Destination: Korea

Recently, the late night TV show 1st Look did an episode in Korea. They spend an afternoon and evening in Seoul, pick green tea leaves in Hadong, visiting the seaside in Busan and a temple in Pyeongchang. Unfortunately I haven’t had the chance to visit either Hadong or Pyeonghcang myself, although they look stunning. I visited Busan my first year in Korea, but didn’t have a great experience. The Brit and I wanted to give it another try this year, but, as usual, life had other plans. However, I can say that the portion of this video that is filmed in Seoul captures pretty perfectly my life here. Give it a watch here for a taste of life in Korea.The photo below is from one of the fish markets in Busan, albeit not the one in the video.

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Vatos Urban Tacos

Guys. Since I’ve officially begun my foray into restaurant reviews, I’ve been dying to tell you about one of my favorite restaurants in Korea – Vatos Urban Tacos. Aside from the fact that I like the name, the food is AMAZING. I’ve been looking forward to telling you guys about it for ages. Except I kept forgetting to bring my camera to the restaurant. Or forgetting to take pictures of the food before I shoved it in my face. Fortunately, they recently opened up a branch near my apartment so I don’t to schlep all the way out to Itaewon after one of those days where you need a drink as big as your head. Which they totally have. They’re called makgeollitas. It’s a margarita made with makgeolli and it sounds gross but it’s heaven. I highly recommend the peach flavor. They also have those margaritas with upside down beer or wine coolers in them in some fabulous flavors. My personal favorite is “I’m Rick James, Peach!” The Gold Digger is also quite good. While their beverages are a huge part of why I frequent this fine establishment, their food ain’t bad, either. My hands down favorite things on the menu are the kimchi carnitas fries and the fish tacos. While the kimchi carnitas fries (or some incarnation of them) are becoming a staple at Mexican restaurants in Seoul, the fries at Vatos are still the best. The Brit and I split an order literally every time we go. You would be remiss not to give them a try. I also get the fish tacos every time I go because THEY TASTE LIKE CALIFORNIA. For real real. Sunshine and surf. Right in my mouth hole. The Brit is a bit more adventurous and mixes it up from time to time, but is a big fan of the Vatos burrito. The kimchi gives it a nice kick. The guac and queso are good, but a little pricey for what you get. But sometimes you just need a little guac or queso, you know? The only thing on the menu that I’ve tried that I didn’t like was the tamale. But tamales are one of my favorite foods and I’m used to home cooked tamales. Also, I’ve never ordered a burger because TACOS.

So, if you find yourself in Seoul, head over to one of their many locations. And if you’re in Daejeon, keep your eyes open for a new location opening soon! Check out my tumblr for some mouth watering photos.

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Seoul Lotus Lantern Festival

I don’t want to freak you guys out or anything, but I’m about to post about something I did…wait for it…this weekend. And also last year. But most recently this weekend. A group of us went to the Lotus Lantern Festival in Seoul, which celebrates Buddha’s birthday. During the day they have cultural events. I have no idea what that means because aside from the fact that it’s very vague, due to a series of unfortunate events I didn’t make it to that portion either year. I did, however, make it to the lantern parade both years. The parade this year was a little lacking compared to last year’s. In light of the recent ferry tragedy they shortened the duration which was better for my feet, but worse in terms of seeing shiny, pretty things. Plus, there was only one fire breathing dragon lantern this year. And going back through photos from last year, almost all of the lantern floats were the same. Get it together, Seoul. I mean, people have expectations. This year I was really looking forward to the after party because according to the website “flowers rain from the sky.” I mean, who doesn’t want to see that? Once the parade ended, we promptly walked over to the giant stage to be greeted by some very loud music that was really not our jam. So we decided to get dinner and come back for the flowers falling from the heavens. Unfortunately dinner ran long and the party ran short. No flower precipitation for me. I did, however, score a hand held lantern that someone left by the subway entrance. I was growing concerned that I might have to steal one from a kid or an old lady. We then made our way to the nearby temple to take photos of it all lit up at night. We arrived precisely as they closed. So that was special. Our next plan was to go down to the Cheonggycheon (a pretty, long river in Seoul) to have a couple brewskies and admire the hanging lanterns. We asked our Korean friend how to get there from the temple. Against my better judgement, we hopped on the subway and ended up at Dongdaemun. A 30 minute walk from where we needed to be (which was, incidentally, about where we started). All in all, it was a nice night and I’m glad I got to bring Joe this year, but I’m also glad I went the first year because it was way better. If you want to see more pics, check out my Tumblr.

