Saturday, February 27, 2010
There are so many lovely blogs out there and a mass of inspiring fellows, and now with the sun out and Vivaldi loudly playing from my speakers, the fingers are off and typing!
Here is what I am currently listening to:
And not only inspiration but movement. I haven't been able to get focused and write! It is an awful feeling, really. One, I currently wish would drift away just like the rain has done; the rain is such a pretty sound to me.
Neil Gaiman has said you get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we are doing it. And so, I sit with my ideas but my mind is not even close to writing. On second thought, I am getting a slight nudge as I type...hmmm. Maybe I am noticing?
As some of you may know I am trying to write a novel, or something at the moment, about this whole experience--well, in a way. I was thinking of making the blog more deliberate, maybe using it as a skeleton for the book. Maybe even get a book deal from it; Julie Powell's blog turned book then turned movie Julie & Julia. That's all in a dream; one that is not even close to dead ;)
But I am stuck and as in the words of Janet Frame writing a novel is not merely going on a shopping expedition across the border to the unreal world: it is hours and years spent in factories, the streets, the cathedrals of the imagination.
Okay, time for me to leave. I am going to turn off the lights and place tons of tea lights around my room; to get lost in the magic.
To everyone, don't forget to stop in the moment and wonder the corridors of your soul. You never know what you will find or stumble upon.
And a special appreciation to all of my readers; the followers (all 21 of you ha ha) and the book markers (whom I recently found out). I am truly grateful for the support, thank you!
Friday, February 26, 2010
There are two things that can take a very bad turn with my students; level tests and grades. What I mean by this is what my hagwon does by "testing" our kids to see if they can get up to the next level. This includes taking tests on English listening, guessing the right answer and writing, and my personally developed English speaking test. If they level up they cheer as if they won a new bike (no surprise here, they forget to realize that they will have more work to do in the next level, all they see is a raise; it's all an ego trip, and it starts as kids), but if they stay at the same level or level down, let's just say it's not pretty. This usually means tears, sighs, and worst of all, whining (but with some dingle slackers, they are in every school, you know the one's they cheer for their temporary or maybe even intentional unintelligence).
Whining has become one of my least favorite attributes on any soul, including my own, reason being I use to be a whiner and a complainer--so I was told but nothing to the extreme (perhaps on occasion still a complainer without the whine). However, I have caught myself, come to terms with it, and beyond, if not distinguishing all whining affects or complaints within my daily existence. Moreover, let me point out that even the adults, particularly the women, whine and complain here. To beat, it's in a child-like manner, and worst of all they think it's cute (add in the barf effect)!
When you work with kids it is one of their major personality downfalls. This is where patience is heavily needed, if not--may I dear say--you wouldn't mind shooting them an ill-look or even worse a swift kick to the noggin with a shut up and a smirk at the end. Well, I'm just saying.
I think I may be complaining at this very moment, with a hint of sarcasm but if it wasn't for me making it a joke I think I could possibly say f*** this job...I need a vacation!
Point taken and now, finishing up my daily routine, waltz's in my favorite student, Bomi. A 15 year old who is well past her years in English conversational skills. Built and bred here at Oh Sung Shik and heavily nurtured by myself, her speaking skills are more eloquent. And she is now very comfortable with conversation--yay, teacher!
Quick side note, one of the major defaults within the Korean teaching system when it comes to English study is the major missing piece--conversation. They can study their wits off with grammar, reading, and writing but their conversation skills are well below average; not even close to their level of study. In a way, at times, the foreign teacher can feel a bit like the talking puppet but that feeling does go away once you get paid! Conversation is a joy of mine but it can be a bit tiresome or annoying, particularly when I get a long pause from a kid I don't necessarily want to stare at or an answer that makes no sense by any means. You must realize that there are good days, doable days, and get me the hell out of here days, and to be honest if it wasn't for my co-workers and my overall optimistic spirit I am not sure I would still be here. Further from these ideas is the down-right truth; I love teaching.
So with the screams, whining and general chaos, I ended with a pretty good day consisting of photoshoots and lots of giggles! Here are pictures of our day, me and the students that is:
Let's start off self-indulgent...a photo of me in Juno's class--I really wanted to fly away...
