Monday, September 28, 2009

Race in the Hagwon

Please click on this picture to make it larger so you can see the details.  This was in my kids' workbook.  It's pretty apparent to me that this cartoon man looks very much like a characature of African descent. It might of been okay if the book said, "the black person has a big thorn/thumb," but it asks the children to recognize this image as a thief!  Shocking to me, but the heterogeneous nature of my home country has influenced my thinking.  The ethnic makeup of South Korea is (claimed to be) 100% Korean.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Wknd Bfr Lst in Pics

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Joy of the Week:  I finally got my alien registration card!!!  That means I will have a cell phone and a bank account!

Bummer of the Week: Now I can't find it after having it for only one day.  No phone or bank account yet.

And here's a picture of my most despised Korean dish yet.  It is a cold soup with brown seaweed and onions in a vinegary broth. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Room Request

As some of you may know, the window in my apartment look out four feet to the side of another building.  The sunlight that reaches it is equivalent to the light it receives from lamp posts at night.  I spent one summer living in my boyfriend's father's basement, an I vowed never to be so light deprived again.  I need houseplants, I need to see what time of day it is, I need to not sleep more than 11 hours a night because of it. 
So today at work, I'm going to try something.  I'm going to ask my director if I can move to the other side of my building.  Neighbor Jeon lives over there, and it's perfect. From talking to other English teachers, I've gotten two reactions to how this might work out.  Some people make their directors seem like curmudgeons who tell them what to do all the time and accept absolutely no thoughts, opinions, or input from them.  Others have said things like, "Your director will probably do what s/he can to make you happy."  So, from what I can tell of my director--this is not including any of the crabby teachers I have mentioned  in my blog previously--I'll just have to ask. The only words she has really said to me were that my kids liked me and that I should have a good weekend.  I'm also going (read: try) to iron out some things stated in my contract.  Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers while I do this.  I will report back with the verdict.  

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Last night my neighbor Jeon and I went to a fusion restaurant that is along my extremely short walk to work.  It doesn't really matter what it was called--and I couldn't tell you, if you asked.  Jeon was the guy who stood me up in a past post, but as it turns out, it was due to a mistake in language and not him being a jerk.  Not a jerk, and a wonderful Korean culture specialist at that!  We ate a cajun chicken salad--a dish that I have seen before on Korean menus--which was breaded chicken on a bed of greens with a honey mustard sauce for the chicken and a creamy raspberry vinaigrette for the salad.  I CANNOT justify calling this common Korean dish "cajun," but I will call it one of my favorite American comfort foods here in Korea.  We also shared a meal that looked and tasted much like General Tso's chicken.  Jeon said it was a traditional Korean dish that is sweetened with yeod, a sugar made in Korea, but made from something other than cane or sweet potatoes.  He said the dish was made popular during the Japanese occupation of Korea. I've been looking for something similar in flavor to that here for a long time.  Delicious.  In the two pictures on the top, we are drinking rice wine called makolri (MAH-koel-ri).  As you can see, it's a milky white color, which shocked me when it came out of the tin kettle.  When I hear "wine," I think of Western wine that's transparent yellow or red in color, and when I think of "rice wine," I think of clear Japanese sake.  The flavor is great; it has a light fizz and is very refreshing with no strong alcohol burn (unlike sake).  After one sip, I knew what I wanted to buy my family and friends back home: makolri.  But Jeon let me know that makolri is a Korea exclusive because it decays very quickly and needs to be kept cold continuously.  Maybe I can't make it into a souvenir, but I do enjoy that my experience has been special.  

(Please forgive the rotten formatting.)  The restaurant had old posters that were interesting, most featured children.  One has children tying up what looks like a general or maybe government leader with a length of rope and looking cheery, another with a man with a stack of paper currency on scale and children stuffing money into a piggy bank.  Another appears to worn children not to gorge themselves on candy, picturing a hunched over silhouette of a child grasping his stomach while devils holding a fork and knife look tormentingly at him.