Thursday, June 17, 2010

tara teacher, please help...

So, the events of this morning deserve an extra special blog post.  This week has been mildly uneventful in terms of Korea life.  Canada life is another story, but I don't feel like going into it.

I was leaving my one grade six class of the day, and as I was going down the stairwell, I saw a grade 6 boy wedged in between the stair railings, one going up, and one going down.  When he saw me he shouted "Tara teacher!  Tara teacher!  Please!  Please help!"  Turns out he had jammed himself right in there and couldn't get out.  After chuckling for a second, I put my books down and ran down the stairs to wriggle him free.  He was really smushered in there!  I am so glad I didn't have to find the head teacher and get him to free the kid.
I have no idea what he was thinking or what on earth he was trying to do, but it made my day.
Either way, it was pretty damn funny!

Also, we watched The Simpsons and played BINGO and What Time is it Mr. Wolf in my after school class because I was too tired and hot to make a lesson.  Bad Tara teacher...

Monday, June 14, 2010

i think i need a catchphrase...

Last weekend was fabulous. In fact, it was even better than fabulous. I was supposed to go to Seoul with Annie and Meaghan, but plans got cancelled, yadda yadda yadda. Anyways, I ended up meeting up with Robyn and Brendan on Saturday, after another shitty back treatment, and we hung out all day.

The back treatments were unbearable. Really and truly painful. Even the stupid laser didn't feel good. And now my back looks disgusting. Parts are Coke bottle red, parts are the color of darkly toasted bread, and parts are still white as paper, plus it's peely and gross. Thank goodness it is no longer blistery, though. And it's itchy... so very itchy. I was given a really disgusting balm to put on the burn. I didn't attempt to use it until Monday night, and when I opened the tube I nearly puked. It just smelled like tallow in a tube. It was awful. I put it on Monday night before I went to bed, and then before I went to school on Tuesday. Big mistake. Every time I caught a whiff of it, I almost puked. It was awful. I decided that I could no longer use it unless I seriously damaged my ability to smell. I told my co-teacher about how the smell of it was making me sick, and she smelled me (haha, we have no boundaries!), but she told me it smelled good! The only conclusion I have been able to arrive at is that I smell like a halaboji (Korean grandfather) on the bus. I don't want to smell like a halaboji!

I decided after school that I was going to try and find some aloe to use instead of the icky cream. Boy was that an adventure. My cell died on the way to E-Mart, so I had no dictionary on hand, and, as I couldn't find the aloe myself, I had to attempt to ask one of the ladies that works there. What a gong show. It resulted in fifteen minutes of searching, and her assuming that I wanted aloe gel sunblock. Sigh. Either way, I kahmsahamneeda-ed her and decided I would try and check The Face Shop, most of their products have at least some English on them. Thaaaank goodness I overcame my frustration about my lack of Korean and went and checked. Deal, glorious, expensive as fuck aloe! Oh, how I love you, even if you are perfumed. Unless aloe naturally smells this good. I don't really care, it doesn't smell like that disgusting crap that I had before, so that's all that matters! Clearly!

Next step: find SPF 1 000 000.

So, for the rest of my Saturday (that was a long, rambley backtrack)... So, we met up outside Bob Kim's (a kimbap restaurant! Bahaha) and decided to venture over to Noblita (a really rad coffee chop) for three tall orders of cherrycock. I kid you not, my friends, it says it right on the menu... and curiosity got the better of us.

Yup, cherrycock.  Needless to say, it did not meet our expectations.  But what do you expect for 4500W.

The adorable Robyn and Brendan and our tall orders of cherrycock, also, mocha cake and something that Robyn enjoys that's a Korean dessert with red beans, cream, rice cake, ice chips, ice cream, whipped cream, chocolate sauce, fruit, sprinkles, etc. etc. in it.  Ews.

After the cherrycock, we cemented plans to randomly go to Suncheon.  Hurray!  Also, we took the train!!!  I was sooooo excited!  And I just realized I didn't take any pictures on the train... oi vay.  Next time for sure.  Wait, wait wait... I took one on the way back!

More adorable Robyn and Brendan (fighting over dried squid, I might add) and the only evidence that I've been on a train!

