Okay, I have finally been served a lunch item that I cannot stomach. I looked down at what looked like little noodles on my tray, and they had heads! They were the dried anchovies that we give the kids as snacks but in cooked reconstituted form. I can take them in small doses, but that’s just too intense and cruel to the palate. After such an exciting weekend, I don’t have much to report. Monday was exhausting on everyone. River stood us up for dinner because she got a headache from her first day of teaching. Ed stayed late to come up with different names for recognition certificates (graduation is Thursday). So again, just Brant and myself for dinner. We went to a Japanese udong diner. I had first heard of udong when there was an Udong Battle on Iron Chef. They’re thick Japanese noodles, around the thickness and shape of gummy worms. I got a big iron bowl of udong with broth and shellfish. I’m surprised that I got full off of soup.
You know, there are little things I notice that I forget to put in the blog. Like, everyone holds hands in public, couple or not. This includes men. I think since the streets are so crowded, it’s easier to keep track of your friend. I noticed that when we got into Seoul. The crowd levels picked up dramatically. I didn’t get as agoraphobic (fear of crowds) as I usually do in malls. I have noticed that I try to avoid other westerners when I see them in public. I don’t know what it is. I didn’t like standing in the foreign book section of the bookstore because there were too many round eyes. The same was true when I saw westerners at the music store. I guess I like being in places where I’m considered unique. Or maybe I’m afraid that if I’m near a westerner who creates a public faux pas, it’ll be connected to me somehow. Maybe I’m trying to be too Korean. I actually obey the pedestrian signals like the other Koreans while my friends jaywalk. I get embarrassed when Brant blows his nose in a restaurant. I hate pointing at pictures on a menu. I’d rather try to pronounce the hangeul to the waitress.
Brant gave me a Korean-English dictionary that one of the former teachers left behind. I noticed as soon as I brought it home that it was geared towards Koreans. All the parts that usually say “noun” or “adj.” are in hangeul. Nonetheless, it has a thorough vocabulary on dirty words and phrases. I’m not throwing it away.
I also discovered that pineapple juice mixed with Korean soju tastes pretty good. Like I said, soju tastes like vodka, but it’s not as potent. It would make a good Cosmopolitan, if only I could find cranberry juice.
I think we’ll finally do the big dinner to welcome the new teachers tonight, if no one bails on us.
As predicted, I ended up making a lot of kids in my dreaded elementary class go outside in the hall and stand up against the wall with their arms raised. Every time I turn my back, I see a group of them run out of the classroom. Ellen, my Korean partner for that class, is going to help me with disciplining them.
My classes end early on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but I have to spend my afternoon giving phone tests to the students. They’re not really tests. We do it to impress the parents that their kids are speaking English. I call each one at a designated time and ask them five questions.