Thursday, January 29, 2009

What Happens in Two Weeks is a Mystery

The reasons for delay in posting was due to illness and some recent events. I have recently encountered a few opportunities from meeting people here and am working on the following:

1. I am helping promote and re-do a bar
2. I am going to be in a Moroccan TV show or movie that is being taped here about two Moroccan guys living in South Korea. I may help in the production of the show as well as being on the show. This is still being worked out but it is a great opportunity none the less.
3. I am looking into starting a tea company here. I can not provide to much information until we have moved further along with it. We will see what happens but that has been keeping me busy as well.
4. Learning Korean so I can speak and understand it
5. Trying to EXPERIENCE Korea
THE RUN DOWN
Wednesday, Jan 28, 2009: I was teaching at my main campus and discovered that the kids LOVE watching video chats. I would bring my Mac (which many people do not own here) to school and would connect to the Internet to call friends and family from home. All of a sudden, the children are swarming around me to see who is talking on my computer. Many of the kids are shy but they still like to see foreigners across the world.

Monday, Feb 2, 2009: This was an interesting day. The director of Bangduk Campus was not there. I usually teach 25 minutes of one class then 25 minutes of another class. This time the director's mother (who I found out runs the campus) wanted me to stay and actually teach some of the classes for 50 minutes which meant the other classes didn't know what to do. It was a confusing day.

Tuesday, Feb 3, 2009: I came to campus and found out that I was going to be evaluated through out the day. The person evaluating me was named Rori (the name from Gilmore Girls). She speaks English very well because she lived in New Zealand for seven years. She can speak Korean but she doesn't know many complicated Korean terms. She had to follow me around and sit in on all my classes. I felt very awkward but I explained to her how this campus was very different than the other campuses.

As we chatted through out the day we discovered that we had a lot in common and she may be teaching at one of my campuses soon. She works in the main GnB office at the moment but is being trained to work as a teacher as well. She ran into some of the same problems that I had when having to do the e-training. We decided to make plans to have dinner the next night.

Wednesday, Feb 4th, 2009: Since Jenny was gone, I had to teach some extra classes. It was back to being thrown into classrooms and not knowing what to go over. Luckily, I can usually ad-lib and teach the lesson without have any preparation. I made it through the day and then met with Rori downtown for some Korean barbecue. She is going to try and introduce me to her Canadian friend who used to work for GnB. He married a Korean woman and is very Christian (this is how she explained him to me). Rori and I are the same age and we live near each other. I'm looking forward to spending a lot of time hanging out with her.

Thursday, Feb 5th, 2009: I received a message from some of the people that were involved in the Japan fiasco. There was some drama but I am hoping that things get resolved. I am currently dealing with trying to dispute the charge of $230 for the ferry. I guess some lessons in life can be expensive...

Anyway, I found out I was going to go hiking with some of the GnB managers and staff on Saturday morning! Then that night I had a business meeting with my co-president and financial adviser on what steps we need to start taking with the tea business. It's beginning to look like I am going to be having a busy couple of months. Then I studied my Korean late into the night to prepare for my test on Friday from Violet.

Friday, Feb 6th, 2009: I forgot that Violet was not going to be at work today so looks like I have more time to study my Korean. I made it to the gym and then went to work. I got a shorter schedule today! Apparently my schedule is going to be changing at the Bolli campus. It was an interesting day and I got to see Gael ( the high school girl that is the daughter of the director of the Bolli campus). When I was done teaching, I didn't have much time because I needed to go downtown to help run a bar event with Brandi. I had a quick dinner downstairs from the school with Gael and then was given a ride home. Gael, her mother and her sister invited me to go bowling on Sunday and I happily accepted. I am starting to feel very popular.

Saturday & Sunday: I went hiking at Aspan mountain with my boss's family, the guy I interviewed for GnB (Eddie), Rori, Krissy (she didn't have an English name so I helped her pick out this name) and some other people. (During the hike I discovered I was in really good shape.) I kept trying to encourage Rori during the entire hike. It took us about an hour an a half to get to the top of the mountain and another hour to get back down. Supposedly the whole mountain takes about seven to eight hours. I think the best part was me continually screaming, "Aja!" which means fighting.