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My Korean Apartment/Shoebox

Welcome to the second edition of Megan’s Korean Apartment. I’ve been meaning to make this video for awhile, and was finally prompted to because I’m moving apartments on Friday (same building, slightly different layout). Nothing motivates me like a deadline… My apartment this year is a little smaller than my last, but a LOT nicer. For instance, no ceiling caving in. No washing machine in the bathroom. The list goes on… My building has a front door with a code, similar to last year. Except this year the door is always locked and the code isn’t written on the front door with a sharpie. So it’s safe to say I feel more secure here. I live on the third of five floors. The top floor houses the landlord, and the other 18 rooms are occupied by myself and my coworkers. So it’s kind of like a dorm/frat house sometimes. It’s nice for me because I never actually lived in the dorms, and this way I get to experience it (sort of) with my own room and shower.

I have way more storage at this place, and even a closet of sorts. My cupboard are in a normal location so I don’t hit my head every time I do dishes. I no longer have to do my hair and make up at my kitchen table, as I have a desk that I have converted into a vanity. Priorities, guys. I do, however,  have to use my refrigerator as an entertainment center. We all make sacrifices. You can check it out yourself here. And in case you missed the shenanigans that were my first apartment,  that video can be found  here. Photos of my apartment are on my Tumblr. As well as some really cute pics of my kids making mandu.

I’m Baaaa-ack!!!

Well hello, there. Come here often? Cuz I certainly don’t. <–See what I did there? I made a joke about being the WORST. BLOGGER. EVER. So here’s the long and the short of why I haven’t posted a new blog in 7 months. And 17 days. But who’s counting? (Put your hand down, Mom!) I had a really lazy start to my year and right around the time I decided to get my ass in gear and get caught up, my computer decided it had other plans. And it took all of my photos from the first half of the year with it. Due to Dell cancelling my order without notifying me more than once shipping complications, it finally arrived mid December (suck it, customs!) just in time for Christmas play meltdown and sweet freedom Christmas vacation. This weekend I finally got my personal savior computer savvy friend to help me extract the missing files from my dead computer. Turns out they were on my external hard drive the whole time. Just sitting there. Waiting for me to be less computarded. So, now that I have all the files, I am in the process of uploading them all on Tumblr because I don’t want to pay to keep uploading them here. So in future posts, I will post a picture or two and then link to my Tumblr so I can upload a million and five photos, as I am wont to do. I am hoping to start getting y’all caught up with my escapades in the very near future. For real real. It’s, like, number five on my list of New Year’s resolutions. So it could happen. Maybe. At any rate, here are some interesting things to come out of Korea recently to tide you over.

First, this happened. And people freaked out. I can assure I am fine and just as safe as in the states. Probably more so because I actually have health care in Korea. Second, It snowed a lot last week and I was really excited. For about a minute. Then my suspicions about the evil that is snow were confirmed when this came out. I’m lucky my face didn’t melt off. My friend posted this article. Which is horrifying  interesting. And speaks to the view on plastic surgery in Korea. Maybe don’t open it if you’re eating right now. And I will leave you with this article about racist fried chicken. And this picture of food. Shaped like poo.

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I just have to tell you about my day…

