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comedy entertainment funny humor Korea South Korea

So how did YOU end up in Korea?

So how did you end up in Korea?

*This was written 6 years ago, a year before I left Korea for Canada* 

I get asked this question a lot and so here…here is how I ended up in Korea: 

Recently, I called a lawyer. 

A lawyer in Canada, no less. This lawyer I called was very polite and helpful, apparently it’s the Maple Leaf disposition. He asked how I found out about his company as I was calling all the way from South Korea (‘South Korea, wow!’ ‘Yeah, I get that a lot when I call overseas from here.’). I explained I googled what I was looking for and clicked the first one I found with a Facebook page. Although it is also worth noting I was drinking a vodka and orange in an Irish bar on a school night while calling him…. 

This morning, I had a visa medical exam. A pretty standard test. One I’ve had a few times for my Korean visa so I knew the drill. Blood, chest x-ray, pee in paper cup, see doctor, deny knowing what an illegal drug is, the usual. On one of the stack of forms I had to fill in to give permission for them to view my medical records, test me for a wide varity of diseases, declare I wasn’t lying in any of my statements, give them custody of my first-born and the rights to name him Bob (one those is not true), it asked for my future occupation in my intended country of residence. Pointing out I wasn’t moving for another 12 months and hadn’t planned that yet, I was told to put ‘housewife’.

And so I did. 

I laughed and shook my head and wrote the word on the page.

In a mere 48 hours, I’d called a lawyer, had a visa medical and declared myself a future housewife. 

My entire life I’ve just kinda fallen into thing. Not really making conscious life decisions. I’ve just been presented with an opportunity and going with it, confident in the knowledge that it’ll all be fine. It’s no coincidence one of my favourite phrases is ‘Let’s see how this all plays out, shall we?’ 

I stumbled into going to university in England. I was unsure about what I wanted to do with my life and unwilling to choose computing suggested by one career counsellor and to ‘give up the idea of directing a movie because my teeth were not straight enough. So when I talk or give direction people will not understand me and HOW can I direct a movie if people can’t understand me’ (direct quote that will stay with me for life) by another career counsellor after I said I wanted to write movies.

To the UK I went, to study writing and film (a completely useless degree in hindsight). Unlike universities in the US where you can study many different things in the lead up to your eventual degree, in Ireland and the UK at 17 we have to choose our path and stick to it. Every course I took lead directly to the degree I applied for. I applied to ten universities, got into four, picked the one with the open day that was soon, flew over, looked around and signed up to attend in September.

Graduating at 20, I fell into working as a project supervisor at my previous job. 

How? 

I was there when the previous project supervisor quit. That’s it. That’s all it took. I just happened to be there in the building. Later, when I moved into human resources, again, it was because I was there when the previous HR girl quit. For a while I was doing project supervising, HR, interviewing potential staff, running training seminars, doing wages (a terrifying month) and flying to Germany to brief new center managers. I took a two week holiday and went to Washington DC. It took three people to do my job while I was gone. 

Having gone to Salzburg on a Sound of Music tour with my mother for her 50th birthday, I returned to my job bored and unhappy. I didn’t like it. It was depressing and I could do it drunk, hungover, half asleep, on the tail end of a bar hopping pub crawl (I kid you not!) and could coordinate client documents while talking on the phone, supervising staff and playing on the Internet all at the same time. The challenge was gone and thus I put in for a transfer. To London. My transfer approved, my contract drawn up and ready to be signed, apartment hunting was a go-go and I was packing my house up.

Six weeks later I was on a flight to Korea to start a new life. 

It’s funny how these things just….happen.

So what happened? 

Nothing.

Nothing at all. 

Nothing major or dramatic or life changing. Nothing I can pinpoint on my life map and say ‘this was the event that caused it’. I just woke up one day and realised if I don’t leave now, now, this very second….if I don’t make the decision to leave when I get the chance, when my current contract is up, I’ll never leave. And then I’ll stay. I’ll stay here in a job I don’t like. In a country I really have no reason to be. With a car I can’t drive and a lethargic attitude towards work that ranks it just barely above ‘napping’. I’ll stay and be that person in the bar who stayed too long.

I needed a change. I needed to leave. And I needed to do it now while the idea was new and fresh and I was suddenly motivated. My contract at work was up for renewel. My current landlord was looking into selling off his house and thus, I’d have to move anyway. The stars were aligning and it was my shot!

A quick phone call later and i was offered a chance to either move to Korea the following month or Japan in 6 months. I choose Korea, because it was sooner and hanging around for 6 months would lead to a change of heart, second guessing and I have a short attention span. Left for 6 months to stew and think, I’d back out. I told my job. (‘I moving to Korea.’ ‘Korea…where’s that?’ ‘KOREA.’ ‘Ohhhhhh KOREA….I seeeeee.’) I sold everything that wouldn’t fit in my Opel Corsa on eBay and my mother drove me back to Dublin to await my Korean visa. 

A few weeks later, visa and one way plane ticket in hand, large suitcase borrowed from my mother, and a world of opportunity ahead of me, I left on a plane to start anew. It would be a few weeks before I got around to reading the Lonely Planet guide I’d brought with me and a few more before I discovered what ‘Skype’ is…and I worked for eBay when they acquired Skype which made that so much worse. 

Oh, how badly prepared I’d been when I arrived.

But alas how could I know that one decision, that decision to pack everything up and start again would change my life the way it did. 

I didn’t. 

I took a shot.

And now, as I prepare for yet another country move, people keep asking if I’m scared, apprehensive, what if it all goes wrong, what if it doesn’t work out…etc.

To them I say, maybe it will. Maybe it will go wrong. Maybe it’ll be great. Maybe it’ll be the greatest decision I’ve ever made. Maybe, maybe, maybe. 

I don’t want the ‘maybes’ to rule my life. For every ‘maybe yes’, there’s a ‘maybe no’. For every person that says ‘Maybe it’s a good idea’ there’s another saying ‘Maybe it’s a terrible idea. You should stay here’.

When I moved to England, people said I’d be back within a month. I said ‘Maybe.’ I returned 6 years later. 

When I moved to Korea, people said, ‘Ohhh it’s so dangerous there! You won’t be safe!’. I said ‘Maybe.’ I’ve been here 3 years and 4 months. The most dangerous thing that has ever happened to me was almost being hit by a taxi cab when I walked out in front of it.

In less than a year, I move to Canada. People say it may not work out. That couples who meet in Korea and leave together don’t last. That we’ll regret it. That we won’t find jobs. That we’ll have no money. That it’s cold. That I’ll hate it. That it’s a risk.

To them, I say ‘Maybe.’ 

But for now, let’s just agree on one thing, let’s all sit back, relax and see how this all plays out, shall we?

#spoileralert #itworkedouy

(Oh and that’s The Canadian One with my Pingu the Penguin in his backpack in the pictures above on the day we moved me from my apartment into his!) 

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Canada comedy funny humor Korea South Korea

How I Met The Canadian One

April 16th 2015

People always ask me ‘How did you and The Canadian One meet?’, ‘Why is your blog called The Ketchup War?’ and ‘Why is the printer beeping? Can you come fix it?”

To answer that last question first, I have no idea. I’ll turn it off and turn it on and if that doesn’t work, I’ll call IT.

Except it always works. And then people think I know how to fix the printer.

Looking at our beginning, if how The Canadian One and I met was a TV show, it would be full of annoying near-misses that keep the storyline alive and almost-meet-cutes around sweeps week.

How I Met Your Mother The Canadian One

3871_99952386345_2340153_nSeason 1: Spring 2008 – 12 Days In And Still Jetlagged

My second weekend in Korea back in May 2008, I got invited to a poker game at my supervising teacher’s home and it was there that I met a long-haired guy we shall dub Drummer-Boy. He had lived in my apartment and worked at my school the year before and was swiftly beating me at poker. I’ve covered my skills (or lack thereof) at poker previously but the fact that he took all my money is not the point here. I liked Drummer-Boy. He was my first new friend outside of my workmates that I had made, he lived an hour and a half away in Seoul and the subject of how his mother made Teletubbies quickly came up.

Teletubbies!

TELE-TUBBIES!

Moving on.

After a brief chat, we discovered we’d both worked in the same chain of betting shops in the UK around the same time a few years prior. We even figured we may have even spoken on the phone a handful of times as it was often required to call other branches to verify information.

Unstoppable Trio
H, Patrick and Me: An Unstoppable Trio

While living in Cheonan, an hour and a half south of Seoul, I had somehow managed to live in a three bedroom apartment alone for the first few months until Em arrived. Drummer-Boy would often come visit old friends (and new friends) in my town and crash in one of my spare rooms.

We would go on to become firm friends, hanging out in his town (Seoul) and my town (Cheonan). He introduced me to his friend H, from Scotland, who would go on to become my travel and touring buddy (and partner-in-crime) in the years to come.

I, meanwhile, would visit Seoul a lot over the next 2 years, sleeping on H’s floor and spending our evenings watching Drummer-Boy’s band, Angry Bear, play in local bars and clubs.

And that, kids, is how I met…your Uncle Patrick. 

Christmas Tree
My 2009 Christmas Tree

Season 2: Christmas 2009 – A Trip Back To Cheonan

In 2009, Patrick brought his British friend, Sam, to Christmas dinner at our poker buddy’s home. Both Em and I had moved out of Cheonan by this time – having completed our year-long contracts there – and were living separately up nearer to Seoul. We met up and journeyed down to our old home town together, stopping in at a Burger King for a pre-dinner lunch of burgers and fries.

Now, Sam was memorable for three things:

1. He was also drummer but in a different band

2. He was also British, like Patrick

And 3. He insisted on calling me British for the entire night. 

Some weeks later, as I’m leaving a magazine launch party with Em not paying a bit of attention to the band on stage, I suddenly spot my British nemesis from Christmas dinner on stage playing drums with the band. A passing “Hey, isn’t that Sam from Christmas dinner?” and a confirmation that yes it is and we were whisked out of the club and onto somewhere else.

The band Sam was playing with was Bedroom States…

It was their first live show…

And The Canadian One was their lead singer.

MountainSeason 3: Spring 2010: An Album and a Retreat

Between March 2010 and April 2010, I would move back to Cheonan and The Canadian One and I would attend two Angry Bear events in small venues and never meet. 

The first was the Angry Bear first album launch that I attended with H, maybe Em and my date from speed dating a few weeks before. Yes, I went speed dating. Yes, it was awesome. I’ll tell you about it sometime. Actually, there’s a picture of me attached to an article online written by the guy I went on the date with. However, due to a dispute I had with that publication, I’m not linking to it. The guy was nice though. He was there covering the event for an article he was writing and I ended up dating him for a short period of time. For the record, my dispute with the publication and the non-successful continuation of my dates with my speed-date date were unconnected. That ridiculousness would come years later.

IMG_2050The second event both The Canadian One and I attended at the same time was the following month. H and I had signed ourselves up for a Buddhist Temple Retreat and I was up in Seoul to catch the bus with her early the next morning. The retreat seemed like a really good idea at the time however Patrick’s band was playing a gig the night before and since I was up in Seoul for the retreat anyway, we figured, meh, let’s go.

They were playing in a bar behind a coffee shop with a man dressed as a clown tending bar. I want to say it was 80’s night but it was Korea so it’s entirely possible it was just a regular Friday.

As we were early we went off to play darts in the corner and take advantage of the cheap shots that were on offer that night. The band arrived, we stood around with them for a bit, then went off and danced and hung out by ourselves. We were working on drumming up support for our cause to pressure the band into playing an old song of theirs. We loved the song but they rarely played it anymore as it was several years old (although it would be the last song I heard them play live at our leaving-Korea party). Our plan that night basically consisted of us gathering a small crowd to yell the name of the song at the band during every song interval until our plan worked.

After several rounds of drunk people yelling ‘Clementine’ at them, they caved.

Hours before our tour bus left and we were still at the party. Or rather, we were outside the party on the street with one of us throwing up (H) and the other not helping at all (me). At this point the Buddhist retreat was seeming like one of those plans you make for a Saturday night on a Tuesday but when Saturday rolls ‘round you’re thinking ‘Someone cancel, SOMEONE CANCEL, GOOD GOD PLEASE!!’ so you can just stay home.

But we still made it.

I remember being hungover, wearing inappropriate shoes for a hike I wasn’t warned about and ultimately becoming upset and frustrated during a ‘relaxing’ lotus flower making session. 

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My mouth is smiling but my eyes say ‘Kill me’

 

I also recall eating flower pancakes and no, that’s not a misspelling. I do mean flower.

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Flower pancakes…literally. Flowers. 

As it turned out, in that very same bar on that very same night was The Canadian One. He was at the same clown-man-behind-the-bar-show as us and had we hung out with the band more and not been off downing colourful shots and gathering a posse, we would have met.

Season 4: Summer 2010 – The Almost Meet

At the end of July 2010, I had a week off work which coincided with the Jisan Valley Rock Festival in Icheon. H, Em and I all decided we would go and camp for all three days of the festival. We bought our tickets, planned our weekend and I jetted off to Jeju-do for the few days prior and did exciting things like beach drinking and visiting sex parks

sex park
This is the least graphic photo I could find that I took at the sex park

 

When I got back, I was dying of a cold (probably due to the massive amounts of beach drinking I did) and not feeling the tent-sleeping aspect of the trip. I eventually turned up two days late but had missed meeting The Canadian One who’d been there hanging out with Patrick and left a few hours prior to my arrival.

This would also become the weekend everyone referred to as ‘Remember that time Jenny was 2 days late for the musical festival?’

IMG_2045Season 5: Fall 2010 – A Train of Wine & Dance

Skipping forward to November 2010 and Patrick’s band had acquired a fourth member. The fourth member actually joined prior to summer but this was the first opportunity we would have to see them as a new four-piece. When Patrick called to tell me about adding a guitar player, I made fun of him.

“Why would you need two guitar players?”, I said. “Get a keyboard player. Keyboard players are cool.”

H and I were invited to their show and planned to go, however, it did clash with a Wine Train we were going on for H’s birthday. 

‘What’s a Wine Train?’, you say.  

Well, let me tell you.

A Wine Train is tour-guided day of drinking wine on a train, in a vineyard, at some kinda museum type place and then some arts and crafts to round out the day. It ends with more wine and bad dancing on the train home.

IMG_2046
Fairly certain I’m drunk here

 

I found out later that in preparation for us perhaps actually turning up for the show, the band had practiced the song H and I loved with the new guitar player. They had fully explaining our peer pressure antics and general ‘play our goddamn song’ mentality to him.

Patrick, however, theorized that we would not make it due to an overabundance of wine and merriment. 

Patrick knew us very well.

We didn’t make it anywhere near the gig.

In fact, I’m surprised we all made it home at a decent hour.

Season 6: Winter 2010 – Six Seasons and A Movie

Days after the Wine Train, Patrick announced his band would be coming to my town, Cheonan, and playing at our local hangout. I busied myself promoting the band’s gig. First I made my own tiny poster:

angry Bear poster
This was about the size of a large Post-It

 

And then Patrick mailed me some ‘official’ posters.

H was coming down too and we quickly made dinner plans for his band and us and another friend. December 3rd rolls around and I arrived to dinner.

Late.

Meh.

At least I wasn’t two days late for a musical festival kinda late.

When I got there, no food had been ordered, only drinks. I sat down next to Patrick, who was sitting next to their new guitarist:

The Canadian One.

I struck up a conversation with the little information I had: He was a guitarist. He was in a different band. Then he joined Patrick’s band. I was disappointed he was not a keyboard player. I thought perhaps I shouldn’t open with that. And that was literally it.

Our first conversation went something like:

Me: “So, I hear they stole you from another band?”

The Canadian One: “Well, no. I’m still in the other band. And in this band.”

Me: “What’s the other band?”

TCO: “Bedroom States.”

Me: “SAM’S BAND?!!”

TCO: “You know Sam?”

Me: “Yeah, he came to Christmas dinner last year. He kept calling me British.”

TCO: “You’re not British.”

Me: “No.”

We chatted a little about his other band and this new band and then he says: “I was in a band before Bedroom States called Animal Dads.”

And I stopped.

Me: “Wait…what?! I have your album on my iPod….”

And that was true.

As it turns out, waaaaaay back in March 2009 (so over a year and a half prior) Patrick had invited H and I to his friend’s band’s album launch. We went because we’re supportive like that and the bar had a great happy hour deal. Let’s be fair, we were probably more leaning towards the latter reasoning.

We paid to get in, got our albums, drank our drinks, danced our little hearts out and went home. We paid zero attention to the band on stage and moved on with our lives. Back at my apartment the following day, I put my CD into my laptop which automatically copied albums onto my iPod.

And thus I ended up with this album on my iPod.

The band: Animal Dads.

The lead singer: The Canadian One.

After the gig in Cheonan, he offered to buy me a drink for my wonderful ‘postering’ and promoting of the gig. I explained how, due to a misunderstanding, the barman actually bought me flowers as he thought we were promoting my birthday.

I also told him about how I was unimpressed that he wasn’t a keyboard player.

He spoke to Patrick about if I was single and if it was OK if he asked me out.

We chatted some more…

And then later that night….

He asked me out aaaaaaaanddddddd….

I said…

No.

2010 tree
My 2010 Christmas Tree

Series Finale – Part 1: Winter 2010 – Seoul-Mates

Our series finale, 2-parter episode opens on December 4th 2010 at a train station in Cheonan a mere 12 hours after I declined The Canadian One’s date offer.

Patrick, The Bass Player and I are all catching the same train up to Seoul as I was going work at a music festival for the most of the day and night and they lived there. The Canadian One and The Other Guitarist had left earlier in the morning.   

While The Bass Player watched over the guitars, Patrick and I ventured to the ticket line. We were standing in line…waiting…waiting….waiting…and when we got to being the next to be served, an old man cut in front of us like a ninja and was at the ticket desk.

Patrick exchanged some words in Korean with the old man and then sighed, looking forlorn and defeated. He looked down at me: 

“I said ‘no, it’s ok, you can go first, that’s fiiiine’ to him but clearly I don’t do sarcasm very well in Korean because he just thanked me.” – Patrick

IMG_2047The next 12 hours would be a montage of me working at the Rubber Seoul 2010 World AIDS Day Music Festival (a festival I would later go on to run for two years). Included would be: 

My friend and I modelling the small beaded doll pins we were selling.

Being paid to stop trying to sell tickets to a group of people:

“Stickers are $1? If we pay you $5 and take no stickers, will you go away?” – Guys

“YES!” – Us

Me dressing as a condom and trying desperately not to be knocked over by drunk people. 

No seriously. 

I can’t find a picture. 

But drunk people are mean. They kept trying to trip me up! 

I had memorable conversation while handing out free condoms (dressed in normal clothes, my condom-costume hour was up). I hand one to a girl, who turns to look at her date, looks back at me and says:

“No, thanks.” 

And hands me the condom back.

And then finally, I vividly remember dancing with my friend to ‘We No Speak Americano’ by Yolanda Be Cool at the after-party and spotting The Canadian One and Patrick standing nearby. The Canadian One asked if he could buy me a drink and I said yes. I told him about my speed dating adventure from earlier in the year and we decided to pretend we were speed dating. 

We sat opposite each other at a table.

We took it seriously.

And then we got kicked out of the bar because it was 3am and they were closing so we all headed home in our different directions.

To be continued….  

xmas eve
Christmas Eve dinner at a friend’s

Season Finale – Part 2: Christmas Day 2010 – First Date? 

We montage through the next few weeks. 

Given the 1.5 hour distance between us, The Canadian One and I would chat briefly and intermittently on Facebook and via text. Then it became less intermittent and more frequent. And then it was no longer brief and no longer intermittent and was pretty much taking up all of our spare time.

