Intrepid Girl Reporter


But if you must know, I have some babies. Mainly by black ladies. But some by white. And a China-baby.

This is the bunny I made with Soccer. (Hers is pink.)

I think I’ve finally got this filesharing thing figured out.

Sufjan Stevens – Seven Swans

This is the album I listened to today, instead of going to Mass. I am tempted to say “instead of going to Mass, as I should have,” because really, it probably wouldn’t have been a bad thing, but aside from the fact that I was being legitimately productive and couldn’t really go, I’d rather listen to this and think about the highest than listen to what passes for worship music at most religious services. I’m not saying that “traditional” church music (or, in the case of most churches I’ve attended, the contemporary pop that’s become institutionalized) is necessarily bad. But I’ve never been a huge fan of so-called “Christian” music, and one of the things I really like about this album is how he makes the spiritual personal – i.e., he understands that the power of the stories lies within the stories themselves, and how we’re not so different from the people about whom these tales are told. It’s been said before, but half the time what he sings about could be a lover or a loved one as easily as it could God or Jesus, and I’m pretty sure that’s part of the point, that these things are found everywhere. Besides, the music itself – that banjo! – does so much more for me than most hymns ever have. The joy feels real.

A few housekeeping announcements re: blog: I’m going to continue to post some daily Thing I Like, esp. now that I (roughly) know how to share files, but I think I’m also going to start posting my notes on various classes – I’ve been doing it on paper, for me, but more and more people have been finding this blog lately based on ESL/TEFL searches, so that will provide a look into TEFL life. And for those of you (not many) who revel in the tiny human dramas of my classes, this will provide a better way to keep track. Look for a relaunch of KFB soon too.

Today: watched “Project Runway” with HM (downloaded), translated poorly.

ex. CHRISTIAN I don’t know what the f*ck I’m doing.

HILLARY 말허요, “기부니 나빠요!” (“He says, ‘I am very upset!’)

She loved it, as she should have. So far I’ve seen both episodes, and I have to say, I thought Sarah Jessica Parker came off very well in the last one – plenty of guests have been unkind, even out-snarking Michael Kors and Nina Garcia, but she was consistently tactful and diplomatic without being a moron (hello, Paula). And Ricky’s dress was gorgeous. Surprisingly, Elisa’s was too – despite the fact that, much as I do with Quagmire, I found myself staring at her in puzzlement for most of the show. I actually didn’t hate Marion’s dress, at least not until the belt came off, at which point it immediately disintegrated into a potato sack. But mostly I was sad because Marion got kicked off despite his striking resemblance to Tim Calhoun.

I also had dinner with Arkansas and The Singer (who also teaches in Seogwipo) tonight, and got a good dose of the heckling I have so missed. We went to El Paso down in Sicheong – it’s the equivalent of what I imagine eating Mexican food in Canada is like. I.e., it is not authentic, but it isn’t bad, except that they need to quit with the putting of ketchup in the salsa EWWWWWW.

Now I will try to fix the busted file links of before. Check back.

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one of those people
September 17, 2007, 7:03 am
Filed under: how we roll, music, old stuff, pipe dreams, Pop-Song

My new MacBook will be on its way to Jeju-do very, very soon. I’ve come to peace with it. My father, he has deep-rooted, principled objections to Apple Computers Inc., and I understand them; anyone can make a PC or a PC part or a PC program, but if you want something for an Apple, well, you have to go through Apple. But I’m really, really excited. It’s like a toy. Have you seen iLife ‘08?

Today I taught my kids the word for “flood” (hmm), ate a yogurt popsicle, and had one new boy show up to choir and two girls quit. Cool, whatever, we didn’t want you anyway. I also saw the student body president being a jackass in the special ed classroom – it appears that all student body presidents everywhere are alike – and told ACT that I’m down for yoga and pottery classes. I really want to take up cello again too, but they’re telling me that a used one costs around $400, so I have to think about it. I think I need some extracurriculars, though. I’m ready to do more on my own, to get more involved in this city, to be less reliant on others. And in that spirit, even though I don’t really feel like it, I’m going to go walk around Hwabuk and see what I can see.



we’ll make our homes on the water

Considering the typhoon, it was a surprisingly wonderful Sunday.