I know, I know. I made promises about posts and have neglected to keep them. But let’s be real for a minute, by now you’ve surely grown accustomed to the fact that I seldom do anything in a timely manner. At any rate, rest assured that they are in the works. I have several posts to knock out before my aunt and sister get here in a couple of weeks. Then I’ll have a whole other slew to procrastinate on. For now, I’m going to write a post unlike any other that I have ever written. I am just going to tell you about my day. Because as days go, it was pretty epic (as I’m sure anyone who is my friend on Facebook has already gathered from my incessant posts today). But this. needs. to. be. shared. My first student to arrive today, Ian, walked in and informed me that Annie (whose birthday was today) looked like a princess. I said, “Wow. That is fantastic.” Clearly he could sense that I was not yet fully awake and feigning interest, so he replied, “No. Like a REAL princess.” I wasn’t sure what that meant. Would there be red carpets and fanfare? One never knows with Annie, who celebrates her birthday everyday during play time. All I could say was, “Oh my.” Several minutes later Annie waltzed in. Dressed like a bride. A tiny, little, 6-year-old bride. With gloves and a veil. I kid you not. Scroll down to the picture if you don’t believe me. Then she said, “Miss Megan, look at this!” She proceeded to to twirl in her dress while coming to a seat on the ground with her dress puffed out all around her. Like she was freaking Cinderella. I was in awe of this child. Actually, I am often in awe of this child. She continued to swan about the room until class started. During the restroom break before class started, Ruby stuck my finger in her mouth. In retaliation, I wiped my salivated on finger on her face. She proceeded to make me hit myself in my own boob. Well played, kid. But watch out, I’m gunning for you… The next two classes passed pretty uneventfully (unless you count their adorable rendition of Friday by Rebecca Black). Then it was time for board games. Yes, board games is an actual class at my school. Sounds awesome, right? Not so much. Mostly they just fight and I referee. At any rate, we were sitting on the mat playing Jenga. Last time this happened, one of the kids started rubbing my back. This time I managed to trick them into thinking it was an awesome fun thing to do, so they spent the entire period taking turns rubbing my back. During the course of this epic back rub, one of my students, Jay ( I’m just not really sure how this kid is going to be able to function in society. I adore him. But he’s…interesting.)  turns to me and says, out of the blue, “Kiss a fellow.” I think this stems from something I said in passing a million years ago. (This is why I love this kid. He can’t use silverware, but he can remember an offhand remark from ages ago.) Then another student’s eyes lit up and he said, “Miss Megan kiss SO fellow.” This is Konglish for Miss Megan kisses a lot of fellows. Then he leaned over and kissed my chest. Before I could recover from the assault on my “jijis”, I looked over and Annie had pulled up her dress and down her underwear and was showing 2 other students her promised land. Right about the time I got that situation shut down, it was time for lunch. And not a moment too soon. After lunch was play time. Halfway through playtime I looked over and Jay was lying on the floor with his arm over his face. I looked at him and said, “Are you taking a nap?” He replied, very dramatically, “No. I am die.” And then I proceeded to die. After lunch we had a review period where they spent most of the time coloring activity sheets. One the rare occasion that this happens, I usually put on some Disney tunes and we chit chat while we color. During this period, Henny (I know, I know.) looked at me and said, “Miss Megan! Look at this!” (Her coloring.) I responded, “That’s amazing!” Julia asked, “What is amazing?” I said, “It means very good.” She said, “Miss Megan, you are amazing.” Preach. Then Ian, who likes to pull a Gilbert Gottfried face, started doing Darth Vader impressions and saying in a deep voice, “No! I am your father!” Except I’m pretty sure he doesn’t know who Darth Vader is and thinks he made it up. Then they all started calling each other muffs. Which is apparently short for muffin. I don’t even know. Don’t you wish you spent every day with 12 6-year-olds (which really means 5-years-old Western age) whose primary language is not the one you speak?

Ian's Gilbert Gottfried face.

Ian’s Gilbert Gottfried face.

Annie the birthday bride.

Annie the birthday bride.

Jay: No. I am die.

Jay: No. I am die.

Kids Say the Darndest Things Part 2

In case you guys haven’t had enough of the hilarious musings and mistakes my kids make, I’ve got some more for you. The last entry focused on things they said, and this post will be mostly things they’ve written. A lot of these come from diaries they have to write every week on a topic of their choosing. They often just tell me what they did over the weekend. Some of it comes from homework or in-class assignments. But I also remembered some more funny things they’ve said, and it would be a shame to keep them to myself, so I’ll probably add those in as well. Enjoy!

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So my first kinders and I would go through this routine every week where I would give them their new vocabulary word, ask them to spell it and then ask them what it means. After awhile, it got to the point where I would say, “What is a _________?” And they would respond, “You are a __________.” One week one of their vocabulary words was tool. I’m sure you can guess what happened next.

