Love letter, bad english, student love

11 08 2010

Ah, this brings back some memories.

Its a love letter that one of my students asked me to try and help him write. He did this initial draft all by himself, pretty impressive actually. Obvious heavy use of dictionary or internet translations.

The story behind it is that the girl he was interested in spoke excellent English, so he figured that an English language love letter would impress her. I think it worked 🙂

To my lovely XX
Hi XX. You are a girl who is being written on someone’s diary and I am a boy who cannot but look at the picture of the girl everyday. Probably, I may be the boy and You must be girl that I always think.
I’m holding a pen at night when a lonely star is sobbing saddly.
Before one knows, the paper was fulled with loving you.
The blue sun in the dark has left for me. New sun which will rise tomorrow is waiting for me.
If you have me, you love me, your sun will be forever.
It’s true for me to give up my life by loving you. I cannot live without loving you. That I was born is only for you. AND! I’m really capable that you will be happy.
Please pardon me who send my mind with a letter. I hope to know whether you want me or not. I wait your answers forever. Can you receive me?

I actually have the original hand written version around somewhere. I need to dig it up and scan it. Its brilliant.

Did I mention that he was only 15? Not a bad effort at all.

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Snow snow snow and more snow

18 02 2010

Its olympics time and surprise surprise, Vancouver is struggling for snow. I’ve heard they are having to truck it in from miles away. Athletes are struggling and even getting injured. I heard that the young Australian snowboarder fractured his wrist on a soggy slushy halfpipe. Terrible.

For those not aware, the South Korean resort of Pyeongchang has been bidding on the winter olympics for the past, well, forever. When we arrived in Korea there were still stickers for Pyeongchang 2010 on cars and billboards. They came a close 2nd, but lost out partly due to the fear of a lack of snow. Since then they’ve bid on 2014, 2018 and likely will continue until they get tired of it.

However, the whole lack of snow argument is quite amusing. Most of this winter season we’ve had little natural snow. A few good dumps early on, one big dumping early January but it has been a bit brown and meh. Until last week that is. 3 days of solid snow last week gave us about 50cm of the fluffy white stuff. The skiing was fantastic. Since then we’ve had more. Not quite as much, but at least another 20cm. I woke up this morning and its at it again. Another few cm and its still going.

Of course unlike certain European countries (yes, I’m looking at you England) things don’t shut down here when there is a pile of fresh snow. Daily life goes on, just with more car accidents. I think this late winter snow actually caught the local city government by surprise. It took a day or 2 to get the snow ploughs, gritting trucks and associated infrastructure into gear. Since then, all is mostly fine. The roads are still narrower and more slippery, but other than a few obvious spots, back alleys, car parks and big hills there are no problems.

Our apartment (not for much longer) sits on a hill, overlooking the valley of Taebaek. We can look down and see a road that climbs a hill just outside out place. Its always quite amusing sitting on the balcony watching cars on the hill when there is snow and ice around. Usually its worst first thing in the morning and around 6 or 7pm when the water/sludge starts freezing again. Cars start driving up, get about halfway and then start to struggle. Sometimes they make it, sometimes they slide back down. Only the persistent (and taxi drivers) give it a second shot. Some smart people have snow chains, no worries. Those with snow tyres of the studded kind, usually ok. Normal snow tyres? if you are lucky. The stupid few with summer tyres? Ha ha ha.

What does surprise me, actually it doesn’t surprise me, is how badly the school buses drive. Most Hakwons (private study academies) have their own private shuttle busses to get the kids to and from home. These minibuses are driven terribly in the best of weather, but the snow brings out the worst. Driving way to fast, stopping with no indication in the middle busy roads, cutting traffic off in icy conditions. All crazy.

Oh well. Back to my boredom. This so called “vacation” time between graduation (last week) and the new school year (beginning of march) is boring. Very boring. I’m supposed to come to school. Sit here and do nothing. As I’ve already quit I have nothing at school to do other than movies, web surfing and computer games. For a day or 2 its ok. For 2 weeks its awful. Especially as I have so much to be done at home. We have about 8 days left in Taebaek before we leave for good and our apartment is nowhere near clean. Its going to be a busy week.





New Favourite, “I do all my own Porn Stunts”

20 12 2009

I’ve got a new favourite. We were working a camp for a few days at one of our local high schools. About 30 1st and 2nd grade kids, meaning they are probably around 17ish years old.

This girl stood up and both Theresa and I caught sight of her hoodie at the same time. It can’t be beat 🙂

Porn Stunts

It seems she bought it online with no clue what the english meant. Thats usually how it happens here. English is cool and fun, the meaning isn’t important. You do get some wonderful examples. We did try to explain just what it meant to her, she was obviously mortified.

Here’s another recent find, this time from Rachel Teacher.

Pee all that you can Pee




Honoured Veterans? EPIK reunion says so.

14 12 2009

That was a nice weekend. 3 days in Seoul. Can’t complain about that at all.

Why did we get a bonus long weekend? Why did we spend it all in Seoul? What is this EPIK thing of which I speak? Lets go backwards.

EPIK Logo.png EPIK is the name for the “English Program in Korea”, similar to Japan’s JET program. Basically they bring foreigners in to teach english to kids within the Korean school system. Here in Korea it gets a bit confusing. While it all sounds like we work for EPIK, we don’t. EPIK acts as a kind of umbrella, bringing us in, training us then passing us out to the provinces. Once out of their hands, we have very little to do with EPIK at a national level, its all provincial. Some provinces are good, some so-so and some pretty terrible. Gangwon-Do where I am? For the most part its good. Like most things it has issues, but what place doesn’t?

