Thursday was generally a free day in the kindergarten. We had our school pictures taken, and we also had the monthly birthday party. The pictures were taken by the same guy down the street who took my photos for my ID card. This guy is so passionate about taking pictures. We had the whole school grouped together in the lobby, the teachers and some students standing on top of tables that felt like they would give at any minute. The photographer would make these chirping and whistling sounds and then speak to the kids like someone in a martial arts movie whose family honor has just been disgraced and is about to whip out his sword. As predicted, little Paul found a way to make it hard on everyone by smacking a kid and making him cry before the picture was taken. Paul is the smallest and maybe the youngest kid at the school, even though this is his second year. He is very hard to control, and we have given him the moniker “Jaws” after he had some incidents with biting. Yeah, we now have two kids named after James Bond henchmen: Odd Job and Jaws. Paul also fits the unwritten rule that boys with dyed hair tend to be the problem kids. We then had to do individual class pictures. Each set of teachers found ways to keep their kids occupied while they were waiting. Julie and I had a dance party with my Korean pop CD. Again, the third time in five weeks, my one break of the week has been taken away. Even though Birthday Party is supposed to be fun, it’s hardly what you’d call free time. The foreigners were looking forward to it because the school usually gets these great chicken nuggets from BBQ It’s Min. Instead, it was soggy greasy KFC chicken on the bone. To serve it to the kids, the teachers pulled the chicken off the bone. We also had strawberries, bananas, oranges, and different cakes. We served these to the kids along with lunch. Needless to say that after the greasy chicken, Thursday night’s Chicken and Beer get-together was cancelled. My smart elementary class had just discovered they had a workbook to accompany their science textbook Wednesday. So we’ve been spending class catching up on the workbook. It’s actually a fun activity book, so I wouldn’t exactly call it a workbook. I also used the class to get the kids to help me translate my Korean pop CD. As I thought, I was disappointed to learn that the lyrics were far from deep. At least I learned that sarang means “love.” I was so ready to leave or work on my web site after my last class. As I was heading out the door, Jo Teacher stopped us to tell us that the foreigners had to go get individual pictures taken at the studio. River was angry that no one had mentioned this earlier (which is the usual practice at the school) because she had already gone home and changed into more casual clothes. She just got them to postpone it until Friday. Brant and I went instead, and for some reason, Amy and Crystal accompanied us. I guess they just wanted to get out in the fresh air for a while.

While walking home from work, I ran into River and Canada Joe walking their beautiful new puppy. It is a pharoah’s hound (?) and looks like some Egyptian demon. An interesting fact is that it is the daughter of a dog that is supposed to play a significant role in the upcoming “Troy” film. Joe had mentioned before that he had never been to a country where the people acted so strangely around four-legged creatures. After we had crossed the street, a Korean man walked over to us and started stamping his foot like he was playing with the dog. He then reached over and kicked it for no reason. Joe got frikkin’ pissed, and I thought a fight was about to break out. I would have backed him up too because it was disturbing how this Korean man acted. I broke away from the group a while to pick up a loaf of french bread to make fish po-boys for dinner. I pointed to the loaf I wanted and said, “Hana juseyo.” The lady asked me something, and I thought she asked if I was sure I wanted that one, so I said yes. She then went in the back with my bread. It was too late when I realized that I had just asked her to slice it. Sheesh! I was still able to improvise and make some decent po-boy finger sandwiches for dinner. SJ called me after dinner, and she said she was making kimchi Friday morning. She’s planning to drop some off at my place after I get off work. We’re also planning to go to this Korean Folk Village on Saturday. I hear it’s pretty good and not too touristy.

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