Full disclosure, as always:  We brought the storm on ourselves. My friend G’s host sister, J, told her cheerfully that a typhoon was coming Sunday, but given the fact that no one seemed to be evacuating, we all laughed it off as typical Korean hyperbole.* Also, the two weather words all my students seem to know on their own are “fine” and “typhoon.” I thought this was funny.

I was wrong.

It’s been a rough week anyway for pretty much everyone I know – my friend A said that atmospheric changes were afoot, which explained my desire on Friday to personally throttle every single student in my second grade class**, but I don’t know anyone on this island who made it through the week without at least once casting a longing glance back towards American shores. So ending with a Category 4 hurricane isn’t really surprising, I guess. Yesterday was cloudy, a little rainy, but about 75% of the island crew ended up seeing The Bourne Supremacy and/or wandering around looking for entertainment and/or eating Red Mango (finally), eating Indian food, receiving a free coffee mug from the only GNC in the province, and visiting the English bookstore and buying copies of Kingsley Amis’ Lucky Jim and Paul Auster’s New York trilogy. (Okay, the last part was just me.) Then G and my friend E and I went to the jjimjilbang with my host fam, where we all fell asleep on the floor and didn’t leave until 2 AM. At this point: no evacuations, no alarms, no warnings from the Big Brother-style speaker on my wall from which the superintendent declaims. I hope you don’t think I’m joking on that last part.

We woke up this morning with a promise hanging over our heads: pudding, or “ding-pu,” as Host Brother has taken to calling it. (The first time I made it – out of boredom, on another rainy night – he called the ingredients pudding, but after witnessing its metamorphosis into dessert, decided that the name needed a change as well.) Because it was HB’s birthday party day, E and G and I ventured out into the rain to the supermarket down the street and to Paris Baguette for breakfast. It was a walk that would cost us four umbrellas. I had trouble standing upright. By the time we realized how bad it was, however, we were on a mission. Also so wet that it didn’t really matter if we got any wetter.

So we got our chocolate and our sugar and our croissants and sticky buns and green-tea-cream-cheese-pancakey-thing, and headed home, where the power appeared to be flickering, to no one’s consternation but ours. We made pudding by candlelight. We ate pudding and fried chicken with Host Family and HB’s friends by candlelight. At this point, trees were falling. Then we sat around and talked and read our books, in English, and took a nap, listening to the winds batter the window. When we woke up, the buses weren’t running, so we played Uno with Host Sister.

When we finally made it to the bus station, the streets were flooded, windows were broken, and branches littered the streets. We got E on a bus to Seogwipo and G in her taxi to Hallim, and made it home, where Host Dad, HB, HS and I ate ramen and, because I am forever behind every trend, I read more of the last Harry Potter, again by candlelight. (Side note: I can’t put it down. I wouldn’t call myself a Potter fanatic, but what I love about Rowling is her ability to create a propulsive story – i.e., I always always always want to keep reading.) Then the lights came back on, and I was able to discover that what had actually occurred was Typhoon Nari, with winds somewhere between 131 and 155 miles per hour. Oh.

This is so typical, for us to be here and have no idea that we’re surviving a massive storm.  It’s the grand-scale edition of getting on a bus and hoping it goes our way. Welcome to life in a foreign country. My American mother asked me today if people don’t evacuate, and HS said no; I’m not sure if this was the first typhoon to hit the island, or if it was just the first typhoon in a while, based on what she said (see? SEE?), and I don’t know if people are blase or if they’re actually freaking out and they’re just doing it in Korean. You know? I never imagined that I could experience a storm in this way. But then I never imagined a lot of things.

*There is no typical Korean hyperbole. Mistake Number One.

**Explanation: In Korea, elementary school goes to sixth grade. Once students hit middle school, the grades are started over, so seventh grade = first grade, eighth grade = second grade, ninth grade = third grade. Then the whole thing is started again in high school. Any rhetorical confusion is usually alleviated with the explanation “(grade) (school),” as in “first grade high school,” but since I teach middle school, I think you all can figure it out for yourselves.



tracks untraceable
September 17, 2007, 6:10 am
Filed under: blogz, old stuff

Welcome to the new blog. If you are here, you are probably familiar with my old blog, which had to be discontinued due to anonymity restrictions; it still exists, but if you don’t know it, I’m only giving it out on an NTK basis. The Interweb’s a dangerous place, son.

I’m cross-posting the last few entries from my other blog for the sake of continuity, which means that the dates might be off for a few of them. All apologies, and happy reading.