Kevin and Johnny in a moment...
Johnny using Jake's head as an arm rest, and all 3 trying to figure out the English word in a game of Hangman...
Kevin being a girl again; I made him haha noticed the "do I have to" face...
Johnny being jealous and wanting a "girly" picture...
My little Annie...
A moment with the women, oh, and little Christina (well, she isn't that little)...
In Korean and English...
Ah! I made them pose like this. At first we were going to do a group picture but Sara (the one in glasses) refused to do a girl pose "I am like a boy" hahahaha--loved it! They look so cool...
Annie and me. I was thinkning of chopping myself out; I probably should have, eh...
He has a twin SCARY...
Look at the camera...
Hooded out (I laughed; they were dying to get up for air haha)...
Ode to the rainbows ;) and ew to spongebob; some of my kids are obsessed...
L gets caught...
I know ;)...
What is going on here?
Free-time (this whole class was free-time)...
Art work completed; TAH-DAH...
Thursday, February 25, 2010
I adored the warm weather that visited us on the island, with sunny skies and smooth, cool winds.
Now has come the rain and though I leave my windows open because I love the music; raindrops hitting the ground and the smells and swirls of the winds. I can't help but have a missing for the old.
Rain brings new things and sets in mood:
See In Her Minds Eye: Ode To A Nightingale
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
And, then, of course, I was trying to forge through the winds and got blown paces back--insane.
The island is known for the strong winds but geez.
Now, it's afternoon time and the wind is still tormenting us--here's to having to walk to school!
*Got to admit though the combination of the warm weather, light warm rain, and the wind--it feels a bit magical.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Sunday, February 21, 2010
The Korean Lunar New Year, also known as Seollal, changes in dates of celebration but follows after New Year's Day. This year the date was February 15th and a filled day it was. Being invited to the day before, to prepare for Lunar New Year, and the actual celebration day--it inevitably reminded me of holiday celebrations back home.
The day before was filled with women in the kitchen cooking and chatting, while the men lazed about occasionally getting up to take out the trash or go pick something up at the store. My boss Juno however, spent most of the day at the pool hall, "he is still young" said his mother (as her husband happily takes on the duties of garbage and pick up man, not to mention babysitter). At this point I am thinking in my head three kids in and wearing layers of long john's because my boss claims he is old, makes me a bit irritated. But as I could go into stereotypical references on the women and men dispositions of kitchen ethics I, all in all, will toss aside to acknowledge that in a very loving way I enjoy this process; a kinship of women hood to say the least but a time in any that can teach you much on who and how you are. And if not that, than definitely on the establishments of roles.
OK, back on the holiday, so as this day ends we all head home to get to bed early for everyone has to wake up and be at the grandparents house at 9 am on Lunar New Year Day. Now if you could only read my face as I type this, because even though the time has passed the dreading feeling of having to wake up and be socially apt in a circumference of smiling faces, kids, and only a few people who can speak English--isn't exactly my picturesque morning, however, "de-grudging" (that's right a made my own word) the morning blues I drank my Café Americano and in my very comfortable white long silk shirt, black leggings, and black boots (ideal outfit for a lazy have-to morning) I put on my smile and realized I will stand out no matter what I do. As we walked in I noticed almost every person in black and thought great, as we settle in to the house
my boss Yuri looks at me to say "you look cold because you are wearing white" and I proceeded to look at her and made a comment that broke her out in laughter followed by a short hug (she is not so comfortable with showing affection or hugging but I got one ;).
Once all of the family strolls in the house the oldest line up in sitting formation while the rest of us have to bow in gratitude. And this holiday is incredibly important if not one of the most anticipated of celebrations. Forget what the texts say because even though all look forward to it, the only ones that really love it--are the kids. The women are not too fond of it due to the fact they have to do everything from cleaning to cooking, the men dig it for it's just another day to be catered to and watch sports and oh, how the kids love it. Besides the young one's having to dress in their traditional Hanbok's (traditional dress) it is the one holiday where the children bank. Every bow elicits 10 to 30 thousand won in their hands, and imagine there are about 20 adults in the room each one having to give money to each kid. And then the kids are more than joyous to head to their other family's house's to continue to get more money. AND if you are graduating into middle school or what not, YOU get even MORE money. One of my students made 650, 000 won! I was flabbergasted to say the least.
