1.27.2010

The little things and more neurotic social planning.



I realize it's a slightly ridiculous way to go about things, but for the time being, I'm using pop music to study Korean. 2pm songs are particularly good for this because not only is there a load of repeating within the songs themselves, but the same phrases seem to haunt the entire album. By the time I'd finished translating and learning the vocabulary in two songs, there were only a few new words I encountered in the next two that I had to look up. But the grammar of each base vocabulary word changes a few different times, which helps me to pick up on that as well. Plus, if I ever get drunk enough to go ahead and cave in on that front, I could absolutely kill at noraebang. It already drives the students absolutely wild when I bust out just a line or two when I see them doing part of any given dance or for payback when they mention any word that triggers a pop song line in my head for all the English words I've had to avoid so far for fear of the entire class simultaneously bursting into song and dance in the middle of a lesson.

I'm pleased that the PE teachers have kept their drunken promises from the trip thus far and continued to acknowledge my existence in the school while unintoxicated. Today I had a nice little chat with the serious PE teacher that Coteacher got into a big scrap with earlier in the year. I defended him at the time by saying that, even though he'd never spoken to me, he reminded me of my brother, and I thought he was just under a lot of pressure and that's why he snapped at her when she questioned him about something. He had continued to ignore her throughout the year, and I explained that I thought this was less about his stubbornness than it was probably about the fact that he was embarrassed about his reaction to the situation and didn't know how to fix it. One day, following this advice, Coteacher decided to greet him first and she said the ice immediately melted, that I had been right, and that she couldn't understand how I could know that without having ever spoken to him. To me, he just seems one of those people whose personality is easy to read. I like him.

Now, I'm trying to get my apartment in shape, but to do that requires having another clothing rack, which I had intended to pick up after work today before a deathtrap of ice and rain started to come down outside. It's like Korea is personally welcoming me back with the worst weather ever. I nearly died on the walk home, causing two separate ajummas to attempt to walk me the rest of the way home with their assistance. As if, being twice their height and weight, I wouldn't completely crush them if I did end up going down. Sweet.

Tomorrow I'll be meeting Mr. Willie in Bupyeong for ddeokbokki, which shouldn't really be an entire plan, but somehow is. I'm sure alcohol of some kind will get involved at some point. It makes me really sad to think that he'll be leaving in a few months. I've gotten extraordinarily lucky in that most of the foreigners I know have extended or renewed their contracts, or are otherwise planning to stay on beyond their first year. That having been said, most of them live in Seoul and during the school year we get really caught up in our own things and don't have much time to see each other often.

I realized while I was in Glasgow that, while putting as much effort as I have into getting to know Koreans has been very smart, I could really stand to get to know a few more Westerners as well. There's a group of guys who have been around in Bupyeong for a while who Smalltown and I sort of idly chat with when we're out, but I haven't really made an effort to get to know them much beyond that. I think I'll work on that the next time I see them. When I first came to Korea, I really wanted to make an effort not to get entrenched in a foreigner bubble, but I don't think there's really any danger of that at this point. As much as it sucks that most foreigners here are on a rotating cast of characters thanks to this being contract work, it turns out that I've gone through Koreans just as fast, so I might as well give it a shot. Plus, I think all of those guys are about to re-sign as well.

아, 추워... back to the studying, I suppose. I have plans to make an excellent sandwich for dinner. It's the little things, right kids?

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