Me: What is a tool?

Heidi (7): You are a tool. (Well played, small child, well played.)

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My kinders and I were reading a story about – well, I don’t remember what. But the important thing is that there were ROBBERS in the house.

Homework Question: What was in the house?

Alfred (7): There were rubbers in the house. (I understand this means something very different in other English speaking countries that makes it significantly less funny. In America, rubbers are condoms.)

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Ellie (8): I want stank (steak) for dinner.

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One day in class, we were learning about jobs. I was asking them all what their parents did. Robin (aka my 7-year-old love guru) tells me that his dad made Orlando. I was like, “Uh, I’m pretty sure that’s not true. That city has been around a lot longer than your dad. And it’s in America. I’m pretty sure your dad’s never been there.” He looked at me like I was crazy and said, “My dad is an engineer. Orlando is a car, not a city.” I informed him that it was, in fact, a city (Which he found hilarious. I mean really, who names a city Orlando? I’m looking at you, Gangnam.). So then later on in the week they had to write about what their parents did. This is what Robin wrote:” My dad made Orlando (not a city, it’s a car).” Just in case I was still unclear on the subject.

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Amy: I also gave a love massage. (love message)

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My older students have to write summaries every week on a topic of either my choosing or my supervisor’s choosing. The topic question is almost always followed by, “And why?” to encourage them to expound upon their answers. One particularly lazy student named Haley (11) – which is pronounced Hallie. God forbid you should actually call her Haley – in an effort to reach her required assignment length, ended every summary by directing the question towards me and following it up with, “And why?” Like she fully expected me to answer. Sometimes I did.

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John (11 – about his trip to China): It was very fun but the foods were sucks.

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Lauren: Your hair is popular. (Isn’t it just?)

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Diary: I slept with my cousin. (had a sleep over)

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Diary: I slept with my family. (Families often sleep in the same room in Korea, or at least multiple family members will.)

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Diary: I went to clarinet institute because my mother said, “you are good at blowing on things.” (I know, I have the mind of a 12-year-old boy.)

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Diary: My parents procreated me.

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Amy (12): My friend is stupid. I want her to be smart. If she gets smart I will make her my best friend at school.

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Diary: Because my points looked like really excrements.

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Spencer (11): I have a long rod, so I will sell it. (Again, mind of a 12-year-old.)

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Aspen (12): I would like to eat the famous French. (She means the famous French cuisine.)

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Gloria (11): My body was uglied. (I was sick)

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Diary: I am heartaching.

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Jack (12): New Year’s Resolutions:

1. I will study harder than now (important).

2. I will play guitar and practice harder than now.

3. I won’t fight with my friends (important).

4. I will take care of my dog (important).

5. I will save money for my future (important).

6. I will fatten and grow taller (very important).

7. I will meet my girlfriend (not important).

8. I will be more kind than now.

9. I will play computer games until I reach level 120 (not important).

10. I will obey these resolutions.

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Diary: I am spew very hard. (I threw up.)

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Spencer (11): First, I want to be a lawyer so I can rake in the money so I can be rich.

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Robin (7): Homework is the worst study ever. (No doubt, kid.)

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David (8): I am as happy as happy can be. (Seriously, where do they get this stuff?)

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One of my older kids wrote this on a sentence test. The word they had to use was loneliness.: He feels loneliness, so he drinks wine.

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I realized in class one day that instead of saying yes, I often say, “Yeah.” It occurred to me that I had never explained what that meant. I just kind of assumed they knew. So one day I decided to ask them if they knew what “yeah” meant. To my surprise, they told me they didn’t. So I explained that it simply meant yes. They seemed to think I had just taught them the most amazing word in the English language and began shouting it for no apparent reason. Except when they say it, it comes out more like, “Yaw!” So it really sounded like they were trying to wrangle cattle. I wish I’d gotten a video of it.

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Ryan (10): I like one girl. She is pretty. She like to me. She is very pretty. She is nice girl. She not speak F word. (Never mind this kid “speak F word” ALL. THE. TIME.)

