Monday, November 3, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
You do have to be aware of a few minor dangers along the way though in Bangkok. People try to rip you off with a super expensive taxi-ride or perhaps they try to take your money. I kept my eyes open the whole time. It doesn't hurt being 6'2 and 200 lbs though either. I stayed in a wonderful new hotel in Bangkok with some really good management. The security man was probably the coolest of all though. He would stand up and announce "good evening sir", even if he had just seen me five minutes before and done the same thing then.
Bangkok lasted from Thursday- Monday and then on Monday afternoon it was on to Phuket. Phuket was beautiful, but the weather was pretty rough. I hadn't seen that much rain in a four day period in a long time. I somehow still managed to get sunburned though on the first few days. I enjoyed the hotel in Phuket more than anything. It was nice and relaxing, but far away from everything else in the town. Transportation in Bangkok was so much cheaper than it was in Phuket. I did get to ride an elephant for an hour and that was a wonderful experience.
To finish my last weekend in Korea, Jenny showed up to greet me at the airport on Friday morning. I got to take a red-eye flight from Bangkok back to Seoul, which was kind of nice. I went with Jenny to the school for a few minutes, and was persuaded to teach about four or five classes that day. There were some complicated things going on at the 'ole Kid's College so I gladly gave them a good five hours of my time. I was pretty beat by the end of the day.
The mom's of some of my little ones took myself and Mary out for dinner though. Mary was brought over from TX, to take my place and teach the little ones in Saturn class. We went out with Gracie, Scarlett, Nora, and Rhett along with their moms. It was a very interesting time. It got more interesting when the mom's suggested we go to Beer Cabin. We all drank and drank and ate lots of fried foods for about an hour or so. It was a really fun time and I almost cried when I had to give the kids one last hug goodbye.
Saturday and Sunday were very unexciting, due to the Cheosok Holiday (Korea's Thanksgiving). Jenny and I did meet her friend Kathryn for lunch on Sunday. Kathryn has spent a lot of her time in LA during her life. She shares dual-citizenship in both countries. She was fun to be around, but just pegged me and pegged me with questions, then later told Jenny that I really loved myself.
Monday, was a slow day for us. We just let the day go by as slowly as possible. I enjoyed some of my last Korean dishes for a while, and pulled gobs of money from the ATM to bring back with me to the states. Jenny managed to keep her composure, although she cried a few times. I explained to her repeatedly that I wasn't dying, going to jail or rehab, and that she would see me soon. This just made her laugh, and she probably thought it was stupid that I say such things.
Anyway, right now I am sitting in an airport in Narita, Japan with four more hours to go until I depart for Dallas, TX. After a short layover in Dallas, I will proceed on to make my way to Nashvegas.
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Dalk Galbi !!
Number one. I tried to explain on Tuesday (sep2) that it was my next to last day teaching my little ones. They didn't understand, which was totally cool. They have a new teacher now named Ms. Mary Williams from Texas. Anyway, I told them again on Wednesday that it was my last day and that I would buy them lunch. They didn't understand again. I told Yoon that I told the kids, and she said the parents did not know. So this wonderful boss of mine (or lady that just pays me every month) named Mrs. Lee did not bother telling the parents that Mr. Tower was leaving.
I am not sure how the parents felt, but from what I could sense, it was not good. Poor Scarlett did everything she could to not cry in class Wednesday. I know that she wasn't happy though. Nora's mom came and brought me two extremely nice gifts after Yoon teacher made a number of phone calls on Wednesday morning. I knew something was not good, when her mom sat in Mrs. Lee's office for almost thirty minutes or so waiting to speak with the lady. Then Scarlett's mom came in to have a conference as well. So what happened?
John and Mrs. Lee as organized as they are, had Flora type up a letter explaining that Mr. Tower would no longer be the teacher, and that he was leaving Korea on September 16th. I did get a message that the parents wanted to take me out for a nice meal before I leave the country, which is very meaningful to me.
