so_jang: (flails)
I hate picking screen names. I usually end up with some lame variation of "Opal" and wander off. I've never really felt the need for a self-assigned identity. There's only one Opal, where ever I go, and it it's an easy sort of gift to live with. I know many of my friends really had to find their own identity and carve out that space.

One can write "Opal" in Korean (Hangul) fairly easily. It's shifted a bit and pronounced "oh-pah-rl" see below.



Kidlets. (ZOMG the kidlets are so awesome) Call me Opal-teacher. Or teacher (which is an honorific in Korean culture! whee!) and we're good.

So, yesterday, we talk about names because Opal-teacher can finally read Korean. My pronunciation sucks, but they get it. And they ask if I have a Korean name. (they all have English names because their names are way hard for us westerners to say).

I don't have one. So sad. :(

They get together. They write pieces of their names on the board and decide I shall be named after them. (*DEAD OF CUTE*) They put their names together on the board and decide I shall be henceforth known as:



So-Jang. Pronounced "Soh-Jayhng" and it means 'small boat'. Now, not only is small boat totally fitting for me. (it's random, does it's own thing and can be found anywhere in the world).

They named me after them. How cool is that? How incredibly, amazingly, wonderful is that? It was the Korean equivalent of them deciding, okay, my name is Lucy, your name is Lilly, we should call teacher "Li-Lu".
so_jang: (p/c shut the fuck up)
Seriously. My time in Korea could be summed up as:

Food is good. Boss is fail. Kids is cuteness. Trees is pretty.

Being foreign (mi-guk) is odd. I never belong. I read badly but everyone loves it. They seriously love it. It's funny. I've learned the butterfly (na-bi) song. (oh well...I study!)
so_jang: (p/c breakfast pointing)
I'm firmly ensconced in hot chocolate drinking, TNG watching, wowplaying, fic writing self indulgence. who knew beverly and jean-luc could drag me through anything?

I can now read and write korean. I do not know what I am saying, but I have mastered the letters!! W00t! I can also tell time. whee!!

Boss is evil. (but totally intimidated by me because I am awesome!) I have sunk to the level of purposely trying to provoke her. I do everything I am told but show my contempt at all time. IT IS NOT MATURE.

I write lesson plans in crayon. I write random comments about in korean. (I have students translate for me) I spend random classtime having students teach me korean. (they think this is awesome)

I write cracktastic worksheets.

USA#1 has quit attending 'learn korean class' but still wants the korean students to vie for the pleasure of driving her to costco. she also wants to borrow (pilfer steal and abuse) all my ideas for writing class.

She leaves early. comes late and borrows my broom every other day instead of buying one.

writing class is the BANE of my school existence. Here, take young children who don't know much english and have them write for 45 minutes. No, there's no book. Figure something out. SERIOUSLY. only because I'm insane and love writing can i come up with anything remotely interesting.

USA#2 is just lonely and needs to talk to me. for hours. at school. when. I. am trying. to work. (it's making get shatnered, it's that bad)

he talks when I have headphones on.

The kids are fabulous and have started writing 'welcome opal' on the board before i come to class. it's adorable.
so_jang: (tigh coffee)
Running tally because yes, it HAS GOTTEN THAT BAD ZOMG.

Yesterday:
USA#2: "Wow, I was really funny in there."
Opal: o.O you're not allowed to comment on yourself being funny.
USA#2: "I so am, no one else noticed."

USA #2 - self centered stupidness points? +5.


Today:
USA#1: *knocks on my door*
Opal: *is in bathroom*
USA#1: *keeps knocking*
Opal: *is still in bathroom, naked because she just got out of the shower and HAS no desire to be social*
USA#1: *just opens door to Opal's apartment*
Opal: *walks out naked to prove why this is a BAD idea*
USA#1: Oh. I'll wait out here.

USA#1: SCSP? +3.


Opal: *is recording herself reading book for class, in a room AWAY from everyone*
USA#2: *opens closed door, running recording* "Can you take me to the bank?"
Opal: "The bank is 3 blocks away."
USA#2: "But I've never been there. You're not busy are you?"
Opal: "Yes I am, but I suppose I can take you."

USA#2 score: +3.


