Thursday, May 31, 2007

Fun with a Camera

New camera arrived today so I went a little crazy. It's the last two days of the semester so all my classes are having snack parties and playing games. This is different from the rest of the semester only in that there aren't always snacks. Another Jenga video here, not too interesting, but I like it because a kid asks me to give him a "headshot". And I love headshots. Actually, most of my classes didn't play any games today, they just draw pictures on the board, almost all of them tearing me a new one. My favorite is the one labeled Ryan's Girlfriend, with the word crazy over her head and a huge bottle of soju in her hand. I'd love to meet that girl. She sounds amazing.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Korea Everyday Same Same

I love it when two Koreans walk into each other on the sidewalk. They both shoot their best evil glance at the other. What neither of them can understand and what I would love to yell at them each time this happens is "Look, you are both retarded. That's OK. You were born this way, but accidents are going to happen when you walk with your head down in a constant zig-zag motion." Walking to work today, I made an attempt to pass a young Korean guy. Just as I caught up, instead of moving in the other direction, he in fact decides it'd be a good idea to move closer to me, which caused some serious man-on-man hand touching action. Not what I'm going for an hour after waking up on Monday. I'm seriously contemplating quarantining myself in my apartment whenever it rains as the only thing more dangerous than trying to cross a street with a million Koreans is trying to cross a street with a million Koreans carrying umbrellas. They should at least sell Korean-proof umbrellas, maybe put some padding on those medal rods that have many times nearly ended my quarter century of eyesight.

I don't mean to sound racist here, but every Korean should probably be paired up with a white person. Like some kind of buddy system, where the white person's only job is to make sure the Korean doesn't put a kid's life in danger. Everyday I see at least five motorbikes go by with a helmet-less child somewhere on it. Look, if you put a 5-year-old on a motorcycle without a helmet and then weave into traffic in a major city, you shouldn't have that kid. And you should probably check yourself into the nearest hospital. It's like Dear Korea, if you want to be recognized as a civilized society, you need to actually start doing civilized things.

Friday night was Bender's last trip to Club Night so we celebrated by doing the same thing we do every club night, getting train-wrecked. I didn't spray any white liquid onto Bender's pants this time, mainly just because someone didn't give me white liquid to spray. You have to be careful at bars, and especially clubs in Korea, when you leave a drink at the bar. Not because someone might drug it or even drink it, but because the bartenders seem to enjoy pouring out half-full glasses. I couldn't have been more than two sips into a gin and tonic when I turned around and it was gone. I did my best miming to the girl behind the bar, who in turn pointed to another girl behind the bar, I think meaning that girl had ditched my drink. So I did what I always do when confronted with frustrating Korean people. I twirled my finger next to my ear, told her she was crazy and walked away. (Side note- There's a 75 percent chance I had finished the drink and I'm an idiot)

Anyway, I spent most of the time at the club standing up on stage by myself flashing some kind of homosexual surfer's sign with my hand up in the air. Every few minutes an Indian guy back in the crowd would look up and give me the attention I was craving. Sadly, my desire to turn everyone in the club gay didn't work out so much. On the bright side, I didn't get thrown off the stage like usual.

One of my classes continues to act more immature than me, and that's tough to do, even for 9 year olds. They constantly ask me questions like "Do you want to die or girlfriend's clothes blow away (insert boob honking gesture here)"? Sadly, I always have to choose die in these situations. I also should not have answered the question "Do you want to kill America or kill Korea?" That was some hardcore screaming. I love that class though and I'm not teaching them starting with the new semester on Friday. I'm hoping the school will get a ton of complaints like "The new teacher won't allow my son to point to his junk all class and yell out the Korean word for penis." I'm sure I'll get them back.

Oh, then there was this classic from last month:
Me: What can you buy with a credit card?
Student #1: People
Me: You can't buy people.
Student #2: You can buy black people.

Awww, Koreans hate black people. Their blatant racism is so darn cute.

Weekend Terribleness Update: McDonalds-1, KFC- 1, Ice Cream- 2, Custard Pie things- 5, Nerds- 1, Packs of Skittles- 2, Girls- 0.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

I eat my Ramen hot. With a side of naked.

