Friday, January 06, 2006

Worldwide friends, beef-flavored caramel and CHARLIE

Almost one year ago to the day I was arriving in Ireland to begin traveling around with a bunch of Aussies (and one unlucky Kiwi who heard a ridiculous amount of sheep jokes throughout the trip). Tonight one of them is coming to check out Korea for 10 days and I get to play Seoul tourguide when I'm not teaching. It should be a very busy 10 days considering how much there is to do in this massive city but we're going to try to see as much as possible. I already have the itinerary for the weekend booked full so there will be no recovering from the international flight by sleeping in tomorrow. Sleep when you're dead, right?

I had someone from Japan visit and stay with me yesterday. It was interesting talking about differences between Japan and Korea from a Japanese perspective. He said that most Japanese people don't know anything about Dokdo (Takeshima in Japan), which is surprising considering how passionate most Koreans are about the disputed island. He brought many packaged Japanese foods for me to try. I can now say I've tried beef flavored caramel. Yes, BEEF flavored. Imagine eating a chewy bouillon cube. Yum.

This week went by quick in the classroom. My dreaded 4:30 class has become tolerable and even fun. Maybe it's because their English has improved and they no longer look at me with blank stares whenever I talk. Maybe it's because I'm becoming a better teacher (let's hope). Or maybe it's just because Charlie wasn't in class today. Charlie's mother claims he's not out-of-control, he's just "a very curious child". She also dresses him in frilly little girl coats. I believe that fact alone makes her opinion null and void. I try to like him, I really do. But I can't say I don't appreciate the days Charlie doesn't make it to class. Harry, from the same class changed his name this week to "Tony" because his classmates kept calling him Harry Potter. I'm probably to blame for starting the Harry Potter nickname but what 8 year old boy doesn't want to be Harry Potter? How weird would that have been if I could have changed my name in grade school? Who knows what I would have been going by? There's a "Mac" in one of my classes that refused every name suggested and insisted on being named "Big Mac". He settled for Mac.

I'm going to meet John from Oz now at the subway station! It reminds me of my first day in Korea... what a strange place it was. How long ago that first day seems.