18 Nov 2013 Leave a Comment
22 Oct 2013 Leave a Comment
All of my classes have to write an essay each month as required by my school. The younger students have to write a minimum of 100 and the older students write between 200-300+ depending upon the class levels. This month I gave my students the essay topic ‘Write a scary story’ ((The younger students wrote about their halloween costumes)). The purpose of the scary story essays was to get their creative juices flowing. Also, I wanted the students to get used to using descriptive words to make their stories more interesting. I’m not going to write or post each essay on here but I want to give you all an idea of the different story ideas they came up with.
Lucy F – A prince and princess want to secretly meet at an abandoned house. They are looking for each other when a male ghost arrives. He kills the princess before she can get to her prince and eats her flesh. Then he stalks the prince, falls in love with him, kills him and marries the Prince’s ghost. (((A gay ghost story?! Brilliant)))
Alex S – The story starts out with a brilliant description of a haunted house (“the steam from the pot looked like the breath of the Devil”) when two ‘creatures’ come to life from said pot. They are ‘Limon’ and “Strawkenstein”. Basically, they’re halloween candies (lemon and strawberry, respectively) who get put into pumpkin jail. Then are given to ‘two bloody ghosts’ as treats who then eat the candies and ‘the worst part is… the ghosts smiled when the candies screamed to their deaths’ ! Brilliant! Candy’s perspective of halloween.
Fred M – Astronauts find a person who can live on the moon without a spacesuit… until they realize it’s a goblin.
Chris S – A boy gets lost in the woods looking for his dog. He comes across a ghost who is known to eat humans but can mimic any sound perfectly. So the boy tells him to sing like EXO (a korean boy band) and he does. So the boy captures the ghost and makes him audition for SuperStar K (american idol of korea). The ghost sings so well that he wins the contest and becomes famous. He earned a billion won and since he’s a ghost he can’t spend the money. So the boy gets it and becomes rich. ((((aka – a scary agent story)))) **fun fact, this kid wrote nasty stuff in Korean on the desk about me and is now in a lot of trouble with the school **
Sally M – A time traveling father-and-son-duo do just that. They find a time machine space ship and enter a room where they find Queen Elizabeth I. Robots are trying to steal her brain for their spaceship so they can control everyone in the UK. Father and Elizabeth fall in love. Father goes back to get his jacket from another room, but upon returning to the Queen’s room, she’s already long dead because that’s how time travel works. ((So original, but not scary))
Sarah j – A lonely girl is at an overnight stay at school. She goes to the bathroom and encounters a ghost. She can only see the ghost because the girl is so lonely. The ghost asks her to be friends. She goes back to the main area with her peers because her only friend is a ghost. Then her school peers take her to the roof and push her off. She dies and becomes a ghost with the other ghost.
Adam F – A guy goes into a haunted house and finds a ghost there. He leaves and thinks its a dream. So he goes back and finds a lot of money in the house and takes it. But when he goes outside again, he is now in a forest. And there are zombies trying to kill him. He runs out of the forest from the zombie and meets a devil. The devil tries to kill him so he runs back into the forest and finds a castle where the haunted house was. He goes in and sees a vampire. So he ends up being killed by a vampire, devil, and zombie. (((A+ for vocabulary usage)))
Those are only a few of the many stories I received from my Korean students.
10 Oct 2013 1 Comment
“Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” – Benjamin Franklin
The only thing that makes sense about this to me is the keyword “man.” I don’t speak for every woman out there. But I can promise you this: I am not a man.
If I am ‘early to bed’ I won’t sleep for another few hours, which will only cause unnecessary overthinking and overanalysing about things that don’t matter.
If I should be ‘early to rise’ I can damn well guarantee that I will lose a lot of friends by 10am. My personal motto is “I’ll smile after 10am.” I’m not mean, but I don’t come across as sunshine and rainbows. I don’t need coffee to wake me, but it’s a good prop for ‘do not disturb.’
I sit here at 9:50am typing this entry. I am TrYING to type this entry. I cannot begin to tell you how many typing, spelling, and grammatical errors I have had to go back and change. ((In that sentence alone I think I had to correct 8 spelling and 2 grammatical)). I’m not a bad speller – in fact I’m quite good at it. But I don’t function. My body and mind coordination doesn’t work. I’ll be asked later how I got that nasty bruise in the strangest of places on my arm. I may not recall, but chances are it happened before 10am and it was due to my seeing an object, trying to veer out of its way, and then pummeling directly into it.
