Intrepid Girl Reporter


Tuesday, 3/4: New York City, capital of the world

2D – Guess Who?

Lesson: Introduce students to each other through question-based guessing game

  • Teddy Bear Barrette has switched over to rhinestones
  • but she’s doing her work!
  • Eun Jeong actually competed for tickets today
  • Future Vet*, Good Twin*, Super Woman* all present
  • surprisingly well behaved
  • next time don’t have teams come forward, make questions more difficult

2B – Guess Who?

  • Help Woman*, Kind Mother*, Field Trip, that girl with the pink glasses
  • not too participatory but generally good
  • guessing game doesn’t work as teams, maybe have kids find matches

2C – Guess Who?

  • Bad Twin*…oh God
  • those girls in the front need to QUIT talking
  • one of the choir girls still wants to be “social poverty designer” (Catholic girl)
  • Canada, Lisa Loeb*
  • having kids practice easy questions with each other, answer hard questions, find random matches worked better
  • new co-teacher less effective

I moved gyomushil (teachers’ office) yesterday and it was TOTAL CHAOS. Apparently it had not occurred to anyone working at or affiliated with my school to, I don’t know, do this stuff sometime before the first day of school.

In this room I could practically see my breath and I couldn’t feel my fingers to type; the windows were open and no one would allow them to be closed, so we all stood there, huddled around an ancient freestanding gas heater with a teapot on the top. The teapot, in case you were wondering, serves as a humidifier. Those of us who were not gathered round the campfire were counting to eight repeatedly and shouting my name; evidently there was some discrepancy regarding the desk I was supposed to have versus the desk I actually had, and while I was supposed to receive the eighth desk, which desk became the eighth varied depending on where the person started counting. Meanwhile, the students, teacherless, roamed our dirty halls like packs of hyenas, waiting for the first of us to fall. Did I mention that the first graders weren’t even there? I kept asking people if I could help – I couldn’t figure out what to do on my own, as everyone simply seemed to be moving each other’s stuff around and back again – and no one would give me directions, so eventually I just sat at my desk. Meanwhile, the teacher with the broken arm had the papers and folders she was moving propped between her coat and her cast.

My absence from this blog would be inexcusable were it not for the fact that a) I’ve been working for Uncle Sam, who possesses powerful Internet monitoring superpowers, for the past month, b) the Internet at my house on base was more fickle than a Korean middle schooler’s chosen favorite singer, and c) I got a bead stuck in the optical drive of my MacBook and had to have it serviced. Oops.

But anyway, I’m back. And reasonably sure that I can never work for the federal government. To illustrate this point, I would like to offer a series of questions I received from children at the American Corner (like a mini-Embassy) in Busan, via teleconference, during a presentation on American Food: Diverse and Delicious, followed by both actual and given answers.

Q: Who were the first immigrants to America? How did they start American food?

AA: Well, in the seventeenth century, the white man came and pretended to be friends with the natives for a while, but then he killed them off, took their land, and shot the animals and grew the crops that would become the basis of American cuisine.

GA: Well, in the seventeenth century, many immigrants came from Europe. They made friends with the natives, and from the bounty of the land, they all cooked food together.

Q: Why is American food so sweet?

AA: Because Big Food is filling it with high-fructose corn syrup!

GA: Because we have many immigrants from Europe, where they make very sweet desserts.

Q: Can you tell me the story of how New York City came to be your country’s capital?

AA: No.

GA: No.

*These are obviously my actual class notes, with changed names. Hopefully soon I will make a glossary of pseudonyms. In the meantime:

Bad Twin/Good Twin: These girls are not actually twins, but they look like it. One is good. One is not.

Super Woman, Kind Mother, Help Woman: attended winter camp, created Super Woman, Kind Mother, and Help Woman, respectively

Lisa Loeb: v. smart, a little morbid, has dyed hair and Lisa Loeb glasses, as well as a general Loebian aesthetic; I wave at her in the hall and she looks at me and shakes her head

Future Vet: started emailing me because she has a cat (rare in Korea) and I have one too; originally wanted to be a vet, but because this may be too difficult, is currently planning on being a “pet beauty artist”



Monday, 1/21: Singapore, without a soundtrack
January 21, 2008, 12:38 pm
Filed under: Apple, host brother, looks like, travel

hi (IGR)! you are really go singapore… but I’m never lonely!!! because you are not here I can’t hear your noise and you are not disturb me. so now Iam very happy …… hope you are having a good day~~

(Host Brother).

()()
(. .)
()()

If I could review Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport as a place to sleep, it would compare favorably with (God forbid) Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson. Actually, I believe I will review it.

SLEEPING IN AIRPORTS: Bangkok Suvarnabhumi
****/5

The first thing to note about Suvarnabhumi is that it’s brand new. The second is that it’s full of backpackers who have the same idea you do, unlike certain other airports we could mention, which are full of homeless people who accuse you of nonexistent offenses. This means that there can be fierce competition for the cushioned benches – unsurprising considering the facts that the airport is also quiet and free of ugly carpet (are you listening, Atlanta?), has restaurants and Starbucks open 24 hours, and doesn’t smell. Aside from the absence of free Internet access and a few issues with climate control, Suvarnabhumi makes a fine place to nurse a 4AM Tazo Shaken Black Lemon Tea (Iced) before eventually passing out on a chair while you wait for your budget flight.