And here’s where the coincidental only-on-TV thing happens: The Canadian One was supposed to head to Ireland – where I am from and where he had never been – for a wedding over Christmas while I was off to sunny Malaysia with H for some winter beach time. A misspelling in his name ended with his ticket being cancelled last minute and he ended up spending Christmas in Seoul (while his friends jetted off for the wedding). Meanwhile I found myself in Seoul on Christmas Day to see a ballet and to fly out to Malaysia with H early on Boxing Day morning.

maylasia bound
Me and H, Malaysia 2010

The Canadian One and I had arranged to meet for a drink near where he lived after I had said goodbye to my friends. After a miscommunication about which train station to meet at, we eventually located each other and headed to a bar and then to his place to watch a Christmas movie we’d earlier voted on.

He’d said Gremlins.

I’d said Die Hard.

Clearly we both have the same idea of what a Christmas movie is.

But we watched Gremlins.

He gave me a one half of a small penguin magnet set as a Christmas gift as I’d mentioned my favourite animals were penguins. I put it in my purse and it travelled to Malaysia with me as I flew out the very next morning with H.

He kept the matching one on his fridge.

A year and a half later, it would be reunited with The Canadian One’s penguin and now they live together on our fridge holding up our wedding photo from exactly a year ago today. 

20160415_202515
Our Wedding Day: April 16th 2015 – Held up by penguin magnets and a fluffy pineapple

It’s funny how some things just work out. 

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funny humor internet Korea South Korea Travel

I’m an Irish girl and I lived and worked in South Korea for five years…

Korea flagAnd I’ve only ever experienced any kind of direct, to-my-face discrimination because I am Irish twice.

And it was in Korea.

And it was from another Irish person.

Well, two, in fact. It happened twice on separate, years apart occasions. It was because I am from Dublin and they were from Northern Ireland. They didn’t like that and once it was discovered, the people in question promptly ignored me completely. I found it highly odd.

So here’s the thing, I’ve been sent / involved in offline conversation / watched my newsfeed fill up with this particular article that came out over a week ago now and have been waiting and watching the ‘wow, that escalated quickly’ nature of Internet threads with sad bemusement. If you don’t want to click the link, let me sum it up for you. Irish girl Katie Mulrennan applies for job in South Korea. Recruiter responds with ‘I am sorry to inform you that my client does not hire Irish people due to the alcoholism nature of your kind’.

A short time later, a story appeared in the Korea Observer about Sean Jones (who clearly skimmed over the first rule of resume writing being have a professional email address…) and his recent run in with racism in Korea. Jones was on the way to a job interview when he received a text that said ‘Sorry, they just told me they actually want a white teacher’ and then two days later, received a Facebook message that said ‘I’m sorry. I just found out today my school is one of ones [sic] that won’t hire black people’.

Now, I’m a white Irish girl who lived in South Korea for five years and The Canadian One worked as an in-country liaison between Korean schools and American recruiters of ESL teachers for part of that time so I’m very familiar with the ins and outs of people Koreans will or will not hire for schools. It makes sense people would bring both articles to my attention and expect comment. But I, for the most part, stayed out of it.

Looking at the second article though, over the years I’ve had non-white friends apply for jobs in Korea and ask me what I think their chances are. It’s a hard situation to be in because I know, no matter how qualified you are, the sad fact is more often than not it comes down to what you look like. It’s not right. It’s not fair. But it happens. And I’ve seen it over and over and over again.

1923802_33000761345_5717_nI’ve been declined for jobs in Korea for one main reason, my Irish accent, which is non-existent as I worked hard on Americanising my accent to make sure I got jobs. I started putting in my cover email to recruiters that I have a neutral accent and they should call me before rejecting me. Most, however, just write back that they are looking for an American. Equally, I’ve been offered jobs in Korea for a wide array of reasons ranging from my Irish accent, (again, non-existent), my British accent (I don’t have a British accent), the fact that they think I’m British, I’m white, I’m ‘pretty’, I’m not a vegetarian (that was VERY important to one school) and that I’m a girl.

The weirdest reason I ever got a job though was because of Enya, an Irish singer…

No, seriously.

I later quit that job in the middle of the contract as I started to slowly come to the realisation that my director was just a teeny bit crazy, had no money and we were pretty sure he was going to just stop paying us at some point. Afterwards he sent me several emails, including a goodbye email:

Screen Shot 2014-11-08 at 00.08.15

His name was the next thing on the email. And that was it. When he’d picked me up from the airport six months earlier, we had listened to his Enya CDs in the car all the way to Incheon.

After that, I got a job in Cheonan and then later moved to Seoul. Three years later, the school I was at was shutting down and I was on the job hunt again. I interviewed with a recruiter on a Thursday, was offered the job on the Sunday, and asked to come meet the school on the Tuesday at 3pm. I worked 1:30-5:50pm, so this was not going to be a possibility and it’s a situation I’d never come across before where the school is not accommodating to a teacher’s schedule. I made it clear I could go to the meeting if it was arranged before 12pm. I was starting to get the sense of the dramatics from the recruiter, who would be in charge of my visa, contract and pay for the time I was dealing with the school so it was important I got along well with him.

Our texts went like this:

IMG_1680

There were phone calls. There were emails. And finally, my school confirmed I had the day off and I could go to the meeting at 3pm.

Then I get this:

IMG_1681

An unpublishable swear word comes to mind.

And look at the time of that message…

While all this was happening, my current manager was arranging to get me a Letter of Release to transfer my visa to a new school. She wasn’t delaying giving me my letter, she’d told me the date she’d give it to me and I had agreed to it.

The recruiter wanted it earlier, even though I was due to get it Wednesday and my immigration meeting was set for Friday.

He insisted on calling her…which he did. She then promptly called me and told me he was nuts. Even in Korean, he was nuts, dispelling my reasoning that maybe my suspicion of his behavior was a lost in translation problem. She liked me and didn’t trust him and made that very clear.

Despite this, I met with him and the school to sign the contract and then decided to rescind my acceptance of the job offer, mainly due the my distrust of the recruiter and the fact that he couldn’t tell me much about the job and had ‘forgotten’ my contract on the Wednesday contract signing meeting (before the Monday start date) and could only show me a ‘sample contract’.

Our later correspondence after I declined the offer confirmed my suspicions that I didn’t want to work for him:

IMG_1682

IMG_1686

IMG_1684 (1)

Again…the times of these messages…

With three days left on my current contract and facing certain unemployment and risking my visa status, The Canadian One and I started to come up with contingency plans. Would I go home? What about my Canadian visa application? It hadn’t been approved yet. Would leaving Korea jeopardise it? At around 10pm that same night, my manager called me saying that his friend had recently had a teacher leave suddenly and that she needed a teacher starting Monday. Needing a job, I gathered my documents and applied before 11pm. My phone rang 20 minutes later. It was the school inviting me to come in the following morning (Thursday) for a meeting.

I went to the interview – and was told I look ‘better in person’ than in my resume photo (!) – explained what was happening with my job status, met the principal, got the job, went to my immigration meeting on Friday, changed over my visa and started on the Monday.

On my first day, the school told me they discovered the teacher had a criminal record and he was fired, which is unusual as you need a criminal record check to get a visa to get to Korea in the first place but I accepted it as an answer and moved on.

I later found out the parents were told the teacher only worked there for two weeks before leaving for a family emergency.

Curious, I asked the kids about their previous teacher.

They told me he was black.

Going back to the school’s response to Mulrennen, it was a bad choice of words and reason, no doubt, but as I read the BBC article I began to remember something that happened four years ago.

With every job application in Korea, you apply with a resume and a photo. I usually used a standard passport-sized photo of me smiling which was rendered unusable as an actual passport photo.

But I went to a job interview once and found the school had a completely different picture of me than the one I’d sent the recruiter. It began to slowly dawn on me that the recruiter had trawled through my Facebook photos – back when my privacy settings weren’t as high – and picked the one she thought best represented me and sent it to the school.

She’d chosen this one:

Wine Train (1)

The photo was taken when I went on a wine train trip where you go on a train through the Korean countryside to a vineyard and have a tour. It’s awesome. I recommend it. You taste test wine all the way there, while there and then all the way back. When I got on the train, I was operating on almost zero sleep – having stayed out until 4am doing shots with a friend at a local bar – was very quickly drunk again after the wine tasting breakfast on the way TO the vineyard. Once off the train, I pounced at the chance to take the photo that would later be included in my resume package to the school by my recruiter.

I was offered the job but declined it.

On a side note: I was supposed to go to a music gig in Seoul later that night but didn’t make it due to extreme wine consumption. This was November 2010 and it was my friend’s band playing. It would have marked the first time I met their much-heard-about-but-never-actually-met-yet guitar player but alas, it was not meant to be and it would be another month before we were to met for the first time, fall in love, move to Canada and get engaged.

Categories
comedy entertainment funny humor kids Korea quotes

Watch Out For The Hedgehog – Chapter Three: On World Geography

hedgehog (4)
A serialistion of the popular Quote Friday book: Watch Out For The Hedgehog, four years of hilarious kids’ quotes from the ESL elementary school classroom in South Korea.

Chapter Three: On World Geography

Me: “What’s your favorite country?”

Kid: “USA.”

Me: “Why?”

Kid: “It’s very big and the economy is strong.”

Me: “I don’t think that’s true.”

Kid: “It is!!”

***

Me: “Where’s London Zoo?”

Kid 1: “Jeju-do.”

Kid 2: “France.”

Kid 3: “Ou teacher, teacher, Mexico!!”

Me: “England.”

Kid 1: “No.”

***

Me: “What’s America famous for?”

Kid 1: “Terrorists.”

Me: “No.”

Kid 2: “Big people.”

Me: “No.”

Kid 3: “New York.”

Kid 2: “No.”

***

The same month of the volcano erupting in Iceland, I started at a new school.

Student: “Teacher, what state in America are you from?”

Me: “I’m not American.”

Kid 1: “I don’t understand.”

Me: “I’m not American.”

Kid 1: “You’re not American?!!”

Me: “I’m from Ireland.”

Kid 2, whispering: “The fire island.”

Me: “That’s Iceland.”

***

Me: “So, why do tourists come to Korea?”

Kid 1: “I don’t know teacher, why did you come to Korea?”

Me: “No, I’m not a tourist. I came to teach English.”

Kid 1: “Tourists teach English?”

Me: “No, what do tourists do?”

Kid 2: “Speak English.”

Me: “Let’s start over….”

***

Me: “OK, so what do you know about Finland?”

Kid: “Xylitol is made there.”

Me: “OK.”

Kid: “Yeah, true, it is a white tree…look, I draw a picture.” He draws a tree. “See?”

Me: “OK.”

Kid: “I’m not lying, Teacher, it’s true.”

Me: “I believe you.”

***

Me: “Name a country in Africa.”

Kid: “South America.”

***

Me: “Name a state in America.”

Kid: “Loveland.”

Me: “What? Loveland?”

Kid: “Yes, it’s a state.”

Me: “No it’s not!”

Kid: “Yes, teacher, my mother and my father go to Loveland and give birth to my brother.”

Pause.

Me: “Your mother and your father went to Loveland in America and had your brother?”

Kid: “Yes…it’s a state.”

I literally couldn’t teach for five minutes I was laughing so much!

***

Me: “When is a strong current good?”

Kid: “Ou teacher, it can give our African friends water!!”

Me: “…?”

***

After I pronounce “either” ahy-ther not ee-ther while reading:

Kid: “In Ireland, it’s ahy-ther?”

Me: “Yes.”

Kid: “Same spelling?”

Me: “Yes.”

Kid: “Same meaning?”

Me: “Yes.”

Kid: “But say differently?”

Me: “Yes.”

Kid: “Like wa-ter and wa-der?”

Me: “Yes.”

Loooong pause.

Other kid, shaking his head: “Irish is strange!”

***

Kid: “Teacher, if North Korea attacks, you will go home, yes?”

***

Kid: “Teacher, your country has no money. They say to IMF give me money please. Beg. Give me money please!”

***

I show my students a picture of a small, country American school.

Kid: “Oh my God, it’s an ant school!!”

***

Kids all have their books open on the wrong page.

Kids: “Teacher, loooooooook, IRELAND!!!”

I look. It’s a page all about Ireland.

Kid: “Teacher, it’s you!!”

Me: “Oh, yeah!”

Kid: “Teacher, boy’s name is Kevin?” (reading the story)

Me: “Eh, yeah, his name is Kevin. Why?”

Kid: “My boyfriend’s English name is Kevin.” (She’s 8)

Later: We listen to the CD reading of the story by an Irish boy with a thick Irish accent.

Entire Class: “WHAT?! WHAT?!! I NO UNDERSTAND!!!”

Me: “Yeah, I’ll just read it to you instead!”

***

Me: “Do you know the United Kingdom?”

Kid 1: “Yes, it’s the same as Lego Kingdom.”

Me: “Not exactly.”

Kid 2: “Oh, a king and queen!! And a wall.”

***

Me: “OK, where am I from?”

Kid 1: “Canada.”

Me: “No!”

Kid 2: “England!”

Kid 3: “Ireland!”

Me: “Yes!! OK, now where is Ireland?”

Kid 1: “Asia!”

Me: “This is Asia!”

Kid 2: “North America!!!”

Me: “North America??!!”

Kid 3: “Europe!!!” (puts his head on the desk!)

***

Kid, (who failed his test) counting the pages left in the book: “Eight pages.”

Me: “Yes.”

Kid: “Teacher, where you live?”

Me: “You mean where do I live in Korea or where is my home?”

Kid: “Your home.”

Me: “Ireland.”

Kid: “In eight pages, you go to Ireland?”

Me: “No. In eight pages, we get a new book.”

Kid: “Oh….”

***

Kid 1: “Teacher, why are you smiling?”

Me: “I’m happy.”

Kid 1: “Why are you happy?”

Me: “Because after this class, I go home.”

Kid 2: “To Canada?”

Me: “I’m not from Canada.”

Kid 2: “Oh Iceland?”

Kid 3: “IRELAND. Teacher live IRELAND!!”

Me: “Yes, I do, but I meant my home here. I’m not going back to Ireland after school.”

***

In my Grade 3 class, I have a Grade 1 student who’s too advanced to be in any other class. She attended my Grade 2 classes when she was in Kindergarten.

Grade 1 little girl: “Teacher, my new name is Erica.”

Grade 3 little girl: “Like America????”

***

I’m talking to one of my more advanced kids in class a little quicker than I speak to the other kids because she understands me.

Kid next to her: “Teacher, you speaking Netherlands??!”

***

Me: “What country do you live in?”

Kid: “Japan!”

Me: “NO!! This is Korea!!”

Kid next to her, pointing at her: “Japan spy!!!”

***

Me: “Where am I from?”

Kid: “Mexico!”

Entire class stares at her.

Other kid, slowly to the first kid: “Ireland.”

***

Kid: “I go to Canada. I see the Canada famous food. I eat the Canada famous food. I step on maple leaves.”

Me: “Have you been to Canada?”

Kid: “No.”

***

Me: “Where’s London?”

Kid: “New York City.”

***

Me: “Where’s San Francisco?”

Kid, looks at map: “Russia?”

***

Me: “Name a country.”

Kid puts up his hand, puts down his hand. Puts up his hand. Puts down his hand. Puts up his hand and nods.

Me: “Yes?”

Him: “KOREA!!”

***

Me: “Do you know Denmark?”

Kid: “Yes, elephants.”

Me: “Elephants?”

Kid: “Yes….Africa?”

Watch Out For The Hedgehog, out now at Smashwords (for 50% off at Smashwords, use coupon code ‘HX78J’), Amazon Barnes & Noble and Kobo.

For more, check out: 

Chapter One: On Love and Relationships

Chapter Two: On Historical Events

Categories
comedy entertainment funny humor kids Korea quotes

Watch Out For The Hedgehog – Chapter One: On Love and Relationships

hedgehog (4)A serialistion of the popular Quote Friday book: Watch Out For The Hedgehog, four years of hilarious kids’ quotes from the ESL elementary school classroom in South Korea. 

Chapter One: On Love & Relationships 

In every school I’ve ever worked at the kids have always been a little more interested in my life than in anything they study in class. Usually after dispensing with pleasantries, names, where I’m from, etc, the kids undoubtedly wander upon the most asked question in Korea: ‘Do you have a boyfriend?’

Some kids ask it before they even find out where I’m from.

I was working in a private school for a while where the kids took extra lessons outside of elementary school. It was across the road from the elementary school. Two eleven-year-old boy students tried to set me up on a date with their elementary school’s native teacher:

Kid 1: “Teacher, Smith, very nice. You 26. He 27. Perfect. I will give you his phone number. Marry?”

Me: “Um…no.”

Kid 1: “You can be dating then. I will bring you his picture.”

Kid 2: “Oh yes teacher, it’s a romantic story….”

Kid 1: “You can write a love letter to him.”

***

Practicing conversations about letters and mail in class:

Boy 1: “Yes, I write letter. To my friend. She move to another land. She write to me ‘love me’. I was scared.”

Boy 2: “I write bottle letter. I throw at my friend’s house. It broke his window. Our friendship exploded. We are not friends.”

Kid: “Teacher, Irish tradition, get married where?”

Me: “In a church usually.”

Kid: “Ahhhh, Christian country…I see.”

Kid 2: “When you marry Smith Teacher, in church, yes?”

Me: “I am not marrying Smith Teacher.”

Kid: “But why?!!!”

***

Kid 1: “Teacher, you have boyfriend?”

Me: “Yes.”

Kid 2: “He Korean?”

Me: “No, he’s Canadian.”

Kid 1: “Ou Teacher! He is handsome? Like a singer? His skin is bling bling?”

Me: “Ha, yes, he is very handsome.”

Kid 2: “REALLY??”

Me: “Of course!”

Kid 1: “Ou, you are lucky girl!”

***

Kid: “Teacher, you boyfriend, he will you marry me, you, ok??”

***

Kid 1: “Teacheryou like….boys….um….big arms?”

She makes a muscle gesture with arms.

Me: “Ehnonot really.”

Kid 2: “Teacher, you likeboysthey….ou, chocolate chest?!” She looks to her friend for help.

Kid 1: “SIX-PACK!!”

I was laughing so much and I couldn’t speak!

***

Diary quote: “When I 30 years old, I will wedding. I hope my bride will be beautiful” (He’s 10!)

***

Kid 1: “Teacher, your boyfriend name?”

Me: “Ian.”

One kid looks at me, then stands up, walks across the room to where I keep all the Grade One workbooks and starts sifting through them. He pulls one out of the stack and holds it up.

Kid 1: “Like this?”

I look at the book. It belongs to one of the little boys in the Grade One class named Ian.

Me: “YesHowdidyou know that I have a student called Ian?”

Kid 1: “I don’t know.”

He puts the book back.

Kid 2: “IAn.”

Me: “NoIan.”

I write it on the board.

Kid 2: “Hahahahaha Teacher, change ‘n’ to ‘m’ and write one more time, I AM IAN.”

Then she laughed for a full 30 seconds.

***

Kid: “Today is my mom and dad wedding anniversary but I’m not give my present but my parents say ‘we’re precious in your and be born’. That time my heart is moved and my heart happy cry.”

***

While watching a video about Koko, the talking Gorilla, and her owner, who’s a woman, Koko and the owner hug.

Kid 1, pointing at the TV: “They married?”

Me: “No.”

Kid 2: “She’s old.”

Like that’s the ONLY reason the woman and the gorilla aren’t married.

***

Kid: “Teacher, you boyfriend?”

Me: “Yes.”