I probably sound spoiled. But I have been lucky in life. I’m a massage therapist and now a TEFL teacher. Only on two very limited occasions have I had to get up for a job early. I worked the beverage cart on a golf course a few times and that was DAMNED early. But I got to drive around and sip on a bloody mary (don’t tell my boss) waiting for my favorite old men to order a coffee with one sugar (two if he wasn’t playing with his wife). The other was for a company working on a very popular Mouse property. That was hell. And I didn’t do very well with my massages… so they switched me to a later shift.
I usually get jobs that don’t require me to be clocked in before 10am. For teaching in Korea, I don’t have to be at work until 4pm! This means I don’t finish until 10pm. Sometimes it stinks.. but then again… I go to bed late anyway.
“The early bird catches the worm” – English Proverb
they forgot to mention… the night owl gets the mouse and sometimes other larger creatures.
No, this doesn’t apply to me. But I think it’s fun to say it.
Owls are interesting creatures aren’t they? There was an owl that frequented my neighborhood in the US. It was amazing to me, seeing it sitting on a lamp post or on top of the stop sign. My media filled imagination hoped for a few moments that I would have an envelope fly to me inviting me to join Hogwarts. But I know these owls are delivering parcels. They’re just taking care of any small wildlife problem we may have had in the neighborhood. But they were still so majestic.
08 Oct 2013 Leave a Comment
My students are writing scary/horror stories as a monthly essay piece. I decided to write my sample essay as inspiration for them. The story is based on some events that actually happened with a huge exaggeration from my fantastic imagination. The names have been changed and the relationships are semi-fictional.
The Fifth Housemate
It was a muggy summer evening in Thailand when the four friends moved into their house. Parkin and Paddy were brothers, and Kim and Shayla were best friends. The four had moved to the new town for work. It had been raining all day.
Parkin unlocked the door and opened it with a creak. The four friends all walked in with their bags. They looked around the big house. It was dark and dusty. There were spider webs in the corners. The house smelled like mold and dust. “This place is creepy,” Kim whispered. They heard a buzzing sound and the lights suddenly came on. Shayla gasped and Kim jumped. They turned around and saw Paddy standing next to the light switch. He laughed at their reaction. “Let’s put our stuff down,” he said. “Our rooms are upstairs,” Parkin replied. They all went upstairs and put down their bags.
As the brothers came back down, they saw the girls waiting for them with cleaning supplies. “If we do this together, it won’t take as long,” Shayla stated. Kim agreed, “Plus it’s raining out, we aren’t going anywhere anyway.” Shayla grabbed a feather duster and started to dust the cabinets. She opened up a drawer, screamed, and ran from the room. “There’s a freaking snake in the kitchen!” she screamed. Everyone looked at her like she was crazy. Paddy followed her back into the kitchen but no snake was found. After calming down a bit, Shayla began to clean again. She opened up a cabinet and gave a startled shout. “Oh my goodness! You guys, come here!” Kim , Parkin, and Paddy ran into the room hoping to see the snake. They saw Shayla holding a little doll. It looked like a laughing baby. It had dark skin and dark hair. It wore a yellow and red frock. Shayla giggled, “It’s kind of cute.” Paddy recoiled, “It’s kind of creepy.” Kim moved away, “It’s SUPER creepy. Please put that away!” Shayla put it down and continued cleaning.
After nightfall, the house was finished being cleaned. “I have never seen so many cockroaches in my life,” Kim remarked. The housemates decided it was time to eat. The brothers went into the kitchen to see if there was any food in the fridge. Parkin opened it up and jumped back with a scream. “Paddy! That’s not funny!” he cried. Paddy looked at him confused. Parkin pulled the doll out from the fridge. Paddy said, “I didn’t put that creepy baby there. Maybe it was one of the girls.” The two girls walked in to see what they were shouting about. “We didn’t put it there. We were just ordering pizza in the other room,” they said after seeing the doll. The housemates argued for a few minutes over the prank. Kim suddenly stopped talking. She looked around and said, “Guys, where’s the creepy baby?”