Number 2. So Koreans freak out over the smallest things in the world. So on Wednesday there were reports of demonstrations and protests and blah blah blah about this political crisis in Thailand. The next day I was supposed to fly into Thailand. Well, Jenny freaks out, (mostly because Koreans are weird like that)and gets pissed off at me because I keep telling her that I will still go. The Korean foreign counsel was urging people not to go either. Yoon was telling me that flights were cancelled and that Koreans could not leave Thailand that they were stuck in the country. So what did I do? I got on our wonderful US Embassy's website in Bangkok, which just said be careful and don't go near areas of demonstrations. Since we pretty much rule the world (yeah, I said America rules) I would go with what my people tell me instead of what Koreans tell me.
I mean we suffered terrorist attacks, hurricanes, and many other catastrophies that a country like Korea could only dream of going through.
Back to the rest of my classes on my last day. The afternoon classes went by smoothly. I enjoyed teaching my MRI-K kids. Really all I did was watch Mary teach them first, and then I bought them ice cream. Christy's mom (who works at the school), even bought me a t-shirt, which was very nice of her. A few of my AB2 students got me gifts on Monday. Andy, Bill, and Willy had all brought gifts to class, which surprised me a lot.
After signing away my last pay stubs, I introduced my adult class to Dan. Dan took over for me, and our class only lasted until 8:50, since we were all going out for dinner. John knocked on the door and said to just leave early and enjoy dinner with my students . It was quite a fun time. Kitt, CJ, Dan, and I along with Jenny and our adult students ate Dalk Galbi. It was awesome.
Monday, September 1, 2008
The main reason we were upset was because we don't hear a thank you, or even get a smile from her most of the time. Then we explained to John that he is very unprofessional when it comes to the way he determines our schedules every week. Of course the man got on the defensive and stated that he is only human, and sometimes he can't do everything.
On Tuesday after the meeting Kitt stated that "shit hit the fan". That's a nice way to put it. Mrs. Lee evidently found out that we complained about her and didn't like one bit. On Wednesday we had a "special lunch meeting". Kira, one of my little ones had a birthday party, so of course the meeting started a little late. The meeting pretty much stated how badly John did not understand what we said the previous night. Mrs. Lee almost told us everything including that we were owned by her. She said we have such a wonderful life making money for her, and that she did at one time think that we were at the one of the best schools in Korea. So here's what happened: John told Mrs. Lee we were upset because we didn't get dinner as often as we should. That's mostly wrong. We were upset because we don't feel appreciated.
So Wednesday passed somewhat normally with some of us pissed off about some things for the rest of the day. On Thursday, I can of told John what I thought, though it was a small thing. I had a very easy afternoon, but some of my co-workers had to work five straight classes. I told him it was completely unfair for two of the girls to have to work like that. He said it would be better for the ladies on Friday.
Friday kind of sucked because Mrs. Lee and John let Kitt leave and go to the hospital because he got sick from working out at the gym. Sometimes Mr. Kitt is a big baby, and can't gather up the energy to want to work. We did have a field trip with the little ones though to a place called Jungle Land. Jungle Land is basically a big version of McDonald's play land. It was fun but tiring. Things got warm at times especially for us big people running and playing with the children. Walker's mom made me a wonderful lunch. He told some of the Koreans that he wanted to go to America with me, which was kind of cute.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
As for the weekend, it was good but simple. On Saturday, we all woke up early to be at the school for a field trip. The field trip wasn't really a field trip. It was a cooking class. Dan was in charge of moderating it. So the idea was to teach some of our Summer Special class students how to make different spaghetti sauces. It was very unorganized, courtesy of our Korean staff(our mostly our boss, John).