Kid: “Handsome?”

Me: “Of course.”

Kid looks at me skeptically.

Kid: “Picture?”

Me: “No.”

***

Rumors spread through the school that the school had hired a ‘hot, Chinese-American boy’ as the new official school English teacher. This is two days later:

Kid 1: “Oh teacher, we have new English teacher.”

Me: “Really?”

Kid 1: “Yes, Haley Teacher.”

Me: “Oh, a girl?”

Kid 1: “No, a boy.”

Me: “Haley’s a girl’s name.”

Kid 2: “No, it’s not.”

Me: “Fine.”

Kid 1: “Oh, teacher, you and Haley teacher, together, love.”

Me: “Umno.”

Kid 1: “Do you have boyfriend?”

Me: “Yes.”

Kid 1: “Is he Korean?”

Me: “No, he’s Canadian.”

Kid 1: “Oh, Haley teacher too! Oh, teacher, boyfriend change. Canada. Canada. Boyfriend change!!!”

Me: “I don’t think my boyfriend would like that.”

Kid 1: “Think about it.”

Me: “OK.”

***

It’s break time and I’m sitting at my desk on the computer, writing school reports and drinking coffee. A kid stands in front of my desk. She’s not doing anything; she’s just standing there. The kids do that a lot. Just stand there and stare at me. Sometimes it’s weird. Other times, I just ignore them.

Kid: “Why you sadly?”

Me: “I’m not sad. I’m tired.”

Kid: “Why you tired?” She scrunches up her face and nods understandingly. “Teaching the kids?”

I laugh.

Me: “No, I’m just tired, that’s all.”

Kid: “No, bed early?”

Me: “No, get up very early.”

She nods and goes quiet. I return to writing my reports.

Kid: “Teacher, you boyfriend?”

Me: “Yes.”

Kid: “Really?!”

Me: “Yes.”

Kid: “You dangdangdada?” (the wedding song)

Me: “No.”

Kid: “When the dangdangdada?”

Me: “I don’t know.”

Kid: “How long you boyfriend?”

Me: “Two years.”

Kid: “Two years? Really? You lovely?”

Me: “Yes.”

Kid: “You boyfriend many many love?”

Me: “Yes.”

Kid: “Korean?”

Me: “Canadian.”

Kid: “Boyfriend look like?”

Me: “Tall.”

Kid: “Jenny teachertall…?”

Me: “Taller than me, yes.”

Kid: “And?”

Me: “Short hair.”

Kid: “And?”

Me: “Brown hair.”

Kid: “And?”

Me: “Go away.”

Kid: “Just one more..and?”

Me: “And, I don’t know.”

Kid: “Handsome eyes?”

Me: “Yes.”

Kid: “Really?”

Me: “Yes.”

Kid: “Why no dangdangdada?”

Me: “I don’t know.”

Kid: “But ring.” (pointing at the ring on my right hand)

Me: “Not wedding ring.”

She goes quiet.

Kid: “In December, you went to Canada.”

Me: “No, I didn’t.”

Kid: “YES!! You vacation!!”

Me: “No, no, I went to Ireland.”

Kid: “Ohhhh yeah, I think boyfriend Canada, you go to Canadain my headYou go to Canada?”

Me: “Yes. In March.”

Kid: “Visit boyfriend parents?”

Me: “No, to live.”

Kid: “WHAT?! WHY?! HOW?! Jenny teacher no English class???”

Me: “No. I’m leaving.”

Kid: “When?”

Me: “February 28.”

Kid: “Show me.”

Me: “Look, here, this day.” I show her the calendar.

Kid: “You go to Canada?”

Me: “Yes.”

Kid: “With boyfriend.”

Me: “Yes.”

Kid: “To live?”

Me: “Yes.”

Kid: “Dangdangdada?”

Me: “No.”

Kid: “Teacher, boyfriend meeting parents?”

Me: “Yes.”

Kid: “THEN WHY NO DANGDANGDADA?!!”

***

Kid: “Teacher, me go to Canada and to you dangdangdada?”

***

I run into the school’s male foreign teacher on my way back from the bathroom and we were chatting. I come to class.

Entire class: “You and Haley teacher friends?”

Me: “Yes.”

One Kid: “LOVE!!”

Entire class: “NO!! Friends!”

Another boy pointing at the boy who said ‘love’: “He’s crazy!!”

***

Two kids are having a conversation while I’m correcting homework.

Kid 1: “I like tiger.”

Kid 2: “You like Tyler?” (Tyler is a kid in the class)

Kid 1: “No, tiger.”

Kid 2: “Tyler?!”

Kid 1: “TIGER!!”

Kid 2, turning to Tyler: “Oh Tyler, fantastic!!”

***

We read a role-play where a little girl calls a little boy and asks him to go to the park. I read the first line.

Me: “Hi Andy. Do you want to come to the park?”

A kid stands up and yells: “DATE!!!!!!!!”

***

Watch Out For The Hedgehog, out now at Smashwords (for 50% off at Smashwords, use coupon code ‘HX78J’), Amazon , Barnes & Noble and Kobo.

For more, check out:

Chapter Two: On Historical Events

Chapter Three: On World Geography 

Chapter Four: On Vocabulary

Categories
comedy funny humor Korea

Sometimes I Wonder If I Ever Really Left Korea

It’s been eight weeks since The Canadian One and I swapped The Land of The Morning Calm for The Land of The Maple Leaf but there are some mornings when I wake up just a little teeeeeny bit confused about which country I actually live in.

Take my 5 minute journey from our house to the train station in the mornings:

photo (16)

photo (17)photo (20)

On the train I also pass a bunch of Korean stores, a Korea hair salon, Bow Bul Go Gi restaurant and Insadong BulGoGi restaurant. Oh and that E-Mart is exactly like our mart in Korea. EXACTLY. It’s weird. And freaky…Mainly freaky.

Then take our lunch at the weekend:

photo (18) photo (19)

There’s also a Korean man who owns our mini-mart (he’s from Gwang-Ju and watches Korean soap operas on a small TV under the cash register), a Korean man who owns the liquor store (and sells Soju for $10 which should be a crime) and there were a bunch of Korean youths playing football in the car park opposite our house last week all yelling at each other in Korean. I felt like busting out my teacher-stare and my Kindergarten ‘shut up and be quiet’ in Korean phrases.

It’s sometimes hard to remember we DID actually leave Korea.

We did…

…Didn’t we?!

Categories
comedy funny humor kids Korea

‘I like the quack quack.’ – The LAST Quote Friday – 03/01

The best of this week’s quotes from my elementary students in South Korea (and some thrown in from friends too)

And so we come to the end. Yesterday marked my last day as a teacher here in Korea and while I await my move from The Land of the Morning Calm to The Land of the Maple Leaf, it’s with a great sorrow I have to type up the last Quote Friday in the it’s current incarnation.

Duke: “I have a question, what time is it?”

Kid sitting next to him: “I have a question, why’s Duke short?”

***

I hand a kid some paper to draw on while we wait for others to finish their worksheet. He looks at it and then at me.

Kid: “Think?”

Me: “Yes.”

Kid: “YAY!”

***

Me, regarding the test: “I hope all of you get perfect in the test.”

Kid: “OLGA?! ONLY OLGA?!!”

Me: “No. All. Of. You.”

Kid: “I hear just Olga.”

Me: “No. Not just Olga.”

Olga looks sad.

Me: “Of course I do hope you get perfect Olga. And the rest of the class. And Olga. All of you…I hope ALL. OF. YOU. get perfect in the test.”

***

Kid: “Thursday, Jenny teacher bye bye?”

Me: “Yes. But I’ll be here. The next day I won’t be. Friday, no Jenny teacher.”

Kid: “Next day go?”

Me: “Yes.”

Kid: “Thursday, yes. Friday…zero?”

Me: “Yes.”

***

Kid writes something in Korean on a page. I don’t know what it says so I ask my Grade Five class. They read it and scrunch up their faces.

Kid 1: “It’s….um.from the TV.”

Kid 2, taking the paper and handing it back to me: “Teacher, it is not for children.”

***

We hear a loud electric guitar sound next door.

Kid: “Sasha teacher?”

Me: “No…CD.”

***

Kids are doing a worksheet quietly. Suddenly I hear: ‘TEACHER, HE’S STEAL MY SENTENCE!!!!’ from a little girl whose desk buddy was copying her worksheet.

***

Me: “What’s healthy?”

A kid jumps from his seat and does a dramatic reenactment of drowning and lies down dead on the floor. I peer over the desk at him and he jumps back up to his feet.

Kid: “Help me! Help me!”

Pause.

Me: “Healthy.”

Kid: “Oh…no”

***

Me: “Ok, for homework you can do your essay or not do your essay. I don’t care. We have our test next week and I have no time to correct it. You can write it if you want though and I’ll correct it.”

Kid, cautiously: “You don’t care?”

Me: “No. I don’t care. Do it or don’t do it.”

Kid: “YAY!! NO HOMEWORK!!”

***

Me: “Who’s the person you admire most in your family?”

Kid: “My dog.”

Me: “Um, no. A person. Pick a person.”

Kid: “My father.”

Me: “Ok, good. Why?”

Kid: “He borrow me money.”

Me: “Lend. He lends you money.”

I explain the difference between ‘lend’ and ‘borrow’.

Pause.

Kid: “No, no lend. I take. No give back.”

***

My Grade One class: A boy hits a girl, Esther, with his book. She doesn’t even flinch. I teacher-stare at him.

Boy: “Esther’s body is stone!!”

***

Me, looking at the worksheet: “Do numbers one to four.”

Kid: “Number one to four? No three?”

***

After I was absent for a day:

Me: “Did you have homework?”

Kid: “No.”

I teacher-stare.

Kid: “Yes.”

Me: ‘The teacher that was here left me a note. It says you did have homework.”

Kid: “Ouuuu, very smart.”

***

Me, arranging a substitute teacher for the day: “I found two teachers. Ones from the Netherlands and one’s German.”

Co-Teacher: “Send whoever speaks the best English.”

***

I hand out a worksheet.

Some kids: “Oh Teacher, very hard!!”

Some kids: “Very easy!”

ONE Kid: “Very middle.”

***

Kid, smiling: “Teacher, tomorrow is my mother birthday.”

Me: “Ou, nice. You get her a present?”

Kid, smiling: “Yes.”

Me: “Are you excited?”

Kid, deadpan: “MOTHER!!”

He shakes his head and walks away.

Kid, reading: “I have a stomach-cake.” (stomachache)

Entire class, without missing a beat: “STOMACH-CAKE?!??”

***

Me, to a kid who’s faffing about at his desk: “If you don’t start doing your writing, I’m going to make you write that 10 times for homework.”

Pause.

Kid: “Can I write on the computer?”

Me: “What? No…why?”

Pause.

Kid: “Control C.”

***

Kid 1: “What’s surfing?”

Kid 2: “Surfing. On the beach.”

Kid 3: “NOOOOOO!” (makes typing motion with her fingers) “Da da da da chick chick chick, the Internet.”

***

I’m eating chilli at my desk.

Kid: “Kimchi rice?”

Me: “No, chilli.”

Pause

Kid: “Chilli is….scuba diving….no….”

Me: “Spicy?”

Kid: “No….stupid….”

Me: “Ummmm….”

Kid: “No….um….wait.not delicious!”

***

Me, reading from the book: “Did you dance?”

Kid: “No. We are young. Dance is old.”

***

Me: “What are twins?”

Little boy stands up and makes a motion to signal being fat. He then points to either side of his stomach.

Kid: “Mommy…two…”

***

Me: “Do you know Denmark?”

Kid: “Yes, elephants.”

Me: “Elephants?”

Kid: “Yes….Africa?”

***

We read a roleplay where a little girl calls a little boy and asks him to go to the park. I read the first line.

Me: “Hi Andy. Do you want to come to the park?”

A kid stands up and yells: “DATE!!!!!!!!”

***

While emptying out the pen box at the beginning of class and giving away all the pens that I don’t want…which is basically all of them:

One kid: “Being late is bad.” referring to kids who’ll come late and not get any free stuff.

Little girl holds a pencil out to me: “Lost and found.”

***

A little girl is laughing uncontrollably.

Kid next to her: “You are happy crazy virus. ”

***

Photo by K Tanriover
Photo by K Tanriover

We’re playing a guessing game in which one of the kids writes down the name of an animal and the other have to guess what it is.

Kid 1, guessing: “Duck.”

Kid 2, with the answer: “Duck?”

Kid 1: “Duck.”

Kid 2: “Dog?”

Kid 1: “Duck.”

Kid 2: “Duck?”

Kid 1: “DUCK!”

Me, to Kid 2: “Dog or duck like quack quack.”

Kid 1: “Quack quack.”

Kid 2: “No.”

Kid 3: “DOG!!!”

Kid 2: “YES!!”

***

The Canadian One, right after I told him this story: “Ou, we should go for Duck Galbi before we leave. I like the quack quack.”

***

I make a joke in class and I laugh.

Kid, deadpan and serious: “Don’t do comedy.”

***

Me: “Are hamburgers good?”

Kid: “No, many MSG.”

***

Me: “How do you stay healthy?”

Kid: “Smile.”

Me: “Smile?”

Kid: “Endorphins.”

Me: “How do you know that word?!”

***

Me: “What does Santa leave for the children?”

Kid: “Because they change.”

***

I hold u six fingers.

Me: “Five…no wait…six…”

A kid in the front row gives me a really-you’re-a-teacher look.

A few minutes later, my co-teacher comes in and writes on my board. She writes: A B C A B C B B…the stops and looks at it and changes it.

The same kid turns to me and gives me a priceless you’re-both-idiots look.

***

Kids are doing a test quietly when suddenly I hear a kid yell at the kid next to her: “STOP BOTHERING ME!!”

***

I have a screensaver on my computer that changes every thirty minutes. It changed to a lion.

Kid: “Ouuu my boyfriend.”

Me: “Your boyfriend is a lion?”

Kid: “Yes.”

***

Me: “I’m sad Quote Friday is ending.”

The Canadian One: “Don’t worry, I saw lots of stupid stuff. You’ll be fine.”

Me: “But you won’t let me publish any of it!!!”

***

From The Canadian One’s 6 year olds:

A riddle in our book. ‘I’m thinner than string. What am I?’

Kid: “Thread”

‘I’m thicker than string. What am I?’

Kid: “Noodles..?”

The answer was ‘rope’.

***

Playing write-down-an-animal-guess-what-it-is game:

Me: “Name an animal.”

Kid: “Elk. YAK!!”

Me: “No, hamster.”

***

Guy, while explaining how cold it is in some parts of Canada: “It’s so cold in some places, the air freezes in the sky and sparkles.”

Me: “Sparkles?”

Guy: “Yeah, sparkles. Like if the vampires in Twilight were the sky.”

***

Girl: “Van Gogh was the Instagram of his day. Painting pictures of fruit and his cup and his straw hat. He’d love Instagram now. It’d be like this is my breakfast. This is my straw hat.”

Paul Gauguin's Armchair
This is my candle on a chair – VG

***

Submitted:

An always-naughty 6 year old kindergarten kid is messing about in class.

Teacher: “Calm down! Why are you always in trouble?”

Kid: “Are you saying I’m like a villain in Disney films?”

***

One of the new teachers for The Canadian One’s school has been staying at a motel while he awaits his new apartment.

Guy: “I was watching TV and then porn came on. I knew it was Korean porn because the  girl was on top doing the Gangnam style dance.”

Pause

Guy: “Oh my God, it was like Bangnam Style!!!”

***

Girl: “Hey, where’s your girlfriend?”

Guy: “She went to visit her mother. I control her like a matador.”

***

The Canadian One and I discuss a video he’s in. He’s trying to remember which video we’re taking about.

Me: “You’re wearing a green sweater in the video.”

Him: “Is the video in black and white?”

Me: “If it was black and white, how would we know it’s green?!”

***

I went to a dinner party at The Canadian One’s school and ended up sitting next to April, of past Quote Friday fame.

April: “Ou, I like your perfume. Or your shampoo. You smell good.”

Me: “Ohhh, it must be the Fabreeze. I Fabreezed my clothes before I left the house.”

April: “I LOVE THE SMELL OF FABREEZE!!”

***

Do you love Quote Friday? Sad to see it come to an end next week? Sob, sob. Well fear not!

COMING SOON: The QUOTE FRIDAY book, the best of four years of quotes including some never before published ones. ‘Watch Out for the Hedgehog’ on sale May 1st.

hedgehog (4)

For more details and special offers, sign up to our Watch Out for the Hedgehog mailing list to stay up to date. 

For more Quote Fridays, check out:

Categories
funny humor kids Korea

I once whacked a child across the face with a CD player…

CD PlayerI once whacked a child across the face with a CD player. His name was Blake. He was five.

It was my first year of teaching and I’d been placed in a Kindergarten school named Wonderland. I spent my mornings teaching two back-to-back 90 minute English classes to a group of 5 year olds and a group of 6 year olds respectively. It was in the former, at roughly a minute into class, that I hit him.

The thing is I really liked Blake. He was smart, never spoke Korean, had wonderful comprehension skills and he was genuinely a cute lil kid. Round head, hair that spiked out, always smiling, even as he hit the fake-wooden floor in the classroom.

My eyes widen as I realized what had happened. Blake may have been cute but he was sneaky. As I entered the classroom and set down my CD player on the desk, he’d tiptoed up behind me and stood very very still. When I decided moments later to move said CD player, I picked it up, spun quickly and knocked him on the side of the head, just under his eye.

Dropping the CD player back onto the desk, I rushed to his aid as he bounced back up with all the exuberance and resilience that only a small child could have. If I were to be floored by a CD player to the head today, I’d probably just die. Although I was once hit by a falling steel pole from a ceiling in a conference room. I became confused and was ordered to the emergency room, which was unfortunately in the next town over. Not feeling like travelling, I insisted I was fine, an underling was ordered to watch me for ‘signs of a concussion’ while my manager went ‘out’ and I lay on my desk on my job-before-teaching for the remainder of the day while an IT guy fixed my computer.

I asked Blake if he was ok. He smiled and said ‘yes’, his eye already starting to puff up. Other than the slow, swelling brewing on the side of his face, you wouldn’t know anything had happened to him.

I darted from the classroom in search of my co-teacher for the class, a very serious teacher by the name of Sammi.

Sammi and I shared two kindergarten classes and a few after-school elementary classes. We weren’t friends. I barely knew her despite working with her for 6 months at this point. She was in the middle of class and I knocked and entered before she’d even had the chance to register I was there.

“Hey, I…there was an accident in my class.” I blurted out, flapping my arms.

She looked up at me from the homework book she was correcting.

“Blake is hurt. Sort of.” I continued.

She ushered me outside and we stood in the hallway.

“I hit Blake with a CD player.”

“Oh my God.”

“No no, he’s ok. But…you need to come see him.”

One look at him and Sammi grabbed him and took him to the nurse…AKA the receptionist.

Blake returned to class 30 minutes later, his eye significantly bigger, the assistant frowning at me slightly, me breathing a sigh of relief it was Friday.

HalloweenThe weekend was spent prepping the Haunted House in the school gym and with me explaining how I hit a kid with a CD Player to the other.

“I hit a kid with a CD Player.”

“Marcus?!” would be the reply everyone responded with.

“No, Blake.”

“WHY would you hit Blake?! He’s so lovely!” would be the reply everyone responded with.

