Friday, December 30, 2005 

Love Motels...

That's what they call them anyway. I have long held the idea that it would be far more accurate to call them "Drunk Sex Motels." My Korean friend protested, "But that's not romantic at all!" drunk sex is romantic? I wouldn't know...I've never had it...and once again I've strayed from the point.

The point is that I am currently at a love motel. ALONE (for the record). And also not drunk. My plan all along this week was to rent a hotel room so I could pamper myself with a nice long bath. I've not had a bathtub since I left the States, and so my last bath was well over a year ago. As of yesterday, I've been in Korea a year and...well dang it, I deserve to be able to take a bath. However, the options were: spend almost 100 US dollars to rent a non-slutty hotel room just for the bathtub....or spend considerably less and go to a love motel. I had a Korean friend find it for's definitely an upscale love motel...but a love motel nonetheless. It's seriously high tech and disturbing, to be honest. You have to put the plastic key chain in this little cubby thingy, which I thought at first was just a key rack, but it activates everything in the room (lights, electricity, etc.). And for a place people come to have drunk sex, it's remarkably classy. For the record, I will be scrubbing down all surfaces in the bathroom before I touch them (that's the OCD coming out) and will NOT be sleeping on their pillows. *shudder*

I am also not going to waste any more time typing when I could be turning into the giant raisin I plan on being tomorrow when I return to my apartment. On that note...ta ta.



My cousin rocks....she sometimes comments on here, Mary, if you recall. Anyway, she's always been a hero of mine. She spent two years in Africa teaching music. I was in elementary school when she was doing this, and I remember the excitement when one of those red, white, and blue striped air-mail envelopes would come with my name on it. I even remember in one letter she drew for me a small picture comparing her with bangs and her without bangs (I had been complaining about how I was teased for having such a monstrously large forehead). Anyway, I spent the summer with her and her twin girls in DC in of the turning points in my life. She's one of those people that seems to believe in everyone and see potential in everyone. She's very compassionate, and VERY wise. Anyway...I said all that to say this. Not only is she wise, kind, and compassionate, she's also extremely thoughtful and amazing. I received a package from her today that absolutely made my week. Home-made cookies (*drool*), donut holes from Krispy Kreme (*double drool*), pop-tarts (so thoughtful! oh yes, and *drool again*) a book I've been wanting to read for ages but just haven't bought for some reason, and the most amazing picture of her beautiful girls. It was awesome! It made me cry!

Speaking of crying...I watched The Chronicles of Narnia in the theater today (it just came out here)...and I cried like a baby. Like a B-A-B-Y, I tell you. What a great movie.

Also, I have big news (but unfortunately no time to elaborate): I found a new job to start in February! It's a great job. In fact, so great I was skeptical. But it's coming together, and I'm thrilled beyond belief. More to come about that later. The bad news is (and Bethany, I wanted to call and tell you this, but haven't been able to get ahold of you yet) that I have to postpone my trip to the States until the summer. The good news is that my new job will give me new weeks vacation in the summer, and two weeks vacation in the winter. That's pracically unheard of over here. Anyway...more on that later.

And last, a brief glimpse into my conversation with my sister about my nephew:

LdyLeaess: my child is entirely too impressionable
teresalynntucker: why do ya say that?
LdyLeaess: every commercial he sees is something we MUST have
LdyLeaess: he actually asked me the other day if we could switch to Geico
LdyLeaess: wtf?!
LdyLeaess: and now he asks because he thinks its funny

Sunday, December 25, 2005 

Merry Christmas!

And what a wonderful Christmas it has been! My wonderful friend Natalie came over last night and spent the night. We had a great time together, and then this morning while I was in the bathroom, she filled up my stocking and put a present under the tree for me. (Even better, she made the card from the dog and was super cute.) Then we went to church, and when we walked outside, it was snowing! Amazing! The snow wasn't sticking...but it was still (if only temporarily) a white Christmas. Church was great. Then Christie and I went out for lunch after, then we went and walked along the Han river (though it was absolutely frigid outside). We went to Starbucks before coming home to get Toffe Nut Lattes (drool, drool). Then we came home and just chatted and hung out for awhile. She's gone back to her apartment now, and I'm sitting around wasting time until it's Christmas time in the States.

