Sunday, March 29, 2009

Mandu is Not Actually Hilarious.

I just ran into one of the Random Street Food Men who usually park down the street from my apartment. He was suited-up and wandering around, his food tent nowhere in sight, so I assume he had the day off and lives in the neighborhood.

When he saw me approaching he shouted HIIII and began asking me stuff in rapid Korean. As always, this was futile. As always, when I couldn't come up with much of an answer to whatever he was babbling on about, he laughed. He then asked where I was going, because that's clearly his business. This is one of few things that he says to me that I actually understand, so I answered anyways: Mandu. I was getting some mandu in the hopes that it would have the magic properties needed to remedy my cold. Spoiler: It doesn't. He laughed at me again, because mandu is fucking hilarious, and carried on in the opposite direction.

Five minutes later, when I was waiting in the kimbap shop for my not-magical-at-all mandu, Random Street Food Man came in the door. He said HIIII again, asked me my name, and then asked the kimbap shop lady what I was having. When she told him I was getting mandu, he laughed, because mandu is just so funny. And then he left.

Time to start taking another route home from work.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Where's Your Beer?

The inevitable Friday/Saturday night exchange that I've had to suffer through over the past month goes as follows:

Mon Ami: Where's your beer? points at my cup

This is ginger ale. points at cup

Mon Ami:
Yeah... so, where's your beer?

I'm not drinking beer.

Mon Ami:
Why aren't you drinking beer?

I'm off the sauce.

Mon Ami:
You're not off the sauce. Have a beer.

Ginger ale is delicious.

Mon Ami:
So is beer.

I don't want a fucking beer. If I wanted a beer, this would be beer. points at cup. Conversation. Over.

There are a couple of things wrong with this.

First of all, beer is not delicious. Nobody starts drinking beer because it's delicious. People drink beer because it's cheap. Also, their older brother Bobby drank beer, so it must be cool (Bobby is also responsibly for many a popped collar). After beginning to drink beer for reasons that have nothing to do with it's flavour, people acquire a taste for it. They then forget how totally fucking gross beer actually is, which allows them to spit out such lies as "Beer is
delicious!" No. It decidedly is not.

The main thing wrong with this conversation is that I simply don't want a fucking beer. As I say every time: If I wanted a beer, I would have one. When I wanted to go to Korea, I went. When I wanted to take yoga, I signed up. When I want to stay in bed all day reading books and watching movies, I do. When I want a beer, I have a fucking beer. I don't want one this month. Or possibly next. After that, we'll see.

I love my people. Really, I do. And I understand that they only say ridiculous things like "Beer is delicious!" so that I'll stay out with them for longer. This doesn't really make it any less tiresome.

Socializing sober is not as easy as I anticipated. But, it could be.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Reason 11 Why Teaching Adults is Better Than Teaching Children

Jack Student:
He's weird. (nods towards Sawyer Student)

Sawyer Student: (shrug)

Me: Uh... (turns back to the pair which is actually doing work)

Jack Student: (eyes boring into the side of my head) He asked me a weird question.

Me: (blink)

Sawyer Student: (shrug)

Jack Student: (stern face)

Me: (loud sigh) What did he ask you?

Jack Student: I don't know. (glares at Sawyer Student)

Me: Seriously?

Sawyer Student: Sorry. (giggle)

Me: (turns back to the other pair in the hopes that Jack stops acting like a whiny bitch)

This happened today. And this? Is about as bad as it gets. Were I still working at Barbie Hagwon and had been dealing with real children here, as opposed to adults posing as infants, I'd have needed to do some combination of the following:

1) If the other students are still following the lesson, ignore Jack and Sawyer Students in the hopes that they'll stop acting like infants soon.

2) Insist that Sawyer Student share his comment with the rest of the class.

3) Insist that Jack Student stop being a tattle tale. Nobody likes a tattle tale.

4) Force Sawyer Student to apologize.

5) Force Jack Student to accept said apology.

6) Force Jack Student to apologize for being a tattle tale. Nobody likes a tattle tale.

7) Separate Jack and Sawyer Students.

8) Put the least cooperative student in the hallway.

9) Threaten to call their mother.

10) When all else fails, get a Korean to yell at them.

At any point there is a 43% chance that the less cooperative child will wag their ass at you, and a 83% chance that he will sass you in Korean. This will probably be Jack Student, because it's a proven fact that Sawyer is the more awesome of the two.

