Thursday, August 27, 2009

I say, "Sounds Good," a lot

I have officially completed my first week of classes. Everyday was a new, short adventure, to say the least. First topic: the teachers lounge. The teachers lounge is kind of one of those dream-like places. You know, the ones that don't quite feel real. Maybe there was fog or some kind of strange, magical creature? Yeah, that's the Gurye High teachers lounge. Teachers sleep a lot. They just kind of lean back in their chairs and shut their eyes. I sit between the Chinese teacher (very nice) and a Korean lit teacher. The Korean lit teacher is a romantic. :) I'm completely in love. He's this funny little 60-something who is always doing something interesting. In fact, just now, I glanced at him while typing. For some reason unbeknownst to me, he has a post-it folded over the bridge of his nose where his glasses rest. It is pink. I don't know his name, so I call him "Norman" in my mind.

I face my Vice Principal's desk. He really wants to learn English, so we have a lot of random chats. I think he uses an online translator to come up with a new conversation phrase every day. It's great that he wants to learn, but it is always awkward when I struggle to understand him, especially after he practices. And it's even more awkward to correct him. I try not to, but he's really insistent on getting it right. For example, today he said:

VP: Amy, your rifle is donging Gurye?
Me: [Blank stare] Sorry, say it slower.
VP: Amy! Your rife is doing in Gurye?
Me: [Brief pause] Oh, my life! Yes, my life is doing very well in Gurye. Thank you.
VP: Did I say it right?
Me: Yes, yes. Sounds good.
VP: No, no. I mean, I say it right?
Me: Sure. You could also just say, "How are you doing?"
VP: How are you doing?
Me: Yeah, they mean the same thing. Both are okay.
VP: [Smiles and turns back to paperwork]
Me: [Smiles and slowly moves back toward computer work]

Always keeps me on my toes.

I also love the dress code. I mean, what could ever be wrong about wearing jeans and slippers all day?

My classroom (pictures soon, I've just been so busy!) is pretty sweet. The computer is straight from hell, but other than that, the room is solid. I have five bookshelves of American classics as well as the complete Harry Potter set and the beginning three books to "A Series of Unfortunate Events." I also have one shelf of American movies. Score!
Funny story about my computer. So, today it took over 30 minutes to turn on. I had a bad feeling about it today, so I came mentally prepared to transfer my PowerPoint to the white board. Sure enough, the bell rang and my stupid computer had some crazy Korean message flashing across the screen. So, 10 minutes into my terrible white board lesson, the computer came to life! Thank goodness because the lesson was turning pretty far south without it.

I guess word of my computer troubles got around, because I left for lunch and came back an hour later to find a bunch of wires and a hole where my CPU use to be. 10 minutes before class. Awesome. :) No matter, I turned up the energy and somehow had one of my best lessons all week. "Sounds good," has been my mantra all week.

My Korean readers will get a kick out of this: Every day after lunch, at least one person cannot believe that I eat Kimchee and at least one person is amazed I can use chopsticks. Yep. It's those little things that make me a hero.

Okay, I hope that brightened your Friday a little. (It did for me!) I'm getting ready to hop on my scooter and, with the wind on my face, scoot away. Haha, thanks for reading!


  1. Well, this truly started my grey, gloomy Friday with a smile. You crack me up!! Have fun on the scooter, and maybe you can try and relax a little this weekend. Good talking to you yesterday. I will have to work on the timing so I don't interupt your breakfast. Tell the boys that the Cubs are failing real bad, and I still need to know how to say in Korean "wait until next year"....

    Love you,
    Aunt Sandy and Uncle Jeff

  2. Sure, a bit of dexterity with chopsticks would be enough, but on top of that you do not run as fast as you can from kimchee (well, you really couldn't I guess, since it's everywhere!) AND you read/write/speak Korean. If you manage to learn some Chinese characters (ask the Chinese teacher next to you to "translate" your name or give you a Chinese name and teach you how to write it), you can pretty much render anybody there speechless, I bet :-)

    Chinese people would find nice characters that would sort of sound like your English name. They have to sound like your name and also the characters have to mean something appropriate and meaningful. When we were in Korean, my sister and brother-in-law, both Chinese majors, spent a good deal of time looking for appropriate characters for Majid and Majid thought it was the funniest thing, I mean, how long they were taking to find a couple of characters. Alas, those finds are now lost, since we didn't write them down.

    Thanks for great posts. It really brightend my Friday morning - it's been somewhat dreary here last couple of days weather-wise. I don't really mind the rain because it means my plants in the yard have some chance of living.

  3. Amy,

    Your VP is truly making an effort to talk to you in English. I know it must be very difficult for him to take courage and talk to you with a few "prepared" sentences.. Keep chatting with him and encouraging him to talk to you. He'd be very happy and proud of himself. :-)

    If I'd pick up your Chinese characters for your name, I'd use these. 애이미(사랑"애", 다스릴"이", 아름다울 "미") - meaning "Love" "Reign(Rule)" "Beauty" not sure if theses make any good sense all that. But sounds like your name, Amy[aeimi]. Somehow, I cannot copy and paste the Chinese characters here from word document. It seems your blog blocks to copy or paste.. Please ask your Korean teacher college and find real Chinese character if you like them.

    Your posting reminds my high school day. We used to wear gray uniform as reborn uniform generation. We worked all the time(7 am to 10 pm) to get in good collages. It was very comparative.. It sounds like totally different world in a high school in a small town. It sounds very romantic and cute place..!

    Ah, I always wanted to check this place when I will visit Korea and stay long enough to travel some places. A friend of mine recommended and post some pictures in her blog. This place looks very authentic and fun place.

    전주한옥마을- Korean Traditional House Village

    Hopefully, you can scooter away to a lot of fun places this weekend. Thanks for your great posting! I am really enjoying reading them.

  4. I wish I could be a fly on the wall. Is the computer you are having trouble with actually your personal computer, or the schools. If it is the schools, can you use yours instead?
    What do you do for lunch. Eat in, go out? Love you, Momma

  5. Thanks Amers. Been a busy week for me but I am still keepin' up with ya and smiling :)