And let me tell you sister, because she is one hundred different kinds of wonderful, thought to herself that it was sad for me to miss out on Christmas just because I couldn't be there. So she went and bought a webcam and set it up on her computer so I can watch Christmas morning - with my nephew opening his presents and such. She has it set up so I could turn it on whenever (for tonight, anyway...just the way I worded that made me feel creepy) and so right now I'm watching as it slowly gets lighter and lighter in their house as the sun is coming up. And I think their dog must be sleeping inside in the living room. Either that, or there's is a person in all black crawling around on the floor.

Anyway, it's been a delightful Christmas. I hope yours is wonderful as well. Love you all!

Friday, December 23, 2005 

Pointless Ramblings

Incidentally, the Gloria who wrote the first Christmas card below is probably my favorite student. She's the best student in my favorite class, and she's just delightful. She comes from the poorest family (which means they're still rather well off) and was only really accepted by the other students because of how smart she is.

A month or so ago she asked me if I could find a short English play. Ends up that she told her English teacher at her school-school that I could find them a short English play to do. Ditto on the Christmas songs in English. So they are having a concert/performance, and I told her to ask her teacher if I could come. I can go, and that will be next Thursday. It's during my holiday, but as it's not at JM, I'm more than happy to go.

Let's see...beyond that I received today a bottle of wine from one boss, a cake and pair of earrings from the other boss (the sister and brother of the mother that runs the school). Then on Thursday I got a gift from Mr. Lee's kids. He has two twin four-year old boys who are in my K-6 class. They're delightful little boys. Anyway, they delivered gifts to all of us on Thursday. I didn't open mine until after class, of course...and it's a good thing. It was a pink fur similar-to-a-scarf-but-not-really thing. Pink, I love. Having a warm neck in freezing cold weather, I love that too. But I'm really not big on fur. And knowing this family, I'm quite certain it's real fur. Kylie and I knew we had the same thing, and she was going to wait to open hers, but once I opened mine it was only a matter of what color hers was (a kind of mint green for those that care). I was just being stupid and wrapped it around my neck and fastened it really tight, made some dramatic and hoity-toity face, and flipped what little hair I have....just me typically being stupid. Then I tried to unfasten said fur thing and couldn't. The combination of it being wrapped rather snugly around my neck and that it was at one point alive made me nearly panic. Luckily, Kylie picked up on the about-to-freak-out vibe I was sending and helped me. Tonight when we were leaving dinner and I was having a hard time getting my scarf wrapped around me correctly Donovan said, "So where's your pelt?" It took me an embarrassingly long time to get the joke, but once I did I laughed for awhile. Then, as an experiment, I wore it to the store when I was walking Daive/going on a diet coke run...and I have to admit, it kept my neck rather warm. However, it sheds severely (though so does my non-fur scarf) and my black pea coat is looking rather worse for wear at the moment because of it. So I don't know. This is such a pointless ramble.

Gonna go now. Merry Christmas Eve Eve!


Some Christmas Cards I Received Today

These are typed exactly as they are on the cards...punctuation, spelling, and grammar is untouched. I didn't put all the hearts and smileys in though...Korean kids at least are big on using hearts and smileys.

My favorite so far, from my student named Gloria:

Writteon on the outside of envelope: "I'm sorry I can't give you a present even a small one, but I can give you this Christmas card - it's so happy truth."
Then it's labeled "Christmas Card" in big letters
On the bottom, "I don't have brown pen." (I asked her about this and she said, "You like brown." Random. True, but I don't know if I've ever said that in that class.)

Inside of card (on the paper she taped over the Korean writing on the card):
"To: Teresa,
Hi - I'm Gloria.
I'm so glad to meet you. I like you very much. and thank you for teach me. Oh, It's Christmas. I like Christmas, you too? I like December, there are many birthdays, and Christmas and - vacation -

Teresa. I want to see your dog and cat. :) (Not In the picture) I (want) mean I want visit your house. but my mom and you don't allow me. :) (Maybe you can allow me :) It's my wish) !
I like you so much. If my mom and you allow me to visit your house, I want to go your home.

Teresa, please. :) But how can I went your home...I can't find in subway. that's too bad I think and It real.

I want you don't go other place and teach me all ways.

I like you.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

P.S.: I love you!

