Saturday, July 17, 2010

When a Stranger Buys you Ice Cream

This is over the storm drain. LOL. Daejeon is my city.
A pretty picnic spot in the park.

Giant pink flower.

This is my street!

Since visiting the States last month I've been a little low on cash; so in an attempt to save some money I haven't been going to Seoul. Usually this idea depresses me because Seoul was my first love of Korea. There are so many things I miss about living there and my attitude always seems to improve when visiting. In addition to me not going to Seoul this weekend the monsoon decided to live up to it's name. This seemed to be the perfect Saturday to sit around the apartment and watch tv and maybe get some cleaning done. However, when I woke up this morning I had the urge to just get out. So I opted to see a movie alone. I checked the times online, got ready, grabbed my rain boots and umbrella and headed to out to face the dreary day. In Korean movie theaters you choose your seat when buying a ticket. It's funny that they are assigned and Koreans seem to be pretty adamant about sitting in the seat they have chosen. Well I wanted to be able to spread out a little and not sit beside anyone so I choose a seat on a row that no one else was sitting on. It was the 5th row so I figured I would be good because the back of the theater usually fills up first. As the movie started a couple came in and sat down right next to me. I debated moving over one seat to continue in my efforts to spread out, but I decided I didn't want to offend the man so I stayed put. Well it's a good thing I did because not 5 minutes later another couple came and sat down on the other side of me. It really kind of annoyed me and for a few minutes I wished I was back in America where people would always leave an empty seat between themselves and you; especially on a row that is completely vacant. After finishing the movie I decided to take a walk in an attempt to improve my attitude. Well it was around 6:00 and I began to get hungry. I headed towards McDonald's which was not a first choice but I wanted something quick and inexpensive. While I was eating I saw multiple families come in and purchase an ice cream cone. Sometimes it was regular and sometimes it was dipped in chocolate. I decided I would join in as well and opted for a chocolate cone. When I got to the counter and ordered I tried to pay with my debit card but the woman kindly informed me that I needed to spend at least $1 in order to pay by card and the cone only cost 70 cents. Normally this wouldn't be a problem, but I had zero cash on me and since my change had accumulated lately I emptied it out of my wallet so as to make it lighter. So I told the lady I didn't have any cash on me and that I wouldn't be taking that chocolate cone after all. As I was walking away the woman that was in line in front of me was standing nearby waiting for her order. She had observed the situation and told me she would buy me the cone. I smiled and declined and told her it was fine. She insisted and said, I've been in the same situation. I graciously bowed and thanked her for her generosity and instantly my spirits were lifted. Not because I now had the chocolate cone, but because of the kindness of a stranger. The act was simple, but the timing was impeccable. I was discouraged about not going to Seoul and annoyed at the couples invading my elbow room, but here she was the mother of three taking a moment to do something nice for a foreign stranger. So my encouragement to you is this, when the opportunity arises, buy a stranger an ice cream cone.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Class of Comedians

So I thought for this post I'd share a couple funny stories that have happened in class.

One day I was teaching my youngest class of 1st graders. It's a class of just 2 boys, but they are very difficult to manage. They are often out of their seats and it is difficult to get them to stay focused, even for the Korean teachers. Well one of the boys, Lee, came up to me holding a small tube of something. He told me to hold out my hand. I should have known better but I thought he was trying to be friendly. I was wrong. The kid put blue paint in my hand. Then he proceeded to tell me it was lotion and that I should rub it all over my hands. I was a little mad at first, but then when he tried to get me to rub it all over I died laughing. I thought he was pretty clever to come up with that trick. Luckly it washed right off. I scolded him and we went on with the lesson.

In a class of 4th graders we had finished the textbook and were reviewing. We learned about writing stories and so I wanted us to write one together with each student writing a line at a time. I let them choose the characters and setting as well. This is the story they came up with:

"At 12:00am Wonder Woman killed a crazy man. George Bush walked down the empty street and screamed. Then he drank some soju [a korean liquor]. Then he fell asleep on the street. Cat Woman ran over George Bush in her car. Suddenly the crazy man got up. There was a party going on nearby and the crazy man and Wonder Woman broke it up. then Wonder Woman turned on the crazy man and killed him again."

I helped them with the grammar some, but the plot is entirely them. It is important to note that being crazy is pretty offensive in Korea. They were very proud of their story. LOL.

Shortly after I returned from the States I was teaching my favorite class of 3 girls who are middle school aged. The most talkative girl, Wendy, noticed I was chewing gum and she asked me for a piece. I gave her and the other girls a piece of Big Red gum. I only had one piece left so they split it into thirds. After about a minute of chewing Wendy looked at me with a surprised look and said, "Teacher, Fire Gum!!"

That's about it for now, thanks for reading!