After we finished hiking, we went out for some traditional Korean food. Rori helped me understand what people were talking about and everyone kept trying to teach me new Korean words. Supposedly, if you can drink well then you are a whale.
Next day, I went bowling! The bowling alley's are much smaller than what I'm used to. I felt like their bowling alley was a little bit outdated. It didn't matter in the end because at least they seemed to work correctly. What I didn't know was that Gael's family didn't know how to bowl! I actually thought it was a lot more fun that they had never bowled.

After winning two out of three, we went to a restaurant where Gael's family often eat at. It was at this time that Gael asked me if I could fill out a letter of recommendation for her student exchange program application. I really hope that she gets to go to America. She wants to live with a host family in either California, Florida, or Virginia (I recommended that she look into going here). Anyone interested in hosting a smart Korean high school student? I wish I could but I don't think they would allow me...

I tried out one of the DVD rooms! You pay 13,000 won for a room and can watch as many movies as you want. It's so nice! video

I think that's mostly everything... I will be moving my blog posts about my adventures in Korea to another location. This blog will return to posts about technology and hopefully I will be able to blog about the interesting technology that Korea has to offer. Like their TV/GPS that is in almost every car. It scares me...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Pace is picking up!

Sorry for not posting for a week... It was a crazy week. I can't say that anything really exciting happened last week.

Things did get interesting on Thursday and Friday when I tried to finalize my plans to go to Japan with Will, Tim, Jill and Karen! Everyday last week, I tried to get a hold of them to find out where we would be staying and what the plans were for Japan. I finally heard from them on Friday afternoon through Facebook. Will and Tim made the excuse that they wanted to do a boys trip and had thought I was going with Jill and Karen. (I found this interesting since I booked a ferry to Japan online a week ago while I was on the phone with Will. My ferry was the same time as his!) Karen responded saying that her and Jill couldn't go because their visa would not allow them to go. (This later changed at the last minute because their boss gave them a tourist visa in which they could visit other countries.) In other words, I was frantically trying to figure out a way to either book accommodations to go alone or cancel my ferry.

There was a lot of confusion and what I ended up doing was calling my bank and telling them to let me know if I get charged for anything that has to do with Japan. Then, I decided to make other plans for my weekend. (I decided not to go to Japan because I did not want to be stressed out trying to make plans last minute. I would rather have things planned out and feel secure about going by myself)Instead, I went out Friday and met up with my British friends. That night I met a woman named Brandi who is also from Virginia and has been here for five months. She works at a hagwon (private school) but is also a bartender at Club That and Itaewon Crew. She is currently remodeling and updating the club. After chatting for a bit, we became friends and worked out a deal for me to help her re-do the place. (Nice thing to add to the resume). After meeting more people, I made plans to go to Seoul with the Brits the next day.
Sunday: I woke up late and packed all my things and headed to the train station. I was luckily able to buy a ticket at the last minute for the 1 pm train to Seoul. The trip took less than two hours and we were in Seoul! We checked into a hostel called "Inn Dae Won Guesthouse" which cost 15,000 won per night. (VERY CHEAP)

I'm not sure if I can relay all the events that occurred or how much of a character Kirk, Dom and Matt were. Let's just say that; Dom is like Mr.Bean, Matt is like Patrick from Coupling and Kirk is just kooky. Add all three together with me and you get an unforgettable weekend filled with bad english, KFC crime and old Korean women attacking you about toast.

Tuesday: We got back in the evening and prepared for the work week.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Past Week...

My blog will be moving soon to another name because this blog is supposed to be about technology but as you know the last posts have been about my times here in Korea.