Hitting Marcus would have been forgivable though, even if it wasn’t an accident. My boss had condoned hitting Marcus as a punishment one day but I’d opted against it. I just can’t hit a small child. I mean on purpose. Marcus, in the same class as Blake, was a nightmare. He’d hit other kids, teachers, me. He bit me once. (The most coincidental moment of that incident, a month into my teaching career: My boss: ‘Have you had a tetanus shot?’ Me: ‘Yes, I got it with my other shots before I came here. I told my doctor I was moving here to teach Kindergarten and she told me to get a tetanus as little kids bite.’) He’d also stabbed me with a pencil in my hand and later, after I’d moved to another school, took a knife with him to Kindergarten in his backpack.

Monday morning, Halloween Day, it was all go-go-go. The parents are coming in to watch a show we’d been prepping for what felt like weeks, everyone needed to be in a costume, we needed to practice, I needed to bribe the kids to not mess up with candy and stickers.

Standing the Teacher’s Room getting ready, I turn to find Sammi making her way towards me.

Donning our costumes for school
Donning our costumes for school – I’m on the left

“How’s Blake? Is his mom mad?” I said, a slight undertone of panic in my voice.

“No, not mad. She understands it was an accident. Blake told her it was an accident.”

“It was.”

“Just…she is not happy today is the Halloween show and he has a big eye.”

“OK.”

“You should stay away from her. She speaks English.”

And off Sammi went, leaving me to figure out how on earth I was supposed to know who was Blake’s mom.

The Halloween Show went off without a hitch…well, no one was hurt during it and nobody fell over which was a step up. The moms seemed pleased. One came up and thanked me in English. I was so nervous over whether or not it was Blake’s mother, I froze and just smiled and nodded. Sammi ushered me out of the room and back upstairs with the kids to eat candy and play games.

Imagine a entire line of 5 year olds dressed elaborately dancing...with less coordination that we rehersed
Imagine a entire line of 5 year olds dressed like this elaborately dancing…with less coordination that we rehearsed

Several months later, I’d approach Sammi with a problem student in my Grade Five class and her suggested solution: “You should hit him on the head with the CD player.”

Categories
comedy funny humor kids Korea quotes

‘Teacher…the small ajosshi?’ – Quote Friday 02/15

The best of this week’s quotes from my elementary students in South Korea (and some thrown in from friends too)

First up, not a quote but funny none the less: This week there was a minor debate in Canada’s House of Commons when the subject of a zombie apocalypse was brought up. Hilarious, random and the reason why I’m glad I’m moving to Canada, they seem confident that IF a zombie apocalypse happens, it WON’T be in Canada.

Happy post-Valentine’s Day everyone! What did you do for Valentine’s? I went on a lady-date with My-Awesome-Book-Cover-Designer-Friend (MABCDF) and seven other girls while The Canadian One went on a man-date with MABCDF’s boyfriend. When I got home, however, I found this awaiting me:

photo (5) photo (7)

Meanwhile, one of the girls managed to sneak into the banquet and lasted all of five minutes inside before she was chased down to pay.

Her friend: ‘How did they know you didn’t pay?!’

Girl: ‘Oh please, look around, I‘m the only black girl in here!’

***

Being off Monday and Tuesday and ill on Wednesday, has left me with very few days in school this week..and thus, very few quotes.

Me: ‘Your test is on the 26th.’

Kid: ‘Jenny bye bye minus 2.’

***

Kid comes in with a strawberry the size of her hand and holds it out in front of me.

Kid: ‘Teacher! King strawberry!!’

She walked away, staring at her strawberry in her hand and then wandered back and handed it to me.

Kid: ‘For you.’

For reference: here’s the strawberry next to my mini stapler:

photo (8)

***

I don’t eat chocolate (migraines) and my last class of the day on a Monday and Thursday knows this. As such, they know they always get any candy or chocolate I get given throughout the day as I don’t bother taking it home.  Throughout all of Thursday, I had two random boys from my last class stand in my classroom doorway yelling at me.

Kid 1: ‘You are young and pretty.’

Kid 2: ‘YOU ARE LIKE A PRINCESS!!’

***

I’m writing on the board. A kid stares at me.

Kid: ‘Why so serious?’

***

Me, reading an answer: ‘Recommend.’

Kid: ‘Pardon?’

Me: ‘Recommend.’

Kid: ‘Pardon?’

Kid 2: ‘Recommend!’

Kid: ‘Really?’

Me: ‘Yes!’

Kid 2: ‘Do you have ears?!!’

30 mins later, I write ‘Final Test: 02/26’ on the board.

Me: ‘Ok, your final test..’

Same kid: ‘TODAY?!!’

Kid 2, pointing at the board: ‘DO YOU HAVE EYES?!!!’

***

Me, reading a book report: ‘It’s about a young man…’

Two kids in the front row, breaking into song: ‘YOUNG MAN!!!’

***

Me: ‘What’s the Ant and the Grasshopper about?’

Kid: ‘The ants are rich.’

Me: ‘No, they’re not!’

Kid: ‘No, yes rich. Have many food so they are rich. Grasshopper has no money and no food. He is not rich.’

Me: ‘You can’t write that.’

A minute passes.

Me: ‘What did you write?’

Kid: ‘The ants are rich.’ Pause while she looks at me. ‘They are.’

***

Me: ‘What are you writing about?’

Boy: ‘Snow Princess.’

Girl: ‘Snow White.’

Boy, to me: ‘Really?’

Me: ‘Yeah, it’s called Snow White.’

Boy: ‘Snow Princess is Snow White?’

Me: ‘Yeah.’

Pause.

Boy: ‘And….Teacher…the small ajosshi?’

Me: ‘Dwarves. They’re called dwarves. Are you writing about one or two because it’s a different spelling?’

He stares at me like I’ve just told him the sky is green.

Boy: ‘SEVEN!’

Me: ‘Yes, no, I know. I just…nevermind. D-W-A…’

For reference, an ‘ajosshi‘ is the Korean word for an old man. For example:

ajosshi
Photo: Candiceecidnac via Flickr

***

UPDATE 22:42: An hour ago, my mother calls while The Canadian One and I are sitting around basically doing nothing.

Mam: ‘I’ve just been reading your thing. You quote thing and you know Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was spelt with DWARFS not DWARVES, right?’

Me: ‘No, that makes no sense.’ (to The Canadian One) ‘Mam says it’s dwarfs and not dwarves in the movie. Google that.’

He does. We all sit in silence and wait.

Him: ‘IT IS!!’

Mam: ‘I told you. I saw that and thought I have to ring her! She teaching the kids wrong!’

Me: ‘Not wrong. It’s the correct English!!’

Mam: ‘It’s wrong.’

***

My co-teacher: ‘What is it called when people vote for something? Erection..?’ Pause. ‘No, wait, I know that’s wrong!’

***

COMING SOON: The QUOTE FRIDAY book, the best of four years of quotes including some never before published ones. ‘Watch Out for the Hedgehog, on sale May 1st.

For more details and special offers, sign up to our Watch Out for the Hedgehog mailing list to stay up to date. 

***

For more Quote Fridays, check out:

Categories
entertainment funny humor kids Korea quotes

‘YOUR FACE TELLS LIES!!!’ – Quote Friday 02/08

The best of this week’s quotes from my elementary students in South Korea (and some thrown in from friends too)

Some of you may remember from last week my student who continually became obsessed about The Canadian One and I not getting married but yet moving to Canada together. This week, she decided to spread a rumor that I am getting married, made an entire class sing congratulations to me and she snuck into my classroom four hours before her class was due to start while I was dealing with a kid and his nose bleed (that bled all over my floor) and left me a note:

photo (1)

Speaking of notes, I found this one on my board on Monday:

students 1

And this picture on my desk this morning, the day after the kids were told I was leaving:

photo (2)

I was also given this as a present:

photo (3)

***

Meanwhile, in another class:

A kid stands up in the middle of class and yells: ‘YOUR FACE TELLS LIES!!!’ at his friend who was across the room.

And no, no I have no idea why.

***

Sometimes being an English teacher to kids that don’t speak much English requires all the deduction of Sherlock Holmes.

Kid: ‘Teacher final test yesterday you bye-bye day?’

Pause

Me: ‘The 27th? Yes. Your test is on the 27th.’

***

Me: ‘What’s proud?’

Kid 1: ‘Prize.’

Kid 2: ‘Prize?’

Kid 1: ‘Prize. Yes.’

Kid 2: ‘Chicken?’

Kid 1: ‘What?’

Kid 2: ‘Fried chicken?’

Kid 1: ‘No, no FRIED, PRIZE.’

***

I’m standing at the whiteboard after class. A kid comes up to me.

Kid: ‘Teacher is simple.’

Pause.

Kid: ‘Wait..’

She scrunches up her face.

Kid: ‘No.’

Then she left.

…WHAT?!!

***

Me: ‘Name a country.’

Kid puts up his hand, puts down his hand. puts up his hand. puts down his hand. puts up his hand and nods.

Me: ‘Yes?’

Him: ‘KOREA!!’

***

Kid: ‘Teacher, me go to canada and to you dangdangdada?’

***

Kid comes up to my desk during a break.

Kid: ‘Teacher, do you know Stevie Wonder?’

Me: ‘…yes…’

Kid, breaking into song: ‘ISN’T SHE LOOOOOOOVELY!!!!’

Pause.

Kid: ‘ISN’T SHE LOOOOOOOOVELY!!!’

This continued for a minute until I made her go away.

***

From Captain Thunderbox’s (he picked his own anonymous name) kindergarten class:

mother likescoffee

***

I run into the school’s male foreign teacher on my way back from the bathroom and we were chatting. I come to class.

Entire class: ‘You and Haley teacher friends?’

Me: ‘Yes.’

ONE KID: ‘LOVE!!’

Entire class: ‘NO!! Friends!’

Another boy pointing at the boy who said ‘love’: ‘He’s crazy!!’

***

After being told in Korean that I was leaving in three weeks.

Kid: ‘Teacher, me….20….you 37…me come see you in Canada.’

Quickly followed by ‘Do you have Facebook?’

***

Me: ‘What’s hungry?’

Kid: ‘Stomach…grrrrrrr.’

***

Kid: ‘Teacher, volcano is…’

Looong pause.

Kid: ‘…fire water?’

Me: ‘Yes.’

***

Two kids are having a conversation while I’m correcting homework.

Kid 1: ‘I like tiger.’

Kid 2: ‘You like Tyler?’ (Tyler is a kid in the class)

Kid 1: ‘No, tiger.’

Kid 2: ‘Tyler?!’

Kid 1: ‘TIGER!!’

Kid 2, turning to Tyler: ‘Oh Tyler, fantastic!!’

***

Me: ‘Hey, shhhhhhh stop talking.’

Kid: ‘I’m no talking.’

Me: ‘I can hear you. You’re talking.’

Kid: ‘No. Alone talking. No people. Alone.’

Me: ‘That’s still talking. Shhhh.’

***

The kids are drawing pictures of food they like and food they don’t like. We’ve been studying food for about two weeks now.

Kid 1: ‘Teacher, Ian like all food. No food don’t like.’

Me: ‘Ian, make it up. It doesn’t matter. Draw something you don’t like. One thing.’

A moment passes when I hear Kid 1 again. He’s leaning over looking at Ian’s picture.

Kid 1: ‘You don’t like girls?’

***

Me: ‘What’s a sheep?’

Kid: ‘Lambs grow.’

***

COMING SOON: The QUOTE FRIDAY book, the best of four years of quotes including some never before published ones. ‘Watch Out for the Hedgehog‘, on sale May 1st.

For more details and special offers, sign up to our Watch Out for the Hedgehog mailing list to stay up to date. 

***

For more Quote Fridays, check out:

Categories
comedy funny humor kids Korea

‘Achoo achoo?’ – Quote Friday – 01/25

The best of this week’s quotes from my elementary students in South Korea (and some thrown in from friends too)

First up, and didn’t make it into this week’s FREE RICE Tuesday Timewasters, was this:

Hey Craig

Moving on.

Happy Quote Friday!

Kid comes up to my desk and thrusts a coffee cup in my face.

Kid: ‘LOOK TEACHER, A TURTLE!!!’

I look at the cup and sure enough there’s a tiny turtle in a small pool of water in the cup.

Me: ‘OH MY GOD!! That is a turtle!! Why do you have a turtle in my class?’

Kid: ‘Because mommy is no home.’

I look at the turtle.

Me: ‘Can I take a picture?’

She holds it out in front of her, excitedly, ‘YES!!’

544005_10151406536366346_2054269952_n

Me, while explaining ‘recommend’: ‘I recommend you do your homework.’

Kid: ‘No thanks, I’m not hungry.’

***

Kids are all sitting quietly doing their worksheet. Some of them look like they might fall asleep.

I yell: ‘OK!!!’ and clap my hands. They all jump.

Kid: ‘Teacher! Please! No surprise!’

Me: ‘But I have to make sure you’re all awake.’

Kid: ‘I am awake. Now is awake time!’

***

While drawing her family tree, kid: ‘My uncle is…No aunt…He is…only.’ and scrunches up her face.

***

Me: ‘What’s a pyramid?’

Kid: ‘Egypt king die house.’

***

Kid: ‘Are you ok?’

Me: ‘I have a cold.’

Kid: ‘Achoo achoo?’

Me: ‘Yes.’

***

A kid is whispering in Korean in my class. I look at him.

Me: ‘I can see you.’

Kid, looks at me: ‘I know.’

Kid in front of him to me: ‘I see you!’

***

Me: ‘What kind of music do you like?’

Kid: ‘TV drama OST.’

***

Me: ‘What do you like to do on a Saturday?’

Kid: ‘I stay home.’

Me: ‘Why do you like to stay home?’

Kid: ‘You can find money.’

***

Me: ‘Where’s London?’

Kid: ‘New York City.’

***

Me: ‘Where’s San Francisco?’

Kid, looks at map: ‘Russia?’

***

For more Quote Fridays, check out:

Categories
funny humor kids Korea quotes

‘YOU ATE MY STAR?!’ – Quote Friday 01/18

English: HMV, Manchester Arndale

Ah, Friday, and what a week it’s been. Kicking off on Monday with the demise of HMV, a beloved music store in both Ireland and the UK, which just happens to be the place of employment for my brother. As the longest-serving employee of his branch (besides his manager), my little bro now faces the rest of winter jobless and perhaps payless if HMV decide not to pay their employees this month.

Slightly worse than losing his job, my brother tells me, is the fact that they all found out on Sky News on Monday evening. Their bosses didn’t even phone them to tell them personally. Although he did go to work on Tuesday (the store shut down for good on Wednesday).

I call him at work on Tuesday.

Me: ‘You’re working?’

Him: ‘No. They don’t know if we’re getting paid so we’ve been told to not work but stay in the building. We might get paid. They don’t know so they want us all to stay here.’

Me: ‘But do no work?’

Him: ‘Yeah, except answer the phones. People are calling about the vouchers. We can’t accept vouchers. Head office told us. Sky News told everyone to go cash in their vouchers today though so we’ve had people all day comin’ in with vouchers and we can’t take them.’

Me: ‘So what have you been doing all day?’

Him: ‘We set up a mini Olympics out the back. We’re playing football.’

On Tuesday night, all the stock in the store got boxed up and it was announced that staff may not get paid for December-January. Some store plan a sit-in protest to get paid. Mam calls me.

Mam: ‘Some of the other shops are planning a sit-in but yer brother’s isn’t. He said there isn’t enough DVDs for them to watch so they all went home.’

He was in the paper yesterday and my mam calls to tell me.

Mam: ‘Yer brother is in yesterday’s paper. I’ll photo it and get him to send it to you. He’s smiling though. I told him he shouldn’t be smiling, he just lost his job.’

Although, I do have to say, the mall where his store is are being great and accommodating to the HMV staff and the gym he goes to, which has a strict no instalments-whole fee payment system in place, is allowing his to pay his yearly fees throughout the year.

***

I write down an animal, kids have to guess what it is.

Me: ‘Name an animal.’

Kid 1: ‘A piranha.’

Me: ‘No.’

Kid 1: ‘Poodle.’

Another kid: ‘Snail.’

Kid 1: ‘Hyena’.

The answer was ‘hamster’. They’re seven!

***

I’m sitting at my desk while the kids study. I stand up to pass out the test.

Kid: ‘NOOOO, WAIT!! DON’T STAND UP!! SIT DOWN!!’

***

Kid: ‘SHE HAS A STRAWBERRY!!!’ (in the exact same tone I fear he’d use if she was holding a weapon of mass destruction)

***

I accidentally give a kid a point on the board.

Kid: ‘I have no homework. Why you me point?’

***

To a kid who missed the test:

Me: ‘Do you want to do the mid-term test?’

Kid: ‘Do I want?’

Me: ‘Yes.’

Kid: ‘I want? Do I want? No, I want.’

***

Me: ‘What should you do to be a good student?’

Kid: ‘You should do your homework so that you don’t see teacher’s ugly face.’

***

A kid said to me: ‘Teacher you our tests?’ asking if i’d corrected the tests yet.

I said ‘No, no time. Many classes and no time.’

He looked at me and did an impression of someone sitting on the toilet pooping and correcting a test at the same time and nodded to me. I laughed for like a full minute!!

***

I have three small paper origami stars on my desk. Each smaller than the size of your little finger’s nail and made by one of my grade one students and then given to me. One of my kids picked one up.

Me: ‘Put that down.’

He holds it. I go to grab it from him and he puts it in his mouth. I stare at him. His eyes widen.

Kid 2: ‘HE ATE IT!!’

ME: ‘YOU ATE MY STAR?!!’

***

While explaining ‘move away.’

Me: ‘Like if you moved from Seoul to Busan.’

Kid: ‘It’s 10 kilometers.’

Me: ‘No…No, it’s not.’

Kid: ‘Yes!’

Me: ‘No. It’s 87 kilometers to Cheonan.’

Kid: ‘No…really?’

Me: ‘Yeah, I lived there. I know how far it is.’

Kid: ’10 kilometers to Busan.’

Me: ‘No.’

Kid: ‘No, by airplane.’

Me: ‘That…no, it’s still the same distance. Even by airplane.’

***

A kid picks up a 10 sided die off my desk.

Kid 1: ‘What is cube?’

Kid 2: ‘No cube, dice.’

Kid 1: ‘Ah, what is dice?’ holding the die out in front of me.

Me: ‘It’s a special dice.’

Kid looks at it and then at me.

Kid 1: ‘Wow, good job!’

And he puts the die back down.

***

Kid: ‘Teacher, you color your hair?’

Me: ‘No.’

Kid: ‘You look different.’

She stares at me.

Kid: ‘You get botox?’

Me: ‘What? No.’

Kid looks skeptical and pinches her forehead, cheeks and chin.

Kid: ‘Really? Here? No botox?’

Me: ‘No, no botox.’

***

From Brendan WB:

Him: “What’s bigger than an elephant?”

Student: “Jesus.”

***

I got three fillings done on Wednesday and as a result of them being on either side of my mouth, my entire lower half of my face was numb.

The Canadian One looks at me.

Him: ‘You look sad. Why do you look so sad?’

Me: ‘Oh, I’m not sad. I just can’t make any other facial expressions.’

Later, while walking to the store.

He says something funny. I stare at him.

Me: ‘I am smiling…inside…’

***

The Canadian One after I said something stupid: ‘That’s going on my Quote Friday!’

***

***ENDS TODAY!!!***

Don’t forget, here at The Ketchup War, we like to give back so we’re continuing our RANDOM KOREAN PRIZE giveaway. Will it be a packet of Psy sponsored ramen? A cute, kitschy phone dangle? Or something more awesome? (probably not that last one!) All ya gotta do to be in with a shot to win is to ‘like’ a post published between December 18th 2012 and 23:59 (KST) January 18th 2013. Why the 18th? Well, why not the 18th?

