"Do, or do not. There is no 'try'." - Yoda

Mon Jun 30, 2003

Last week was pretty tough going, in addition to inane phone teaching there was a field trip and a story contest. The field trip was an outing to the movies where we watched ‘Finding Nemo’ (dubbed into Korean of course). Aaah Disney, what more can I say. The cinema was at the top of a giant mall. We actually managed to squeeze all thirty or so kids into one elevator, much to the indignation of several elderly shoppers who braced themselves against the elevator walls in terror. But how could you not love all those little happy faces staring up at you?

And then on Thursday the dreadful story contest - you see I’m solely responsible for teaching both the ‘Green’ and ‘Kitten’ class stories. So, firstly my Kitten co-teacher, Sora (Kelly), freaked out when she saw how bad they were and instantly set about whipping them into shape (and to her I’m eternally grateful). We did, however, have a small falling out, where I learned that the words “It’s not my fault” are the worst, worst words you can use in almost any situation, work-related or otherwise. Then on the day of the event Wong-Jang-Nim filmed the whole thing with a stony expression and through the infernal grapevine I heard that she thought Green class had bad intonation. Bad intonation? I was just happy they could read at all! This opened the floodgates for other criticisms from the Korean teachers, who do take their jobs very, very seriously. I know that I’m not the greatest Kindergarten teacher in the world and probably never will be, but I’m trying my best. I hope people respect me for what I’m doing in Korea, enjoying another culture, enjoying the kids and making some money. Considering this wasn’t exactly a career move, I sincerely hope I’m not wasting my time.

So anyway on Friday night, Sulu and I hit the bar (The infamous ‘Texas’) and drank a few pitchers before deciding, in our inebriated states, to go and rent our own Norae-Bang (singing room). So we found a place and rocked out on the mike for a few hours yelling punk renditions of Britney Spears, the Righteous brothers and UB40. What a great way to relieve stress, I wish we had Norae-Bangs in Canada. On Saturday it was gloriously smog-free so after my hang-over subsided a bit, I went hiking in the woods and around Kumchon and checked out the rice paddies and watched the farmers doing their thing. On Sunday, after guiltily watching ‘Bloodsport’ for the millionth time, I headed into Seoul and checked out the Seoul Museum of Art. It was ok, not that inspiring. When I was living in London I was really spoiled for art galleries, nothing seemed good after becoming intimate with Van Gogh and Picasso. I’m always amazed at how many people speak English in Seoul, just as I’m about to launch into pantomime, they speak perfect English. Even this little seven year old kid came up to me and asked me where I was from etc. with hardly an accent. I wish my students were that good, my Smile3 students (eleven year olds) still insist that you must speak ‘Canadian’ in Canada.

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