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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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  • Ho, ho, doh! Monday, December 26, 2005 |

    Well, as one of my friends just recently posted, I have been somewhat lax in my postings, so Kim, this one's for you...
    Christmas has come and gone, as as I might have expected, this Christmas had quite a different feel to it, for numerous reasons. First, Christmas isn't even slightly similar to Western thinking. Over here, the only semblance of Christmas that you see on television is the occasional infomercial or shopping channel, where they're pushing gifts of fire-engines, and the like; otherwise, there are no Christmas commercials whatsoever. It kind of sneaks up on you, even when you aren't watching television. Along with the lack of media, there's no mail or flyer barrage in your mailbox of this years popular Christmas toys. It made shopping that much more stressful, because when I actually realized what month it was in December, I needed to get my gift to send home pronto, because I had to allot for shipping, etc. Even for things with my Korean friends, shopping was tough, because I haven't had a day off in over a month (aside from the usual Saturday and Sunday).
    This year, Christmas also had a completely different feel because it was when I felt the double joy that comes when you give a gift that was completely unexpected. With my close Korean friends, gift exchanges are very new, partly because if I hadn't suggested the idea, it wouldn't have happened. Koreans don't really buy gifts around Christmas; its really only for the smaller children. Even for my slightly lesser Korean friends, giving them a Christmas card made them all emotional, because they didn't expect it (who'd have thought that something so simple as a Christmas card would have a completely different meaning, as opposed to now, where families receive dozens or more of them now, and you get into the habit of writing down who sent you one, so you can make sure to send them one again next year, as so forth..) For my gift exchange, I luckily got my best friends name, and my gift actually brought her to tears, so score one for the good-team. And funny enough, not receiving gifts actually made the gift-giving feel that much better, no matter how much it cost me - I appreciated the gift-process that much more.
    Of course, Christmas Day didn't feel the same - waking up for my church commute at 7:20, to get to church by 9:25 (1 hour commute) didn't have the same appeal, and opening my box from my parents and family didn't have the same joy that comes when you can see the persons face when you open the gift. That and the joy/happiness that came from the best gift of all, watching five videos of my nephew, and just getting to see him move, talk, and just be himself made me miss being there to watch him grow up, especially now - he's missing out on his Uncle Bryan time (and it really made me double-think my desire to stay here for another nine months after my initial contract finishes in mid-February.
    News on the contract front has been interesting - just writing my own contract was interesting, and then finding out that my own boss was ready to sign me to a contract that she didn't even read came with its own frustrations (she thought I was going to stay for a whole year, whereas on my contract it was in bold that I'm only here for an additional NINE months...) Don't get me wrong, I love my job - I love the feeling that I get from teaching, and seeing my students grasp something gives you an emotion you can't describe unless you're another teacher, but my administration is quite possibly like the administration from Office Space, or the British Comedy series, "The Office" - comically stupid, but to a point. Our Christmas party was "Subway" subs, at the school....Nice touch - I work over nine-ten hours at the place, and then when I want to leave it asap, I'm stuck for another hour and thirty minutes while we all chow down on Subway subs...
    Overall, my Christmas was somewhat disappointing - my two best friends have been sick for the past three days with serious bouts of the flu and sinusitis, and the like, so any hope of seeing them was put to bed with them staying inside all day - that visit wasn't going to happen. (That and the fact that today, Monday for me, I have to go to work - where's Boxing day when you need it - I don't even want to go shopping...) I'm glad I'm in Korea, and getting to experience so many new and exciting things, but its sometimes the days like Holidays, where you realize that no matter how much fun you have, and how much you are enjoying the experience and the like, nothing replaces Christmas at home with the family.
    I hope and pray that all of you are having a wonderful Christmas, and if you're reading this on Christmas day in North America, shame on you for taking time out to read it- time's better spent eating turkey and stuffing....mmmmm.....stuffing, and not microwaved...mmmm....... Have a Blessed Christmas all, and I'll make it my New Year's Resolution to post more often....and I'll try to keep it.
    love me

    Saturday, Saturday, Saturday, Saturday Saturday, December 03, 2005 |

    Leave it to America to invent a musical band, where the entire chorus is just one word - Saturday. Why this song is currently stuck in my head is beyond me.
    I'm on a bit of a soundtrack binge. Leave it to Greg, one of my former roommates, who enlightened me to the joys of listening to soundtracks with no-name bands being displayed; it shows you scores of new artists who you would have never given the time of day, but because they're on a "soundtrack", for some reason we believe they deserve a place in your musical repertoire.
    Two new soundtracks that I've recently come across are "Elizabethtown" and "In Good Company". I remember sitting in the movie theatre with another movie buff and fellow former teacher, Kavan, when we both walked out of the theatre and remarked that the movie had a slick soundtrack. Well, now that I have the soundtrack, it's more than slick - its pretty downright cool. As for the Elizabethtown soundtrack, Cameron Crowe, (not the actor) is incredibly gifted at compiling soundtracks, and he's made another amazing one in Elizabethtown. He also compiled the soundtrack for "Almost Famous", which is also worth checking out. And if your really desperate for a fix, check out "Win a Date with Tad Hamilton"....That's right. I said it. I've seen the movie, and it wasn't half bad.....
    Things overall are going quite well. "Winter", or winter as we know it has arrived in Korea, with the whopping -5 Celsius daily lows, and the arrival of children arriving to class wearing two dozen layers of clothing....and then proceeding to sweat and stink in my classroom, because the heat kicks in, and I open my windows.....I'm still wearing short sleeves, so whatever books or pamphlets that these mothers are reading about taking care of their children, they obviously are adhering to the policy of "if your mom is cold, then YOU have to wear extra clothing...."....been there, had that happen to me....and I'm glad I saw the light on that issue...
    Just finished a nasty bout of "two-day cold and flu". It wasn't bird-flu, but it sure felt like it. I had the chills, the sledge-hammer to the head type headache, the whole nine yards. To top off the whole week of miserable phone teaching and report cards, I got to kick a student out of my class for making me miserable during my last class - I got to throw his grammar book twice - and even though I was yelling all over the place, it felt soooooo good. After being the benevolent dictator for far too long, I got to play the part of Castro, and then whip into a raging fury. I think for the first time in a long time, on Monday, they'll all come to class on Monday, and have their homework done. Hazaa for the pain-in-the-ass teacher.....(I'm discovering that I'm fitted perfectly for this role....Is this any surprise to anyone who knows me well?)
    Well, it's time for me to ship my but off to school - when your sick, you don't do anything that might require you to stick around school - but now that I'm much better, I've got to play catch-up.
    I hope things are going well with all of you, take care, and throw a snowball at a car for me - I miss that part of winter in Chicago.....