For more Quote Fridays, check out:

Categories
comedy funny humor kids Korea

‘Do you Obama?’ – Quote Friday – 12/21

The best of this week’s quotes from my elementary students in South Korea (and some thrown in from friends too)

Official photographic portrait of US President...
Official photographic portrait of US President Barack Obama (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The world didn’t end and Korea has its first female president elected into office this past Wednesday…so that happened.

ALSO it’s vacation next week so The Ketchup War is on hiatus while we relocate from The Land of the Morning Calm to The Land of the Shamrock for some festivities but fear not, we’ll be back in the new year with more quotes and timewasters and an all new Thursday weekly post. YAY!

Oh and before we move on, you should know The Canadian One has taken to writing down the things I say that I don’t post in an attempt to take over Quote Friday one week…o.O…We shall see, Canadian One, WE. SHALL. SEE.

Moving on.

***

Kid: ‘Ireland’s Obama who?’

***

Kid: ‘Do you Obama?’ – She meant do I vote.

 ***

While explaining what ‘shelf’ is to my grade ones, a kid starts shaking his head.

Kid: ‘No. No no no.’

Kid 2: ‘Yes.’

Kid: ‘No!’

They hold a brief discussion in Korean with the first little kid pointing at my scarf and yelling, ‘JENNY TEACHER, LOOK!!’ at the other kid.

Kid 2: ‘NO! SCARF!!!’

Kid 1 looks at me.

Me: ‘He’s right, this is a scarf.’

 ***

This week we read a story about Mully, Skulder and an alienjust sayin’.

 ***

A kid returns from English camp.

Kid: ‘I love a boy. He look like Harry Potter.’

I laugh.

Kid: ‘No really.’

Her friend: ‘He’s the foreign teacher.’

Me: ‘Ahhh, that makes more sense. Haley?’ (Haley’s their male foreign teacher who works in the school. His office is next to my classroom and he looks NOTHING like Harry Potter.)

Kid: ‘NO! Not Haley. Other teacher. Michael.’

I look confused.

Her friend: ‘English camp teacher.’

Me: ‘Ah, not Haley then.’

Her friend: ‘No.’

Kid: ‘You know Haley teacher?’

Me: ‘Yeah.’

Kid nods like ‘Of course, all you white people know each other.’

 ***

My co-teacher told me no Christmas party for the kids this year.

Kid: ‘Teacher, Christmas party?’

Me: ‘No.’

Kid: ‘But Halloween party!!’

Me: ‘I know, I’m as confused as you are!’

 ***

I hiccup in class. From the other side of the classroom, I hear:

Little Boy: ‘Bless you.’

 ***

I’m explaining ‘roll over’ to my students. They all nod.

One smart-alec little kid: ‘I can’t understandDo.’

 ***

Me: ‘What pet would you like?’

Kid: ‘A giraffe. A small giraffe.’

 ***

We read a story about a girl who wants a puppy. Afterward, a little boy puts his head on his desk.

Little Boy: ‘It’s so sad.’

Me: ‘No, it’s not!’

 ***

Sentence: ‘Having a dog is just like having a friend/cat.’

Me: ‘Cat!’

Kids: ‘FRIEND!’

Kid 1: ‘You think cat. Only you. We think friend. You circle cat. We, friend.’

 ***

Me: ‘Cats are better than dogs.’

Kid: ‘No. Cats are annoying!’

Me: ‘Dogs are more annoying!’

Kid: ‘No, meow meow is more annoying than yeop yeop. It’s true.’

 ***

I have no idea what happen to cause this but I came back from the bathroom and a little boy was pointing at another little boy shouting: ‘I FOOLED YOU!!!’

 ***

Kid: ‘I wanna go home.’

Me: ‘Me too.’

Kid: ‘Go ahead.’

 ***

Me: ‘What’s a vegetable?’

Kid: ‘Obama.’ (and he KNOWS what a ‘vegetable’ is)

 ***

Kid, staring at my hair: ‘Teacher, Jenny Teacher, rockhair crazy…’

 ***

Despite teaching one of my classes for three months, I still call them by the wrong names sometimes. They’ve realized that whenever they’re raising their hands to answer questions, I call on people when I’m positive I know their name. On Tuesday, they started raising their hands and SAYING their own name at the same time. Clever.

 ***

Once again, here at The Ketchup War, we like to give back so we’re continuing our RANDOM KOREAN PRIZE giveaway. Will it be a packet of Psy sponsored ramen? A cute, kitschy phone dangle? Or something more awesome? (probably not that last one!) All ya gotta do to be in with a shot to win is to ‘like’ a post published between December 18th 2012 and 23:59 (KST) January 18th 2013. Why the 18th? Well, why not the 18th?

For more Quote Friday’s, check out:

 

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‘YOU are OUT of the line!’ – Quote Friday 12/14

The best of this week’s quotes from my elementary students in South Korea (and some thrown in from friends too)

First up, we WON!!! Thanks for all the lovely votes and comments and reviews! You people are awesome!! blog-award-2012-korea-south-goldTA-DA!!!

Mam, on the phone, just after I woke up: ‘Did you win? Did your blog win the thing?’

Me: ‘Yeah, I just checked my email. I did!’

Pause.

Mam: ‘Do you remember promising everyone who voted for you a free drink?’

Pause.

Me: ‘Yes….NOW I do!’

Mam: ‘I want my free drink.’

In celebration, we’re giving away a RANDOM KOREAN PRIZE!!

Uh huh!

Ouuuu will it be a packet of Psy sponsored ramen? A cute, kitschy phone dangle? Or something more awesome? (probably not that last one!) All ya gotta do to be in with a shot to win is to ‘like’ this post between NOW and 11:59pm Sunday 16th 2012 (KST).

Winner will be posted on Monday!

Moving on.

***

A little boy and little girl have been fighting in my class all week.

Tuesday:

Girl: ‘Yes, he doesn’t.’

Boy: ‘YES, HE DOESN’T?!!!’

Girl: ‘NO!!!’

Boy: ‘Why are you angry with me?!!’

They stopped talking.

Thursday:

All the kids are standing in a line to get their workbook corrected. Suddenly I hear:

Boy: ‘WHY ARE YOU ANGRY WITH ME?!!’

I looked over and he’s staring at the little girl. I glance back down at the workbook I’m correcting and suddenly the little girl falls out of the line.

Boy: ‘YOU are OUT of the line!’

I still have no idea what they’re fighting about.

***

Me: ‘Ou snow!’

Kid 1: ‘I don’t like snow.’

Kid 2, to Kid 1: ‘You’re old.’

***

Me: ‘Who’s your favorite sports star or movie star or model or tv star?’

Kid: ‘I don’t like entertainers.’

***

After explaining to my grade ones what ‘son’ means.

One little boy: ‘I have a son.’

Me: ‘No, you don’t.’

Boy: ‘YES, I DO!’

And then he mimics rocking a baby.

***

Kid: ‘What’s your Korean name?’

Me: ‘I don’t have a Korean name.’

Kid 2: ‘Kimchi Teacher.’

***

Last week, the kids had a sub teacher for the day as I was off school. Sub teachers generally half teach the lesson and mainly play games. They also don’t discipline and the kids loved it because he didn’t know the seating chart so the kids all sat with their friends and spoke Korean.

Kid: ‘You like Christmas’

Me: ‘Yeah, I’m going to Ireland for Christmas.’

Kid: ‘Really?’

Me: ‘Yeah, for six days.’

Kid 2: ‘JOHN TEACHER?!!’ (the sub)

Me: ‘No.’

All the boys: ‘JOHN TEAC-HER!’

All the girls: ‘JENNY TEACHER!’

Me: ‘No new teacher. No class.’

Entire class: ‘YAY!!’

Me: ‘You know we’ll be on vacation right? I’m going to Ireland during vacation week.’

Entire class: ‘Awwwwww…’

***

We’re reading a story about a parrot named Pippin who flies away from home (and to be fair, if I had Princess Emily as an owner, I’d fly away too!).

Me: ‘Why’s Emily sad?’

Kid: ‘Where’s Pippin.’

Me: ‘Good. Pippin is gone away. And where is Pippin?’

A kid leaps from his seat: ‘HERE!!!’ and then he flaps around the classroom.

***

Me, readying the listening class: ‘Ok, now we’re gonna listen…’

Kid: ‘To music?’

Me: ‘No.’

***

Me: ‘Everybody…’

Kid: ‘Kung Fu Fighting!!’

***

Me: ‘What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? And you can’t say money.’

Kid: ‘Cash.’

***

While I’m giving out candy treats, Kid: ‘I don’t like candy. I like cake.’

***

A little girl’s tooth falls out. I naturally make a scrunchy face when she tries to show it to me, then I give her tissue for the blood, ask if she’s ok, she’s smiling and nods, proud of her little tooth.

Other kid: ‘NURSE!! NURSE!!!’

Me: ‘Shhhh, stop. She’s fine. She doesn’t need a nurse.’

The little girl is sitting back at her seat by now staring at her tooth smiling.

I point at her. She gives a thumbs up.

Other kid: ‘NURSE!!’

Me: ‘She’s. Fine!’

Kid next to her: ‘Congratulations!’

A few minutes later, she volunteers to read (they were practicing role plays when her tooth fell out). She had tissue wadded in her mouth.

Kid 2: ‘GUM!!!’

Me: ‘Her tooth fell out, it’s tissue.’

Kid 2 nods while I’m thinking where were you a minutes ago when we were all discussing her tooth falling out?!

***

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‘Robot Making Class’ – Quote Friday – 11/16

The best of this week’s quotes from my elementary students in South Korea (and some thrown in from friends too)

To kick us off for anyone who’s following, I’m currently at 25,618 words in the NaNoWriMo novel.

I’ll post an excerpt next week.

Maybe.

***

While teaching, ‘I wish I could…’:

Kid 1: ‘I wish I could fly a helicopter.’

Kid 2: ‘You no fly a helicopter! It’s dangerous!! You…ahhhhhhhh…’

Kid 3, lying on his desk: ‘I wish I could go home!!’

***

Same class, yesterday:

While doing finish the sentence: ‘If I could do anything, I would…’

Kid: ‘Stay home.’

***

While telling me three things their partner would do:

Kid: ‘If she could do anything, she would hit Helen.’

Helen, the kid sitting in front of him turns around and stares at him.

Kid: ‘Really.’

Me: ‘What ELSE does your partner want to do?’

Kid: ‘If she could do anything, she would hit me.’

His partner nods.

Me: ‘And the third thing?’

Kid: ‘Only those two.’

***

Me: ‘You have other classes after school, right? Like piano and violin and robot making class. What’s the robot making class called?’

Kid, deadpan: ‘Robot Making Class.’

***

Me, to the naughtiest kid in my grade one class: ‘Martin, stop talking. Stop moving. Stop doing everything. Just sit. Quietly. And stop moving about.’

He sits still.

I turn to write on the board.

Kid sitting near him: ‘Teacher Martin SMILING!!’

***

I have ‘Daiso’ written on my hand in small, black writing to remind myself to go to ‘Daiso’ store after work. One of my grade one little girls is at my desk getting her worksheet corrected. She points at my palm and looks at me quizzically.

Me: ‘My note.’

I hand her her worksheet and she sits down. A few minutes later she returns and shows me her palm. In small, tiny black writing in the exact same spot as me she’d written her name.

Kid: ‘MY note.’

***

While watching a video about Koko, the talking Gorilla, and her owner, who’s a woman. They hug.

Kid: ‘They married?’

Me: ‘No.’

Kid 2: ‘She’s old.’

Like that’s the ONLY reason the woman and the gorilla aren’t married.

***

Kid: ‘Teacher, you boyfriend?’

Me: ‘Yes.’

Kid: ‘Handsome?’

Me: ‘Of course.’

Kid looks at me skeptically.

Kid: ‘Picture?’

Me: ‘No.’

***

Me: ‘I don’t understand why people say ‘quick like a bunny’. Didn’t the bunny lose the race?’

***

The Canadian One and I are going on a date tonight. During the week, we were discussing which restaurant to go to.

Him: ‘There’s a French restaurant but there’s muscles there and you don’t like them.’

Me: ‘I swear to God, for a second, I thought you meant strong people.’

***

Ever since I soaked The Canadian One’s shirt in Vanish OxyClean overnight and it removed every single trace of stains, he’s taken to soaking a range of white clothing in a bid to make them shiny and bright. It works. I’d highly recommend it.

I’m in the kitchen while the The Canadian One is hunting around for something. Upon the realization that we own three whisks of the same size, he commandeers a broken one and discovers we can use the broken whisk to stir the clothes in the bucket of water in the bathroom.

Him: ‘Oh my God, this is great!! Look! You can swish it around and look, I don’t get it on my hands.’ (waaaay more excited than one should be about the removal of stains from clothing)

I look in through the bathroom door to see him poking a white hoodie in a bucket, submerging it and, then when it floats back to the top, submerging it again.

Him: ‘This is great!’

I scrunch up my face at him.

Him: (with a slight hint of sarcasm) ‘Oh yeah, if you’re gonna include this in your quotes I’d love to see how you’re gonna explain it to people.’

Challenge accepted aaaaaaaaaaaaand completed. BOOM.

***

From April Lynn Amador:

***

From Joe Jenkinson and his kindergarten students:

Does this kid know how to pad out their homework or what?

‘Today I’m going to talk about two days. Two days means Saturday and Sunday. For example, if today was Monday, two days will be Monday and Tuesday. To tell you closely it means today and tomorrow. But today I will tell you about my weekend. I wrote about more than one day. I will tell you about my weekend. I will tell you about Saturday and Sunday. My grandma came.’

***

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‘Throw in giant spiders.’ – Quote Friday 11/09

This week, well last week to be more exact, I started NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, in which participants aim to write a 50,000word novel in a month. I’m currently at 12,515words which isn’t bad but isn’t good as my target for today is to be at 15,000words minimum. As a result, updates this month will be few and far between, unless we get approved for my Canadian visa, then you’ll know ALL about it!

Speaking of NaNoWriMo, I’ve spent a lot of time staring at my blank screen this week and The Canadian One has done his best to help:

The Canadian One’s advice for the blank page: ‘White is the color of peace…and loneliness.’

***

Me: ‘I’ve become stucked.’ (not a word, let’s not panic)

Him: ‘Throw in giant spiders. That’s gotta be at least four pages just describing them.’

***

Me: ‘I’m seven words off my target.’

Him, counting on his fingers: ‘And then they lived happily ever after…I can’t believe that’s actually seven!’

***

At dinner, guy: ‘Stop humping the furniture….You have no idea how many times people say that to me at parties.’

***

Also at dinner, South African girl: ‘Where are you from?’

Me: ‘Ireland.’

Her: ‘North or south?’

Me: ‘South. Dublin.’

Her: ‘I didn’t know Dublin was south!! Say ‘car”

Me: ‘Car.’

Her, looking more disappointed that I’ve ever seen anyone  my entire life, ‘No, you don’t say it the way my friend does.’

***

WTF moment of the week:

The Canadian Immigration office in Seoul sent me a letter requesting my address. A letter!

***

Little girl to little boy annoying her: ‘You are a bad child!’

***

Kid, instead of saying ‘Oh my God!’: ‘OH MY GRANDFATHER!!’

***

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‘Hey, don’t call people pandas!’ – Quote Friday 10/26

The best of this week’s quotes from my elementary students in South Korea (and some thrown in from friends too)

Not a quote but WTH? I read this this morning:

On to the quotes:

A kid arrives and stares at the collection of pumpkins we have by the window:

Kid: ‘Teacher!! Pumpkin village!!!’

***

While calling attendance:

Me: ‘Alicia?’

Kid: ‘She’s snowboarding.’

Me: ‘What?’

Kid: ‘No, I don’t know where she is.’

***

Pointing at one of the kid-made bats on the door:

Kid: ‘Ugly duckling!’

***

Me, to a boy and a girl fighting: ‘Hey, don’t call people pandas! It’s not nice!’

***

The Canadian One, re the giant bug he just killed and my gasp of horror that he’d killed it and not trapped it and released it like I usually do: ‘He had too many legs, he had to die.’

***

The Canadian One re Alec Baldwin’s ever-changing hairstyles in 30 Rock: ‘Does he do that to f**k with me?!!’

***

A grade one kid runs into my classroom.

Little Boy: ‘Today test?’

Me: ‘Yes.’

‘Word test?’

‘Yes.’

‘Omelette? Tea? Peach?’

‘Yes.’

‘YESSSSS!!!’

He was the only one who studied and then got 100% in the spelling test. Awwwwww!

***

The Canadian One and I are constantly saying funny, but adult-centered things to each other.

Him: ‘You should do an adult version of Quote Friday…people would buy that!’

***

This happened:

‘I order burritos online. Burritos arrive at 9:50am, frozen. I take one burrito to school. I spend morning poking burrito to see if it’s defrosted yet. I wait. I poke. I wait. I hold it. I get bored with holding it and put it on my desk. I stare at it. I poke. I deem it safe to eat. I eat it. And that’s been my morning thus far…I watched a burrito defrost.’

and this happened:

‘While walking to school this morning, I saw some kids running across the playground and immediately thought ‘F**k, I couldn’t run like that if I was being chased by a bear!”

***

DON’T FORGET, IF YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO ADD ABOUT YOUR CAT, A CAT STORY (FICTION IS OK) TO ‘CAT WEEK: LIKE SHARK WEEK BUT FLUFFIER’ SEND IT TO US: jenny@theketchupwar.com

We got a guest post spot over on 2Kilosof Bread, check it out: Guest Post from The Ketchup War

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‘I am from Martian land’ Quote Friday 10/12

The best of this week’s quotes from my elementary students in South Korea (and some thrown in from friends too)

Me: ‘On Wednesday, you have your mid-term test.’

Kid: ‘No.’

Me: ‘That wasn’t a question.’

Kid: ‘Ohhh….no.’

***

We come to an article titled, The Blue Planet, in our book.

Me, reading the title: ‘The Blue Planet.’

Kid, interrupting: ‘I don’t like The Blue Planet.’

Me: ‘You don’t like The Blue Planet? Do you know what it is?’

Kid: ‘Yes. I go there when I was 5 years old.’

Me: ‘Ummm, no, no, The Blue Planet is Earth. We live here.’

Kid: ‘I know. I am from Martian land.’

And she was doing all this with such a straight face and I wasn’t sure if she was messing with me or not.

***

Was wearing my Angry Bear (The Canadian One’s band – Hwanan Gom in Korean) t-shirt to school. I turn to write something on the board. Grade one little girl: ‘Hwa…nan…Gom….Hwanan Gom!!!’ and then she bursts into laughter

***

I take my hair out of the ponytail to cover the Korean on my t-shirt.

Kid: ‘Teacher, it’s curly and messy hair.’

Dammit. I knew I shouldn’t have taught them that!!

***

Entire class, chanting: ‘Angry Bear! Angry Bear!’

Kid, looking at the bear on my shirt: ‘He’s no angry. He’s sad.’

***

Girl 1: ‘Hwanan Gom!’

Girl 2: ‘ANGRY BIRD!!!’

Girl 1: ‘…no…’

***

Regarding my mother arranging a surprise trip for me:

Me: ‘I messaged everyone to tell them I was excited about going to the races!’

Mam: ‘THEY DON’T KNOW!!’

Me: ‘WTF? Why do I know?!’

Mam: ‘I told them we’re going SOMEWHERE. I also told them to keep it a secret.’

Me: ‘Aaahhh…I should message them back and explain then…I’ll go do that.’

***

This is why people should be glad I don’t get to vote…ever:

Me: ‘When do we find out who wins this election in America? Is it like the same day or is it weeks later like on The X Factor?’

