Saturday, April 11, 2009

Part 1 From Suwon…

In an effort to add a little interest to this blog, I will be doing a small two-part mini-series on some of the events this week.  When you take either an entire day or most of a day going or doing one thing, it should be recorded.


On Wednesday, we went to meet a former teacher and friend of one of the current teachers.  So Charity and I along with another teacher, Charity’s sister and her sister’s roommate went to meet up with this lovely lady and her young (toddler age) daughter.  The interesting part of this first leg was really the trip itself.  We rode the subway to Sadang and hopped on a bus to head to the specific part of Suwon we wanted to go.


The subway is never really that interesting except for the crowded conditions.  The bus on the other hand was very interesting.  First, they have what appear to be washable covers for the seats.  While it may not seem like a big deal, if you assume that there are 48 million people in Korea (give or take a few hundred thousand) and that somewhere between 10 and 11 million of them live here in Seoul (again give or take…), it can be a little disturbing to know that you are sitting on the same seat as so many other people.  Now to all the mysophobes out there getting ready to spray their Lysol indiscriminately, please realize, in order to go anywhere greater than 10 km—and most often way less—you have to ride in some form of transportation and having your own car is a luxury beyond our desires and means.  Besides, germs are a good way to build immunities…right?


The next thing I noticed is how warm I felt.  In fact, it is true of everywhere I have been in the last week.  It is HOT!  But no Korean seemed phased by the oven created in the bus full of human BTUs and the solar oven created by the metal bus with the glass windows.  I may be overstating it a bit but it was really hot.  All we needed was an open window to help cool off.  For the first few stops I was standing and had no control over the windows.  Here I stood in short sleeves and jeans in the midst of Koreans bedecked in sweaters and woolen hats who didn’t even seem warm in the least.  Needless to say, my window was opened as soon as I got a seat.  By the way, total trip time via public transportation is about an hour.


Ok, so we got to Suwon with little issue and met up with this former teacher and her daughter just fine.  We settled on Outback for lunch.  For those who may not know, South Korea has many American restaurants but if you want something with a nice atmosphere which also has good western food, Outback is a natural choice. 


A minor side note here, if you look in the menus of at Outback, they are full of wonderful dishes.  With each dish containing meat they include the country of origin for every meat product in the form “Pork.France” or “Beef.Australia.”  Evidently there have been “Mad Cow Disease” scares with American beef and as a result, no self-respecting establishment will be found without the country of origin for their meat.


After nice meal of chicken and ribs, we headed out for the city of Suwon at large.  I cannot say I know that much about Suwon.  However, what I do know is that it was a main battlement and historically a place of refuge.  I was able to find some info about the structures, but it is hard to find a lot of concrete history on the place.  I suppose I will have to continue to look.


I guess a few things struck me as interesting there is Suwon.  First, the city is like this growing/morphing organism that expands outward while constricting itself inward.  The old fortress walls barely stand out against the ever encroaching new buildings.  As you look out you can see the old battlements beside new, shiny constructions.  Also, I think advertisers must overwhelm the public at large.  If there is a way to advertise on it, it will have a poster or flyer or some other form of promotion on it! 


I have posted some pictures here on Facebook.  Also, you can check the map of our travels here.  I might be adding some info to this map as we go and if you would like to follow along at home, feel free to use this map.


Well, that is all I have for the moment.  Please post questions in the comment section if there are any and I will do my best to answer.


So until next time…


More to Come…

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Little 미아, a Little Splattered Paint and an Egged-Faced Teacher.

Thought some might get a kick out of this short movie of 미아 playing one of her new favorite games; Flick the Food! 


As for the splattered paint.  One of the wonderful teachers here at SCS had an epiphany for an activity to kick off Easter Break.  PAINTBALL!!!


It was somewhat interesting to note that almost all the students disliked the idea of playing paintball.  The opportunity to shoot your teacher with an exploding sphere of dyed glycerin propelled by a heavy *puff* of compressed air. 


It was amazing to see the ferocity that arose in sweet student and teacher alike.  The battle cry of one of the teachers as he stormed an “enemy” trench.  The drawing of battle lines.  The shots lucky to hit at a distance and the pain of the paint shot at close range.


While we all are probably still bearing the scars of the event, I believe that everyone had a wonderful time.  I even think we maybe planning on doing this next year perhaps.


Now for the moment you may not have known everyone was waiting for…


While everyone has an April 1st, it seems that Koreans don’t place as much significance on the “Fools” part of that day.  So one of the teachers here helped them learn the full meaning of April Fools.  If you think that teacher was me, well, think again.  I did some nice and easy April Fools jokes and basically had a good-natured laugh.  Little did I know that my day would get…interesting.


I started the 9th grade class just like any other but halfway through—when I was writing something on the board—three of the boys stood up—turning over a desk in the process and creating a huge crash—and started posturing.  This is an important juncture to point out that I probably outweighed all three of these boys and probably also outweighed any two of them combined. 


When I took stock of the situation I immediately treated it as I would two dogs fighting—I went for the scare off.  I slammed the ruler that I had in my hand down on a desk and proceeded to explain—in volumes none to quiet—that if one punch was thrown that I would be the one throwing the rest.  Looking back, I am not sure that was the best action but live and learn…  Two sentences in both boys had their tails between their legs.  I then told them they both had detention for the next two class days.


As I went back to teaching, one of the girls raised her hand and told me “Mr. Moorehead, I am sorry, but you have just been punked!”  Of course, there at the door was the other teacher laughing hysterically. 


So consider this my bow to the fact that the other teacher spent her whole class period planning. :o)


I am sure there will be,


More to come.