The terrified housemates looked around but couldn’t find the doll anywhere. Lightning began to strike and thunder boomed loudly. “Is anyone else getting scared?” Shayla asked. “Don’t let your imagination get to you,” Kim replied. The housemates continued to search for the creepy baby doll. They were about to give up when they heard three music notes being played from the pool room. They rushed in and saw the creepy baby lying on its side on the pool table. “I didn’t even know we had a pool table,” Shayla said. Parkin picked up the doll and said, “Apparently it was a music box?” He wound it up but no music came out. Paddy took the doll and tore off its head. “There, now it can’t bother us.”
They went back into the living area to relax now that the creepy doll was out of their hair. Paddy complained about being hungry. The doorbell rang as more lightning lit up the unnerved room. Shayla screamed. “Calm down, will you?” Parkin requested, “It’s only the pizza guy.” He went to the door and opened it up. There was nobody standing at the door. He closed it and went back into the hall. “Nobody was there. The doorbell rang, didn’t it?” he asked. Everyone agreed they had heard it. Then they heard three music notes coming from the pool room. Shayla sat on the couch quivering, “Nope. I’m not going in there!” Kim stayed with Shayla while the brothers visited the room. There was no doll there this time. They agreed to not mention it to the girls. They didn’t want them to freak out. They were assuring the girls the doll was still in the pool room when there was a loud knocking on the door. They all looked at each other. This time all four slowly tiptoed to the door. When they opened it, they found the creepy baby sitting on top of the pizza box with it’s laughing head back on.
The creepy baby doll that inspired this story ….and the painting I did of it.
02 Oct 2013 Leave a Comment
in Korea, Uncategorized Tags: age, aunt, beautiful, beautiful face, daughters, elderly, emotional, family, family matters, florida, grandfather, grandmother, grandparents, great aunt, great uncle, guidance, hair, heart, hospitals, husbands, in laws, love, pacemaker, rehabilitzation, sons, surgery, teeth, thankful, uncle, walkers, wives, wrinkles
I saw my great-aunt for the first time in years. She was in the hospital getting ready to go for surgery. She called me a few months ago and when I asked to see her before I left for Korea, she said ‘No my sweetheart. It’s better this way.’ I’ve felt heartbreak before. I’ve felt it from young love, and the death of a beloved pet, and realizing that my dream would not be my reality.
But to be told by a dear family member that I may not see her again… that was new. I’m not happy about the circumstances that allowed me to see her. I ‘facetimed’ with my uncle while she writhed in pain in her hospital bed. But I saw her. I was as close to her as I may ever be again.
I looked at her aged face: the deep wrinkles, her teeth, her white and thinning hair. But what I saw for just a moment was such a beautiful smile. I know the smile masked the pain she was in. But we got to see each other. After years of not reaching out enough, her family surrounded her. Her nephew and sister in law (my uncle and grandmother) were by her side. They turned the camera away while she was in pain, and we talked of things far less important than her health: sports, tv shows, wedding details. I may not have been in the room to witness it, but I could hear her cries of discomfort.
Maybe this is a horrible thing to say, but I’m glad I wasn’t there. I mean, in the room. If I was in Florida, I would have dropped my life and been there in the fastest way possible. But to see her in pain, in a hospital bed, pale and frustrated… this would have torn me apart. Here was a woman who talked me through some hard times, hugged me in the few instances I saw her, and I couldn’t be there for her today.
Perhaps I’m making this sound morbid. She had a successful surgery. She woke up to her husband and only daughter, her brother and his wife (my grandparents), and her nephew. She had family surrounding her. This is something she had not experienced in YEARS. I can only imagine how happy she was to see all their faces. Maybe a bit humiliated too.. she doesn’t like others to see or feel her pain.
Now she’s headed to a rehabilitation center. She suffered from broken metacarpals (fingers/knuckles) that has her in a cast up to her elbow. She needs a walker too, which will be interesting I think with a cast. But she’ll have the help she needs, that my great-uncle could not provide.
Her strength empowers me. The thought of losing her weakens me. I suppose this is part of the balancing act of life, huh?
Here’s to you Shirley, you’re not just another beautiful face!
01 Oct 2013 Leave a Comment
my input in the form of an article for the new online magazine Tickets To:
29 Sep 2013 Leave a Comment
No, actually it’s illegal to gamble here. It’s for the best. LAWD knows I’d be in troubbbllleee.
I was hanging out at school this past Friday preparing for a testing day by… checking Facebook. On the group created for my town in Korea, someone put up a post asking if anyone wanted to play poker. I couldn’t get in on the action because 1. I’m broke 2. I haven’t played since I left pre-Thailand 3. I’m broke. But I watched as a few guys responded to the post saying they wanted to join. After about 5 people joined in, an official event was started.
