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"So I guess this is where I'm supposed to introduce myself. I'm a Canadian male teaching ESL in Seoul, Republic of Korea. This will be my second stint teaching ESL, only this time I'll be teaching at a High School, using my actual teaching experience to use. If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail me - no question's too small. Take care, and enjoy the ride."

Other Blogs of Note

  • Student in Korea
  • Seoul Man
  • The Daily Kimchi
  • Surviving South Korea
  • Books I'm Reading

  • "Colossus: The Rise and Fall of the American Empire" by Niall Ferguson
  • "Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World" by Haruki Murakami
  • "The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order" by Samuel P. Huntington
  • "The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth" by Benjamin M Friedman
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  • Pre-China, head-long Friday, July 22, 2005 |

    Well, I'm about to head off to China - and you're prayers, as they always are, would be much appreciated. I'm doing this in my typical style; really interesting on paper, but a lot of the important details are really really foggy - such as how I'm going to cross nearly a third of the country on a rail system that is about as consistent as my Korean...and seeing as how I don't know a word of Chinese...now you get the idea. And to top it off, my airline company is on strike right now, only doing international flights - but a lot of delays have been reported.....I just pray that I'll be back in time to start teaching on August 1st.
    For those of you who have been kind enough to e-mail me in the past little while, I apologize for not replying to each e-mail. This past week was crazy just getting things together, and when I come back, its going to be miserable. So if you send me anything, please be patient; I do my best to reply to each e-mail, but sometimes (or quite often) it takes me longer than I'd like.
    I hope things are going well with all of you; know that you are in my prayers. When I arrive back, I'll be sure to post any new pictures that I have from China, along with whatever I can tell you about the land of the bajillion people. I'm really looking forward to it.
    Cheers all, and God Bless


    The Boryung Mud Festival.... Monday, July 18, 2005 |

    Well, I finally have some pictures to update the old picture site with. Lately pictures have been hard to come by for a number of reasons. The major issue being that work has become a little bigger hassle lately, with classes adjusting, schedules changing for other teachers, and my general workload changing to include stuff that I just wish it didn't have... The second reason being mainly that I haven't been anywhere lately that's worth taking a picture. Until this past weekend. Me and some of the other teachers from my school went to the Boryung Mud Festival. Now, leave it up to foreigners to make an unrealistic idea of what to expect, but me and my roommates were thinking of a massive mud-pit of ankle-deep mudd, where you would just go crazy. Someone forgot to remind us however that we're living in Korea.
    now, I should let you know something about Koreans and going to the beach. Going to the beach in Korea is like stepping back in time...to somewhere near (now, apologies if I offend anyone here...) but somewhere between the sixties and seventies. You have men everywhere walking around in speedo's of all shapes and forms. (why you might ask? They're pretty much the only swimsuit that you can buy here that's cheap. A Florida style flower swimsuit will put you out around 30US, where a speedo comes in at a sweet Dutch-like six/seven dollars....Hence why they buy them....) so you have men in speedos, and the women are dressed all modestly, going swimming wearing jeans and shirts....getting wet, and them coming back out, and going to sit under a tent somewhere on the beach. And everyone is smoking...Everyone say for the kids under the age of twenty (and there aren't that many of them at the beach.....)
    overall, the mud festival was quite fun. What we thought would be a massive mud pit was actually something much less tame... You painted on the mud with paintbrushes, and then sat in the open (there was maybe five minutes of sun all weekend) waited for the mud to dry, and then painted on another layer. The weekend overall was quite fun; they had all sorts of festivities and activities to do, all of which involved mud, or doing something with the mud. All in all, it was nice to get away from the city. The downside being that the percentage of foreigners to Koreans was about three to one - foreigners to Koreans. As is usually the case, whenever there is a party somewhere in Korea, Koreans stay at home, or in the case of Sunday, go to the beach at 8:30 in the morning, and then around noon, when the foreigners start dragging themselves out of bed, the beaches are clear of all Koreans (and the foreigners think to themselves..."Where are all the Koreans....?")
    I'm slowly starting to really disappears hanging around foreigners, as in Canadians and Americans. I'm starting to enjoy just hanging out in my small community of some Koreans and some foreigners... Call me naive, but I like not being around ignorant Canadians and Americans. Strange how this is slowly coming to my realization after four and a half months in Korea.....
    well, I need to get going - I hope that things are going well with all of you, and that you're enjoying the nice heat-wave that's going through North America.
    God Bless,


