Today’s randomness


There are 1 million cars in Seoul.  300,000 of them are black. 300,000 of them are silver, and 300,000 of them are white.  Of the remaining 100,000. 75,000 are blue or white trucks, and the other 24,999 are specs of red or blue.  There is 1 green car.

OK.  I’m making up those numbers, but seriously try and find your car in a parking lot of 200 black, white, and silver cars of three Korean car manufacturers and BMW…

Koreans love everything sophisticated and status conscious, so you won’t find any exhuberant dashboard decorations, rear-view mirror baubles, or any art cars here.  You will find all kinds of air-flow seat cushions and massaging seat back liners and comfort grip steering wheel covers.  And everywhere will be the prerequisite air deodorizer and cleaning cloth. You can practically eat off the seats…


Ok.  Where is your handout?  Um, how can you do your handout when it is under your books?  Why are your books out?  I told you no books or homework from other classes.

Why is your handout on the floor?  I didn’t bother to copy it for you so you could throw it on the floor. Here is another handout.

Nice.  Nice origami. Here’s another handout.

Nice drawings.  Are they in English?  Please do the English assignment.

That assignment is not from my class.  Put it away.  Now.

I’ll take that (pillow, game, cell phone).

Didn’t you eat breakfast today?  Where is the missing portion of your assignment…Here is another one.

Turn to your partners.  You must turn to your partner if you are going to have a conversation. (Teacher must physically turn student 170 degrees.  Teacher must do this about 12 times in each class. Your partner is here.  You can’t do the assignment unless you talk to your partner.

Nice conversation.  Now say it in English.

I’m glad you can swear in English.  Now do the assignment.

Hi.  (students magically start talking to each other in English)

There is nothing on your paper!  Where is your pencil?  You must have a pencil so you can write.  On the paper.  The paper I gave you.  The one with the assignment on it.

But the worst of all follows:


Seems almost every class there is a handout, some pair of kids who have ignored their assignment try to tell me “finish-ed!”

Now, how stupid do I look?  Especially if it’s only ten minutes after I’ve handed it out and when I tell them that if they’re so skilled, then please demonstrate for me, and it takes them three minutes to struggle forming their sentences.  Can you say, “teacher is pissed?”  I can.

Last time this happened I told the girls liars and told them I found that really insulting and offensive, but I didn’t punish them.  But you know, the only reason is because I’m not by nature a punisher and I couldn’t think of anything.  But I mean to “finish-ed” this kind of b.s. somehow.  I think the next time this happens, I am going to make them do the Korean kneel on the desk holding their hands up in the air for the rest of the class.


Thus, the fanatic use of umbrellas, even if there are only two drops, everyone is convinced the leaves growing from their heads are going to be burnt by chemicals.


Got several too familiar text messages from someone.  “Who is this?”  I texted back, upon which I got a phone call.  Turns out it was Mi Young.  She saw me on t.v. and wanted to get together.  My cool response was noted.  “Are you tired?”  If I am ever in Seoul, I am supposed to call her.  Right.


As I was walking through the lobby so SBS could film me leaving my building, the building manager stepped in front of me, blocking my way out, and said, “HOW do you do?!”  Normally he’s a nice guy and not creepy, but the presence of the cameras turned him into a major creep.

I was eating lunch by myself because I was late, and some teacher I’d never met brought me the warm rice water drink after dinner.  “I watching you.” he said.  I thanked him for the drink.  He said, “fighting!” and I made a fist, held it up, and said weakly, “fighting!”

At the bank, Young-a helped me fill out a form I’d not filled out before.  She and the teller have a conversation about the documentary, and Young -a laughs and tells me she wants my autograph.  I laugh too and we finish our transaction.  Later, Young-a asks me “How come you didn’t give her your autograph?”  I thought she was joking…”Next time you come, give her your autograph.”  sigh.  I hope Koreans don’t see me and say, “hey – there’s that abused adoptee from t.v.”

All I want is to know my fucking name, birthdate, and reason for abadonment.  That’s all.

2 thoughts on “Today’s randomness

  1. I’ve been meaning to write about cars on my own blog for the past two years but never got around to it. Then you go and make a succinct post on the subject … which was slightly unexpected. I have noticed that the only truly colorful cars are the mini-cars — Kia Morning and Daewoo Matiz. There are several lime green and red ones in Uijeongbu, I’ve also seen one painted in zebra stripes, and also a Kia with a giant Hello Kitty painted on the hood. Doubt they’d ever show up in a place like Gangnam, though.

    Your students sound horrible. One of the worries I had about working in a public school is being stuck with students who don’t want to be in class but are forced to attend. At least at a hagwon the students (or their mom) are a bit more enthusiastic.

  2. Today I saw a maroon car. Yesterday I saw two teal cars. None of these were specs, either!

    I wouldn’t mind having a colorful little Kia Morning…but at this juncture I’m raiding my change jar to take the subway to my Korean lessons next time, so might as well forget that.

    A few of my students are awesome. But I suspect they are the ones who have the money to have attended hagwons previously, so English is not such an unwelcome chore for them.

    I told my school if they get approved for an English Zone remodel this summer, that I would re-sign. Not that I’m a masochist, but I’d be interested to see what having total command over my environment, with new equipment that I can depend on will do. I think that having the children separated from all of their crutches and distractions will help a lot, as well as arranging the seating so we can easily switch partners and discourage Korean conversation cliques would also help.

    I’m quite torn about staying, since it’s bloody hell and beyond difficult. But to be honest, I only like little tiny kids or young adults, and know there are others who are more engaging than I am for playing games, etc. I never played games during my education, and I see very little educational value in most of them. And if I don’t believe in something personally, then any level of engagement is unsustainable.

    I wish I had a degree in Education or English, as I’d really shine teaching adults at a hagwon. So I think I need to establish at least two years work history before I can even attempt to get an adult teaching position. BUT, if there is no English Zone approval, I will be forced to look anyway. Either that, or a kindergarten position, which would bring a little sunshine into my life, but I know they prefer younger whiter teachers for that.

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