Boss: USA#1, do what Opal does and record books. It's an awesome idea.
USA#1: says nothing because she doesn't want to work.
Opal: *sitting right there* "She can't without my laptop. and it was KCW#3's idea."
Boss: Oh, she should find another way. And it's still my idea.
Opal: *facepalm* "I'll do it."

Boss score: +5
USA#1: +2



USA#2: My kids hate writing. I stand in front of class and tell them to write sentences and give them tests. They think I'm boring.
Opal: Here are the games I play.
USA#2: You had to spend $3 on paper to make flashcards. Won't see me doing that. Idiot.
Opal: You can make free flashcards and print them on paper.
USA#2: They are flimsy and it takes work. Can't I use yours?
Opal: No, they aren't appropriate to your class.
USA#2: They might be.
Opal: Your class is 14-year-olds. My class is 8-year-olds.
USA#2: Seems like work.

ten minutes later.

USA#2: Oh hey, I'm done with my work. I'm so bored.
Opal: Oh, did you make flashcards?
USA#2: Nah, I just made worksheets where I wrote one word on each line. Flashcards are lame.

USA#2 score: +5


Korean Co-worker #3: "USA#1 can you spend 5 minutes a week talking to kids on the phone in english? I will call them, all you have to do is talk.
USA#1: I hate calling Koreans.
KCW#3: I said I'd call them.
USA#1: I'm too busy. *while checking her email, looking for another job*
KCW#3: 5 minutes a week?
USA#1: At my old school....(ten minute explanation, back to email)
KCW#3: I see.

USA#1 score: +5, at least.



Last Week:
Boss: Everyone talk to USA#1 more. she's lonely.

Monday:
Boss: Everyone say hi to me or I get offended.

Thursday:
Boss: Talking is banned.

Boss: SCSP? gah! 25! at least.



Totals so far on the Self-centered-stupidity point scale?
USA#1: 12
USA#2: 13
Boss: 29
so_jang: (Default)


This is teh Edward, who keepz me safe from teh Coreah. Hiz mah bestest friend.
so_jang: (Default)
picasa (google) web albums of korea with captions. I should upload 'em here too but I can't be bothered.

People suck. but hey, korea pics!
so_jang: (tigh coffee)
Dear New American teacher,

WOW. you put new levels on rudeness. COMPLETELY new levels.

No love,
Opal
so_jang: (forbidden love)
yeah, it's more like this....

morning. lately, I hate getting up. drink liquid yogurt. it's easy, tastes good and keeps me happy while I walk around korea.

wander korea for anything from 1-3 hours. play on playgrounds. changwon is OBSESSED with playgrounds. especially for adults. 'tis odd.

breakfast. cereal and coffee (choco chex!) rice cakes (squishy rice blobs) and coffee. pancakes and coffee. toast and coffee. coffee.

warcraft. *hugs*

the part of the day where I reluctantly get dressed. I am required to wear skirts, or dress pants. they like me to wear make-up. *faceplam* these things are not fabulous, but easier with coffee.

teaching. more like really bizarre tutoring/american culture/charades/pictionary/holyfrakhow do I explain opinion with pictures?

food. ramen (pronounced rah-me-on). bread. MORE COFFEE. (bad tube coffee) yes, coffee comes in tubes.

grading. tree is green. etc. boy and girl talk for grandfather to. it's interesting. how do I explain what they need to know?

home. make-up removal. pajama pants. yoga if I'm ambitious. american downloaded TV. fic. brits are usually awake.

pictures are on camera. I have hopes for the weekend.
so_jang: (a/r black)
Does scheduling one's life actually make it better? Since I have very little to do here, I've been trying to establish a comfortable routine.

So far:
0900: I wake up and have breakfast (sticky rice or cereal)
0930-1100: I walk around Changwon for exercise. There are parks and mountains, it's pretty...but a dry place, not much for water. Lots of random outdoor exercise equipment. (it's Korea)
1100-1300: I play World of Warcraft. :D
1300-1400: get ready for work. (coffee, clothes, all that fun stuff)
1400-2200: Work, in it's inglorious but occasionally amusing forms.
2200-2500**: Fic, interweb, general slacking.

**in film, if you're still awake, they just keep adding on to the hours. (if you start work at 2000 you end at 2800 (which would be 6am the next day, etc) I liked it, so I used it.

I work every other Saturday but I get Sundays off. Should be doable. It's day 3 tomorrow. We'll see how to stick to it.
so_jang: (tigh coffee)
I've been debating putting my userpics into alert levels. Tigh Coffee is red.