Once off the train, we decided that we should go shopping.  And, go shopping we did.  I bought a red pair of laceless slip on converse, because my green pair for school are so damn comfy.  And some Salvatore Ferragamo perfume (Incanto Charms... smells sooo good), oh... and I mayyy have bought myself a diamond ring.  And by may, I mean I did.

Oh, how extravagant!  It's silver plated with white gold, so it was relatively cheap--55000W--but I love it!!  It's so me.  And I love the idea of a pinky ring.  We also saw the Prince of Persia movie... I have nothing to say other than the only thing that saved it for me was Jake Gyllenhall.  Terrible.

The best part of the night was to come after the shopping, though.  Our last purchase of the night, and really the best purchase ever made, especially since they were like 1000W was the bubble wands we bought.  Yes, we bought bubble wands, and it was AMAZING.  We made soooo many people incredibly happy that night.  We tested them out in Suncheon, and people thought they were great.  One lady stood by us for a couple of minutes and played around in the bubbles.  We then took the train back to Yeosu and we were going to blow bubbles on Dolsan Bridge, but apparently they turn the lights off at 11.  So, we went to Yeoso Dong rotary and blew bubbles there!

We made a little girl crazily happy on our way from the rotary to the bar district, where we were going to blow bubbles.  I have never seen a Korean kid smile so big or get so happy, and the adults she was with actually got excited too, it was awesome.  We then stood on a street corner and blew bubbles into traffic for like an hour.  People loved it!  Some people took pictures from inside their cars, people drove by and "woo hoo!"ed us, people walking by stopped and used their limited English skills to talk to us, and we let them blow bubbles too, it was awesome!  Who knew bubbles could be so much fun and have such an impact!  The best part is, we totally know that people went home that night and were talking about the three foreigners standing on a street corner at midnight, blowing bubbles.  Pure awesomeness.

Sunday was nice as well, we went shopping--again--in Yeosu's shopping district, which isn't actually half bad!  I got some stuff to send home, which is always nice.  Random Korean cutesie things.

This past weekend was really good, too.  Sex and the City 2 finally came out here!  I was so excited, I went with Robyn to see it on opening night!  The theater was so full!  Lies.  There were four of us foreigners, and one Korean couple.  Haha.  Oh wells.  The movie wasn't as amazing as I wished it would have been.  It didn't advance the story, and it was just like it was made for the sake of there being another SATC movie.  I was slightly disappointed.  But it was fun anyways.  We snuck wine coolers into the theater, so that was fun, haha.

Saturday, Robyn and I decided we wanted to go dancing, so we got all dolled up and took the late bus to Gwangju.  We went to the shopping district, which is where there are apparently a bunch of bars.  But first, we needed to get a hotel room.  Apologies, love motel room.  The idea of staying in a love motel is slightly dirty, haha, but it's so cheap!  We got a really rad room in the Enter Hotel (pleaseeee tell me someone sees the irony in our love motel being called the Enter Hotel!!).  It was crazy, we payed 40000W total, and it was really nice!  It even had a jacuzzi!

We decided to wander the streets of Gwangju after we checked in in search of a club to go dancing in.  The alleyway we had to walk through to get to our hotel must be mentioned at this point.  It was an alleyway in an alleyway in an alleyway which led to a parking garage, where the entrance to the hotel was located... and it was sketch city:

We were grateful to get to the main road after leaving this alley and walking through the next alley... we were pretty sure a Korean man was trying to buy us.  He emerged from one of the alleys and was following us, whisper shouting things in Korean, and once we got to the main road he turned back around and disappeared.  Creepy.

Finding the club we were looking for was not an easy task, especially considering we really had no idea where to look.  We eventually gave up and settled on Club Volume... which we were able to find because they had a truck blaring music parked down the alley from it.  I think it was a good find!  10000W cover, but it included a free drink, and drinks were 7000W, so, really, only 3000W cover, and they played a mix of electronic and hip hop.  Also, there were lasers.  I've never been in a club with lasers!!!

Hah, a tonne of pics for you guys!  I got really excited about the lasers!  Oh, and some evidence that my makeup and hair did -not- look like crap before dancing for four hours:

Still the palest person in Korea!