Alright, I'm only posting because Heroes hasn't finished downloading yet. Korea has been getting on my nerves lately. I'm sure I'm partly to blame, but during the week here life is a lonely and isolated existence. There's just no meaningful connection taking place with anyone, especially at work. When I go out to the bars during the week, it's often a good time and it's also often with good people, but I'll be 25 next month and the whole drinking every night just doesn't work for me anymore. As much as I loved college, that's a time in my life that has now long since passed and it's just not a lifestyle that's all that appealing to me anymore. Most of all though, yeah, I just miss those simple connections with people. I saw two older Koreans guys sitting outside before, sipping on a beer, and just enjoying the interaction. There's just not enough of that here for a white guy, especially for one who knows about 3 words of Korean. It's kind of tough to explain to an audience that hasn't spent 8 months surrounding by millions of people who speak a different language, but that outsider feeling can take its toll and I've been feeling it lately. It's not that I want to leave Korea for good, but man, a week on American soil would be glorious. Just not glorious enough for $1700 and 16 hours on a plane.

Anyway, onto other crap. Sometimes I do wonder if Koreans were created by God just to drive me crazy. I went into the store today to buy new headphones for the third since I got here, after the other two broke. Great, only 4 bucks, i can handle that. Get back to work, open the box and the cord to the right earphone is about a foot longer than the left side. Back to the store. I lay the thing on the counter, the cashier seems to understand the problem, so I grab a different $4 set off the rack. I'm feeling more confident with this one because the genius Koreans who made the package were sure to include on the front "Good Design for Human!" That was huge, since I hate it when I pick up a pair of headphones and they are specifically designed for cat ears. Start walking back to work again, break the box open and same damn thing. One cord much longer than the other. At that point I chalked it up to Koreans being Korean, sucked it up and went back to work. Really, what could possibly be the rationale behind that? Are they trying to save a few cents by making the cord shorter? Do some Koreans have ears that are a couple of vertical feet away from each other?

Quick side note, how great was that Sopranos scene where Tony put the guys mouth on a table and then kicked him in the back of the head? That was just gruesome, and amazing. Anyway, as far as what Bender reports about my actions with the Canadian girl on Friday night, I will plead no contest to the facts. I am terrible. But going out with me in any situation, especially one including alcohol, comes with an inherent disclaimer, one that states that I will inevitably cause you at least some embarrassment through the course of the night. The extent of this embarrassment can range from reactions of "Wow, that was a little stupid" all the way to "Wow, there's no way I should be your friend" and the incident on Friday night falls closer to the latter. However, in my defense, the Canadian girl is a bitch. Bender also did get his revenge when he savagely beat me with a little Chinese doll over and over again, which caused minor internal bleeding.

On Saturday night, we went to the hip-hop club right around the block from me, it's was pretty much a I guess we have to check it out once since it's right there kind of thing. There was smoke everywhere, and man, I love smoke. But seriously, the horsehead got no attention. It was almost as if there had been a huge horsehead party at the place the night before and everyone just thought I was the loser who got the nights mixed up. So that was depressing. Damn it, the horse head demands attention. Later in the night, a Korean girl started yelling to her friend at the bar who was on the other side of me and Bender. She must have done this for a good five minutes. Either she didn't know the girl or she was trying to make me break a bottle over my head. The girls there were all pretty awful, i.e. they were very Korean.

I've been weak with the pictures lately, mainly because I hate my camera and well, all of Korea looks the same now. I plan on getting back on the photo train once my new beautiful camera gets here. We have off this Thursday for Buddha's Birthday, which is great, because Thursdays are the worst day of my life. Ah Heroes is ready and I need to get the ramen in the microwave.

Great Man of the Week: Buddha

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Blow me, Elliot Choi

Today was Teacher's Day, which is apparently kind of important here. It now seems to me that it may be geared more towards female teachers as today I got a rose, some face wash, makeup and some sort of liquid that smells good. It might be perfume. The best thing I got was a laminated ribbon with a lion's face pasted in the middle. That was cute, even though half the kids still don't know how to spell my real name. The girl who gave me the ribbon also wrote me a note, it reads: "To: lion teacher, Hi My name is Judy. Teacher thankful. Teacher thank you." I bet the real teachers, like the ones at the public schools the kids go to in the morning before they go to english, math, science, piano, history, food, animal academies afterwards, get much cooler stuff. Since all the kids that come to school tomorrow will be different from today, I'm hoping for a gift card to KFC or at least a half dozen bottles of soju.

McDonalds breakfast is so good I waited there from 4:30am until 5 Sunday morning just to get the Massive. What was kind of gross was that Jacob, the guy I met at Woodstock last month and have been hanging out with a bit now, ordered a Big Mac meal at 4:30, finished that in about 3 minutes and then waited until 5 with me to get a breakfast meal. I pleaded with the cashier to not serve him, but quickly realized I was not speaking Korean.

