Monthly Archives: August 2007

Random notes and bullets

– I finally found out what school and district I will be teaching in. Here’s a wikipedia link that talks about the region of Seoul I will be living in and here is a link to the school’s website that I’ll be teaching at, it’s all in Hangul lettering though so I doubt it will make much sense. I will be teaching grades 4th, 5th, and 6th throughout the year. I start Monday.

– So far I’ve successfully memorized the alphabet, the days of the week, the months, the two number systems including how to use them to tell time, as well as a few basic phrases. I guess that’s a pretty decent start but I am still ridiculously confused every time I venture out into the city.

– You find racist pricks all over the Earth. Last night an older man came up to me as I was sitting on the patio of some local bar, and began to speak in Korean. He seemed nice enough, smiling and talking quietly, but I did not understand much of what he was saying. I knew something was up when I picked up one phrase I halfway recognized, the Korean way of saying “F___ you.” Kukoyo, I think? After he left, without waiting for any response from me, I asked a girl who I was with that spoke Korean what he said. She refused to repeat it, saying that it was too derogatory to repeat. Mind you, I did not have any contact with the man before this nor was I doing anything besides sitting at a table. I need to learn to speak Korean, like yesterday.

– Speaking of racism, on the flight over I happened to sit next to an African American girl who was going to the same orientation that I was. We began talking and she mentioned that it had been difficult for her to get hired because black people are not viewed as being as proficient in English as white people. She had to get special approval from her school’s principal. She has had 4 years teaching experience in the inner city of St. Louis and could probably teach circles around me.

– I thought that by coming to Seoul for a year I could get away from election year hoop la. Turns out South Korea’s presidential election is this winter.

– An interesting article about a South Korean diplomat dying in China from disputed causes. The article mentions media control by China, but from stories I’ve heard from people who have taught in Seoul before South Korea isn’t much better. Especially when it comes to the English media. Expect me to talk about this more in future posts.

– The South Korean hostages in Afghanistan have been freed.

– Every where I go, I smell this.

– Tomorrow I finally move into my apartment. Up until know S.M.O.E. (Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education) has been housing a bunch of new teachers in a hotel while they teach us about the culture of Korea and give us some teaching tips. I may not have internet for a while, so I may seem out of contact. On the other hand, maybe I will have internet and I’m worrying for nothing.

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The first casualty

R.I.P. to my alarm clock (the only one I’ve owned since I was ten)

I should have checked the voltage requirements before plugging it in…but honestly, I had to test some electronic device to see if it would blow up and it was either that or my computer

Needless to say, my laptop will continue to run on batteries for the time being

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I am not a morning person

A few facts about jet lag that I looked here up while sitting awake in my hotel room at 4 a.m.:

Symptoms may include:

  • Disturbed sleep patterns; feeling sleepy during the day, but not able to sleep at night;
  • Disrupted digestion and bowel habits;
  • Feeling disorientated and/or clumsy;
  • Loss of appetite;
  • Fatigue;
  • Lack of concentration/feeling less alert;
  • Memory problems;
  • Cold or flu-like symptoms;
  • Feeling weak and light-headed; and
  • Lack of energy.

It takes about one day to recover for each time zone you cross and can take up to a week to fully adjust. You can also suffer jet lag on the return journey, but to a different degree depending on the direction of travel.

I traveled over 14 time zones, so according to this I have 14 days to get back to normal for this area. This does not excite me…I hope I have a chance to get out and go out soon so I can use my patented drink and pass out method of recovery.

Later in the article it also mentions that to help avoid jet lag you should not drink on the plane (oops), and that you should not nap during the day (oops again). My original plan for avoiding jet lag…drink on the plane til I am at that special point where I can either get rowdy or fall asleep worked up until I got to that point too quickly, fell asleep, and woke up with 7 hours left on the flight with a killer hangover and stuck between two sleeping people on either side of me acting as obstacles to get up and go to the bathroom to vomit…great.

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Cookies and Basketball

(Writers Note: I’ve noticed an awful lot of traffic coming directly to this post. I figure it’s mostly because of the picture of Mike Miller and that somehow I ended up being the first site linked to when you search for his picture on Google. Anyways, if you check this site check out MY RECENT NBA post, I don’t do many, but this new one is pretty entertaining, i think…better than this one that I wrote in 20 minutes while sitting in the airport waiting to fly to Seoul…k…anyways, continue reading, hope you enjoy…11/07)

It was the last truly American thing I would probably do for a year. The night before I was to leave on a plane for Seoul, South Korea, I could not sleep. It wasn’t so much nervousness of my impending trip as it was the fact that I can usually never fall asleep before 3 a.m. So despite the fact that I had to get up at 5 a.m. to head to the airport I decided to stay up and eat chocolate chip cookies and watch the United States Men’s Basketball team pummel Venezuela.