*insert mischievous grin* “I may not be able to play,” the grinchess thought, “..but maybe I can make them pay!”
Old memories of my times at the casino flooded my brain. I messaged the game-starter and mentioned my services. He said ‘I guarantee you’ll leave with 40K tonight’ (((keep in mind.. 40K in won… not dollars))) So I told him i’d get there after school.
School ended, I ran outside to catch a bus. *Insert an hour of trying to figure out which bus to catch from where I was* The game had started at 9:30p… I got out of work at 10pm…I didn’t get there until 11pm.
But the game was still on! I had lotion and stretched my hands. And since this isn’t the casino…. I had myself a lovely gin and tonic. *content smile*
I offered 10 minutes for 7Kwon. I did two 30 minutes sessions and a 10 min session. After a couple of drinks, a horrible game of darts, and a basket of chicken strips ((omg chicken strips!!)) I left. .. with 40K (won). AND a couple of new clients. One who will hopefully be a regular, and since I know his wife, they’ll be a couple of regulars
HIGH FIVE FOR MASSAGE DURING POKER SKILLS!!
24 Sep 2013 Leave a Comment
I believe it was one month ago today that I arrived in Ulsan. Since then, I feel I’ve settled in quite well. I live in a fantastic apartment. I have “inherited” and purchased some great stuff for said apartment. I have a tiny group of herbs and plants growing (although its been a week since they’ve sprouted and aren’t growing all that much it seems). I have come to be in possession of a little toaster oven, rice cooker, toaster, kettle, and (wait for it)… a pasta maker. Obviously the pasta maker is going to be a grand ol’ time… you can look for future recipes and posts on another food thing. I have a few good yoga mats to start practicing massage on for hopefully a few future clients. And I’m completing the first month teaching.
I have students from ages 10-15. The younger students are great. They’re excited to learn and bring out a fun side in me. They get excited about a pencil case, for goodness’ sake. The older ones are in that stage of
learning what it means to be a douche assholism puberty. I’m trying to take it with a grain of salt but some of them just sit there. Literally sit there. I ask a question: “What do you like to talk about?” Nothing. “What things do you like?” …..”What?” “I asked you what your interests are. So we can have a conversation about it next week?” “What?” (((BITCH PUHLEASE! You understand me))) “What do you like?” “Nothing, teacher.” Bullshit. “Nobody likes ‘nothing.’ What sport do you like?” “What?” “WHAT (((mother f********))) sport DO YOU LIKE?!” “Oh. Soccer.”
Geeeeeezuz what was so hard about that? Oh wait, he’s playing on his cell phone and copying answers off the Korean Clueless Cher behind him. That class isn’t the worst. Out of the 6 of them (formerly 7), 2 of them answer regularly, 2 of them will occasionally answer, and 2 will just sit there mumbling or saying nothing at all.
My devil class has 2 good students out of 9? Apparently they’re new so they don’t know to behave poorly like the others. But I reward them for being good. There are 2 boys that can be pretty bad. And a few girls that just giggle and talk in Korean and then cry when I tell them to leave for being rude and disruptive. Hey, if you don’t do your homework and come to class and talk in Korean during ‘English only time’ you’re going to get a frustrated teacher. And just when I thought I was lucky enough to get to show their parents how shitty they are by giving them the reports and monthly tests, I find out that they don’t have to take the tests because they’re in Middle School Exam Prep. AKA 2-3 weeks of students not showing up, not taking tests in my school, and falling dangerously behind in class. I care. I feel like maybe I shouldn’t but I hate that I feel that I shouldn’t care. But caring is what I do. I take my jobs seriously. Why shouldn’t I? But I get paid regardless. So maybe I should care less and stress less. But I don’t know how to do that. I am the hard-working outcome of two hardworking (potentially) work addicts. We take our shit seriously.
I had a great time this past weekend (long 5 day weekend due to Chuseok – Korean Thanksgiving) with my galpal Chelsea. We’ve been friends for 20 years thanks to our mothers being besties. We went to the neighboring city, Busan, and explored and partied til all hours of the night. We spent money that I didn’t have and every second was worth it. I even enjoyed burning the roof of my mouth on a stuffed crust Pizza Hut pizza… sorta. I enjoyed the pizza..not the mouth burning. Freakin’ cheese gets me every time.