The Canadian One: ‘The US election is NOT like The X Factor.’

***

I run the Korean chapter of a South African charity here in Korea. We put on a music festival in Seoul each December to coincide with World AIDS Day (Dec 1st). We’ve raised roughly $8,500 each year (at an event that lasts maybe 4-5 hours). As a result, I spend much of October and November being interviewed by various media outlets and while I do have my stock answers prepared for almost every question, this is one I was asked last week and what I said…and then what I almost said.

Interviewer: ‘What would you say to someone who is on the fence about attending or volunteering? Why should he/she attend or volunteer?’

Me: ‘It’s a great night out and Little Travellers is an awesome organization to volunteer for. Plus you meet some wonderful people. A lot of my friends are through Little Travellers. I met my boyfriend at a Rubber Seoul event when I was a volunteer. My friend met her boyfriend when she volunteered at our photo scavenger hunt! Another friend met his girlfriend at last year’s Rubber Seoul when they were both volunteers! We like to joke ‘Little Travellers brings people together’ but it really does! You get to meet these fantastic, like-minded people out to have a good time and help a great cause and who come from all walks of life and it’s just such an excellent opportunity to meet new people.’

It took everything in my power not to add:

‘Cos there’s nothing drunk people love more than cheap drinks, good music and a chance to hook up all in the name of charity. Oh and we also give out free condoms on the night.’

But it’s true.

***

DON’T FORGET, IF YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO ADD ABOUT YOUR CAT TO ‘CAT WEEK: LIKE SHARK WEEK BUT FLUFFIER’ SEND IT TO US: jenny@theketchupwar.com

***

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Tuesday Timewasters – Gangnam Style – 10/09

Gangnam_Style_PSY_28logo
(Photo credit: KOREA.NET)

Mam calls me all excited a few weeks ago:

‘Jenny, there’s this song on the radio and you’ll never guess!!! You’ll never guess what it is!!’

‘Is it in Korean?’

‘YES!!!’

‘Is it Gangnam Style?’

‘YES!!!’

‘Yeah….’

‘Do you know it?!!’

Sigh…(Psy?).

While for me, hearing ‘Gangnam Style’ over and over and over again in every establishment in Korea that has working electricity is pretty annoying after the first 5 million times, for my mother all the way in Ireland, I’m willing to bet it was a bit of a head-f**k to hear a Korean pop song on her radio in her house in Dublin.

Last night she rang to ask if I’d seen this week’s X Factor. When I replied ‘no’, I got told:

‘You’ll love it. They all came on stage to Gangnam Style!!!’

Regular readers may remember, I live in Gangnam. The actual Gangnam. The one in the song. Except I live in the part with the hookers and the meat restaurants. Regular readers will also notice Duck Boats make an appearance in the video, as well as the merry-go-round from my Cherry Blossom Date.

So here, for your viewing timewasting pleasure are my favorite ‘Gangnam Style’ videos from around the web, excluding the original which has racked up an impressive 412,216,320 views at time of writing.

Happy Timewasting!

***

First up, and in a nod to the upcoming ‘Cat Week: Like Shark Week But Fluffier’ (more details below), some genius decided to mix cats and Gangnam style. Sent in by The Canadian One.

***

In what is quite possibly the BEST EVER cover of ‘Gangnam Style’, an acoustic version by a Korean band called ‘Ra-On’:

***

Over the years, the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC) hasn’t shied away from controversy, the most notable being centered around it’s dancing exercise program. Located in Cebu Province, Phillippines, the prison’s inmates learn and perform dance routines as part of their rehabilitation. The most famous dance routine the inmates have had was ‘Thriller’ in 2007, causing Time Magazine to place their viral video fifth in their ‘Top 10 Most Popular Viral Vidoes.

Though the inmates have largely stayed out of the public eye in recent years, on September 29th 2012, they returned to our You Tube screens with their rendition of ‘Gangnam Style’.

***

Then there’s the Oregon Marching Band rendition:

***

Even Britney got in on the action, getting a lesson in dancing from the man himself.

***

And so did this mom and son…OMG I love them!!

***

One of the more random parodies I came across: ‘Gunman Style’. Though it’s racked up almost 10 million views, so that’s impressive.

‘You can’t run from sweet justice.’

***

Meanwhile, in Indonesia, 1,000 people jumped into a fountain and went all ‘Gangnam Style’:

***

14 lifeguards make a ‘Gangnam Style’ video. Then they are fired. Then their story goes viral. Man, all that video does is kinda make me wanna visit the water park! Check it out:

***

And finally, courtesy of Jewish News One, comes the story of a 10 month old kid who won’t eat unless ‘Gangnam Style’ is playing…And that’s quite possibly one of the best sentences I’ve ever written!

***

And don’t forget, coming Oct 29th-Nov4th, ‘Cat Week: Like Shark Week But Fluffier’. Have YOU got a cat story you wanna share? Send it to us (no more than 500-600 words with two pictures) to jenny@theketchupwar.com.

***

Still got time to waste? For more Timewasters, check out:

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comedy entertainment food funny humor Korea South Korea

WTF Shopping Item #1

Saw these in E-Mart (like Wal-Mart but Korean): ‘Turtle Melon Bread’

‘Turtle Melon Bread’
Categories
comedy entertainment funny humor kids Korea quotes South Korea

RE: Obama: ‘I don’t wanna see his mustache all over the TV.’ – Quote Friday 10/05

The best of this week’s quotes from my elementary students in South Korea (and some thrown in from friends too)

Firstly, this is only my second day at school this week due to Korean Thanksgiving so I ain’t got a lot to share but my students DID do writing work during the break and came up with some gems during their written work.

Before all that, a note pinned to the wall outside our local bar explaining it’s closed for Thanksgiving:

***

Kid: ‘I don’t like buddism because I go to church.’

***

Kid: ‘Today is my mom and dad wedding anniversary but I’m not give my present but my parents say ‘we’re precious in your and be born’. That time my heart is moved and my heart happy cry.’

***

Kid, re: Costco trip: ‘There were many people so I experience inconvenience.’

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From my mother, who’s a music teacher in Ireland:

While teaching a kid what an octave is:

Mam: ‘Ok, think of an octopus? How many legs does an octopus have?’

Kid: ‘Three!’

***

From April and her 7-year-old kindergarten students:

Kid: ‘Teacher, did you vote for Obama?’

Rich Teacher, joking: ‘Did YOU for Obama?’

Kid, thinks: ‘Nah, I don’t like his mustache. I don’t wanna see his mustache all over the TV.’

***

***

***

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‘Teacher, STOP TALKING!’ – Quote Friday 09/28

The best of this week’s quotes from my elementary students in South Korea (and some thrown in from friends too)

Due to this week being Chuseok, Korean Thanksgiving, we get the next five days off! Yay! Traditionally, gift sets of shampoo, Spam, beauty products, alcohol etc are given as gifts. The Canadian One gets a gift from his school every year.

Me, noticing we’re running out of cooking oil: ‘Do you think your school will give you oil this year?’

Him: ‘I dunno.’

The following day, he arrives home with this:

Free oil!! Yay!

***

Me, while doing a unit on ‘should get’: ‘What should I get my brother for his birthday?’

Kid: ‘A girlfriend.’

***

Two boys are slapping each other.

Me: ‘BOYS!!! What ARE you doing?’

They stop and gently slap hands.

Kid: ‘High five?’

***

Kid: ‘Teacher, STOP TALKING!’

***

Me: ‘What’s a mystery?’

Kid: ‘How to make a baby.’

***

Me: ‘Who made the pyramids?’

Kid: ‘Aliens. Aliens built pyramids.’

***

We can hear my co-teacher yelling loudly at her class next door.

Kid: ‘Sasha angry. BIG angry.’

***

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‘Oh teacher, your font is very good.’ – Quote Friday 09/21

The best of this week’s quotes from my elementary students in South Korea (and some thrown in from friends too)

I write something on the whiteboard.

Kid: ‘Oh teacher, your font is very good.’

***

flag of Denmark
Denmark!

I draw a window on the board.

Kid: ‘Ou, Denmark!’

***

During a test, two boys are talking:

Me: ‘What are you doing?!’

Kid 1: ‘A test?’

***

Two boys are fighting while a girl watches. I look at her. She points at them.

Little Girl: ‘Gay style.’

***

Rumors spread through the school that the school had hired a ‘hot, Chinese-American boy’ as the new official school English teacher. This is two days later:

Kid 1: ‘Oh teacher, we have new English teacher.’

Me: ‘Really?’

Kid: ‘Yes, Haley Teacher.’

Me: ‘Oh, a girl?’

Kid: ‘No, a boy.’

Me: ‘Haley’s a girl’s name.’

Kid 2: ‘No, it’s not.’

Me: ‘Fine.’

Kid: ‘Oh, teacher, you and Haley teacher, together, love.’

Me: ‘Um…no.’

Kid: ‘Do you have boyfriend?’

Me: ‘Yes.’

Kid: ‘Is he Korean?’

Me: ‘No, he’s Canadian.’

Kid: ‘Oh, Haley teacher too! Oh, teacher, boyfriend change. Canada. Canada. Boyfriend change!!!’

Me: ‘I don’t think my boyfriend would like that.’

Kid: ‘Think about it.’

Me: ‘OK.’

***

Kid: ‘You have smart eyes.’

***

Me: ‘Do you like the beach?’

Kid: ‘No, I don’t like jellyfish but they are nice in salad.’

***

A kid tries to hand me something stupid.

Me: ‘No thanks.’

Kid: ‘In Korea culture, you should take a gift.’

***

I hand a kid a piece of candy. She looks at me, smiles and says: ‘Always look on the bright side.’

***

I throw the pen onto the desk after marking the homework as I didn’t need it anymore.

Kid: ‘Oh teacher, bad habit!’

***

A kid is messing about in class. I tell him to stop.

Kid sitting in front of him: ‘Hit him!!’

Me: ‘I can’t hit students. I’m not allowed.’

Kid 1: ‘I’ll do it!!’

Kid 2: ‘Me first!!!’

Me: ‘Stop, no…No-one’s hitting anyone!’

***

At pub quiz, answering a question regarding who sings the song that was just played:

Me: ‘Kelly Rowland.’

The Canadian One: ‘From X Factor?’

***

Me, upon receiving a text, to The Canadian One: ‘Ou, Ursula and Amy invited me over on Saturday to watch Magic Mike, eat pizza and drink vodka. I’m in!’

Pause.

Me: ‘Magic Mike is the stripper movie.’

Pause.

Me: ‘I don’t think they actually appear naked in the movie. I think it’s just about a dude who is a stripper.’

The Canadian One: ‘It’s OK. I don’t think stripper Mike is gonna jump outta the TV and rape you.’

***

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Categories
comedy funny humor Korea South Korea

You want me to insert that…WHERE?!

First Aid Symbol

Here’s how the conversation went:

Me: ‘I feel like I need to write a blog post about this. I SHOULD WARN OTHER PEOPLE!!’

The Canadian One: ‘Lol. Civic duty!’

Me: ‘I know!! IT’S MY DUTY TO WARN THE OTHER FOREIGNERS!! Have you ever heard of anyone having this done?! I HAVE NOT!’

The Canadian One: ‘I think so..or I might be thinking of when I worked at the pet store!’

This was Wednesday morning and I had just been for my mandatory yearly Korean-job medical check to get my medical certificate to work. Every job I’ve ever been in in Korea has made me have a medical test during my first week on the job.

The first time it went a bit like this. Myself, my head teacher from Canada and our school director’s husband who spoke no English other than ‘Get out of the car’ and ‘Take off your clothes’…No comment…all took the trip together. I had a chest x-ray, I peed in a paper cup and I had a blood test. Now, the first thing about getting tested in Korea is this: you pee in a small paper cup that is identical to the ones I drink my teeny coffees from at school each day

Once half full, you take the open-topped paper cup back to where you got it, in the room full of patients waiting to get their own paper cups to urinate in. You place it on a tray with a plethora of other paper cups filled with liquid in various shades of the yellow spectrum.

Then you go up to a desk next to two other people and have your blood drawn, trying not to cringe too much because the two people on either side of you are getting the same thing and there’s an entire room full of people watching you, impatiently waiting for their turn at the needle.

The next thing to be done is the chest x-ray. You change your top half into a gown and proceed to stand, arms in the air, hold your breathe and it’s done. It’s worth noting always always remember to wear a skirt and top or jeans and a top. You do not wanna confuse them by wearing a dress and have the nurses mildly panic at what they’re going to give you to wear on the bottom once your dress is off.

My second test a year later was the exact same, different hospital, but also included a vision test, a hearing test and a blood pressure test.

My third almost didn’t happen. Having been told I didn’t need it, I happily went home for two weeks only to return and be told I was to head to the hospital that week for my medical check-up. Knowing I already had my visa, I enquired about what exactly this test was for, specifically.

My Manager: ‘Drugs…and AIDS.’

Medicine drugs

Of course. I should have known. Ireland: Known for their drugs and AIDS. I made my appointment, went for my test and was surprised the total came to 150,000won ($135). Luckily, it was one of those things my company had agreed to reimburse me for in advance so I wasn’t exactly out of pocket for too long.

This fourth time, I’m working at a public elementary school and as I’m the first foreigner the school has ever hired by itself and not through any sort of program or third-party, they’d had me trying my best to adhere to the Korean application process. All my application forms were in Korean. All information I get from the school is in Korean and translated into English by my co-teacher. All my contracts and official visa processing documents are all in Korean too which has made that Google Translate App on my iPhone all the more useful.

On Monday, I got a list of documents I have five days to find, gather, copy and hand in. On the list are the usual suspects: degree, bank details, CELTA certificate, Alien Registration Card, worker certificates (apparently something every Korean has and it’s incredulous that I, the foreigner, don’t have one from every job I’ve ever worked at…ever….) and finally, a clean health certificate dictating I have no illnesses, AIDS, drugs or disease that will affect my working ability.

Knowing what getting the certificate entails, I agreed to go to the local community health center next to my school to get it done. Firstly, when I walked in, I was greeted by a security guard who made a beeline for me. While trying to help me fill in my forms, he took to yelling at me in Korean because God knows if someone doesn’t understand what you’re saying while you’re using your indoor-voice, the next logical step is the yell at them loud enough for the people on the 6th floor to hear.

A receptionist came to my rescue, took my ID card and did everything for me. I was due to have three tests: blood, pee and chest x-ray I assumed. I was handed back over to the trusty security guard who brought me to my first test: the chest x-ray. Luckily, no English wasn’t a problem as I’d done this before and knew exactly what to do. Five minutes later, it was off to the blood test in a small little room nearby.

Q-Tip

An old Korean man sat behind a desk drawing blood from a young university aged girl while I sat on the chair nearby waiting. When it was my turn, I went to the desk, sat down and gave my name. He printed out three stickers with my details on them. He stuck one to a blood vile, one to a paper cup and one to a small tube with a long Q-tip in it.

I stared at it.

What….was….this….?

I had my blood drawn and was handed the paper cup. The man then took the cotton swab out of the tube and stood up.

This is exactly how it sounded to me:

Man: ‘Korean korean korean korean korean korean korean ANUS korean korean korean.’

Me: ‘I’m sorry…what?!’ (exactly what I said)

Man: ‘….Tip…’ (pointing to the tip of the cotton swab) ‘…anus….insert…tip…anus…’

….And then he did a demonstration over his clothing.

So, here I am, 10am on a Wednesday morning watching an old man demonstrate how to put a Q-tip in my ass while an old male security guard watches with a serious look on his face.

First thought: How am I gonna do this?

Second thought: I can’t wait to tell The Canadian One about this!

I wandered off to the bathroom and return five ten minutes later, having walked across the floor of the health center with my pee in a paper cup and my tube of…Q-tip.

I was then deposited back to the reception area. I’m returning Tuesday to pick up my results…of what I don’t know.

As I work a public school, I knew I wouldn’t be reimbursed for the medical certificate costs and began to despair at the fact that now not only was I beginning to think I may have done the butt test incorrectly and would be called next week to redo it, I was also about to be out $135.

When it came to pay, I was charged 1,500won ($1.30).

Uh huh, ONE dollar and THIRTY cents.

I often wondered what I’d do to save myself a bit of cash, or rather save myself $133.70 in cash. But alas, now I have my answer:

I would happily swab my ass with a Q-tip…Oh come on, like you wouldn’t!

Categories
comedy entertainment funny humor kids Korea South Korea

‘Giraffe is no tall.’ – Quote Friday 09/14

The best of this week’s quotes from my elementary students in South Korea (and some thrown in from friends too)

Guy to girl who’s just explained how a guy she recently went on a date with used the ‘let me tell your fortune’ line on her to hold her hand: ‘Uh huh, and then he’ll be like I wanna tell your fortune…from inside you…’

***

Same guy, during dinner in a fancy hotel: ‘Am I making too many orgy jokes?’

***

Guy: ‘There are plenty of girls who want to see my Google history.’

***

A kid draws all over the board messily with a board marker.

Other kid, gasps, ‘Teacher!! White board terror!!!’

***

Me: ‘What’s tall?’

Kid: ‘A giraffe.’

Me: ‘Very good!’

Kid 2: ‘Teacher, giraffe is no tall. Giraffe has long neck. It’s no tall.’

***

Some pictures from April Lynn Amador and her 6 year old Kindergarten students!

***

I call mam at 12:20am.

Mam: ‘I’m knitting you a hat. I wanna know what kinda hat you’d like.’

Me: ‘One with ear flaps. Like flaps that cover my ears.’

Mam: ‘Ok. Do you have a hat like that already?’

Me: ‘Yes. It’s got stuff inside it.’

Mam: ‘Oh lining. I can put lining in it.’

Me: ‘No, not lining.’

Mam: ‘Like the stuff in the hat I got you at Northface.’

Me: ‘No, it’s fluffy.’

Mam: ‘It’s lining.’

Me: ‘No, it’s not the same. It’s fluffy. It’s like…3D…I can pet it.’

Pause.

Mam: ‘You can pet it? Does it have a name? Do you feed it?’

Me: ‘I don’t want a hat anymore. Go away!’

We end the conversation and The Canadian One comes into the bedroom.

Him: ‘What was that about?’

Me: ‘She’s making me a hat. I was trying to describe that hat to her (pointing to my hat on the ground). I told her the fluff was 3D.’

Pause. He takes a deep breath.

Him: ‘You do realize the entire hat is 3D, right? I mean everything you touch is 3D.’

Pause.

Me: ‘Shut up!’

Mam calls back at 9:19am.

Mam: ‘I made you a hat. I sent you a picture.’

Me: ‘ALREADY?!!’

I check my phone.

Me: ‘IT HAS EAR FLAPS!!!!! YAAAAAY!!!’

TA-DA!!

***

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comedy entertainment funny humor Korea South Korea timewasters

Tuesday Timewasters – Did You Know About THIS?!! – Korean Theme Parks 09/11

***This article contains sexual references…if you think this will offend you, we suggest you stop reading now…OK, wait, you can read the first half of the article pretty safely but after that, you should probably leave. Don’t say TKW didn’t warn you and don’t email us complaining, please…Hi Mam!***

Did YOU know that there’s a park dedicated to toilets and poop near Seoul? Or a theme park dedicated to sex down south?…South Korea that is.

If not, then read on, my friend, read on.

There used to be a time when I would scrunch up my face at the mere mention of going to a sculpture park. I would say, ‘Ew, what? A sculpture park? And what can we do there? Will there be a rollercoaster? Candy? Alcohol? No? Then what’s the point?’. But alas, no more. Now, ohhhhh now, living in Korea has changed all that. Now, when someone mentions an excursion to a sculpture park I say, ‘What kinda sculpture park?’