Back to the weekend. Having not heard a single thing out of the national EPIK crowd in a few years, it was a surprise to get invited to a reunion for honoured teachers. Seems we’ve been here quite a while and are now classified as veterans, and national EPIK wanted to do something nice. Even nicer was finding out that the reunion was a Friday/Saturday and in Seoul, meaning a bonus long weekend.

Honestly we didn’t expect much. Usually in Korea things get done with the best of intentions but the minimal of organisation. What a surprise we had. They put us up in a reasonable hotel (sure it was a bit 1980’s but it was ok), gave us steak and wine for dinner and then took us out to see a show. The show was a comic martial arts performance called Jump. Mostly non-verbal, it was great until I got dragged on stage to be part of the performance. I’m thinking I was picked because I was sitting on the aisle and had slightly “odd” hair. Oh well, nothing can prepare you for being on stage in front of a few hundred people better than a classroom of crazy students.

We had the obligatory presentation and handshake ceremony, but this time it wasn’t for certificates but for a plaque!

EPIK Award.jpg

Very nice of them to do something like this. Shame its soooo heavy. Lugging 2 of them through Seoul was a bit of hard work 🙂

The Saturday was a small amount of formalities and then back into tourist mode. We had lunch at a fantastic traditional restaurant, then up to Seoul tower for some more touristing. Fun fun fun.

Leaving the EPIK crowd, we had Saturday afternoon and then Sunday morning shopping in Seoul, then back to Taebaek and some sleep.

Overall, really nice to see that the national EPIK people are serious. They tried really really hard to make a great weekend and succeeded. They also spent a huge amount of cash on us. Can’t complain there. Just a shame as it really contrasts the differences between our local education office who really don’t seem interested in us, and the national people who really have put in the effort.

Short version : Went to Seoul, got award, came home.





Monday monday monday I hate mondays

30 11 2009

Yurgh, Monday. Worst possible combination of things. The end of the weekend, the start of the work week and worse, 2nd grade students.

Making things worse, we didn’t really have a weekend. We worked a camp for 2 days. About 30 students, 1st and 2nd grade, boys and girls, too much candy and coffee. Fun fun fun. Actually it was fun, mostly.

The obvious problem when you take 30ish kids is that they separate into 4 distinct groups. 1st grade boys, 1st grade girls, 2nd grade boys and 2nd grade girls. Usually its an absolute struggle to get them to combine at all into any form of team. This camp was better than usual for that. All sorts of fun activities, games, movies etc were planned. We almost managed to stick to the plan too, however the study time for the kids really didn’t work out too well.

We’ve both worked many camps. We’ve learnt from past mistakes. We know not to even bother attempting to sleep at the same place as the kids as sleep is not what the kids want. Usually Sunday morning arrives, we roll up about 9am, the kids look like zombies. A few hours sleep if they were lucky. Ha ha ha. No sympathy here.

For me, the saturday was a struggle. I was off sick for most of Friday with a stomach bug (mental note, don’t drink blue powerade when you can’t keep anything down). Saturday I was completely drained, but the kids were fun and I struggled through. Sunday was shorter and better.

Today, Monday? The worst. I got about 4 hours sleep last night for no apparent reason. 2nd grade are the worst classes I have to teach. They are at that middle stage; the’ve been in the school long enough to think they know everything, they are not the youngest, but neither must they work hard to get into a good highschool. So they just drive me crazy. Evil munchkins, most of them at least. I can’t believe that my best students and my worst are all bundled together into 2nd grade.

Today also marks the start of the next course of my online uni stuff. This time round its “Managing the Transition to eBusiness”, which promises to be interesting but kinda awkward as I’m probably the only one participating who isn’t involved in any kind of online venture at all at the moment. Teaching kids is decidedly not eBusiness, about as far as I get towards eBusiness at the moment is internet shopping, something Korea leads the world in.

I also finally managed to get the “avante of power”, the car, in for its snow tyres. Probably should have done it a few weeks back but we’ve had no snow in a month and its been a busy busy month and I only just got round to it. Lets see what that costs this time around.





Late to school? That’ll hurt.

17 11 2009

Oh my poor students. This has got to hurt.

Punishment for being Late

I’m not 100% sure what time the kids are supposed to arrive at school. Its before me for sure, and I arrive usually at 8.40am. I think its closer to 8am. Unluckily for them sometimes they are late. Usually its not a big deal, just a few words from their homeroom teacher, maybe some extra cleaning duties or the like.

Not today. Every now and then the school goes on a lateness campaign. A teacher, usually a PE teacher, waits at the school entrance and directs all the late kids into the corridors of the school where they must kneel down with their hands above their heads. Usually only for 5 minutes but sometimes much longer.

Punishment for being Late

Punishment for being Late

Did I mention that it was about -8 celcius last night and about -4 when this was happening? And the school isn’t heated except for the classrooms? And thats cold cold concrete they are kneeling on? Ouch.

But wait, it gets worse. Depending on the day, the teacher and the level of their hangover, corporal punishment sometimes rears its ugly head. They are made to assume the “downward dog” position, hands and feet on the ground, bums up. Then the teacher (usually PE teacher, again) comes along with a love stick and administers a few “taps” across the cheeks. Nothing hard or violent but intended to be a physical reminder of not being late.

Punishment for being Late

This isn’t too bad. You should see what happens when they get caught smoking……..





Random observation of the day

3 11 2009

Why is it that when it is 30 degrees outside the teachers in my office set the AirConditioning to 18 degrees, but when its 5 degrees outside they set the heating to 28 degrees?

Someone please explain?

I came in this morning to the heating on high and everyone dressed in their warmest winter clothes. I almost died from heatstroke.

And then there is the whole argument for keeping the windows open in the middle of winter for “health” so the classrooms are freezing even if the heaters are on full.

Sparkling.