Monday & Tuesday: It has come to my attention that my Monday and Tuesday campus wants me to use learning activities or games for the students. I teach a few classes and the other classes I come in and play games. I feel like a clown coming into the party to just entertain the kiddies for awhile and give the parents a rest. I'm starting not to mind though. It's nice being the one that the kids love. I come in and bring fun! I had new games that went well with the little kiddies. This means that I am doing a good job... Tuesday my director wasn't there and they had me teaching some of her classes alone. I just tried to go with the flow and survived.

Wednesday & Thursday: The main campus has really become a lot more enjoyable. Both days I was almost late to my own class. I am finding new ways of teaching the class and am trying to make things more interesting. On Thursday, I got my cell phone! It has taken me awhile to figure out how to use the phone. I have it in English but not everything is in English and I don't have bluetooth! I thought in Korea every phone would have the coolest stuff. Apparently, it's not that different from the U.S. Except I did get headphones with my phone and it did have an MP3 player and such. I have also discovered a new favorite food at all the little marts.

FRIDAY: Here is a video about my weekend and Friday. Let me just say I am starting to really like Korea because of Fridays.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A RECAP of the Past Week

I don't think I can give you a detailed account of this week. I can try to summarize and give you the highlights. I have been really busy...

Tuesday: I taught at the new campus (I don't know the name of it yet...) and it was close to the same day I had on Monday.

Wednesday & Thursday: Back to Main Campus! This time, the girl that brought me to the hospital and worked out my verbal contract (Jenny) was back! (The sad part is I didn't remember what she looked like and thought she was someone new! Blonde moment) She has been very helpful in explaining things to me like when I am getting paid, how we can get me a cell phone, what I need to do for the school and what my schedule is. In other words, I had a great day Wednesday and Thursday. I teach about two to three classes on these days and have lots of time to get other things done. The classes I have are designated as mine and so I have more control over them. I like most of my classes but I have one class on Wednesday which I do not fully enjoy. The class is the older class where I have about three troublemakers in the class that can get on my nerves.

Other than that, I am now told that I need to make a teaching plan for each of my classes and have a daily report after each class to turn in. Eventually I will be reporting on student's progress and turning that in for their parents.

Friday: I taught at the Bolli Campus and had my first Korean lesson with my director. I think it's going to be difficult but I am hoping I will learn fairly soon. I have to have the constants and vowels memorized by Friday.

I taught my seven classes today and this time incorporated new learning activities. It was a lot of fun! My first two classes are really young and they are adorable. One of the kids said, "I love Carol." Then for the first time, I found their Korean English accent adorable! It was when they tried to say the word "turtle." I have now begun to really enjoy teaching some of these kids.

I will eventually put up a video of one of my classes but for now I am trying to get everyone here caught up.

Weekend: I didn't do much. I went downtown with my crew (Meaning Will, Karen and Jill) and we met up with the Brits. We started at Itaewon Crew and then moved to this place called BillBow. It's a mix of Billiards and Bowling! It was quite fun. I ended up staying up late enough to be able t take the subway home at 6 am in the morning. The subway closes at 11:30pm everyday here. Apparently, it is because most people do not ride the subway late at night. I can not believe this.

I checked out a church on Saturday that I may serve at. They were late to meeting me but I told them it was okay. The worship director picked me up and took me to this restaurant where I met two of the members. One of them tried to speak to me but he knew very few English phrases. One of them was "I love Jesus." The church members gave us a ride to the church where I was to meet the pastor. The pastor supposedly lived in the US for seven years and speaks English. The worship director and I went to his office where he was "busy". Inside his office, I am told to sit down. The pastor introduces himself briefly then turns his attention to the worship director and speaks Korean the whole time while I sit there looking at the office. His office walls are covered with books in Korean and English. It's a fairly large room for a pastor but he supposedly needs the room to prepare his sermons.

After they finish talking the pastor gives me a gift. A kitchenware set and two stainless steel mugs. I'm not sure why. The before we leave his office he asks me what denomination I am. I reply that I am nondenominational Christian. He responds with, "Oh...I will pray for you." Then the worship pastor shows me around the church and talks to me about teaching some of the kids English and leading a small group. I am not sure what all this entails and I do not want to commit to anything until I have thought about this. Eventually, after he has shown me around a bit. He gives me written directions to the church and his number and walks me to the subway. He said it had really been a pleasure meeting me and hopes to see me tomorrow at service.