Since I came to Korea, my best friend has been Isaac, he's Turkish and until today, he worked with me. Turkish people can't hold the coveted E-1 English teach visa. You have to be from a country where English is the first language. (USA, Canada, all parts of the UK, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand). The school's been letting him work illegally for eight months while saying they will get him a different kind of visa. (There's a basic "I want this non-Korean employee" visa).

Isaac's in love with a Korean woman called Shi Hyung, and he's staying here to earn money to go back to American with her. That's his plan. They'd like to get married, but Korea's not a very welcoming country to foreigners, so they need money to leave and go somewhere else. He loves the US, more than anyone I know, but he's been trying to make do here.

The school got another foreigner last weekend. Her name is Eileen. She's from California, selfish, inconsiderate and not very much fun to hang out with. She's my neighbor, which means whenever she needs something, she comes and knocks on my door. I understand what it's like to be alone in a new place, I am REALLY sympathetic to that, however, there's a point where it goes to far.

Just because I'm sitting around in my pajamas doesn't mean I'm not doing anything and I want to drop it to hang out with her. My good friends have been trying to explain that not giving in to someone else being rude, isn't rude. She hates doing things alone. She hates teaching. She thinks whenever she wants to do something she can just show up and give me thirty seconds or so and I'll drop everything and go with her.
so_jang: (happy squid)
LOL cats can totally be used to teach English.

It's fantabulous.
so_jang: (forbidden love)
New American teacher came today. She's older, 50ish, has experience and will probably leave my crazy school as soon as she can. They're firing Isaac, the turkish guy I work with because they're racist and he's middle eastern (i.e. not american enough). He's very sweet but he's here working illegally and it's kind of messy.

I know have three house plants, Freude, Gertie and Phebe. They're awesome.

I also have dragons because I needed some. *hugs [livejournal.com profile] lanna_kitty*

Looket!
Adopt one today! Adopt one today! Adopt one today! Adopt one today!
so_jang: (tigh coffee)
Imagine you live in a place where everyone around you has exactly the same hair color. You all have the same eye color, basically the same body shape. There are variations, but they are subtle. Squinty eyes versus round ones. Flatter chins, rounder chins, but they're all slight.

Each city here is barely over thirty years old. Their written language is one that has been repressed by the Chinese, several times, and now they seek out the west.

It's a point of honor to speak like a native speaker of English. American clothes, American food, American television...they're all here. Chinese movies aren't here. Indian cinema is just as big and it's not here.

Being white is special. Seen as better. Women here have their noses changed. Their chin's filed into points. Old men buy me strawberries and press them into my hands with toothless grins because they remember the Korean war. I barely know anything of it.

Korean mothers push their children towards me with little gifts and ask me to help them. If they speak English well, propaganda says they will have good jobs and be respected.

No culture is better, is it?
so_jang: (Default)
So, I was reading grammar rants on [livejournal.com profile] havocthecat's corner of the world about advanced English grammar. I basked in the moment of advanced English grammar.

Just for today? No is )

On an unrelated happy note? I went to the movies, midnight show is $3! and SUPER nice. I'm sitting in front of two Korean children and mom and dad, young, 3-6ish. Children can say "hello" and "this is for you." The say hello, giggle, sit in their seats and then, for the rest of "Princess of Moonacre" Not spectacular but fun and blissfully in English, every few minutes they tap me on the shoulder and soulfully hand me pieces of popcorn. "This is for you." They don't seem to understand no. "Thank you" amuses them. They smile and wave and giggle harder because I wave differently. Mom and Dad are totally at a loss because even hello is beyond them but they smile! They don't stop the children. They actually smile and let the kids give me popcorn. They let smallest kid pull on my jacket, drag me down to her level and grab my cheek as if she'd never seen anything like it.

Oh humanity, you do love me, don't you?
so_jang: (happy squid)
Frequently I worry too much. I get my mind worked up, stop listening to reason and spend a few days in that manic state. I am lucky and my friends put up with it and are supportive. I am also lucky that it is as easy for me to fall back into being me.

Now, I'm happy. I've banished my dragon, turned him back into smoke, so I can go on with my astonishing life.

I'm that easy )
Life is good and once more, I'm completely aware of it.

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Opal

May 2009

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