Let me explain. You see here in Korea, we have a plethora of weird and wonderful sculpture parks. From the wonderful ice sculptures of Taebaek:

‘Luke, I am your ice sculpture’

To the weird bronze sculptures outside shopping malls:

To….this:


And then there’s the newly opened park revolving around toilets and Loveland, a theme park dedicated to sex.

…No, seriously.

Let’s start with the toilet park.

Based in Suwon, a mere 40 minutes from Seoul, and opened this past July 4th, ‘The Restroom Cultural Park’ is a park dedicated to all things…well, toilet related. There are bronze statues of people doing their business in the open:

And in a traditional house:

Also included on the trail around the park are ancient Korean flush toilets, Roman-style toilets, European bedpans and all the fun facts about poop you can just about stand.

Now, you maaaaaaay be thinking, WTH? But alas, this actually does have an interesting backstory to it. Firstly, the park is dedicated to the former mayor, Mayor Sim Jae-Duck, who died in January 2009. Mayor Sim was lovingly nicknamed ‘Mr. Toilet’ by the Korean people and not without its merits. Word has it, Sim was born in a toilet in his grandmother’s house and while in office, he became obsessed with public restroom cleanliness and hygiene. Everyone’s got a hobby, let’s not judge.

He founded the World Toilet Association in 2006 and devoted his life to ensuring everyone had access to clean public toilet facilities right up until his death. He was so enamored with toilets and all things toilet-related that he had his original house demolished and rebuilt as the world’s only toilet-shaped home.

Although that’s not where the toilet-fun ends on a trip to Suwon. The town also boasts many public restrooms as tourist attractions as seen in this tourist map:

I do have to say, having gone to pee in many a bathroom here in Korea, my favorite one was the one at the top of Seoul Tower. Not only is the view FANTASTIC, the place is clean and has some kinda glittery, disco ball feel to it. The Canadian One tells me in the men’s, the urinals are against the windows so you can go about your business and not miss any of the view.

***

Another interesting park Korea has to offer is, Loveland, a sex theme park situated on Jeju Island, an island off the south coast of Korea.

‘As the only sexual theme park in Korea Jeju Loveland is a place where sexually orientated art and eroticism meet. Jeju Loveland breaks the traditional taboos surrounding sex, and is a place where the visitor can appreciate the natural beauty of sexuality.’ – from their website

That pretty much sums it up really. I went there on an organised trip during a five-day break to Jeju around two years ago and found it an incredibly intriguing experience. Opened in November 2004 and designed by Hongik University students, Loveland truly is a MUST-SEE attraction if you’re in Jeju!

Giant Marble Penis which squirts liquid every so often…It’s worth knowing, there’s also a picture of me having climbed on top of it and standing on it but I didn’t wanna have to caption a picture ‘Me on top of a Giant Cock’…My mam reads this site! Hi mam!

I also once went to a sex museum in Amsterdam but that’s probably a story for another time.

Still got time to waste? For more Timewasters, check out:

Categories
entertainment Korea random South Korea

A Summer of Festivals: Rock-Do

Yeouido Floating Island Stage

And so as the summer draws to a close and I find myself having to don jeans for the first time since May, I think it’s time to look back at my summer of festival going. Despite my legs feeling weird wearing jeans yesterday, I did wake up this morning with a sunburnt face. Go figure.

Alas, yesterday was Rock-Do day, which any regular readers will notice was the festival I’ve had advertised in the sidebar for the past month (poster by Ursula Burgess togerty@gmail.com) and in spite of playing will-it-won’t-it-rain with the weather all week, the day went ahead as planned and nary a single drop of water fell from the sky. In fact, it was the perfect day to have it. Not too hot. Not too cold. Not too sunny you think you might die and need to go find shelter and a large bottle of water. The cloud cover gave way to a beautiful sunset in the evening and even with the night time chill, it was nothing a cardigan couldn’t solve. Taking place on Yeouido’s Floating Island Stage (uh huh a Floating Island Stage) the picturesque location made for a beautiful day of lazing by the riverside and watching some good music with friends and cheap beers.

Rock-Do, pronounced Rock-Doe (Rock도), is a first-year festival from the boys behind Exit6, a music promotions company set up by The Canadian One and The British Friend. Aiming to provide a way for dedicated supporters of the local music scene to check out their favorite bands without having to pay an exorbitant amount of money, Rock-Do was free. YAY! ‘Rock-Do’, in case anyone doesn’t know, is a play on words. ‘Rock’  meaning…well, ‘rock’ clearly, and ‘do ()’ meaning ‘island’.

Kicking off the event at 12:30ish was Ironic Hue quickly followed by Noisecat, who previously performed at that Art Show I went to where I bought a Turtle Teapot.

Next up were the BEARS!!

Angry Bear take to the stage

Well, Angry Bear to be precise, featuring the bear you’ll remember from this post and The Canadian and The British Friend on guitar and drums respectively. In the 30 minute set, they played three songs I love (although Canadian One if you’re reading this I enjoy all your band’s songs…moving swiftly on…). MOST importantly, they kicked off the set with this song, which is my second favorite.

After that was No Respect For Beauty (a band The Canadian One loves) and then Magna Fall, who are a three piece band which consists of two-third Irishness and one-third American.

Matt the Bear, Scott from Angry Bear, Neil from Magna Fall and June from No Respect For Beauty hang out near the band tent

Magna Fall and Angry Bear are friends and as a result, I see this trio a lot and they never fail to entertain. Koreans might remember them from Top Band, an American Idol-esque show they were briefly apart of earlier in the year. Since I was too busy drinking soju (a Korean form a vodka…to describe it very loosely) I took no photos of them on stage, so here’s one I took at Green Groove, a festival earlier in the summer.

Magna Fall @ Green Groove July 2012

Next up were Love X Stereo and Used Cassettes, which had Ironman show up unannounced during the latter’s set distracting the entire crowd including me and The Canadian One, who whipped out his iPhone to film the event. It was like a scene in a movie where the crowd is suddenly drawn to something in the corner of their eyes. They look to see something they don’t quite understand and think ‘What…is…that…?’…and then they stare, open mouthed as it gets closer and closer and even still, they don’t quite understand it. It was exactly like that. For me anyway. Even this morning, reviewing the photos, The Canadian One was enthusiastically claiming it was ‘awesome’, ‘amazing’ and ‘LOOK! What the f*&k?!’

After the commotion of IronAquaMan came a break in the bands for some belly dancing courtesy of Eshe and Navah from Dream Dance Studio. It’s worth noting ALL of the boys came out of the band tent for this one. All of them. Having never seen them perform before but heard a plethora of good reviews of their shows I was particularly excited to see them. I bailed on standing near the tent (and the boys) to go watch them from afar and became fixated on their colorful outfits and shimmying about. Even with the wind, the girls made the dances look floaty and effortless. We also all agreed if we looked as good as Eshe at 7 months pregnant, we’d all be very very happy!

Following the ladies was Vidulgi Ooyoo (meaning, literally ‘Pigeon Milk’) and then second to last to perform was Ynot?, the band I was most excited about playing! Their lead singer, Q, burst onto the stage like a giant ball of energy and had the crowd jumping and dancing within minutes of the first guitar cords being hit. Ending on a cover song (and an encore) and taking two runs off the stage and into the crowd, Ynot? were perhaps my favorite band of the whole event! Further proving there is nothing drunk people love more than dancing to upbeat cover songs by the riverside.

The Canadian One introduced me to Q after the show as ‘this is my girlfriend, Jenny. She loves you guys. She’s your biggest fan’. Q was polite, genuinely nice given that I was jumping up and down enthusiastically and animatedly telling him how much I liked his band. Of course, since the after party was in the bar he manages and I was on the door stamping patrons, I ended up seeing a lot of him during the night!

Closing out the night were The Strikers, finishing the event bang on time at 9pm and then it was off to the after party at Club Ta until 2:30am featuring The Rub, another favorite band of mine who’s 1st EP was released yesterday which features my favorite song of theirs so today I sit, patiently waiting for it to come online so I can type in my download code and dance around to it.

Overall, Rock-Do was a major success. No rain, awesome bands, great people. Months and months in the making, gathering bands, throwing fundraisers, marvelling at the extremely photogenic stage (Me: ‘What do you mean, it floats?’ Like a boat?’ – when The Canadian One first told me of the plan) and then day finally arrived and went off without a hitch or at least without a hitch that couldn’t be solved.

All of which begs the question, so boys, next year, Rock-Do 2013…it’s on, right?

For more information on Rock-Do or Exit6 events check out their Facebook pageor rockdoseoul.com.

Categories
comedy entertainment funny humor kids Korea quotes South Korea

‘Teacher’s head is sad.’ – Quote Friday 09/06

The best of this week’s quotes from my elementary students in South Korea (and some thrown in from friends too)

sun
Photo by Constantina Dirica

This week I started my new job. So far, so good….

***

Me to The Canadian One: ‘I don’t understand. If the sun is a star and all stars are suns, why aren’t the stars yellow and not white?’

***

While discussing people coming over to the house unannounced when the house is a mess:

The Canadian One: ‘Surprise visits aren’t surprised at all. They’re intrusions.’

***

Me: ‘I didn’t wanna hit you.’

Guy: ‘That’s not the first time a girl’s said that to me.’

***

Regarding Facebook pokes:

Guy: ‘The Internet: Made for being gay.’

***

Me: ‘What’s an adult?’

Kid: ‘A big human.’

***

Some kids are messing about in class.

Kid sitting behind them: ‘ACT YOUR AGE!!!’

***

On my first day:

Me: ‘What do you think a class rule is?’

Grade One kid who’s been learning English for 6 months: ‘PAY ATTENTION!!’

***

Kid looks at my frizzy hair.

Kid: ‘Teacher’s head is sad.’

***

Me: ‘Where am I from?’

Kid: ‘Mexico!’

Entire class stares at her.

Other kid, slowly to the first kid: ‘Ireland.’

***

Kid puts her hand up to answer a question. The kid next to her puts her hand up too. I pick the second kid.

First kid: ‘Oh teacher, I am disappointed in you.’

***

In Korea, all teachers are called by their first name plus teacher. So I am ‘Jenny Teacher’. While doing an introducing yourself unit in the book:

Me: ‘What’s my first name?’

Kid: ‘Jenny.’

Me: ‘What’s my last name? ‘

Kid: ‘Teacher!’

***

While doing a ‘What does she look like?’ task, the question is to fill in the blanks about your teacher.

In the book: ‘Mr. / Ms. ____________ is _______________.’ They’re supposed to write tall or short.

Me: ‘Ms….’

One little boy: ‘Mr?…Oh wait…no….wait….noooo….Ms….’

Me: ‘Eh,yes…Ok, Jenny is….’

Kid 2: ‘Friendly.’

Me: ‘Ha, thanks but tall or short?’

Kid 1 again: ‘Jenny is a she.’

Me: ‘I AM!! Well done!’

***

Kid: ‘I have Green’s homework….’

I look at him, confused. He looks at the book in his hand.

Kid: ‘Glenn’s….I have GLENN’S homework.’

***

Ridiculous Parental Interaction of the Week:

The basic points system in my class works like this: Get five points, get a stamp. Speak Korean, minus two points. Annoy me in general, minus one point. 42 stamps (co-teacher’s doing, not mine) and they get a present. Each class, the kids start with zero points and go up and down in points throughout the class. It’s a simple concept and kids take no more than five minutes to grasp it.

My second day, Tuesday: A kid, Nikita, speaks Korean to Ted, the kid next to her. I deduct two points from each of them. That afternoon I’m called into my co-teacher’s (CO-T) classroom.

Her: ‘Do you know Nikita? She was sitting with Ted?’

Me: ‘Yeah, I remember her.’

Her: ‘Her mom called. You minus her two points?’

Me: ‘Yeah, she spoke Korean.’

Her: ‘She went home and cried and she said it was the little boy next to her not her. So her mom called Ted’s mom to complain about Ted and then called us to complain about her minus points.’

Me: ‘Ok.’

Her: ‘She says she did not speak Korean. You must be mistaken.’

Me: ‘I’m not. She did.’

Her: ‘No, Nikita is a good student. I don’t think she would.’

Me: ‘No, I wouldn’t have deducted points from her unless she spoke Korean.’

Her: ‘I talked with her mom and she said Nikita says she didn’t. I told her it was your first time with the class and you confused the names and should have minus points from someone else. She wants you to give her her two points back.’

I look at her with a look that clearly says ‘Are you f*&king kidding me?’.

Me: ‘O…k….but it doesn’t work like that. It doesn’t mean anything. I took two points but it’s just in class. Like, I give points and then if they get five points they get a stamp. She didn’t have many points, it didn’t make a difference.’

Her: ‘You must give her two points.

Me: ‘But it doesn’t work like that. I mean, each class they start at zero.’

Her: ‘Give her two points. And comfort her.’

Me: ‘O…k….’

I leave.

I don’t teach that class on Wednesday.

Thursday: My CO-T comes into my classroom.

Her: ‘Today, you must give Nikita a present to say sorry.’ (Bare in mind, the kid got punished for speaking Korean in class when she knew she wasn’t supposed to, then went home and lied to her mom about it and now I had to give her a present to say sorry)

I blink and stare at my CO-T.

Me: ‘What kind of present?’ (I look around my desk) ‘I don’t think I have anything to give her.’

Her: ‘Just something. I told her and her mom you would give her a present today.’

She leaves and I find a chocolate cookie still in date in my desk.

I go into my CO-T’s classroom.

Me: ‘How do I give Nikita a present without all the other kids freaking out about not getting a present?’

Her: ‘They know. I explained to the class yesterday that you would be giving Nikita a present.’

I nodded slowly, wondering exactly what she told the kids I did wrong to warrant giving Nikita a present.

She takes out an empty stamp sheet and holds it in front of me.

Her: ‘When they are good, they get stamps. They like stamps. They are important because when they fill the stamp sheet they get some kind of present…’

Me, cutting her off: ‘I understand that.’

Her: ‘And you minus two stamps…’

Me, cutting her off again: ‘Points.’

She looks at me.

Me: ‘I took two points not stamps.’

Her: ‘You didn’t X out stamps?’

Me: ‘NO! I minused her two points. In my class they earn points and five points gets a stamp.’ I start drawing it on the board. ‘If they are naughty, I take away two points, not stamps.’

Long pause.

Her: ‘So this doesn’t matter? It was just two points?’

Me: ‘Yes!!’

She nods slowly, then laughs, then shakes her head in disbelief.

Her: ‘It doesn’t matter…’ (mainly to herself)

Me: ‘No. It doesn’t. Every class they start at zero. Nikita didn’t have enough points to get close to getting a stamp. It didn’t matter that I took two points. It made no difference to her.’

My CO-T shakes her head.

Pause

Her: ‘Remember to give her a present.’

I sighed, nodded and left.

Class time rolled round. Nikita got her present. I turned my back to write on the board, I hear kids talking in Korean at the back of the classroom where Nikita, Matt and Ted are sitting. I look at them. Matt looks guilty.

Me: ‘Matt!’

Matt: ‘Nikita!!’ (pointing at Nikita)

I look at Nikita who looks sheepish. I look at three other students also pointing out Nikita as the culprit. I sigh and continue with class not bothering to punish anyone the entire lesson.

***

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Categories
comedy entertainment funny humor Korea South Korea

The Typhoon That Wasn’t

Preparing for the typhoon

The Canadian One shows me a message on his phone.

Him: ‘KC says it depends on the typhoon. What typhoon?’

Me: ‘The one on Tuesday.’

Him: ‘There’s a typhoon coming?’

This was Saturday and the answer to that question was yes….and then eventually kinda.

The original warning for Typhoon Bolaven

On Monday, while Facebook was busy letting all the ex-pats know a typhoon was imminent, to batten down the hatches and prepare for the worse, some of us were more fixated on the news making announcements that all the schools were to be closed. Was my school going to be closed? Was I going to have a day off??

Korean schools rarely close. Ever. Apart from that freak snowstorm that happened over two years ago, no school I’ve ever worked for has had an unscheduled day off. And even on freak-snow-day, I went to school, sat around and was then eventually sent home. It’s so unusual people that still talk about it now in the same way they speak of leprechaun or government conspiracies. They adopt hushed tones like their day off will be revoked two years later.

‘Hey, were you around when all the school shut for that snow day?’

Although, the downside to that is, classes have been paid for and must be made up and so we all had to drag our asses into work on a Saturday to make up the missed classes.

Student: ‘I am not happy. I want to go home and play computer games.’

Me: ‘ME TOO!’

A typhoon warning was issued on Monday and by Monday night, most schools had announced closures except The Canadian One’s school who waited until 8am the following morning to make their decision.

I called my mam to warn her about the typhoon. The news in the UK and Ireland tend to dramatise everything that happens in Korea and I didn’t want her waking up thinking The Canadian One and I were going to be trapped in the apartment running dangerously low on beer water, with no power, no internet connection and with us both having iPhones, well, they’ll both be battery dead before midnight 10pm it gets dark.

Windows were taped up. Flags brought indoors. Texts sent by our schools with warnings to ‘stay indoors for safety’ and ‘not to go outside’. The Canadian One and I stocked up on emergency water, bread, milk, beer, cigarettes, soju and Doritos, the staples in life.

It was due to hit at 2pm.

2pm came and went.

3pm came and went.

The Canadian One and I ventured outside to buy coffee and check out the weather. Nothing was happening. A lone orange taxi crawled up the deserted street searching for customers. A beauty shop employee stepped through the automatic doors onto the street and looked up. She turned back to her colleague and shrugged.

We took pictures of trees and clouds. We bought our coffees and a new umbrella just in case.

Along the way, Typhoon Bolaven became Tropical Storm Bolaven and the streets of Seoul were deemed safe to wander. Not that I did any wandering of any kind. I stayed in my air-conditioned apartment watching 30 Rock.

We were lucky. We were safe in Seoul. Other parts of the country weren’t so lucky. Friends had their apartment windows smashed in. Others living on the 15th floor of an apartment block felt their building sway in the wind. For some, flooding was the order of the day.

Another typhoon warning was issued on Wednesday and yesterday and today we’ve been experiencing Typhoon Tropical Storm Tembin but alas it didn’t stop us venturing out for chicken and beer and moseying home at 1am on a school night.

In Tropical Storm Bolaven, we ventured out for coffee.

In Tropical Storm Tembin, we venture out for chicken and beer.

I guess it’s all about the important things in life, right?

Categories
comedy entertainment funny humor kids Korea quotes South Korea

‘Kids can be evil.’ – Quote Friday 08/31

The best of this week’s quotes from my elementary students in South Korea (and some thrown in from friends too)

And so ends my time at my current elementary school. A year has passed and a new school with new students awaits me on Monday. Having spent the day clearing out my classroom, watching the first 45 minutes of Monster’s Vrs Aliens three times and convincing my co-teacher that tossing out over 100 brand new books into the trash was not a good idea, I’d say my last day went quite well.

***

Recruiter: ‘How do you deal with naughty kids cos kids….kids can be evil.’

***

Me: ‘Can I see my contract?’

Employer: ‘Why would you want to see your contract?’

Me: ‘I’ve not read it yet.’

Employer: ‘Is there a problem?’

Me: ‘No, I’ve just not seen it yet.’

Employer: ‘I can’t show you yours…but I can show you someone else’s.’

***

After disappointing me by telling me I can’t print the stupid thing he just said:

The Canadian One: ‘Don’t worry, I’ll say something stupid by the end of the week.’

***

From The Canadian One’s kindergarten class:

Jets are flying by. We are close to an airport.