    Sometimes its the little things... Friday, July 15, 2005 |

    So, sometimes, its the little things that make it frustrating living in another country. For many people, the most obvious frustration might be the language. For others, it might be that all of the Koreans look alike; how do you tell one apart from the other? However, for me, its often the little things that make it incredibly frustrating.
    Take for example my situation from just the other day. For those of you who don't know, I'm over eighty percent deaf in my right ear. I've had tubes in the ear for a long time, and I've tried surgery, but to no avail. Before I left Canada, I tried a different tube that's supposed to last longer than the typical tube. Exciting, I know... True to the tubes word, it lasted longer then the normal tube(for me); it stayed in for a whole two months, or just slightly more. The tubes in my ear come out in stages, and when they don't completely come out, they start to make a crackling noise in my ear at the most inopportune times. The sound is comparable to having someone put rice krispies in your ear, and then pouring milk; the sound you get from pouring milk into a bowl of rice Krispies (and the snap, crackle, pop) is about as close as I can get by way of comparison. Getting back to the story....
    This weekend is the Mud Festival weekend in a city south of Seoul. They basically flood a big field that's pretty much useless, pump in a lot lot of ocean water, make the whole thing a big slosh pit, and then set up soccer pitches, volleyball nets up, and everyone goes crazy. So I figured that I'd get my tube popped out completely, and do myself a favour. I'd noticed that my hearing had dropped from minimal to nothing, so I thought I'd check it out. After going into the wrong office (I love it when Koreans who know English tell me; "Uh, why'd you go in that office - he's the doctor. You want to go in there", pointing to another sign with Korean writing on it - and the two signs? Identical except for one Korean symbol....oooooohhhhhh, that's right, I'm stupid, sorry)
    After I visit with him, I find out that my ear is fine. After I give him a weird look, he tells me the bad news. You're ear is infected, and its swollen shut. "So it's not fine?" I ask? "No, its fine, its infected".....He goes back to doing his work as I try to figure out his "wonderful" news. To make a long story short, my weekend's sorta ruined, and I still can't get the tube that's halfway out of my inner-ear out; its still crackling. What was supposed to be a simple tube removal has turned into me needing to take a whole smorgasboard of antibiotics (four pills, three times a day) for four days. That's not the best part. I'm not supposed to let water (much less mudd) touch my ear, and I'm not supposed to have a drink of alcohol. I almost felt like telling him I'd put it off until after the weekend; my weekend beer is what I look forward to on Friday; its going to be a long day. "Waiter, I'll take a water please?"ugh. Maybe I'll see a movie.
    what I wouldn't have done for even my old ear doctor who's about as sharp as a marble.....The redeeming part of this weekend? Without using my medical coverage,the whole doctors office and prescriptions came to less then ten dollars; Six dollars for the doctors visit, and Three-fifty for the prescriptions......Need an argument for privatized health care? Come to South Korea....
    well, I need to go take my antibiotics and eat some breakfast.... Next time you see your English doctor who understands what you're talking about, say thanks....
    Sorta living the dream......and saying "whuh? every third second......


    smorgasboard of stuff Thursday, July 14, 2005 |

    I thought I'd post some random things about what I've been up to lately.
    I've just recently purchased some music from this megalopolis, and I thought that I'd let you in one some good music I've listened to. The new Coldplay album (X&Y) is definitely worth the purchase if you like their older style of music. I don't know if any of you have ever heard of their b-sides album (I would put both albums as high or higher than "a rush of blood to the head". - if you want to know the album names, let me know - I could send you singles from their albums) This album is one of those albums where you will have to listen to it a few times before you really appreciate how amazing it is. The same could be said for the new Oasis album. If you're looking for a good album, and its somewhat close to their older music. If you're looking for a darkhorse, try to find music on a band called the "Stars". They have some pretty sweet songs; they're worth trying to find.
    I booked my trip to China, and if it wasn't that I've been so busy with work, I'd be more excited and pumped. I'm flying into Beijing on the 23rd, and then after an indeterminable amount of time spent in Beijing, I'm hoping to somehow visit Datong (they have a sweet hanging monastery that looks impressive) and then head off to Xi'an, where I'm hoping to visit at least the Terracotta Warriors, and the Flying Duck Pagoda, a thirteen (14?) story Pagoda. After sometime spent in Xi'an, I'm flying then into Shanghai on the 29th sometime, and then after a day and a half in Shanghai, I'm back off to Seoul, to begin a month of misery spent teaching a whole dump of hours. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday will be spent teaching from 9:40 until 11:50, and then 2:30-8:20. My Tuesday Thursday's aren't looking too rough, teaching the same mornings, from 9:40 11:50, and then 2:30-5:15 or so. But that's how it is now; things change quickly here.
    other than that, things haven't changed a whole lot. The weather hasn't been too bad here lately. The occasional rainy day is actually welcomed, cause it takes all of the smog hanging over the city, and sort of washes it out of the sky, leaving a nice shockingly blue sky, where you can actually see clouds...Its strange to see clouds. That sounds odd.
    on that note, I hope things are all well with all of you- take care, and don't work too hard
    - if anyone has been to China before, and has any recommendations for Beijing or Shanghai, I'd love to hear of them

    me mi mo monsoon Saturday, July 09, 2005 |

    hmmmmm......so for those of you still confused with the whole monsoon thing, i just finished checking the weather for the next ten days....not exactly 100% reliable, but in monsoon season, its probably going to be right.....sunday-rain, monday-rain, tuesday-rain....you get the idea. any doubters? check out the link to what the weathers like over here in Seoul.....