The kids seemed to enjoy just watching the food bubble on the little burners. We had to use burners (like you would use at a campsite) because many kitches in Korea don't have stove burners. This was even a kitchen in a local high school outside of our city, where we were cooking. Another great thing was the fact that there wasn't any sort of hot water in the kitchen. I find it hard to believe that many people will wash dishes without hot water, but it happens in Korea.
The three spaghetti sauces that were tomato sauce, garlic sauce, and some kind of tuna sauce, that Dan had never really made. The kids really just wanted to cut stuff up and eat the food more than anything.
When the cooking was over, the Koreans left us with the children to take outside and entertain on the soccer fields at this high school. Jenny, Claire, Mrs. Lee and one of the students stayed back and cleaned everything. It sucked for Jenny because she doesn't get paid for extra things such as these little trips or Saturdays at work.
Playing with the kids was fun. I carried many of them on my shoulders and came close to seriously injuring some of them too. They turned out to not be hurt, which was good. We got back at 2:30. Jenny and I came back to the apartment and took the rest of the day easy. Dinner was dalk galbi, which always tears my stomach up (but I have still technically not gotten sick in this country), and watching Korea beat Cuba to win the gold in baseball. After dinner Jenny and I watched Wall-E on dvd. It was a really cute movie, with some great animation.
On Sunday, I met up with Jenny at a subway stop around 2pm. While I was waiting for her, I somehow ran into one of my old adult students. Running into someone you know in Seoul, Korea is like running into someone you know from the other side of the world, almost. It was real nice to see him, and he was excited too. He explained to me that he was accepted into a very prestigious Korean university.
When I met up with Jenny, our intentions were to eat at a place called Butterfinger Pancakes. It is a small western-style restaurant in the Apgujeoung area, which is famous for being the most expensive place in Seoul to live. We didn't manage to find the place very easily. First of all, all I knew from reading other blogs was to take a certain exit outside the subway station and go towards a Burger King. However, we went to the wrong BK. So we went to a PC Bong (places where Koreans always play their computer games when they are skipping school. Or a place to use the internet when you need to find your way somewhere.)
Proof that there is good, but expensive breakfast food in Korea
(courtesy of Google, because I don't take that fancy camera everywhere)
We did find the right location, after a short taxi ride and a little bit of walking. Thankfully I have a Korean girlfriend, so she called and got directions. The wait was terrible, because the place is small for its popularity. We waited almost 45 minutes and were maybe number four on the list when we got there. The food was good once we got it. At least the food doesn't take as long as the wait.
We ate Banana nut pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, and hash browns. This reminded me of a fancy IHOP, with everything being healthier than normal. It even tasted healthy too.
When the meal was finally over, we went for a walk and found Rodeo street. This is supposed to be patterned after Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. The stores really weren't all that expensive though. Jenny found me a pair of camoflauge flip-flops for about twenty bucks. There were a few Porsches and even a Ferrari in the area, where we were walking.
After Rodeo Street, we just walked the area and ended up at this large complex known as Coex. We just walked around mostly and did some people-watching. We were pretty worn out from too much walking and window shopping though, that we ended the evening quite early, after a short dinner.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Jenny and I at a pier by the beach
Day 3 was short, but still enjoyable. Jenny and I woke up to find ourselves eating breakfast downstairs in the kitchen all alone. It was nice and peaceful, but the day belonged to my journeying to the beach. At 10 am we caught a bus ride to the Sockcho beach area. The water was crystal clear and the Koreans were all out with long sleeves which was funny to see. Koreans think that the sun is extremely dangerous so they go outside with umbrellas, visors, and anything else that would keep the sun from touching their skin. It's so amusing. Thankfully my lady isn't like that though.
Jenny (the water was a little cool for her)
Yes, I was excited to see water
The rest of the day just consisting of a five hour bus ride back to Seoul. Most of the bus ride just consisted of frequent naps for the lady and myself. Overall the trip was wonderful, despite the rough Friday travel, and the rain that showed itself a little too much. Jenny and I did very well traveling together, which was very good for us.
Hostel where we stayed