Saturday night was a giant white party in Hyewha, probably the coolest place near my apartment without going all the way downtown, I think even the owners of the place were white and I'm not even sure if that is legal. I thought you had to be either an English teacher or military in order to live here. But anyway, great advertising on their part, a ton of people there. The Koreans looked out of place and that's just a tough thing to pull off in Seoul. They also gave out a ton of free shooters, which couldn't have contained a lot of alcohol, otherwise I wouldn't be typing this right now. It was weird that it seems like Bender and I have now been here much longer than most of the other white people we talk to. One guy just got here two weeks ago, I have no idea what they could feel like. It's one of the reasons I'm glad I keep this thing somewhat updated, otherwise this whole experience will just be a blur within a week of going home.

Sunday went to Seoul Forest, which is basically Seoul's attempt to create Central Park in Korea. But really it was just a lot of trees, a lot of walking and a ton of deer. There's seriously a huge area roped off with just deer in it. Deer might be the lamest animal ever. Fuckin deer eat the plants in front of my house, people do not want to go some place to watch a stupid deer roam around. There was a giant fountain there that had a bunch of kids running around in it and that was awesome, but as you can see from above, my picture isn't as good as the one on Bender's blog. That's cause we only stayed there for 2 minutes, then Bender promised, he did, that we could come back later. But he broke my heart. When we got back around 7:30, the kids were gone, the fountain was off, and Bender was still a bitch.

The Korean teachers have started to play this Korean crap music on the radio in the office. It's really loud and really crappy. No one has even gone near the radio in the last seven months and now suddenly, I'm working in a Korean dance club. It's tough to watch Heroes with that garbage playing in the background, but since I'm watching TV and the Koreans are preparing for classes tomorrow, I don't feel I have the right to complain. Next week we get off on Thursday for Buddha's Birthday and apparently I need to go to a picnic with my coworkers that morning. I honestly cannot imagine anything more awful than a picnic with my coworkers. Everyone once in a while I'll think oh ok, they're not that bad, but within five seconds it's back to wow how have you people not killed yourselves yet? Plus God I wish they were American.

Interesting note: 31 percent of Americans are obese compared to 3 percent of Koreans. Those are also the same percentages of people I can hold a conversation with without wanting to slit my throat.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Young Korean Moms Are Hot!

I’m writing this on Word as the Internet is down the office, which always leads me into a minor bout of depression. I tend to just pace around the office and down the hall for hours until by the grace of God, it’s back up. I’ve had to wear “nice” clothes the past couple of days because a bunch of the parents have been here. Which just meant I threw on an old wrinkled long sleeved shirt and the same pants I’ve been wearing for three years. While I guess it’s kind of nice that all the parents are just herded into the biggest classroom and shown a bunch of gay presentations, but still, I would like to get SOME attention from them. But all I get is the shy awkward oh, there’s a foreigner glance that you get from everyone here. Although if their kids give them the recap of what goes on each day in my classes, then maybe I wouldn’t want to talk them so much.

For example, testing has been going on in class the past couple of days so I just pop in a tape and relax, which I’ve been doing with a copy of Rolling Stone. Well, one class finished their text and start going through the magazine and they found some, what may be considered, inappropriate pictures for 10 year old. Then they wrote all over the board “Ryan likes Showy!” which apparently means half-naked girls and “Ryan’s eyes are bad!” And that is accurate, I definitely do like half-naked girls. And actually my eyes are burning right now, so that is kind of bad. The pictures they saw were just advertisements and the famous one of Jane Fonda covering up her body with her hands. But then at the end of the class, there was one ad that had a bunch of covers of old Rolling Stones hanging up on the wall, and of course almost all of them have naked girls on them, including one of Janet Jackson where there are two hands grabbing her boobs from behind. Those hands not belonging to her. I just told the kids that the man was helping the girl cover up her private areas after a hurricane had blown away all of her clothes. Yeah so hopefully the kids didn’t go home tonight and tell their parents “Ryan Teacher was looking at naked girls during class today.”

Koreans are absolutely the most disgusting race on the face of the Earth. Today I’m walking to work, going stride for stride, next to this guy. He knows I’m there, hell I’ve been within 5 feet of him for a good 15 minutes. I drop a couple of feet behind and then he just spits directly in front of me. I had thought we were cool, you know, in the sense that we were both humans and we acknowledged each others existence on this planet. But I guess I was just too white and blended in with the sun. I can’t even write about this next thing without getting sick. I was packing up my dirty clothes to head down to the basement to do my laundry last week when I hear the distinct sound of a guy outside my door hacking up something and spitting on the floor. Despite this, probably because putting socks on would have required me to reach down to my feet, I didn’t. So I went out, saw the nice surprise the guy left in front of my door, maneuvered around it and got the clothes in the wash. On the way back up, I wasn’t so careful. And I knew the second my foot hit the ground. And whatever was in that guy’s throat did not come off of my foot easily. It was stuck there like it had become attached to my foot. Eventually I just took a shower and got the damn thing. So in conclusion, Koreans, what the hell is wrong with you? It’s one thing to spit stuff out on the street, hell, I do that now, it’s kind of a necessity living in a place where you the sun 3 days of the year, but inside a building on the floor where you know people walk all the time? You sick, sick people. Then there’s the hot girls you see at bars, all dolled up and covered in their favorite skin whitening creams. You look over and there’s some slime hanging out of their mouths.