One kid: ‘Teacher, is that Zeus??’

Other kids: ‘Typhoon!!’

***

Me: ‘LUCAS STOP POKING KATE!!’

***

Kid: ‘Is b-boy a job?’

***

Me: ‘Name a job.’

Kid: ‘Mayor!!’

***

Kid, regarding the kid next to her: ‘TEACHER, he touching my pencil.’

I look. The other kid’s not doing anything.

Kid: ‘TEACHER, he touching my pencil….He touching MY BOOK…!!!’

I look again. The other kid looks at me and shrugs.

Kid: ‘TEACHER!!!’

Brainy Smurf
Putting in Oscar worthy performances

Me: ‘Alright, just stop whatever you’re doing. Stop touching her things.’

***

Me: ‘Who’s your favorite actor?’

Kid: ‘A Smurf.’

***

Trying to guess what the treasure is in the story we’re reading:

Me: ‘What’s the treasure?’

Kid: ‘It’s a golden penguin.’

I look at him. He’s pointing to the last page nodding.

Kid: ‘Golden penguin.’

***

To a class I genuinely think are a nightmare:

Me: ‘Next week you will have a new teacher.’

Kids: ‘Why?’

Me: ‘Jenny teacher will go to a new school.’

Kid 1: ‘Home?’

Me: ‘No, new school.’

Kid 2: ‘Are you happy?’

Me: ‘No, of course not. I’ll miss you guys.’

Kid 2, eyeing me suspiciously: ‘Why you smile?’

Me, smiling: ‘I’m not smiling.’

Kid 2 stares at me.

***

Me: ‘What makes you relaxed?’ (question in the book)

Kid: ‘Studying English makes me relaxed.’

Me: ‘Really?…’

Kid: ‘Yes, it’s very fun.’

***

Me: ‘Ok, you need to think of three questions you’d ask your favorite movie star if you met him or her.’

Kid: ‘What’s in the stadium?’

Pause.

Me: ‘What…stadium?’

***

While watching the opening credit of a movie, the 20th Century Fox logo comes on.

Little boy, reading: ‘Fox? (pointing at the screen) ‘WHY FOX?!!!’ 20th Century Fox CGI logo used from 1994 to 20...

***

Kid: ‘How do you spell TV?’

Kid next to him: ‘TTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV!!!!’

***

We’ve been reading a story about a parrot named Pippin who runs away and then eventually comes back. While watching ‘Rio‘:

Little boy, pointing at the parrot on the TV: ‘PIPPIN!!!’

***

Guy, describing a girl: ‘She looks like a creme egg.’

***

I’m on the phone with The Canadian One after a job interview:

Me: ‘Hang on…’

I put the phone at my side and placed an order at the coffee shop.

Me: ‘Hello?’

Him: ‘Are you at Manoffin (a muffin shop I frequent whenever I pass one)?’

I freeze.

Me: ‘HOW did you know that?’

Him: ‘You just ordered a latte and a glazed…thing…’

I looks around me holding my iced latte and glazed banana muffin convinced he could see me from somewhere.

***

The Canadian One and his friend are discussing music:

‘Michelle Pfeiffer killed rap metal.’

***

Kid: ‘Teacher, your boyfriend name?’

Me: ‘Ian.’

One kid looks at me, then stands up, walks across the room to where I keep all the Grade One workbooks and starts sifting through them. He pulls one out of the stack and holds it up.

Kid: ‘Like this?’

I look at the book. It’s from my student, Ian.

Me: ‘Yes…How…did…you know that I have a student called Ian?’

Kid: ‘I don’t know.’

He puts the book back.

Kid 2: ‘I…An.’

Me: ‘No…Ian.’

I write it on the board.

Kid 2: ‘Hahahahaha Teacher, change ‘n’ to ‘m’ and write one more time, I AM IAN.’

Then she laughed for a full 30 seconds.

***

Recruiter, after I told him I didn’t want the job he was offering: ‘I can’t handle this without you.’

Several more text messages and unanswered phone calls from him later and never have I been more convinced I made the right decision not to work with someone.

***

Submitted by Preston Wilson:

It’s so rewarding teaching children. This is a 7 year old writing a story in his second language. He is super into Medieval Hero’s!!! No edits. I type it as I see it, even grammar and spelling.

‘The young knigt Sairus

Sairus lived in house. One day he’s father died. he went to god’s king he wanted revange. Then darkness knight and Sairus fought. Last, god’s king and young knight fought. He blocked and blocked with the sword. He attacked and jump. He moved side way and attacked with amazing technique attack of the anger. then, he attacked 5 times and poke 2 times. He jump, block, move side way and block with sword. Last god’s king was stunned but 10 seconds latter he attacked! He tried to pocked but Sairus catch the sword and pocked the god’s king! Soon god’s king was dead. Tale is done. Done.’

His name is Andy! I love this kid so much!! Makes me feel amazing that he can write something like this.
***

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‘I’M NOT OK!!!’ – Quote Friday 08/24

The best of this week’s quotes from my elementary students in South Korea (and some thrown in from friends too)

Before I launch into this week’s Quote Friday, I just wanna point out an awesome website / wedding invitation that was sent to me (to look at, not to go to the wedding….just to be clear). It didn’t make it into this week’s timewasters but IT. IS. AWESOME. And may will make you cry…at your desk…in front of other people…cos it’s just so damn cute. Ketchup World, meet Jess and Russ.

Moving on.

Between job hunting, going for interviews and stalking the mailman waiting on a letter from Canada regarding my visa, I feel like I’ve not had a lot of time this week and am failing to believe that it is actually Friday today.

Yesterday:

Me, reading from the book: ‘What day is it today?’

Kid: ‘Tuesday.’

Me: ‘No, it’s Thursday.’

Kid: ‘It’s Tuesday.’

Kid next to her nods.

Me: ‘It’s not. It’s Thursday. Isn’t it? Is it? Wait, lemme check.’

Google confirmed, yes, yes it was Thursday. Kids still looked skeptical though.

This week also marked the last week of random arty/science classes and as such, I have spend the week being quite arty.

Not on purpose, mind you. I got forced into teaching a ‘Clay Cooking Class’ to a bunch of 7 year olds who spoke no, and I mean NO, English. Though thankfully they all understood not to eat the clay unlike those 7 year olds I had in science who tried to lick a battery.

God, kids are stupid.

Moving on.

Here is some of the arty crap I got to make this week:

Bibimbap, a traditional Korean dish

Meanwhile, The Canadian One and I had to do an airport run to pick up some newbies.

I made a sign.

He made a sign.

And although you may think his was better, he did look like ‘a sixteen year old waiting for Justin Bieber’ (- his words, not mine) and I didn’t.

***

I often wonder exactly what The Canadian One does all day at work. Luckily, his 6 year old kindergarteners write about it.

Women’s clothing….?

***

Boy: ‘Teacher, teacher, gaaaaame!! Let’s play Dancing Queen!!’

And with that he leaps from his seat into the middle of the classroom and starts disco dancing.

***

From The Canadian One:

The Canadian One: ‘Are you sure you’re a book helper?’ (to a kid handing out books, a job for kids dubbed ‘Book Helpers’)

6 year old kid: ‘Yes, trust me.’

***

After a listening task, I stop the CD.

Me: “Is everyone OK? Do we need to listen to it one more time?’

Class: ‘It’s ok. No.’

One kid: ‘I’M NOT OK!!!’

***

Splitting the class up for a game:

Me: “Kevin, you’re on Calvin’s team. Kitty, you’re with Lucas.’

Lucas: ‘YESSSS!!’

I look at him.

Lucas: ‘Kevin is not smart.’

***

The Canadian One: ‘Why is there bread in the recycling?’

Me: ‘Ohhhhh, yeah, I sometimes get confused in the mornings and I had the bread and the plastic thingy and I…I just put it all in the recycling.’

He stares at me.

Me: ‘I also put my pen in my lunch box….I’m not so good with the morning time.’

***

The Canadian One, after I explain why I need help downloading something: ‘You need a life coach.’

***

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Half A Year Of Ketchup

It’s been six months today that I started this website full of quotes, timewasters, ramblings and musings. Here’s a round-up of some of the top items on the site from the beginning.

To kick us off:

People Google the WEIRDEST stuff

Why are tadpoles in my toilet

One eyed jack squirts ketcup from eye

irish people using ketchup

how to break a coffee maker

phone scam vibrator

How to pay strippers in Canada

And along the same lines:

What part of Canada do strippers earn more money

A whole plethora of people Googled Women asking men to marry them on February 29th

Why your birthday is worth a day off school

Do Canadians drink coffee with ketchup? (DO THEY?!!)

How to stop timewasters and distractions (If they ended up here, they clearly didn’t achieve their original mission)

How do you spell crocodile pick up line

Kitten zombies

Picture of syringe crane

And finally:

Two of my friends’ FULL names were Googled also

***

Number 2: Timewasters 06/05

Top Five Timewasters

1. ‘Dear God, So who made the dinosaurs…’

2. Timewasters 04/05 and Part 2: 06/05

3. Tuesday Timewasters: The Viral Edition 06/19

4. Tuesday Timewasters 06/26

5. Tuesday Timewasters 03/13

***

Number 3: ‘Where’s the outcry? WHERE?!’

Top Posts

1. ‘I just forked my hair.’

2. ‘You know, girls can ask guys to marry them on February 29th.’

3. Where’s the outcry? WHERE?!

4. ‘I’ve taken up origami…’

5. ‘People are more into buffet religion nowadays.’

***

Top Quotes (excluding the Wall of Quotes)

1. ‘I did my homework with a paintbrush.’

2. ‘It’s so bling bling.’

3. ‘Relax!!!’

4. Top 11 Quotes from the Wall

5. ‘She’s a ninja.’

***

Number 1: Pork Burgers

Top Cookin’ in Korea

 1. Pork Burgers / Pork Meatballs / The BEST 4-Ingredient Tomato Sauce EVER

2. Oh-So-Simple Banana Bread

3. Cherry Muffins with Coconut Topping

4. Lucy’s Mum’s Chili Con Carne

5. The Om Nom Nomelette

Categories
comedy entertainment funny humor internet Korea South Korea timewasters

Half A Year Of Ketchup

It’s been six months today that I started this website full of quotes, timewasters, ramblings and musings. Here’s a round-up of some of the top items on the site from the beginning.

To kick us off:

People Google the WEIRDEST stuff

Why are tadpoles in my toilet

One eyed jack squirts ketcup from eye

irish people using ketchup

how to break a coffee maker

phone scam vibrator

How to pay strippers in Canada

And along the same lines:

What part of Canada do strippers earn more money

A whole plethora of people Googled Women asking men to marry them on February 29th

Why your birthday is worth a day off school

Do Canadians drink coffee with ketchup? (DO THEY?!!)

How to stop timewasters and distractions (If they ended up here, they clearly didn’t achieve their original mission)

How do you spell crocodile pick up line

Kitten zombies

Picture of syringe crane

And finally:

Two of my friends’ FULL names were Googled also

***

Number 2: Timewasters 06/05

Top Five Timewasters

1. ‘Dear God, So who made the dinosaurs…’

2. Timewasters 04/05 and Part 2: 06/05

3. Tuesday Timewasters: The Viral Edition 06/19

4. Tuesday Timewasters 06/26

5. Tuesday Timewasters 03/13

***

Number 3: ‘Where’s the outcry? WHERE?!’

Top Posts

1. ‘I just forked my hair.’

2. ‘You know, girls can ask guys to marry them on February 29th.’

3. Where’s the outcry? WHERE?!

4. ‘I’ve taken up origami…’

5. ‘People are more into buffet religion nowadays.’

***

Top Quotes (excluding the Wall of Quotes)

1. ‘I did my homework with a paintbrush.’

2. ‘It’s so bling bling.’

3. ‘Relax!!!’

4. Top 11 Quotes from the Wall

5. ‘She’s a ninja.’

***

Number 1: Pork Burgers

Top Cookin’ in Korea

 1. Pork Burgers / Pork Meatballs / The BEST 4-Ingredient Tomato Sauce EVER

2. Oh-So-Simple Banana Bread

3. Cherry Muffins with Coconut Topping

4. Lucy’s Mum’s Chili Con Carne

5. The Om Nom Nomelette

Categories
comedy funny humor kids Korea quotes South Korea

‘Ah, do you live Gangnam Style?’ – Quote Friday 08/17

The best of this week’s quotes from my life in South Korea 

Around three weeks ago, I was informed that the English teaching program at my school would no longer be continuing and I would have to search for a new job. Now, searching for a job is fine. I’ve job hunted lots of times in my life. I’ve job hunted when I had a job just to see if there was anything better out there. I’ve job hunted in Ireland, in England, in various other European countries but nothing, nothing, compares to job hunting in Korea. Nothing.

What’s important here isn’t qualifications. It’s isn’t experience, references or personality. It’s are you pretty and are you white, and mostly, are you male?

Questions I’ve been asked by recruiters:

Recruiter: ‘Are you a vegetarian? It’s very important to the school that you’re not a vegetarian.’

***

Recruiter: ‘Are you religious? They like Christians.’

***

Recruiter: ‘Do you have lots of friends?’

***

Phone rings once. I pick it up. It cuts off.

I get a text: ‘Call me for interview.’

I head to the desk to get a pen and paper to call the number back and write down any information the caller gives me.

Phone rings again.

‘Hello. I message you. You get my message?’

Me: ‘Yes, just now. I….’

‘Do you have Kakao talk? I only talk on Kakao talk.’

Me: ‘Ummm, well, yes but I don’t use it. Can’t we just talk on the phone? Like we are now. On the phone.’

‘Why you no use Kakao talk?’

Me: ‘I usually just talk to people on the phone. We can’t do that?’

‘No, we will communicate by email.’

And then he hung up. He’s since emailed me three time, called me four times and text me twice. He’s been flagged on my phone as ‘Crazy Person’.

***

I turn up to a job interview at a ubiquitous looking glass building.

Recruiter: ‘This is the 3rd largest church in Korea.’

Me: ‘It’s…what?!’

***

Recruiter: ‘Oh, I see you are Irish. I have Irish friends. When I go drinking with them, I always wake up and think f**k!!…Do you drink?’

***

Me: ‘I would like a job in Seoul.’

‘I have a job in Suwon.’

Me: ‘Suwon is not in Seoul.’

‘Suwon is in Seoul.’

Me: ‘No, it’s not. It’s far from Seoul.’

‘Suwon IS in Seoul.’ (Note: Suwon is NOT in Seoul)

Me ‘No, it’s too far.’

‘You can get to Seoul easily by train or subway. It’s very quick. It’s in Seoul.’

‘It’s not in Seoul…I lived in Cheonan. I know where Suwon is!’

Pause.

Her: ‘I will call you back.’

***

‘You have an apartment.’

Me: ‘Yes.’

‘You will move.’

Me: ‘No, I don’t want to. I want to stay in my apartment. It’s my apartment.’

‘You don’t want to move?’

Me: ‘No. I live in the apartment. I don’t want to move.’

‘Hmmmmm, but if you move you will be 2 minutes from school. Now you are 30 minutes.’

Me: ‘That’s ok.’

Loooooong pause like I’d just said the sky was green and it was about to rain kittens.

***

Trying to convince me to go to Cheonan, a 90 min journey south, to work.

Him: ‘Cheonan is not that far away.’

Me: ‘Yes it is. It’s a bus ride. A long bus ride. And I’d have to be with the kids 9 til 9.’

Him: ‘You will have Korean teacher.’

Me: ‘That’s not a help. It’s too far.’

Him: ‘It is short. Short bus journey. And then we will pick you up at the train station.’

Me: ‘I lived in Cheonan. I know where it is.’

Him: ‘You….you lived in Cheonan? Before?’

Me: ‘Yes, for two years.’

Pause

Him: ‘You don’t want to go to Cheonan?’

Me: ‘No, no I do not.’

***

And finally, asked during an interview when the interviewer noticed I live in Gangnam, an affluent area of Seoul’s elite (except I live in the part that’s not rich and elite and is full of meat restaurants and hookers):

‘Ah, do you live Gangnam style?!!’

Referring to this video, with it’s addictive beats and disco style, it’s been played constantly over here:

Now, while I don’t actually live ‘Gangnam-Style’, regular readers will notice the Duck Boats make an appearance in the video, as well as the merry-go-round from my Cherry Blossom Date.

***

This week, The Canadian One and I ventured to see Snowpatrol.

Mam: ‘I dunno why you like Snowpatrol.’

Me: ‘They’re Irish!’

Mam: ‘So is Jedward!!!’

***

Me: ‘I think I’ll have some peanut butter.’

The Canadian One: ‘We don’t have any peanut butter.’

Me: ‘I saw some in the fridge.’

The Canadian One: ‘Oh, that’s empty.’

Me: ‘Then why’s it in the fridge?’

The Canadian One: ‘To make the fridge look less empty.’

***

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‘BUT I GO TO THE SEA!!’ – Quote Friday – 08/10

The best of this week’s quotes from my elementary students in South Korea (and some thrown in from friends too)

Yesterday was The Canadian One’s birthday and on Tuesday, I taught an Art Class in which we made ostriches.

Me: ‘I made you something at school for your birthday.’

Him: ‘Is it an ostrich?’

Me: ‘…No.’

Him: ‘It’s an ostrich, isn’t it?’

Me: ‘…No.’

Him: ‘You made me an ostrich, didn’t you?’

Me: ‘I did not make you an ostrich.’

Pause

Him: ‘It’s an ostrich, isn’t it?’

Me: ‘NOT ANYMORE IT ISN’T!’

An Ostrich: Not made by me but by a seven year old

***

On Wednesday:

Me: ‘We made cats!’

Him: ‘Did you make me a catrich?’ (cat + ostrich)

Me: ‘Yes, yes I made you a catrich….tomorrow frog….oh wait….I was trying to combine frog and dog….but it’s already a word.

***

I did, however, make him a cake.

What kinda cake do you make a diabetic for his birthday? A Cheese Cake!

***

Stupid Moment of the Week:

Me, after drinking two glasses of milk: ‘I feel like a cow. Oh wait, cows don’t drink milk. Nevermind.’

***

Me: ‘How are you?’

Kid: ‘Me?’

Me: ‘Yes.’

Kid: ‘Now?’

Me: ‘Yes.’

Kid: ‘I’m everything.’

***

Turns out I say ‘Ok, so…’ A LOT.

I stand in front of the class and open my book.

Entire class: ‘Ok, soooooooo…’

***

Me: ‘There is one flower.’

Grade Ones: ‘There is one flower.’

Me: ‘There is one cloud.’

Grade Ones: ‘There is one flower.’

Me: ‘No, there is one cloud.’

Grade Ones: ‘There is one flowd.’

Me: ‘CLOUD!’

Grade Ones: ‘Cloud.’

Me: ‘There is one cloud.’

Grade Ones: ‘There is one flower.’

Me: ‘I give up.’

***

Kid: ‘Me minus one sticker!’

Me: ‘You have no homework!’

Kid: ‘BUT I GO TO THE SEA…THE SEA!!’

***

Kid 1: ‘I lost my homework book CD.’

Kid 2: ‘I lost my homework book but I have the homework book CD.’

Me: ‘Well, then together you can do homework!’

***

Calling attendance:

Me: ‘Tony?’

Kid: ‘No.’

Me: ‘Where’s Tony?’

Kid: ‘Tony is…his home….’

Kid does a little dance.

Kid 2: ‘At the disco? His home is disco?’

***

From Kindergarten class submitted by April Lynn Amador:

Kid: ‘Um teacher? Sometimes I have a fart when I do the study.’

***

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‘TEACHER NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!’ – Quote Friday 07/27