We got home around 4 in the morning, apparently clubs here stay open until 5ish, holy wow!  We were the -only- foreigners in the club, it was crazy!  And, aside from some handsy Korean boys that ended up passing me back and forth between the two of them, the night went rather well.  I had a lot of fun dancing, it was great!  I need to go out dancing more often.  I'm a terrible dancer, but I have so much fun!

Sunday consisted of some window shopping/great find buys before we realized we were too exhausted to carry on, and the heat and humidity were killer.  Oi.  So, we bussed on home and I took a long ass nap, which was probably a bad idea, because I didn't fall asleep very early last night.

This morning I awoke to the smell of fire, and I was sure that my air conditioner had burst into flames from over-use or something.  Not the case, apparently it was coming from outside.  Thank goodness.  When I got downstairs however, I found out the source of the smoke... there was a pile of potatoes smoldering in the middle of my street.  I wish I could make this stuff up.  There was a potato fire in my street.  The walk to school was nice though, I wore my favorite pair of jeans, and a cute Korean university boy stopped me to tell me that my butt looked nice!  *swoon* hahaha.

Well, this was a long ass blog post, because I've neglected my blog for about ten days, so I will stop the madness and end it here.  I should probably get to bed, anyways!

I leave you with a picture of a palm tree wrapped in ivy:

And Koosh ball flip flops, which are all the rage out here:


Friday, June 4, 2010

emergency blog update...

If you recall my dancing for votes update, this has been my life for the past few weeks, so loud you can't even think.  And it starts up early, goes until late, and there were about ten of them by my apartment building.  Luckily it has stopped, the election and gloating time is over.  What's that?  Gloating time?  Why yes, in Korea, you don't take your win graciously, you gloat afterwards.  Anyways, here's a "fun" video--fun for you, not for me, it brings back bad memories for me--about the past few election weeks.  Different city than mine, but, it was the exact same in Yeosu:

i think im in love...

With my air conditioner!  I finally plugged the beast in today, and I couldn't have done it any sooner!  It is my new best friend!  Seriously, after the day I have had, nothing spells relaxing like hanging out by my air conditioner watching Sex and the City.

I know you must all be asking yourselves "Whatever does she mean, after the day she's had?"  Well, I am officially a burn victim.  Yes, I am laying here, on my stomach in an interminable amount of pain, for I, Tara Smith, am a burn victim.  I couldn't take the pain anymore, I had to show my co-teachers how bad my sunburn was, and ask what I should do,  They almost shat themselves.

See, I woke up this morning, almost died in the shower from the pain, and then, oh, the topper on the cake... when I went to put my bra on, it hurt so bad I burst into tears.  Yes, I was in sheer agony.  I managed to wrangle my bra off again, there was no way in hell I was going to spend the day with that bitch on.  Luckily, I remembered that I have my strapless push up bra with me here, and luckily there was no chance in hell it would come in contact with my burn.  Yup, I may have been burnt to a crisp, but at least my tits looked amazing.

AAANYWAYS, enough about my boobs.  I wore a tank top and a button up shirt to school today; the tank top because it would be soft against my burn and it breathes because it's cotton, and the button up shirt, well, because it's loose.  Unfortunately, this did little to help me; by 3:30 I was in agony.  I had to do something, so, I asked my co-teacher if I went to pharmacy, would the pharmacist be able to give me something for my burn?  She replied that there's really nothing one can do about a sunburn, and that it would get better with time.  So, what else could I do?  I took my shirt off.

Yes, in the middle of the office in my elementary school with the door wide open, I took my shirt off, I had no choice.  Everyone gasped in horror.  Not at the fact that I had my shirt off, but at the fact that I was covered in huge, horrible, disgusting, blisters.  I was immediately informed that, at 4:30, I would be taken to the doctor, and that there was nothing that just a pharmacist could do about my burn.

So, 4:30 rolled around, and, after informing everyone that walked by that I was a blistery freak, I was on my way to the doctor.  Now, I normally hate going to the doctor.  Canadian doctors take for friggin ever, and it's not because they're providing good medical care and listening to you.  No, it's because I'm pretty sure they're getting high out back between patients.  Anyways, enough about my bitterness towards the Canadian medical system... Koreans have it all right, though.  For real.  Yes, you're in and out super quick, but your wait time in the waiting room is super quick, too.  And they actually listen to you.  See, their quickness is a matter of efficiency and accuracy, in Canada, not so much.  And it's cheap here, too, even for prescription drugs.