I’ve met some great people and have had some fun evenings. Some were as simple as a bottle (or 3) of wine or sangria and having good conversation. Some involved getting quite drunk and dancing at Beat Bar (where the night goes to die, apparently). Others involved singing my brains out at a noribong with complete strangers. Then there are my nights alone, where I watch whatever show I’ve downloaded, and cook. I’ve also watched the Korean-dubbed movies like Legends of the Fall and Puss in Boots. I never realized how similar to Puss in Boots, my handsome Boboboy is. Miss that lil punk.
I’ve stayed in touch with my family. I’ve Skyped and Facetimed and iMessaged and WhatsApped and Vibered.
The time flies here. I just CAN’T wait til I see the first paycheck. And then a better second paycheck.
PS – I still don’t speak a lick of Korean. I can barely say ‘Hello’ politely.
18 Sep 2013 1 Comment
in Korea Tags: awkward, backpack, be careful, boys vs girls, english, Korea, laps, middle school, observation, observe, primary, puberty, sensitive subject, south korea, teaching, teenagers, tefl, tender age, TESOL, ulsan
Last year I taught primary level students in Thailand. I had an hour of kids 4-6yo; a few hours of 7-9 yo; and the occasional 10-12 yo.
This year the age (and the bar) has been raised. My youngest students are 10-11 and the oldest are 15 going on 30. The younger students are dreams. They do their work, they are excited to be there, they laugh at all the cheesy jokes I make… <3 them.
But the older students can be a bit… what’s a good word for it? SHITHEADY. Some of them are quiet and do their thing. They do the homework, never participate in class, but write nice essays. Others don’t do their homework, talk sporadically in class, and write bad-to-average essays. But with this age group I realized there’s more to these kids’ lives than their speaking or writing ability. They’re growing up in front of my eyes…..
I prefer my students to leave their bags on the floor so I know they’re not playing with their phones or cards or doing other homework or whatever. One day I noticed a kid (14-15 years old?) with his bag in his lap. For some reason, I didn’t bother asking him to remove it. I was regularly distracted by his bag on his lap though. And then something popped into my head.
This is a boy. He’s hitting puberty. He’s in a class with a bunch of girls. Oh snap. Noooo way. Was I really about to experience an adolescent having an awkward moment in class?!! I had to check without being gross. So I asked him to bring me his test paper. He stood up with the bag on his lap and his hand over his bag over his crotch.
Yup. There was nothing to see, I wasn’t looking for anything specific. I just needed to confirm that this was the likely scenario. How horrible of a teacher would I have been to ask him to put his bag on the floor or off his lap in general? How much more awkward could I make being a teenager be for this kid? I had a good pondering about it after school on my way home. This was something I didn’t have to deal with before. Hopefully I won’t have to deal with it ever. But I’m really glad that I stopped for once and considered the situation.
I hadn’t thought about it when I accepted the job to teach middle school students. I mean, who WOULD think about that, right?? Well, this is definitely a lesson. I’ll have to be a bit more observant without observing anything in regards to my older students. :/
16 Sep 2013 Leave a Comment
This was an actual massage I gave! Not just a 5 minute backrub.
One of my neighbors was moving out last weekend and had a bunch of stuff to sell. But since moving here is expensive and payday is another month away, we bartered a little bit. I got a bunch of her stuff for an hour massage. I won’t tell you what I got, but let’s say my kitchen is happy.
Other than Thai massage, I have not done massage on the floor. I prefer not to because it’s not good for my body or the client’s. There is typically no facerest causing the person to have to crane their neck to one side and the other constantly. I feel it defeats the purpose of the massage.
Anyway, I have several yoga mats. One average one, one thick one, and a random eggshell type. I put the regular down first, followed by the eggshell, and then the thick one. I put a blanket down over it and the client was able to lay on a cushioned mat. At the time I didn’t have a facerest still so we used a mini pillow but she still had to keep her head turned to the side. Since then, I have purchased a nice thick ‘neck pillow’ (think of what you use on a plane) and its use as a face rest is perfect.
The massage was smooth I think. Not my best since I wasn’t accustomed to being on the floor, but i was able to give good pressure and flow.
I’m hoping to offer my service to other foreign teachers/workers in my area and earn an extra won or two.
Thank you, S.A. C for letting me work on you and experiment for a bit!! And thanks for helping my house get cozy! Good luck on your new adventures, your engagement, and travels! xoxo