Next one, from another student in the same class:


Hi! Teresa! I'm Nancy.
You teach me a lot of things during the lot of tim, so I'm so thanks for you.
When I meet you first, I feel awk-ward.
But! Now, I love you and If I can't see you, I'm so sad.
And, when you were sick, my mind is so sadness.
I want you are not sick.
I don't know!
I can't write letter for you very long...ok?
I'm very sorry...
From: Clever Nancy

Wednesday, December 21, 2005 

My dear Korean friend Jenny (her English name, of course) has been in the States for about three months now (translation: WAY too long). She called me about two weeks ago to get my address to send me a Christmas card. "Christmas card" translation: package for me, Kylie, and Donovan with a Christmas card and goodies from Old Navy! Yay!!! Hooray for Christmasy fleece pajama pants. Then today I received an emergency Christmas present/coping care package from Bethany who is, without a doubt, the most amazing person in the world. She has forbidden me to open it before Christmas morning, and I'm more than happy to comply. It'll be the only thing for me under my tree. (Everything else is for the animals.) I have the most amazing friends.

Speaking of the animals, the cat puked four times this morning and had to spend the day at the vet. An ultrasound later, it was determined it was just hairballs. (H, the ultrasound of two kidneys, and two other internal parts only cost 20,000 won which is 20 US dollars - amazing, is it not?) He went ahead and gave him his vaccination, and some hairball medicine.

Ohh...and yet another gross story. But seriously, this is really gross, so if you're easily offended/grossed out by bathroom humor, skip down a bit. (Incidentally, working at the vet developed my appreciation for poop humor. Before that, I found bathroom humor to be immature. Now I'm a selective bathroom humor appreciator.) Yesterday morning when I was walking Daive I noticed she was having some pooping issues. After she finished, I knew she was going to do the doggy wiping-butt where they scoot their butts on the ground and drag themselves by their front paws. Wisely, I refused to take her inside before she did this. Unwisely (on her part) she headed towards an icy patch. She narrowly (and I mean SERIOUSLY narrowly) escaped wiping her butt on the patch of ice. And, without giving unnecessary and disgusting details, allow me to assure you that in the condition her butt was in, it very likely would have stuck to the ice. Can you imagine that phone call to work? To the job that won't let ME take a sick day when I'M sick... "Um, yes, hello Ms. Lee. I can't teach my classes today because my dog glued her butt to the ice outside." It's gross, but the thought made me chuckle all morning and throughout most of the day yesterday and I thought I'd share.

Monday, December 19, 2005 

An absolutely adorable moment

This happened Thursday in my K-7 class. We were sitting on the floor to play a game with flashcards, and two of the boys were almost arguing. It ended up that one, Neal, didn't want another one, Ashton to sit beside him. I sat down and tried to explain to Neal that if I wanted to sit by Ashton but he looked at me and made a yucky face and went to the other side of the room, that I would be very sad. Neal is THE most delightful student I teach, and he's very sweet, kind, and sensitive. So he started crying. I pulled him up into my lap, and was comforting him. All the other kids in the class love him as much as I do, so they're all crowded around, trying to pat him on the back and love on him too. So I told him not to cry, that I liked him very much. I then asked each of the kids if they liked him, and they all said, "Yes, I do" (even in a complete sentence, YES!). Then I said to the other students (Neal was hiding his face in his hands and crying), "Do you know how much I like Neal?" They shook their heads. So I stretched out my arms as wide as I could and said, "THIS much!" Then, in the most moving spontaneous act done by children that *I've* ever seen, the students all got up, of their own accord, one grabbed one of my hands, then they all joined hands, and spread out around the entire classroom. They then said something along the lines of "Like Neal THIS..." (not nearly a sentence...but the kindness more than makes up for the bad English).

Then, less than 10 minutes later, when we finally got to playing the game with flashcards, one of the students (Josh is his English name) got a little sad because he didn't have as many flashcards as many of the other students. He said, "Me, no" (which means I'm not playing this game anymore) and looked like he might be about to cry and Neal (kind formerly-crying Neal) went over and made Josh take all of Neal's flashcards so that Josh would feel better. Precious...truly precious.

Sunday, December 18, 2005 

My shoes...the long-awaited update

I received a text message on Thursday telling me that my shoes were ready. I was very excited, but because of my work schedule wouldn't be able to get them until Saturday. And so yesterday I made my way over to that part of town to pick them up, really really excited about the whole thing. I got there, and they pulled out these shoes....the good news is that they look nothing like the tennis racquet-like things I feared they might look like. The bad news is...well, they remind me of the Wicked Witch of the West from the Wizard of Oz. I just tried to google her shoes, and maybe they look nothing like hers, but they do look similar to these costume witch's shoes. (Just make the toes square, not pointy, and take off the sparkly thing and you've got my shoes!) The style here is long square-toe shoes. I know nothing about fashion trends in the States, so those reading, please let me know if this horrible idea is popular over there too. It makes sense over here, because Korean women have such tiny feet, maybe with the long square toes it makes the shoes look bigger? Like less of a doll and more of "Don't mess with me or me and my square toe shoes will kick your butt"? I really don't know.