Speaking of girls, the one I had hung out with a couple times texted me at 1am last week asking me to come to some bar, I was tired though. But I said I would do something that weekend. However, when I said that, she probably did not think I meant go out and get trashed with Bender and Jacob and then text her at 5am "Cock. Penis. Balls." So, she's done.

I read something in the New York Times the other day that said older people tend to be more emotionally balanced than younger people. Like at any point during the day someone who is 60 tends to be pretty happy with a little bit of sadness mixed in. But for people in their 20s, it's hit or miss. They could be ready to stab themselves at 9am and then by 8pm, they think life is perfect. And that's definitely where I am right now about pretty much everything. Everything is love/hate and it alternates about 10 times a day. I'm definitely a much more positive person since graduating 3 years ago and my appreciate for life in general has increased 10 fold, but damn it, sometimes I really wish I was 60. It seems like such a calm and peaceful life.

Ah Internet just clicked back up and I'm about 5 hours behind on checking the news at every possible news site. But a quick are you kidding me, during the Republican primary debate, only two of the candidates raised their hands when asked if they believed in evolution. How is that even possible in 2007? From the Democrat perspective though, you gotta love how it's shaping up, they already have a leg up since even Republicans consider Bush a cancer at this point. And if by some miracle we catch Osama on the day before the election, it seems the Republican elected could very well be McCain or Guiliani and compared to Bush, those two guys are waaay to the left socially. Hell, I'm pretty sure Guiliani has performed some abortions himself.

Happy Mother's Day! (not including Korean mothers)

Thursday, May 03, 2007

The Three Most Important Things in the World: Rice, Ramen, Soju (Xanax)

It's pretty amazing how much children here know about current events. In that respect, they make American kids collectively look like Sean Penn's character from I am Sam. And that guy was seriously retarded. For some reason, people here, including the children, really care about anything and everything involving Korea. I argued with seven 5th graders the merits of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) signed between the US and Korea last month. Of course, their argument was just "Korea is great, blah blah, we love rice" but still I bet less than 5 percent of Americans even know an FTA was signed. I was trying to argue that the FTA was a good thing but it was frustrating because I couldn't use dumbed down English to explain price competition and the power of the free market to them. One kid said Korea was sick of taking orders from America to which I turned to the old standby, you know, the one where South Korea wouldn't exist today if America hadn't saved its ass 60 years ago. By the end of the class, they all told me to go back to America and then they ran into the hall chanting "FTA Bad!"

For some reason I'm tired all the time during the week now. I've been tired my entire life, but just more so than usual, I'm getting a solid 8 hours of sleep a night and playing more than enough online poker, I don't understand it. At work, I'm in some kind of foggy haze, which I can only be snapped out of when a Korean teacher waves something in my face to get my attention. But I guess that's how most jobs work. You get there, turn your brain off for 8 hours and hope you don't kill yourself before the final bell rings.

Next week I'm back to teaching 31 classes a week, a nice jump from the quite enjoyable 26 I've been on for the past month. The school found a new foreign teacher to replace David at the end of the month. On that note, Bender turned me on (might be the wrong word choice) to the best tasting ramen in the world. The stuff is 80 cents but it tastes like gold. If gold tasted really really good. The only problem I can see developing is that I now eat it for no reason, meaning when I'm not even close to being hungry. I guess the real danger will start when I begin puking up noodles in my sleep.

Since Bender and I are apparently engaged in some kind of creepy "Lets See How Many Pictures We Can Post of Each Other on Our Blogs", here's another point for me. Short video, basically me singing much louder than the kids, which is kind of pathetic. But hey, some of these songs are really catchy. I agreed to meet up with the Korean girl who interviewed me for her homework on Sunday, mainly just cause I feel bad because she bought me a bunch of stuff and now I just kind of ignore her when I go to the restaurant she works at, which I'll probably do again tonight. But anyway, she said she's planning a trip with her friends, I have no idea what that means, but it sounds dangerous and possibly terrible. And if I miss out on a Spiderman movie loveseat with Bender to deal with terrible Korean girls, well, that would just be the saddest day of my life.