Singapore is humid, but thanks to the kindness of Hallim’s friend from college, we have a very comfortable place to stay, one in which Hallim is passed out right now. This is probably due to the fact that our flight left at 10:15 yesterday morning. We had some time to kill in Seoul, so we met Soccer, Quagmire, and another Program friend of ours I’ll call Earthy Fellow in Itaewon, a district in which I have no desire to ever, ever set foot again – it reminded me of Bourbon Street with a dash of colonialism, except much larger. At any rate we went to some place called Foreign Restaurant, which, as one might guess, was not any good, really. But the company was excellent. We tried to go see a movie, ended up browsing in some weird supermall, and took the metro back to Incheon, which was not, I discovered too late, the same as Incheon Terminal. Incheon Terminal is actually 40 minutes away from Incheon. We had to get on a bus, and then we had to tell the bus driver to hurry, and we ran through customs, etc., and then we discovered that the boarding time had been delayed. (Note: this was my fault. I should not attempt to navigate anywhere.) So we made it to Bangkok around 1:20, got our stuff, had some SB and crashed. Our AirAsia flight left around 7:30, and we were at Hallim’s friend’s apartment by 12.

We spent the afternoon in the Arab Quarter, which was lots of fun, aside from the fact that we ended up eating Malay/Indonesian food, which was good, but now I’m fiending for some baba ghanouj. At first I was being a bit too guidebooky, dragging Hallim to this street of hipster stores, before she pointed out that while they all differ, such boutiques can be found anywhere, and the kitsch was sort of what made the area unique. So we ate some baklava and found this place that sold telephone-shaped oil lamps and bags of old photographs of Singapore “ago,” as Host Fam would say. They bear a pretty strong resemblance to the photos we have of my father’s family in Saigon, and on vacation, and in Cali. So I picked up a few of those and wrote letters on the back, and then I found a Slurpee (!!! – yes, I am aware that these are not native to Singapore, but they are both hard to find and delicious), and then we went home.

The only downers so far: Rain jacket came out of outside of Scooter’s loaned backpack, i.e. is lost forever in AirAsia’s luggage claim, was rather expensive and more importantly a gift from Miguk Oma, and iPod seems to have stopped working. I’m going to try a few things with it, but I don’t think it’s under warranty, which means purchasing a new one, eventually. I had downloaded some Dengue Fever and White Shoes & The Couples Company, which I thought would be suitable travel accompaniments, but now I am forced to sing in my head.



I’m pretty sure my kids have a future in the tourism industry

Today: more travel poster making. Some of the taglines:

“About India”

“Strange Egypt”

“Surprise Egypt”

“[Egypt] is very mistery. How nice!!”

What can I say. Nothing that would make it any funnier, for sure.

I have a few hours’ break in between classes, so I’m at home now to change into warmer clothes/lesson plan/(nap). Fortunately, I set up Aurora on my computer, so now I have an iTunes alarm clock. My computer is so damn cool. I did need a break though. Even when my students are better, as they were today (and by “better,” I mean “not beasts”), teaching the low-level classes always sets me on edge, because I know I’ll have to deal with the other teachers as well – teachers who are mostly kind, but many of whom seem to have given in to – don’t hate – this culture of low expectations. Yes, I know tossing around conservative buzzwords like that isn’t going to earn me any brownie points on the island (especially considering that I – I! – am probably the second-most conservative person here, after the immortal Quagmire). And it sounds strange to say that about a country like Korea, where rank is emphasized above all. But most of my low-level second (eighth) graders seem to have actually regressed. And sometimes I feel like the teachers have given up on them – “oh,” they say, “maybe he does not speak the English well, so maybe we give something easier.” So? That’s why I’m here. So help me by at least translating my instructions, making him – or her – do what they’re supposed to. It doesn’t matter if it takes longer. I’ve got time to teach them. That is, after all, what I’m here to do. Teaching doesn’t get easier with the fact that due to scheduling changes, half the time I don’t see classes for weeks and weeks. I had a class of eighth grade boys today and I think I have seen them once before. Maybe twice. How am I supposed to teach them anything?



brought to you by the letter M
October 1, 2007, 4:50 pm
Filed under: Apple, music

I am happily offering this post late at night from the comfort of my bed, thanks to the arrival of my new MacBook. Oh it is so pretty.

Yes, I am one of those people now. I understand the ideological objections to Macs – they try to style themselves as this sort of anti-corporation, but if you have an Apple, everything is going to come from them. As my mother points out, my father’s refusal to accept the Apple corporation, despite how smoothly and beautifully my new computer runs, stems from a deep-seated desire to Not Sell Out To The Man. However, I have given up caring, etc.

I’m not entirely sure how to work everything yet. But I am quite happy with it. Today I also rode over that AWFUL road over the island, to Seogwipo to practice for this play I’m doing for the English festival, and I listened to “Captain Badass” by Songs:Ohia and remembered how good it feels to feel sad sometimes.

More later. I am up too late.