So, while adults clearly have the capacity to act infantile, I got to roll my eyes and treat my student's behaviour with the disdain that it deserved. This is an improvement on wasting "Why must you act 8?" thoughts on 7 year olds.

The Radio Blunder

I reported last week that I had agreed to participate in the taping of Let's Talk Busan, a radio show on Busan e-FM (90.5 MHz). I incorrectly started that it would air on March 8th; the show went on last night. Apologies for the mix up, but the important thing is that I got the radio station correct, right? If you're around Busan and want to hear local English programming, that's the place to go.

Due to some out of town affairs I had to tend to, I didn't catch the show. I imagine that everybody else sounded great and I sounded ridiculous. This is more or less how I imagine things in Real Life, so why shouldn't that translate to radio? Public speaking, or any variation of it, just isn't my thing. The only time that I'm comfortable speaking to an audience is when I'm most certain that I know more about my topic of choice than at least 90% of those listening (hence why this whole Being a Teacher thing has worked out).

Topics that we covered included brief discussions of our own blogs, whether or not the Busan Blogosphere is serving expat needs, responsibilities of expat bloggers, various issues encountered by expats living in Busan, and some other stuff that will probably come to me later. Aside from my occasional rambling, I think that some of the discussion had was quite decent. Feel free to disagree if you actually tuned in.

To pick on myself just one last time (today), I failed to eloquently detail the differences between teaching adults and children (I sincerely hope that part was edited out), why I use Big White Barbie as my moniker, and I struggled to "sell" my blog at the end of the program. Thankfully, I was only a fifth of the show.

I'll use future posts to address those questions which I failed to address eloquently. Unless I find some hair from 1987 in the other drain.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I Believe This Belongs to You?

I cleaned the bathroom drain today. It appears that the occupants from 1987 left some hair behind.

I have nothing further to add. Possibly ever.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Barbie Does the Radio

I can't remember the last time that I intentionally listened to the radio. Hence, it should come as no surprise that I had absolutely no idea there was an English radio station in Busan. For all, I know there may be more. These may be things that I ought to know more about, having been here a year and a half. Perhaps by the end of this contract I will have wiped my mind clear of The Unofficial Bar Map of Busan and replaced it with useful information. I'm hopeful that it's going to work out that way.

As a shove in the right direction, I was contacted earlier this week by Brian Myers, the host of a local radio program called "Let's Talk Busan", to see if I'd be interested in joining a discussion regarding the state of the Busan blogosphere. Admittedly, I was somewhat hesitant. I write much better than I speak; this is either totally acceptable or really quite sad, depending on your opinion of my writing. In the end, I accepted, because this what Yes People do. The program will air on Busan e-FM radio (90.5 MHz) Sunday, March 8, from 7-8pm.

The other individuals involved in the discussion were:
James, author of The Grand Narrative, Kelly, author of Annyeong, and Tess, photo contributer of Sapi na 'ko.

I'm grateful, and still somewhat surprised, that I was given the opportunity to participate. If it wasn't for the fact that I occasionally struggle with the spoken word, it's something that I'd do again. Sometime over the next couple of days, when I'm afforded with the time, I will post about the experience in further detail. As much as I enjoy the new job, juggling split shifts, sleep, a social life, and my various hobbies has resulted in a serious lack of Me Time.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Did You Really Just Say That?

Consider this Reason 31.

I expect children to say absurd, inappropriate, or otherwise inane things. When they do, hilarity almost never fails to ensue. Add a language barrier to the equation and you have a formula for Guaranteed Awesome.

I expect adults to have developed tact filters, a sense of shame, and to have lost the naivety which allowed their ridiculous childhood utterances. In other words, I expect most adults to succeed where I have failed. Every now and then I come across a student that seems to have also failed at one or all of these things, and the following results in Barbie's English class:

1) A student may respond to my inquiry into her well being by proudly declaring that she's constipated. While the pride probably stems from having learned a new word, the student has failed to appreciate that there are some words you don't share with such nonchalance.

2) Several students may share stories of the good old days, when they used to run behind Pesticide Trucks and inhale deeply. Apparently Pesticide Trucks smell great. And just like that, I never again had to ask that class what had happened to them as children that made them this way.

3) A student may politely inform me that my face is looking a lot better. The student then follows this up by explaining that this is largely because he switched sides so that he no longer has to sit in view of the scary scarred side of my face.

All in all, I have a "Did you really just say that?" moment a couple of times per week. While this is quite the cut back from last year, where I'd be blessed a couple of times per class, the impact of the moment is so much greater when it comes from a fellow so-called adult.