Lets just say I didn't make it to his service the next day. I tried but it didn't work out. I felt slightly bad but I want to know more information about the church from a foreigner. I am trying to get in touch with the Daegu Faith International Church and am hoping they can give me some insight. Until then, we will see what happens.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Monday Brings a New School!

Weekend Recap: Didn't do much due to trying to save money until I get paid.
I did venture out to Duryu Park which is beautiful. Then had dinner with the my two Canadian friends (Karen and Jill) that live in the same apartment building as Will.

We had a nice American meal with pasta, salad and cupcakes for dessert. We chatted over diner and decided we try to make plans to go to Japan for Lunar New Years. (Side Note: I am also being dragged into trying Curling while I am here by my Canadian friends.)

Let's bounce to present day Monday! I arrive at my campus to plan for my classes that I will begin teaching this Wednesday. When all of a sudden, my boss comes in and to tell me that I have to leave because I will be teaching at another campus on Mondays and Tuesdays from now on. (Meaning my week is split up into three campuses that I work at.)

I am driven in silence by a gentleman (I can't remember his name!) to another GnB school that is far away. Once I am arrive, I am greeted by the Vice Director Joanne who lived in Australia and speaks English very well. I am told I will be teaching eight classes today and Tuesday. The main objective is to have me work on the kiddies pronunciation. I get to co-teach at this campus. Luckily, I have a teacher that understands English and can speak Korean.

I am being tossed in to classes and I don't know what to do. One of my co-teachers (Milly) has traveled a lot and is a fluent English speaker. She is new to teaching as well which is nice. Otherwise my classes were okay.

It was weird having another teacher in there with me. I keep wondering why they need me if these Korean teachers can speak English. They know Korean and English! Once again, a new school means figuring out what they want me to do.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Organization is the Key to Suceed

Friday was a great day. I taught five classes and I actually used the allotted time that I was given to teach. Usually, I have too much time left and have no idea what to do. I think I have now gotten the hang of this.

The reason as to why I succeeded on this day was because the Director of the Bolli Campus gave me a teaching guide and a teaching plan. Every week she said she will have one prepared for me. I will be able to write down any students that is a trouble makers or has problems in class. The teaching plan tells me what I am to teach and what the homework should be. ORGANIZATION RULES!

Also there was a girl who is in high school who came by (not sure her connection to the office) and she wanted to know more about me. I showed her all my photos on my computer and videos of my friends at parties from home. She really enjoyed that. She told me she wanted to move away from Korea because there are to many Asians. (I found that very interesting.)

My co-workers and I had dinner together in the office. They ordered Chinese food!

Afterward I wanted to go out but I was unsure as to whether it would be safe for me to go downtown alone. Grace said she felt it would not be dangerous and advised me to do so. I tried to explain why I had heard it was dangerous. How my friends told me that I would be raped. (I know this is extreme but this is what a friend of mine actually said to me!). When I told her this she looked at me with a confused look and said, "What is rape?" I was caught off guard and had no idea of how to try and explain this. After saying a lot of things that didn't make any sense, I told her "never mind" Hoping she would forget the word and my lame attempt of defining it. (Anyone have any idea of how to define or explain this word to a Korean!?)

That night I went downtown by myself which was not dangerous. I went to Itaewon Crew Pub a good place where some foreigners go. I ended up meeting a Scotsman named Andy and two Brits (Mak and Kirk). They have all lived in South Korea before but were new to Daegu. They teach English to adults. We met at Itaewon Crew Pub and then eventually went to Commune's. It wasn't to much of a crazy night but I did have a blast making new friends who I could relate to. For example, Kirk loves Coupling and sushi. I am looking forward to spending time with these gentlemen in the near future.