My visit today, however, was less than pleasant.  I showed my doctor my back, to which he did the air sucking in hissing thingy that Koreans do.  It makes me uncomfortable, I know it means something is wrong.  He then pulled out a huge friggin needle, at which point I started crying and tried to run away (yes, I am 22 and not 4, but needles scare the shit outta me!).  So, there he was with this big ol' needle, coming at me, as I'm trying to run away and half crying/having a panic attack and my co-teacher is laughing and trying to prevent me from running out the door, and he comes at me and starts jabbing all of the blisters.  Yes, boys and girls, mommy and daddy tell you not to pop your blisters because you'll get an infection, but crazy doctor man popped ALL of mine with a big icky needle!

After the needle therapy, I got treated to another needle... this time it was a shot in the ass.  This day was like my worst nightmare.  After which, I got pulled into another room, where I was treated to laser therapy.  So, here I was, laying on this uncomfortable table thing for almost ten minutes while a laser was being directed at my back to "help my new skin."  Maybe it's just because I'm not a doctor... but I don't think applying more radiation on top of radiation damage can honestly be all that helpful.

After the laser therapy, the cortisone cream had to be applied.  With a wooden stick, apparently.  Now, it's bad enough having someone touch a raw wound with their hand, it sucks, in fact, but using a wooden stick, that's just malicious.  And then patting them down with Vaseline gauze afterwards.  And tape.  And wrapping them in a tensor bandage.  I look like a freak.  I'm already a freak for being a foreigner in Korean, but now I'm a freak for being a foreigner in Korea wrapped up like a mummy.

I also had to buy antibiotics.  Something to prevent infection, and something to help with the pain.  The doctor's visit cost 8100 won, and the prescription cost 2100 won, and I get to do it all over again tomorrow.  And maybe a few more times after that.

The only consolation of the whole day?  I got a free strawberry yogurt drink when I dropped off my prescription.

And a certain someone may actually be attempting to put in effort.  I stopped arguing and started the communication, and he went along with it.  We'll see how long it lasts...

Oh, and for your amusement, the aftermath of day 1:

Thursday, June 3, 2010

everything's just beachee...

Beachee, in case you were all wondering, is how Koreans pronounce beach. They don't do the whole lone consonant deal in the way they write words, and, as the "h" in beach follows a "c," a vowel has to follow the "h," thus beachee was born, and lunchee, and finishee (okay, finishee is because the kids can't remember that the word they want to use is actually finished and not finish), and orangee (but that's because the Korean word for orange kinda sounds like oraenchee). ANYWAYS, every English word seems to have an "ee" tacked on the end, maybe for good measure, maybe because they like messing with us. I've stopped correcting it for the most part, it's pointless, they just forget. I'm a bad Englishee teacher. You gotta pick your battles. At least the "ee" still allows the word to be understandable, and kind of makes it cute, I prefer to tackle the "r/l" and "p/f" interchangeability, because that is actually annoying and sometimes confusing. There's a huge difference between fox and pox.

Yesterday we had the day off school for the election.  Hurray!!! No more trucks driving around playing terrible songs set to the tune of English children's songs! No more dancing roadside ajummas! I was really getting sick of seeing the trucks with the loudspeakers bastardizing English children's songs on each street corner and crazy ajummas dancing along with the music. Or, might I say, swaying their hands around to the music. One of my Korean friends from school informed me that they actually make a decent amount of money doing the silly dances; we both considered going down to the office to sign up for it, but we were pretty sure you had to sign up a long time ago, and I didn't want to be the ridiculous foreigner that people aim for with their cars.

Anyways, Annie and I went to the beach, and Robyn and Brendan joined us for a while. Actually, we went to two beaches. We went to Manseongri, the black sand beach, which is actually just a darkly colored pebble beach. It sucks, and I never want to go there again. Best beach in Korea my ass. Either way, we stayed there for about an hour, and left when an ajumma bus drove up. Eighty ajummas literally got off the bus and immediately started burying each other in the sand. Apparently the Koreans believe the beach has some sort of mystical healing powers. All I know is, there's enough garbage and pollution on that beach to do the the exact opposite of what they're expecting.