A few thoughts (even though this is probably dated now that we’ve also pummeled the Virgin Islands):

– The big question most people asked heading into the tournament was whether or not Kobe could adapt his game to playing with teammates who had talent. From the beginning I thought that this was a ludicrous question. Despite Kobe’s ego I can hardly imagine any player wanting to have to shoulder an entire team for an entire season. Do people think he enjoys being double and triple teamed? Do people think he enjoys being beat up all game for 82 to 100 games a year? Honestly, Kobe just looks excited to have someone to finally pass to. Additionally, next to Jason Kidd, he’s the best passer on the floor and easily the most talented player out there.

– Seeing the perimeter defense of Tayshaun, Billups, and Kobe is amazing. It would save the other team time to simply have all their players just stay on defense, heave the ball from half court and hope it goes in, because when those three are defending the three point line that’s the only way the ball will ever sniff the paint.

Dwight Howard is awkward as hell…but he is a man among boys out there. It’s like watching an overly tall eighth grader, who is not accustomed to his body yet, grab rebounds over the 5th graders on the playground.

Carmelo Anthony’s game is perfectly suited for international play.

Lebron Jame’s isn’t.

– Michael Redd’s 3 point shooting will turn out to be a crucial part of this team.

– A million dollars to whomever brings me the hair of Mike Miller…it needs to stop…it makes my head hurt…for this reason alone he should not make the final olympic squad…Sadly it probably won’t be enough on it’s own….luckily there are many more practical reasons to cut him

– Even though we cake walked over the team it never looked like the offense was really clicking. We should easily get the Olympic bid, but I’m still not sure we’re as good as Argentina who, despite our physical advantages, play like a group of people who have played with each other for many years…probably because they are a group of people who have played with each other for years.

– One final note on Lebron. When he first came into the league I loved his game, mostly for the passing. Since his rookie year though he has impressed me less and less. He still has an amazing passing ability, but it seems he only uses it when he is sure it will result in a highlight play. This is his major weakness in his game. With the Cavs, when he has the ball he either heaves up a fall away jumped from 20 feet or does something that is guaranteed to be on Sportscenter, like a drive or a spectacular pass. The problem lies in that he never just lets the game come to him, he is never part of the offense; and for the Cavs that’s okay. For this tournament though, with these great players around him it is really him, not Kobe, who will need to change his game.

– I feel this team needs one more role player…maybe Luke Walton?

(just kidding)

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Thank goodness this is finally over

Now that I am finally leaving for Korea in a few hours I can finally stop having a conversation that I have had roughly 9,345 in the past two months since I was hired to teach English in Seoul. I had my first one with some friends of a friends the first day I got the job and hopefully have had the last one ten minutes ago when the security guard who was chosen to additionally screen me started asking me what I was going to do in Korea. The conversation goes pretty much as followed:

Person: So, you’re going to Korea?

Me: Yes, I am

Person: So, are you excited?

Me: Ya, it’s a pretty big adventure

Person: How long are you going for?

Me: A year

Person: Wow! What an adventure!

Me: Ya, I’m pretty excited

Person: Wow…

Me: yep

and that’s pretty much it. I never want to have this conversation again.

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Monday the 20th

Strange thoughts on this night in East Lansing. Wandering minds are a dangerously wonderful thing. How does one go about saying goodbye to so many people?

Knowing that I am soon leaving and realizing that there are many people who I will never see again has put me into a weird state of mind. I waffle between nostalgia, excitement and nervousness…mostly all at once. In reality, despite the fact that there are many people I want to see one last time, there are a few people I really truly need to see before I go. I believe this would be a similar feeling for anybody who was to go far, far away for a long, long time. In middle school I heard the saying that if you have 5 really good friends then you are lucky. I guess that makes me lucky.

I suppose my feelings can all be summed up by her. She needs no name. She is just her.

Her is the proverbial microcosm for pretty much everything I want to say

I want to see her one last time before I go and our paths possibly separate for the last time. This may not be possible. I maintain a sense of calm and peace though. Our last encounter put to rest a number of questions I had, and while some are left unanswered and a few new ones have been aroused I hardly believe that there will ever be a time when they will all be answered. That is simply not the way life goes. All I know is that I want to see her again, but if I can’t, I still walk away happy and contented. And isn’t that all that life is about anyway…being content with who you are?

Besides, there are adventures to be had and a life that, as far as I know, I have only one shot to enjoy.

I want to do it all.

So lets just keep our feet moving forward and our eyes focused on the road ahead…

I’ll keep you posted on how this goes

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