Friday, February 13, 2009

A New Challenge

Please respond to this post by providing me with topics, questions, comments or interests about Korea. I would like to compile a list of things that people are curious about. When I have a list of decent length, I will attempt to post my observations and or fact on the matter.

Please note that I will not hold to anything I am saying as being more than observation and research. Also, while I am very open and willing to take questions (so please don't hesitate) I may not answer questions based on the appropriateness and/or legitimacy of the question.

I am eager to hear from you so bring on the questions!!!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

"Will Smissa"

One of my students in her excitement for the weekend, told me that she can't wait to see some new movie involving "Will Smissa". I asked what she was talking about and she gave me the name of the movie. I then had to tell her to stick her tongue out when she said "Smith" in order to get the right sound at the end of the last name.

That was Friday and she still refuses to say "Smith" correctly--ahh well what are you going to do...

I realized that I haven't posted in awhile and thought I would throw a quick update out to anyone still interested in this little web-log. I sincerely wish to be a more frequent "blogger" but I am finding myself somewhat distracted by a whole country, with new things to see, and teaching, which is still new enough to create some preparation challenges.

Let me see if I can bring you up to date. First, Charity is fully invested in the idea of us getting a dog. Not a big dog mind you but a canine with such diminutive and somewhat demoralizing prefixes to their breed as to include "toy", "miniature" or "teacup". Right now we are looking frantically for something that makes Charity's voice get high and making her almost cry. That seems to be the way we can decipher a good pick over another dog that is just okay.

Who knows though as we have been trying to find one for almost a week now and are continually hindered by the ever-present language barrier. Dave's ESL and Craigslist only give us access to English speakers.

It was funny when we went to the closest pet shop. There were no adults in the store and the small boy "running" the store wanted so badly to tell us about all the great deals and the details of all his inventory. By the way, his inventory included a baby alligator (yes, I said baby ALLIGATOR!) --which he was holding proudly--and a Boa Constrictor which I am guessing was about 6 foot long plus.

As we were leaving he asked me if I would like some "Copi" (an instant coffee drink) and when I said no (by crossing my arms in front of my chest) he held out a handful of various candies to me. When I went to take one, he turned my hand over and traded the handful of candies from his hand to mine.

All and all it was a very comical situation. Him saying things we couldn't understand and us trying to respond with the appropriate "yes" nods and "no" shakes. Us asking questions or making statements but with no ability for him to respond in our language. The whole thing was just shy of ridiculous!

On another note, our washing machine went on the fritz on Friday and we haven't been able to do any laundry since then.

What you have to understand is that the washing machine we have both washes and dries the laundry. That means that the water has to come in from the faucet and then be completely pumped out of the machine before it can begin the next cycle. Now, my diagnostic skills are good enough that I could tell that the water wasn't being pumped back out. (I opened the unit to see how it works and could tell that the pump wasn't even running) I told Pastor Gogh at SCS and he came over this afternoon at 3:00pm (the timing is critical). He spent about 30 minutes on the phone with the company trying different things. Then when he got off the phone and told me to expect the "repair engineer" between 5 and 10pm. I then responded "tomorrow?"

"No", he said, "tonight."

I had to go to the teacher's meeting at 3:40 and as I am packing up stuff in my classroom 20 minutes later and Pastor Gogh calls my room and tells me that the egineer called--he was on his way.

As Charity and I rushed out of the school and back to our apartment we were passed by a man on a scooter (pretty common) heading to our destination (not so common).

To make a long story short (or what could be a much longer story shorter), the egineer ran some tests and told me that the motor to pump out the used water was fryed and he had it replaced in less than 30 minutes.

You find me a service tech that can do that in the US I would be surprised. Start to finish was less than 2 hours!

The people here in Korea are not only very kind (the boy in the pet store) but they excel at welcoming visitors into their presence. Also, they may seem impatient about having to wait in line or to get what they want, but they are also amazing when it comes to customer service and efficeincy. Once more my Western filter has been challenged at thinking it is superior.

More again later...