Oh! And this old man carrying a fish walked up to us and started trying to talk to us. Of course, he only spoke in Korean, and we speak very little Korean, so it was an interesting time. He was really friendly, though, which is sometimes really rare in an ajoshee. Annie brought her dogs (Sailor Moon and Dirty Puppy) with her, and the ajoshee made the fish bite Sailor Moon, it was random and hilarious. The fish looked like a little shark. Anyways, all we could manage to decipher was that we think he wanted us to butcher the fish with him and drink soju. Random. That's Korea, though. Let's kill a fish and drink soju.

Koreans hate dogs, it's official. Some of them like them, but most are inexplicably afraid of them. Annie's dogs are tiny and adorable, and people still run and scream. A little girl even pretended to get bit by Annie's dog. It was ridiculous.

Anyways, the beach got too Korean-y for us (that sounds terrible, but ajummas can be really territorial and mean to young foreigners), so we decided to move down to Mosageum beach. When we were leaving, one ajoshee decided to point out that I'm ridiculously white, and then another pointed at my septum ring, yelled YEE!! (which means yes), and then pointed at Brendan and I, made a heart with his arms, and I think insisted that we date. To which I replied chingu, chingu!! (which means friends).

I love Mosageum beach. It's so beautiful, and here are some pictures to prove it:

It was beautiful outside, too, at least 22 degrees! There were quite a few Koreans there as well, but they were all younger, so they were fun Koreans, not the kind of Koreans that "accidentally" spit on you. We spent a couple of hours there, I got to try out my new mismatched bathing suit and go in the ocean. I've never been swimming in the ocean before! It was exciting! Even if I am afraid of sharks. I also got a horrible sunburn on my back, and, joy of joys, it's a random uneven splotchy sunburn. Ick. It's horrible, though. I can't even lift my arms up, and it hurts to shower. I put on so much sunscreen, but Korean sunscreen is sub par. Not impressed. I'm so burned I think my insides are burned, too.  Related to this, my sunburn has officially begun to blister... this is terrible!

Today we had class. Apparently I taught too many grade 6 classes this past week, and my last two got cancelled. I had to make up a bunch because we had yesterday off, but apparently we made up too many, and we got ahead of ourselves. It was odd. I was kind of sad not to teach 6-4 today, though. One of my favorite students is in that class, she's super smart and makes ridiculous faces at me all class because she knows I'll make them back at her. Fun times.

I accidentally picked my co-teacher's nose today, too. It was awkward. Serves me right for talking with my hands. She was bending down to pick something up as I was lifting my hands to make a shrugging expression at the kids and my finger went right up her nose, the kids thought it was great, her and I did not.

I also had to get her to yell at my after school class for me, today. They never listen to me and it was pissing me off, I got so frustrated I came back and told her that I couldn't teach them anymore, and three of the teachers went to go have a talk with the class. Either way, they started listening, but it still took me twenty minutes to do the first question with them because they hadn't been paying attention. And then they had the audacity to ask me for candy afterwards. So I told them that I wasn't going to give them candy, that they should be giving me candy. That, at least, got them to leave me alone.

Anywhoodles, I am now going to go figure out some way to nurse m poor sunburn, and probably make dinner and watch Sex and the City.

OH!  I am so excited for Sex and the City 2 to come out!!  Yes I am!  It doesn't come out here until June 10, and I have been watching wayyy too much Sex and the City in anticipation!  I downloaded all six seasons and the first movie and have been indulging myself in it ever since.  I never really got to watch the show all that much because my dad despises Sarah Jessica Parker, but I think she's fabulous and hilarious.  Either way, I've had a revelation while watching it... I used to think I was Charlotte, naiive and always on the lookout for Mr. Right, but I have apparently morphed into Carrie, relationship with Mr. Big and all.  I do not think I am happy with this.  It makes me put things into perspective when I watch it though, and I relate with her a lot, it's freakish, really.

Anyways, off to put away my laundry, make dinner, organize a bit, wash some shoes, and watch Sex and the City.

On a cute note to end this with, one of my kids in grade 4 yelled out "IT'S MY LATE!!!!" instead of "I'M LATE!!!!" during the role play we were doing.  Could these kids -get- anymore adorable?  Holy wow <3