that you can’t really return things in Korea, at least not when those things are cheap and you don’t speak the language. So basically I spent cab fare to and from the rotary to buy two separate wafers of my favorite burnt-sugar candy and four pairs of Muhan Dojeon socks.

The futility of my afternoon, however, was compensated for by the complete and total reward that is the Korean school festival, which included the following.

  • rap
  • rap with beatboxing
  • rap with live piano
  • rap with the phrase “hey yo” and various directional commands (“to the left, to the right”)
  • booty dancing
  • booty dancing in plaid
  • an all-teacher cover band with a vaguely Blue Oyster Cult feel
  • a student band that offered three Green Day covers
    • these students were borrowed from another school
  • six robots dancing in unison to opera
  • ninth-graders continuously hitting on Oregon


1) The beatboxing explains the inexplicable behavior change on the part of one of my former best students. Previously kind, enthusiastic and funny, his recent too-cool-for-school attitude made me think that maybe I had done something. Nope. He just fancies himself a beatbox celebrity. Well, I’ve got news for you, friend: beatboxing won’t teach you English.

2) My students are TERRIBLE booty dancers. Also one of the dances looked a little like the Tootsie Roll.

3) I am SO JEALOUS that Quagmire’s school has this Green Day-based student cover band. Why does my school have to suck?*

*where “suck” = “not having a Green Day-based student cover band”

4) While I didn’t get quite as much attention as Oregon, it is quite clear that most of the ninth-grade boys have NO idea that I am a teacher at their school. What they do see me as is a foreign girl who would potentially date a ninth-grade Korean boy. I can’t even begin to parse the flaws in this perception. The lone exception to this rule is a boy I don’t know who has, on multiple occasions, gone to great pains to inform me that he has a girlfriend, presumably in an attempt to apply some sort of reverse-psychology tactic. Sample sentence: “My girlfriend, these socks, give me.”

Now it’s midnight and I’m still finishing up my personal statement and debating whether or not to download the Sheryl Crow album where she looks like the Crow on the cover. The serendipity present in that statement was not apparent until I typed it. I’m waffling not because I see it as a guilty pleasure, but because if I don’t put it on there I will listen to other things, things I don’t know, things that will make me feel and think different things than I did when I listened to that album in high school. In other words, it’s constricting me, and yet I have this inexplicable desire to listen to “Redemption Day” on repeat. Maybe it’s because I’m returning to the land of country, the land where the blood runneth orange. (See: “Ten I See,” Silver Jews.)

Which brings me to today’s IGR Recommends: Chuck Klosterman on guilty pleasures. This makes me feel a lot better about some of the terrible quality things that I love. Although since listening to Sheryl Crow actually would be preventing me from listening to something else, thus somewhat qualifying it as a guilty pleasure under Klosterman’s definition, it is not a guilty pleasure because her later albums were terrible, because her songs in commercials were inescapable, or because she dated Lance Armstrong. I like it. I like her voice, I remember liking the sadness when I first heard it, and that is that.

Friday, 12/21: lied
December 21, 2007, 4:37 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I didn’t realize that Sarah Vowell is actually a zombie.  Or that she has truly terrible taste in suits.

Link courtesy (indirectly) of A Whole Lotta Nothing.

Friday, 12/21: I GET WHAT I WANT
December 21, 2007, 3:47 pm
Filed under: host fam, IGR Recommends, music, television

It’s been a while since the IGR threw her (admittedly influential) weight behind anything, but I’ve finally found something worth plugging. It’s also about two years old, thus proving that I am destined to be terminally uncool, like you didn’t know that already.

Ted Leo – Since U Been Gone

Oh my.

Ted Leo is an artist who is perpetually on my “To-Listen” list. Perhaps this will push him up. I do need something to occupy me during that 12-hour plane ride on Sunday.

Speaking of which: I was mo unhappy that I was not available to leave today, thanks to the school festival tomorrow, at which both HS and my presences (?) are requested. However, Soccer and Scooter were both scheduled to leave today and, thanks to bad weather at Gimpo, missed their flight, which means they are paying to crash in Seoul this evening. Besides, if I had gone today I would never have gotten to sing the Kelly Clarkson version of the above-mentioned song at noraebang with Host Fam. (I did upset the kibun a little bit by putting in “Stairway to Heaven,” though, because somehow I forgot that it’s eight minutes long. Oops.)

