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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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  • Even more great dill pickle taste.... Tuesday, February 21, 2006 |

    What I wouldn't give for a bag of fresh dill pickle potato chips.
    so I've been trying to follow the Olympics over here, and unless you've got the innate ability to understand their reasoning behind it, they barely follow the Olympics. I asked my kids the other day what was happening in Italy right now, just as a random question, and they all looked at me as if I had just asked them how to decipher the meaning of Pi - they had no clue. It took them five minutes of ridiculous hints to try and tell them, and then, even after they knew what I was asking them about, they asked me in their popular tone "SO"? As if to ask me why I'm bothering them with something so insignificant. I knew before that South Korea isn't exactly known for their winter sports - or summer for that matter, however, I was hoping for a little more than tape-delayed women's hockey games broadcasted at night on the same channel. I've got close to sixty channels, and the only thing they broadcast is women's hockey and speedskating. Now, I have gone to the local Canadian bar in the military district to watch the US and Canadian hockey games, most on tape delay, but its just less than an hour from my house - there's nothing closer. The only highlight of last week was securing bets from two girls for 5000 Won about who would win the US and Slovakia game - the game had been completed the night before - we already knew the score. However, the American girls could not comprehend that their all-powerful men's hockey team would lose to a country they had never heard of before "Slovakia, what is that, some city in Russia"? However, our wager was void when just as we were shaking hands on the wager, the South African saved them by asking if the game was live or not.....At least most Americans are consistent in their lack of geography skills...(not that Canadians are much better)
    This past weekend, I went to a Korean wedding - my first since I've been here. It was quite the experience, especially since I knew the bride quite well - she looked beautiful, but its nothing even close to a western style wedding - over here, the wedding hall where you get married actually gives you the option of hiring "extras", so that when you look at the film of the wedding when its over, it doesn't look like you have no friends...(the wedding I was at definitely didn't have that problem - the opposite in fact...) Overall the weather was beautiful, even though it was an indoor wedding, and the trip down riding with my boss was slightly more beneficial with the sunshine - beat riding with him in the rain.
    Other than that, things are going good with me, and I hope they are the same with you. Keep your stick on the ice, and your head up - I'll see you later.

    Fashion industry slave? Or cost conscious.... Tuesday, February 14, 2006 |

    So, the past few weeks have been slightly more expensive for me than normal, for a number of reasons. First, since I've come to the realization that I've been here for just about one year, I've concluded that with all of the money I have, I really should be dressing better than wearing my faded old navy "special and discounted" bluejeans. That and I hadn't really bought any new tops except a foray into the internet shopping phenomenon at ae.com (which I add, would have saved me a lot if the stupid customs officials hadn't charged me 55,000 Won on my 160,000 Won purchase- it turned a rather cheap 175.00 shopping trip for six articles of clothing into a rather expensive 230.00 clothing trip...)
    South Koreans I've come to understand have this attitude (and others can feel free to correct me) that if you aren't the best at something, you may as well look good doing it - so essentially, make up for your lack of expertise by dressing much more expensive than you can realistically afford. This rule, by nature, means that you end up with a society of nice looking people wearing fashionable clothes. It just means that for people like me who were never born with a shopping gene in their body, nearly faint when, going to a jean shop, discovers that the pair of jeans he's holding are 151,000 Won, or 165 Canadian. Now, I won't lie, my decision to buy the jeans was encouraged by the very cute store clerk who knew enough English to tell me that I really looked good in them (Cripes, I should look good in anything that costs me that much) However, my wallet was still stinging when I was told to expect this when shopping for good clothing. (that may be, but when you're shopping at a dept store, and you don't recognize a single fashion label in the store, how in the world do you know if they're a legitimate store, or just a front for a couple of Chinese sweatshops selling something else other than their brand. I probably don't want to know) So I wore the jeans last week, and I got a lot of compliments, even a scary one from my boss when she stopped mid-sentence in a conversation with a parent to compliment me on my nice new jeans (strange, but not bad)
    The other thing that I recently bought was a casual jacket, to be work with pretty much any colour pants that I want. Now, I think its clear by now that I'm no fashion guru - (you should know me better if you disagree with that statement) my fashion sense consists of glances from the first people I run into that I know - if they show one of those hesitating glances, then its off, and I'm already changing something so that they can't say, hesitantly, "Uh, what a nice matching set that you've done..." So this Sunday, when I went shopping with two of my good friends, I was more than snoggered when I saw that the suit jacket that I was interested in was 310,000 Won - really now, who sets the market prices for this stuff. Sure, again, I won't lie, two women's opinions that it really looked good helped lesson the pain of spending that much money, however, maybe I'm in for a rude awakening when I get back home, and realize that prices have either changed a lot since I've been gone, or I've been buying poor quality clothing all my life, and it took a year in South Korea to realize it.
    Well, needlessly to say, I'm becoming more Korean. My friends have commented on it already. Apparently, I think like I a Korean, because I've stopped looking for the logical response to everything, and I've just come up with the most unexpected answer possible, and then gone with it (if there was logical thinking in this country, nobody would pay 310,000, 151,000 and 60,000 for three articles of clothing - they'd be nuts) So I guess with that train of thinking, I'm the idiot. If that's so, then far be it from me to change. When in Rome, do as the Romans.
    Well, aside from my fashion junket, things are going good. The weathers starting to turn to spring, and just when we adjust to it, we'll get dumped with snow. School's going good, and my forays into the gym 6 days a week are going good. I hope and pray that all things are going well with each of you - take care, and I'll catch you all later

    Another update.... Monday, February 06, 2006 |

    Well, I got tired of the old ugly looking blog - it seemed like it was the type of color pattern, where, after looking at the blog, when you next looked outside, the weather would have turned on you, and it would have started raining. So I changed it - sure, I spent way too much time modifying sites that I liked, and picked out things I didn't like, etc - but remember, I did the changes for YOU. I hope you like them; pull up a chair, stay a while....