After the bowing--comes food time but not quite ready to eat, before eating we must bow to the food and be thankful. Once everyone is done showing all their appreciation to the shrine of food, the showcase of eatables is sent back into the kitchen to then get spread out onto long and low tables. Men sit and begin to eat first, starting the intake with shots of Soju (Korean Alcohol); men sit on one end of tables, in the middle kids and young adults, and then women on the other end.
After this came clean up, watching the soccer game and teaching some peeps how to play the card game, Rumi 500. And instead of gallivanting with my boss's and their kids to other family's house's I pleasantly stayed behind and went to a Buddhist temple to hang out with some monks. Me, my boss's mother, sister, and cousin from Australia (she's visiting) sat with the monks and received money, expansive teas, talks, and the golden ticket for luck ;). We stayed for about two and half hours, and for the second time, whom I will label my friend the monk, gave me a second book on Buddhism: "this will be good for you." Now, mind you I believe in God and I am a Christian, BUT I do think religion has hurt many people and still hurting us today--controlled by ego and power--I would nevertheless shun anything attributed to learning. I accepted the book and began a very interpretive discussion (the monk can't speak English so hand gestures and facial expressions were a must, and major kudos to my boss's sister without her the talk would have been even more limiting). I understand that Buddhism is not a religion it is a way of life and is very similar to what God says; the high monk tells me. "No matter what religion, we must all love ourselves and our fellows."
The day ended with everyone from the morning back at the grandparent's house--to eat, play games, and watch soccer--I was in heaven right here. Me, and some members went out for pool and a drink BUT below I will leave you with some Lunar New Year pictures--cheers!
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Friday, February 19, 2010
However, I will get back to posting today and I am sorry for the lack.
Hope everyone is good and well--I hopefully will be soon ;)
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
At such moments you are in what August Wilson calls “the land of magic.” And, with the words flowing forth, nothing, nothing in this world, can equal the pleasure—not skiing or sailing, not sex, not flying off cliffs with wings strapped to your shoulders—because in those pure moments you are in perfect balance, soaring with the universe.”
As I stumbled around trying to find the chord to my new camera so I could upload pictures from the Lunar New Year festivities...
It astounds me how energy can be felt or understood without saying one single word or showing any physical truth.
Kids are so amazing in that way--they have the magic power that most adults crave at a certain age; which they have lost due to the lack of imagination or overall joy for life or--both.
From waking incredibly early on the Lunar New Year day, and being surrounded by a number of little rugrats (the combination was unexciting yet weirdly joyous)--I undoubtedly got sick. An untimely situation also interrupted my working week and although I was dying (me being dramatic), my kids knew it before I even uttered a comment.
Yesterday was blaring obvious I was in no mood for rowdiness but other days, especially today, no one would've even noticed if I was under the weather. My kids saw me--I greeted them with a smile--and with a soft grin they sat and got to studying. Even the bad little suckers sat with diligence and empathy--it is always such a surprise to me and I am appreciative of it.
Perhaps it is them knowing me so well, I have been with them for 14 months now; we all have had one, maybe two birthday's together, holiday celebrations, fun and not so fun times, cries and laughter (yes they cry, some of them are easily rattled by their peers) tests and games, and English slash "Konglish" galore. If it is love, respect or understanding--I am grateful but fully prepared for when the thoughtfulness is over and the shouting begins!
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Gary Zukav, The Seat of the Soul
...it is that of an unsatisfied desire which is itself more desirable than any other satisfaction. I call it Joy, which is here a technical term and must be sharply distinguished both form Happiness and from Pleasure. Joy (in my sense) has indeed one characteristic, and one only, in common with them; the fact that anyone who has experienced it will want it again..."
Icebergs in the Antarctic area sometimes have stripes, formed by layers of snow that react to different conditions.
Blue stripes are often created when a crevice in the ice sheet fills up with meltwater and freezes so quickly that no bubbles form.
When an iceberg falls into the sea, a layer of salty seawater can freeze to the underside. If this is rich in algae, it can form a green stripe.
Brown, black and yellow lines are caused by sediment, picked up when the ice sheet grinds downhill towards the sea.