Enjoy the link above – I obviously fancy myself a combination of mp3 blogger, lesson plan blogger, Jeju blogger, and juicy personal life blogger, although the reality is that I’m not very consistent with any of those things. And I’ll sure never have the layout of Music For Robots, which is my second plug for today. Okay I’m done.

PS: Steven, why did you have to go and get yourself kicked off Project Runway. Yes, your dress belonged at Goodwill, but you seemed to have a good grasp on the surreality of the whole thing, and I would totally have been friends with you in real life. Which puts you in stark contrast with Ricky, whom I would probably punch for crying all the damn time.

Thursday, 12/20: I must you kill
December 20, 2007, 2:30 am
Filed under: actual transcripts, skool, students, teaching

My classes are a ZOO, my desk’s a wreck and the caf smells like nasty, but despite these minor obstacles, it is, in fact, beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Today in 1G the kids were screaming about Lee Myung Bak, so, foolishly, I tried to engage them in a brief political discussion.* Predictably, this was a miserable failure, so I fell back to the time-honored Santa letters.

Answers to the question, “Where does Santa live?”

  • Iceland
  • Norway (Oslo)
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • California
  • space

Dear Santa

Hi my name is ______. I want to a lot of money so give me. Are you understand? Santa I want to Rudolpoo too. So give me. Are you understand? I believe you Santa I have questions. Are you rich? and Are you fast?

So bye-bye

Dear Santa

Hi~ My name is ________ I’m 13 years old. I loves computer games. I want to PSP, MP3, Dog, bird, snake, cameleon, Iguana,

Dear. Santa

Hi! My name is _____ I must you kill because you did not visited my home

Dear Santa

Hello. My name is ??? Sorry. I can’t tell my name to you. Because I don’t want to get present from you. I will get presents from my parents. But please give present to my younger sister. She needs a doll or a bicycle. Please give a present to my sister. I don’t need your gift.

Jeju Dong Middle School

From 1-8 ???

PS You really want give present, you should give me to bicycle

Dear Santa Claus

Hi~ My name is _____. You know me? I know you ~! You is famous people. I’d like to meet ______ ~ I like you ~ oh ~ My school name is _______! I like my school! I want cellerphone. But I want teddy bear! You understand? Thank you ~

Good night~ bye, bye!

(in hearts on the bottom: I’m 14 years old, Santa Claus coming soon!, good luck!, where are you from?, I wish your good luck) 

Dear Santa

hi I’m _____ I want to a soccer ball, soccer glove, soccer shoese, mp3, Russia war, DIS, notebook. I have questions. Where are you from? Where are you live. And Are you person?

To Santa

Hallo! I’m _________ I live Korea, I live Jeju Island. I go to Dong Midle School. I’m a disable man. I wish I were a normal man. Goodbye!

*“What happened yesterday?” “Who won?” “Are you happy?”

Monday, 12/17: Santa baby
December 17, 2007, 6:02 am
Filed under: actual transcripts, skool, students, teaching

Or: What happens when the video player malfunctions.

Dear Santa,

Hi, Santa I’m Korean student You look like to my grandfather I have many things to talk you. For example, moch mony.

Dear Santa,

Hi, Santa. I’m _____. I was kind to others so could you give me a present? I want to have a cute puppy and I want to get a letter from you. Could you give me it? I’m sure that you give it to me Santa. Marry Christmas I wise you to sent merry Good-bye.

Dear. Santa

Hello Santa!!! I’m 15 years old student!!! My name is ____! I want many things to get!! But I’ll say only two things! First. Bring me many Johnny Depp’s magazine, please! And, it’s very important, second. I want to meet Johnny Depp!!! Please!!! If you don’t give, I will very disappoint!! Good Bye Santa!! Thank you

Dear Santa,

Santa! I want to CDP!! and BoA’s Album!! (All~first album~JAPAN album!!) Please…I think that you are very kind. I think that you are very handsome. I think that you are look like my grandfather. I love you!! Goodbye –


Dear. Santa

Hello! I am ____, live in Korea Jeju. Lovely Santa, please give me new clothes. Handsome Santa, please give me a pretty bag. Cute Santa, please give me Jae Seok Yoo, famous MC. Perfect Santa, please give me a ice cream cake. Gentle Santa, please give me anything I want. I want many things. So you must give me many things, ok. Lovely Santa, goodbye. I’m waiting for you. If you don’t come, three descendant down (killed)


