This is the Blog for Scott's Uhls's vicissitudes in Ulsan, South Korea.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Ending the Gyeong-ju Keiken (Experience)
Ah, Smallwood in the Gyeong-ju alleyway explains my feelings for the end of this training program. I hear tale that we're going to be going through another week of training with our Provincial Office of Education advisors, but like I told Daniel Geary, what the hell else could our POE talk about that hasn't already been talked about? I mean, aside from talking about our schools specifically, what else could they possibly go over in a week? And if they do have us planned to be with them for a week, what a friggin' money sink that idea is. It's almost so lame that it registers on my "WTF IS WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE?" meter. That's just the way it is apparently.
Anyway, so the past few days have been interesting....actually I don't remember much, I've been so tired that I think I've slept through most of the activities we've done. Aside from going to the Noraebang, a TimTam Party, Adventure Korea, doing some Korean Folk Dancing, Papercrafts, a farewell dinner, and listening to a Welsh dude, there wasn't much more that I can think of....
Okay, not everything in this training program has been good, but there are some things worth noting:
1) Cool friends. That's right, I'll admit it, I have made some cool-ass friends (I put the hyphen in because some people are prone to reading cool ass-friends). I won't name them all (mostly because I don't want to leave someone out and get kicked in the nuts later), but there have been some awesome ones.
2) That which doesn't kill me makes me stronger. Lame I know, but true.
3) Relatively decent insight. Repetitiously, but there were some insights that I didn't already know, so that's ALWAYS a good thing.
4) Good food. That's right, I secret loved the food I complained about.
Actually, that last one is a lie, but I didn't want my list to be only three. Besides, now it ends with the Japanese symbolism of Death, which is always a great way to end the list about this training program, if that gives you any inclination into how I felt. I know, how emo of me.
So, basically, the last couple of days have been a blur. Tuesday, we started off with Min's friend and YSA Leader for South Korea, Angela Hur, talking to us about exploring Korea. She seemed like she was advertising for Adventure Korea, but truthfully, since I want to see as much of Korea as possible while I'm over here, it sounds like something good to look into. I trusted her experience in this one, if nothing more than she's a church official, and so it is that I will likely looking to Adventure Korea for my trips around the nation. When I have time that is.
Anyway, she was followed by a lady named Cynthia from Jeju, and that was fun too. She talked alot about tricking the kids into doing stuff without you asking them to, which was a great idea. I mean, it was much better than our lecture on Motivation, which was useful, but not nearly as useful as those previous two lectures.
Then things changed up. Our very own Jeremy Woods got called in to teach a lecture on useful websites for English Teachers in Korea. It made me laugh, and honestly, Jeremy didn't even know what he was doing there, so after a half an hour of talking, he just sent us all the slide show and let us add each other on facebook. I swear, I added more people to my facebook account on tuesday that I ever have before.
But just as I was going to go to Korean class, I got invited upstairs to a TimTam party. For those of you who don't know my love for Timtams and the Timtam Slam (or slurp or suck or whatever the hell else people call it), just know that the Japanese economy boomed when I found a store where they sell Timtams. And so it was that I went and joined our Australian friends (minus a few of course) and we shared a package of Timtams...which I know is not enough for my appetite, but they weren't mine and there were less-fortunates among us who had never had a Timtam before. :P
So then Wednesday hit us, and we started the day on a great note, with Chris Crowley, the Welsh Headmaster who seemed really uptight but had the best presentation I've seen yet. His whole point was to get the students thinking. Good plan. I mean, that was some awesome insight that I felt really stupid for not having thought of myself. Either way, he kicked the crap out of the second guy, who was apparently someone important, but his lecture on effective classroom management put me right to sleep. I seriously slept through the whole thing, and then at the end, he called me out on it. It was my fault, I gave a whoo! for Daegu just because I didn't want them to feel unimportant, but he noticed me and brought up the fact that I was sleeping.....
Anyway, afterwards, we made some Korean paper crafts and I totally rocked at cutting, but totally sucked at gluing, so Helena had to come and help so that it didn't look like a complete waste. Now one side is cool, so right on. We followed that up with sitting through a Korean Dance lesson. The guy spoke in dialectic Korean the whole time, so I didn't understand anything, and just followed the motions, but the instructor made it a lot of fun by mimicking people. It was as interesting as the taekwondo.
Then, as I was coming back from Dinner, I ran into Jeremy (the same one) who informed me that the Japanese girls from downstairs had asked if I was joining them for Karaoke that night. I didn't know they were going, but I jumped at the chance and basically spent the rest of the evening shaking my tailfeather and singing ridiculous songs that I only knew half the words to. We ended with Thriller, which had everyone in the room dancing, so SUCCESS!!! But we hung around after coming back to the dorms late (another Ding on my record) and basically stayed up until Yoko decided she needed sleep. Turns out the poor girl had a flight back to Hokkaido at 5am, so that's when we split up.
But that meant I was really tired this morning. We started the day with a group gathering and discussed as groups some themes for lessons and potential activities. It was fun and helpful, but I was so tired that after lunch I just fell asleep in my room and woke up a little before dinner time. Apparently the second seminar was ridiculous, so no one missed me, but the dinner was cool. It was all kinds of Korean foods, most of which I liked, some of which I didn't.
I don't really get why I loved Kimchi in Japan but I don't like it that much here. Could it have been one of those taste bud changes that happen every 7 years, or could it be that the flavors are just that different? Anyway, that's neither here nor there. All I know is that tomorrow we leave this forsaken place and make our way to our provinces, which means that things are going to start getting really interesting really fast.
Mountain Dew Drinking, Japanese and Korean speaking, story writing nerd who doesn't exactly spend all his days in his basement doing nothing, but don't be surprised if you find my laptop filled to the brim with downloaded TV shows like Battlestar Galactica, Dark Angel, Supernatural, The Wire, or the occasional anime. I lived in Japan for 2 years, and lost a whole lot of my manga/anime fanatacism, but I also learned to love Manga. 2 years in Korea reminded me that I can do the impossible.
I've got the perspective, if you are willing to listen then I'll give you low down on whatever you want to know.