Back to the point...remember the drawing of my foot that they did? I have to wonder WHY they bothered because these shoes are T-I-N-Y. WAY too small for my feet width-wise, and maybe even a size too small length-wise. Not to mention that i has been ages since I've worn anything resembling a heel. So I wore the shoes out of the store (to be nice) and across the street where I bought socks to wear with the shoes I had worn to pick up the new and massively uncomfortable shoes. And in the seven-ish minutes I had the shoes on my feet, they made my heel bleed. I never did explain about the pointy toe thing though, did I? Anyway, given the respectable length of my feet already (a US size 10 for those of you who are wondering), this extra-long square toe thing is just an extremely bad idea.

The good news is that not all is lost. First, I will have to break them in before I can make a decision about them. I don't know when I can do this as I can barely walk in them and my heel is still raw and cut open at the moment. Second, I can take them to a shoe shop and get them stretched a bit, which HAS to help. After both of these steps are done, I think I will be able to wear them. And every female needs black dressy shoes. So it's okay. That is all.

Monday, December 12, 2005 

Highlights of my weekend:

  • Job interview went quite well - charmed and impressed. However, they called one of my references (Korean teacher from current school) while she was actually at my current school working. She talked to them normally, but then our boss walked in and she couldn't. That might cause problems.
  • I thankfully did not freeze off my toes and/or feet in the sock-less not warm shoes I was wearing.
  • I did MAJOR shopping after the interview:
    • Got my hair cut by a guy that speaks English perfectly (that's a first for me since I've been here)
    • Bought a new scarf and mitts, as it was below freezing all day. Learned how to put on said scarf from the old delightful grandma lady I bought it from (being from Florida has rendered scarf-putting-on an impossible to master task for me. I think I got it now though.)
    • Bought an Ella Fitzgerald CD
    • Bought Christmas presents for Donovan, a friend from church, Daive, and Claude
    • Bought more pop-tarts and *gasp* a bag of cool ranch doritoes (and yes, they were everything I hoped they would be and more)
    • Here's the big 'un - I went shoe shopping because I didn't want to repeat the open-toed black shoe fiasco again, and for this very reason, went to the most foreigner-friendly part of town. Again, I got laughed out of every shop. So my friend who was with me said we should check about getting a pair of shoes made for me. I agreed to check into it, but didn't think I'd do it, as I expected it to cost WAY more than I was willing to spend. Long story short, it cost 85 dollars (which is 10 dollars less than the pair of shoes I kinda liked that didn't come in my size) and the guy measured and traced my feet. I'm excited, but I'm also kinda scared, cause my feet really are monstrous and the shoes might just look like freaky tennis racquets or something. I'll have them in a week, and I'm rather looking forward to it.
    • When I went to the vet near my house to buy cat litter and kitten food, I also bought Christmas presents for the animals. I told the vet that's what I was doing. Before I left, he came up and put in a bag of dog treats and a bag of cat food and said it was his Christmas present to Daive and Claude respectively...absolutely adorable.
All in all, a great weekend. Found a Christian bookstore on Sunday afternoon and bought FIVE (count 'em, five) books. I also bought a commentary on Friday from the bookstore at my church. Spent lots of money this weekend, but it was all absolutely worth it. After all, it's Christmas, and that's the point right?


More about the pennies

Update on the "pennies" boys:
Necessary background: Today in class one of them came in and said without any hint of mischief or evil, "Teacher, is asshole bad?" Eek. Not that this was the first time I've been caught off guard by questions about profanity, but still...they just say it so off-hand. I told him it was, that there were only a handful of English bad words, and that if that was on the list, they should not ever say it. He explained that he had heard it on a video game (Grand Theft Auto 3, for you that care). Then another boy said, "What about motherf*#$%#?" Ummm...yeah, that's REALLY bad. Don't say it.