Dear Santa,

Hi Santa! I am very good student ___. Lovely Lovely Santa ~ I want Christmas gifts for example…I want new cell phone my cell phone is very bad. Okay? Or, I want many clothes. If you don’t come, I will kill you. I Love you Santa. Bye bye –


Dear Santa

Hi!! Lovely Santa!! I live in Jeju Korea. I’m very lonely!! Please come to my town! And give me some gift. For example…boyfriend, money, mp3 player……..I promise you. Let’s met at 12:00. Bye ~

Dear Santa

Santa! I’m very cold because I don’t have a boyfriend…Please meet a boyfriend. And some clothes, money. Oh! I forget introducing mself. My name is ____. I live in Jeju. Please give me a present. Thank you.

Dear Santa –

Hello? I’m _____! You know? I want to have a notbook and a cell phone! Please give me! You can? I am expecting a big present. I can’t wait. Ok thanks! Bye~ Bye~

Dear Santa,

Hello. My name is ______. Nice to meet you. I’m very kind student. So you have to give me presents. And if you give me presents I’m very happy. First. I want to get a mp3 or cell phone. Second. I want to see you. Third. I want to trip. Please, listen to my pleasure. Bye bye.


Dear Santa,

Hello Santa, nice to meet you (very very nice to meet you!) I’m Korea middle school student. (15 years old) My name is ______. I trust you live in earth! But most people don’t trust (belive) it. But I’m not saw you…But I’m not sad. I want comic book!!

Dear Santa.

Hi Santa! I’m ______. I’m happy to meet you! You must give a present for me. Why? I’m children! Your Santa! I want to cell phone. I want to many…then a good choice you give some money for me. How nice! Good bye

Dear Santa

My name is ______. I live in Jeju, I want money, big doll, computer, icecream x 100, ice box x 5, chocolate x 50, bag, handphone….You are old but I am not old You are gradnfather You are 100 years old but I am 15 year old

NOTE: that one was illustrated with the various requests.

Dear Santa

Hi ~ Santa my name is ________. I want to have lots of money because if I have lots of money I can buy many things. I want to buy new mp3 and cell phone and so on…Can you give money to me? I really want. Please give me money.


Dear Santa,

Hello! My name is _____. I want a new computer, jean, … I’m a good girl. Believe me!!! I will wait for your gifts. Good bye ~

From Jeju


Dear Santa

Santa grandfather. My name is _______, I want to have PSP, but you are not coming to my hometown. I know that, well, I hope so my pleasure. You are santa grandfather right, you are pleasure know what I want. Please I hope so my pleasure you are hope s my pleasure and you are good Santa grandfather

“Merry Christmas” Santa grandfather


next see you again

Sincerely –

Dear Santa

Hi I’m Korean pretty girl 15 yars old. My brother is very sick so, I want money! lots of money Please Mr. Santa you must earned lot of money because you are smart and rich man! I know, I watch TV all day long. I’m so bad student but My true heart is not bad just I want lots of money please! Money money

PS. I want new cell phone too —>you can buy new cell phone to me


(in the corner: You are a God!!)

The author of the last letter told me it was a lie, and when I yelled at her she crumpled it up and stuffed it in her desk. I had to fish it out. Was it?

Sunday, 12/16: they don’t love you like I love you
December 16, 2007, 3:09 pm
Filed under: host brother, host fam, host sister, life progress

HB is acting out in the way that only a sixth-grader can, standing in my room and declaring that he will “never not talk to me,” then staring in my mirror and refusing to leave. His ire is understandable in a sense; he’s mad because I’m spending time with HS that HS never had before. On the other hand, I offered earlier to play with him and he said he wanted to wait until after I was done with HS, and now we’re out of time. What he’s also been doing is waiting until it is obviously inconvenient to play (ex. HS says she’ll be ready in five minutes, HB wants to take that time) and then getting angry when I can’t do it. I suspect that Oma and Apa have already talked to him about not being jealous, so he’s drawing attention to his concerns in the only way he knows how – making it look like I’m not paying attention to him. Also, by making fun of my Korean, which he has never done before. Understanding is exhausting sometimes.

In the meantime, I’m writing my CV, and at this point I’m starting to wonder if I can include things like “crochet” under my skills category.