Ah. I love my boys. I would give just about anything to have small classes everyday all the time. Of course, the second is still my favorite.
The "classroom" was a fucking ice block today. It's really not even funny. The boys were chock full of, "Ah, choo-wuh!" I know, babies -- I'm sorry. There's nothing I can do about it.
It still really, really confuses them that I can understand something they say every now and then, but not everything. Despite the fact that it's the exact same situation for them with me in reverse, they just can't seem to grasp the concept.
The absolute quietest kid in the beginning has turned out to be a real attention seeking little comedian. He's completely deadpan, so it took me a while to catch on, when he was still speaking mostly Korean. But I started to notice that he would mutter something under his breath with a completely serious face, and then all the boys would fall out of their seats laughing. Now that I'm really pushing, "English! English!" I'm starting to understand why. He's now the loudest boy in the class and a lot of our class time centers around him making us laugh. Perhaps a little too much. It took them ages to finish the first worksheet today, because he was giving a performance of his answers out loud, as he finished each one. "My born twenty century!" Yeah, my born twenty century, too. Now hurry up and finish. And stop distracting everyone else (including me). "Okay, Teacher. My mouth -- zipper." Good idea.
The best answer from today's worksheets? "My best friend is poople." Yeah. Mine too.
I don't know where they're getting them from, but they've also started coming out with English idioms. Today's hits were: "Stop kidding yourselpuh!", "Grow up!", and "Enoupuh is enoupuh." I've started trying to push them on pronunciation, and dropping the the "-uh"s (especially since today we were working on question words and the "what is", "where is", "when is" etc. can get really "-uh"-y) but for the most part, I'm just happy they're (mostly) giving in to my cries for English.
One of the older boys has apparently taken quite a shine to Teacher. A regular little Casanova, when he finished making his PB&J, he did an elaborate bow and offered it up to my mouth with both hands. No, thank you. And today, handing out candy prizes for the game, when it was his turn and I asked what color he wanted: "Teacher favorite color." The other older boy is quite annoyed at these antics, and when Casanova loitered around helping me pack my bag after class, he rolled his eyes and took off out the door without him.
The ADHD kid has apparently decided to forgive and forget -- last week when we were doing, "What makes you angry?", he wrote in Korean on his worksheet that it makes him angry when his teachers make him talk to the foreign teacher. Unfortunately, the kid picked three of the Korean words I actually know. "It makes you angry when you have to talk to me?" Profuse nodding. But he's been my game buddy the last few days of class, and now seems to be quite happy chattering away to the foreign teacher. He ran into a wall today. If I could legally steal someone else's child, he would be the one I would choose.
After work, I shuddered my way home, and then to the subway station to meet Mike. There's no cure for this horrible, god-forsaken weather like dak galbi. And I love that every time we go back, it keeps getting spicier. The lady that runs the joint is gaining faith in us. The number one thing Mike and I are getting these days, now that we have lunch with a different shift of teachers every day (many of whom have not had much one-on-one time with the foreigners yet), after, "Do you know kimchi?", is, "But I think this food too spicy for you...."
If there was one thing I never had to hear again....
At first, I would just explain that I'm from Texas, and, being quite close to Mexico, our food is pretty damn spicy. Now I just do my best to look confused and say, "Spicy? This? No....?" They're just trying to be nice, I know -- but I swear to God, you hear something everyday for three months....
To be honest, the bibimbap from the place we've been ordering from could do with just a tad more gochujang. It's actually a little on the bland side.
The one thing studying Korean has done for me so far is give me a little more peace of mind in the workplace. I've mentioned before how frustrating it can be to hear your name quite distinctly drifting over from a cluster of coworkers in a cloud of Korean and laughter, no matter how convinced you try to be that there's nothing nasty being said. Now I know for sure, at least in some cases. Today there was a whole little argument over who would have to come over to ask me what I wanted for lunch. Once they settled on one teacher, she was trying to ask the others for confirmation on what to say, but they refused to tell her, because I would hear the English and know they were talking about me. Then, the cluster and laughter afterwards was just them reassuring her that she had done fine speaking English.
I wish there was a way to make everyone understand that I don't give one solitary toss how broken their English is -- that if anyone has sympathy for having to deal with someone in a foreign language in this situation, it is definitely me. That I don't think it's funny or stupid, but I'm just eternally grateful for the effort, and more so for any conversation (no matter how confusing) anyone has to offer up.
Eh. Every day it gets a little bit better.