A little later, they start saying something I know isn't English (sounds like "gus"). I also know it's bad from the way they're acting when they say it. So I went downstairs and got one of the teachers to come up and tell them that profanity, in any language, is not appropriate for class. Unfortunately, the Korean teacher that helped me didn't really understand my point, so they kept on saying the questionable (but unknown) Korean word. After class finished, I passed them on my way home downstairs. The Korean teacher was down there and I asked him what it meant. He said it was just a name. I knew it wasn't...but whatever. So I started walking home, when one of the boys comes running down the street yelling my name. I thought I had dropped something. He runs up and SHOUTS: "Gus means PENNIES!!!!" So I turned and kept on walking. He followed me shouting this, and I was just shaking my head. So perhaps I've just taught you all creative Korean slang for male private parts. At this point I'm still not really sure. But I am quite sure he wasn't talking about the small bronze coin with Abraham Lincoln on it.

Saturday, December 10, 2005 

It's been a busy and hectic week. Here are some highlights:

- One of my first graders (who, in his defense, does have a very new baby brother) turned to me in class when we were all sitting on the floor reading, pointed at my chest, made a sucking noise, and said, "Milk, please!" I was dumbfounded.
- Same day as the breast milk request, I was in my last class of the day (my sixth grade class) and one of the boys was trying to explain that his toy had hit him in his private parts. However, this was how he said it, "It hit me in the pennies." (Pronounced "pennies" like the small coins.) This struck me as rather funny, especially since they were trying to shock me. Obviously, this is one word I'm going to correct them on their pronunciation. I had to cover up my face with a book for a few seconds while I regained my composure, and then went on with class.
- Someone finally said something to me at work about the form of a question, "Why February?" I said it was because I haven't seen my family in over a year. He (my boss) asked me if I had a job in the States. Then, in a fit of what could only have been a supernatural shot of intestinal fortitude, I said, "Oh no. I'm coming back to Korea....just not to this school." This was in the middle of the office, too. Eyes bulged, jaws dropped. But, because of the Korean anti-conflict thing, he just kept the conversation light and superficial, but no one has talked to me since then. (That'll teach them, huh?)
- I have a job interview tomorrow at a really good school. It specializes in SAT and Western-College prep courses. It sounds like it would be a really challenging job, it pays well, and it is in the richest neighborhood in Seoul. That last thing is actually a minus about it...we'll see how it goes.

That's about it. FYI, I'll be wearing open-toed black shoes to the interview tomorrow because I own no other black shoes and I got laughed out of every shoe store today. It's not been above freezing this week (or at least not enough above freezing to melt the snow and ice), so it should be a fairly unpleasant experience.

Saturday, December 03, 2005 

It's snowing!!!

The Canadian (Kylie) happens to mention this off-hand as she's sitting and talking to me in my apartment. Being the Florida girl that I am, I shout some sort of exclamation, and run to the tiny window in my apartment (as a strand of Christmas lights is perched rather precariously on the large windows) to see if perhaps she is fibbing. Miracle of miracles, she's telling the truth! She's unimpressed by the whole thing (after all, she is from Canada) but as soon as she leaves Daive and I put on our coats and rush downstairs. Unfortunately it's not powdery snow that sticks. It's just falling ice...the ground is wet, and after standing in the street looking awe-struck (and stupid, I'm sure) Daive and I are also rather wet. So we came upstairs....a little disappointed. But I know it'll snow again. It has snowed since I've been here...but only once that I was actually out while it was happening. Most of the time I would wake up and there'd be a bit of snow on the ground. It's thrilling!

Today I went and bought a cell phone with an English menu. As it was used, and therefore much cheaper, I opted to go with one that had a camera on it. The quality of the pictures is horrible, but it's entertained me rather well today, I must say. I also bought more Christmas decorations today, a new purse, some yarn, and a crochet hook. It's been a remarkably productive day. Oh yes, and some strawberry pop-tarts. Yet another box of $5.00 pop-tarts. I also bought a $4.00 bag of Combos...funny the things I miss. However, I resisted the urge to buy the $10.00 bag of doritoes. Not sure how long my will power can last though. The market where I bought the Christmas decorations also had a small import section, where I purchased two bottles of Italian dressing and a package of Dayquil (at a whopping $7.00 for 12 capsules...but luckily I've forgotten how much that costs at home, so I'll say it's not too bad). I'm really tired though, as I had to get up at 7:30 for a seminar. That's a story for another day though. I'm beat. Night all.

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