    and you thought april showers were fun.....

    livin' the dream


    Strange....More often, less time Thursday, July 07, 2005 |

    Well, after over three months of not even knowing what my own blog looks like, for some odd reason, I'm now allowed full access to my own sight. The wonders, the marvels, etc etc. So I decided to change the look of the site, spice things up, and try to boost viewership. I think that I need an overhaul - my membership is down, morale is low, and financial donations are at an all time low...I think I need to sack my CEO.
    okay, so that's a little overboard. But after actually looking at my site, I'm thinking that what I need to do is to make more posts, with less info. I got bored of reading all that info; how my few faithful readers actually have time to read it is beyond me - do you people just take it in chunks- if there was ever proof that I needed to be told that I'm slightly "wordy", then this was it....
    so I'm going to try to make more posts, with less info; hopefully it will be the jumpstart that I need....
    so here goes the short posting.
    I realized after talking to my parents that I should explain a little more of what the monsoon season means here. bascially, in short form (see the pattern....)it means that for the next month, it will be raining on and off for nearly a month. It won't rain non-stop like I was previously told, but it will pretty much mean that it will rain nearly every day, for short periods of time. So it will rain, then it will get nasty-humid - then cool down, and then rain some more some other time. And it should be like this for some time. How people who suffer from arthritis do down here is beyond me....I'm sure that like every other disease down here, they take some pill that in Korea is perfectly fine, but in North America, is decades away from being allowed in our Shopper's Drug Mart's....
    well, I need to get going - I've still got report cards to write that are over a week late, and parents are starting to clamor that I'm a bad teacher....Too bad I've stopped caring....
    take care all (or ya'll for my peeps from the U.P)

    Huh? What's a mogi......? HAPPY CANADA DAY Friday, July 01, 2005 |

    Hello all -
    I was feeling strangely guilty for not posting anything lately to my blog, until I realized that lately I've been pretty good at posting stuff; so don't worry, I patted myself on the back, said "good one, old chap" and decided, well, while I'm at it, I may as well post something....
    so the other month, as me and my roommates were sitting in my apartment, the topic of the fabled "mogi" came up. Just as you're probably wondering now, I too asked "what in blazes is a mogi" my two roommates who have been here for over ten months just laughed, and said, ever had a mosquito bite? Well, multiply it by about five times. Being the naive foreigner that I am (on a side note, it still feels strange to be called a foreigner- it seems like it'd be easy to accept living in a city of over 20million people...But it still is strange...I digress) being as naive as I am, I laugh, and proudly boast that mosquito's don't like my blood. Well, I'm proud to say that mosquito's still don't like my blood - mogi's unfortunately have no problem. And these things are vicious. I've got a mogi bite on my chest that I've had for over a week now, and it feels like I've got poison ivy. These little buggers are such a hassle that the city goes as far as to spray pesticides and fumigate all their favourite nesting spots in every single neighbourhood. They just come through on their motorbike, and spray it out the back (yup, the guy in front is perfectly fine - but if you're behind the dude on the bike, look out...The cool thing about this guy is that the whole neighbourhood goes running when they hear him coming. His machine sounds something like a Lancaster bomber - this thing makes a racket..So people hear him coming, and everyone runs, closes their windows, and the whole neighbour clears out...Its kinda funny)
    so as of right now, I've been teaching for four months. And almost as if on cue, the caca has hit the fan. This past week has gone miserably slow, and I'm getting all sorts of crap thrown at me, and unfortunately its not of the sweet smelling variety. There's a lot of people who are going to be coming and going in the next few months, and work is going to go from something fun, to something really really aggravating. When I came to my school, there was only three of us, and it was a smooth transition, because there were a lot of people who were willing to help, etc. But when you have upwards of seven new faculty coming in the next month and a half, it makes things really stressful around the workplace. The problem is that the market for hiring new teachers from overseas is becoming really competitive, and so the new teachers being hired are fresh out of school, with no teaching experience other than a bachelor's degree. Oh well, such is life. I'm not the one doing the hiring, so I can't complain; its twice as hard for her.
    well, I'm going to finish off this posting with a happy Canada day to you all - I hope this posting finds you in a celebratory mood with the day off- enjoying your three day work weeks and all - you all stink.....Its a tough life when you're not an English teacher in a foreign country.
    oh, wait, on second thought. I thought that I'd leave any future postings open to anyone who has any questions about the country. Seeing as how I can't check my own blog for any comments, I'm leaving the option open to anyone who reads this thing to e-mail me at bwildschut@gmail.com with any questions you might want answered about Corea. I'll make sure to give you full credit in the blog for your question (or anonymous if you're too embarrassed) and I'll do my best to answer the question.
    I hope all is going well with all of you, and I thank you for your prayers.
    God Bless