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One day I was handing back tests to my older students. I gave Lindsay (11) hers back and she puts her hand over her face and says, “Shitty!” I looked at her and said, “Excuse me?” She looked at me and said very matter-of-factly,”Shitty. It’s like shit. I made it up.”

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And there you have it, friends. Those are all of my stories for now. But I’ve just signed a contract for next year, so there will be more to come!

Engrish/Konglish

During my year in Korea, I saw and heard more than my fair share of both Engrish and Konglish. And lucky for you, I took lots of pictures! I want to start by illustrating the difference between the two (I know! I thought they meant the same thing for ages, too!). But Engrish is a term used to describe the misuse of English by native speakers of Asian languages. It is derived from the common pronunciation of an “L” as an “R.” As in, “dericious.” Which, by the way, NEVER gets old. Konglish is more Korea specific. It is the adoption of English words into the Korean language. For instance, cheese in Korean is “chee-juh.” Cellphone is “hand-uh pone” (hand phone). My greatest accomplishment as a teacher will be to get them to say phone instead of pone. It may never happen. Also, because I probably sound like a douche right now making fun of people  who actually, on the whole, speak a vastly different language from their own incredibly well, I will point out some of my own language mishaps. For instance, in Korean, no is “aniyo” or “ani” and yes is “nay,” which is SUPER counter-intuitive. So often I say yes when I mean no. And vice versa. Also, I have just been made aware that what I previously thought meant “right” and “left” actually means “right foot” and “left foot.” So when I am directing a cab, I tell him to turn right foot. And once I asked a waiter to take me. Because the words for take me and bring me are very similar and I use take me so frequently in cabs. So that was awkward. Flip through the pictures to see some of my photos of the weird verbiage I have come across. Some of them aren’t necessarily Engrish or Konglish, but just culturally funny. Enjoy!

Kids Say the Darndest Things…

As I’m sure you’ve figured out by now, my kids are hilarious. Almost as hilarious as me. Maybe. I guess I’ll let you be the judge of that. I had to start keeping post-it notes in my teacher basket to write down all of the hilarious things they said. Throughout the course of the year, only one class got hip to my note taking. I’ve been saving them since last year (I seriously have four pages of quotes typed up) and have been meaning to do a series of posts about them, but like I said in my last post, I’ve been lazy. So I guess the series of posts begins now. Some of the quotes will need a little translating. I only learned a little bit of Korean last year but, fortunately for you guys, I’m totally fluent in Konglish. I’ll start you off with some of my favorite misspellings:

canrats = carrots

apple tite = appetite

Catorick churche – Catholic church

French flies = French fries

cocorage = cockroach

umvellibubble = unbelievable (totes my fave)

Lingkyn = Lincoln

bulad = blood

vagitavle = vegetable (a very close second)

roerrcoaster = roller coaster

once upond = once upon

blowme = bloom

mitten test = midterm test

Earth ball = globe (not a misspelling, but still hilarious)

 
And now for some of my favorite quotes. I am putting their age next to their name to give it a little more context. I should probably preface this by saying I have some classes that I blatantly lie to, as you will see.  Also, some students are clearly much funnier than others. Those of you familiar with my Facebook posts should note that Robin is the kid I usually refer to as my 7- year-old love guru (you’ll see why shortly).

Me (to Robin after misbehaving): Do I need to make you stay for 2 minutes after the bell rings?

Robin (7): That means you are killing me one more time!

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Anthony (8): Statue of Lavratory (Statue of Liberty)

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Me: I like tall boys.

Amy (7): Maybe you should marry giraffe.

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Me (teasing a boy who is usually really on top of things): Sean, get your life together.

Robin (7) (in mocking voice): Sean, don’t just get your jacket, get your life, too. (What? Who is this kid?!)

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Mitchel (8): What the devil?! (Seriously, where on earth did he pick that up?!)

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Robin (7): Megan will destroy students with lots of homework.

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Sally (10): Rest in space (peace).

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9 Class (7): Homework, homework, no one wants to do the homework. (To the tune of Beat It)

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Spencer (11): Shut up your mouth!

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Anthony (8): Look at my new butthole (bottle).

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Me: I’m never wrong.

Amy (7): You are smart, but you can’t see everything. (Ouch, kid.)

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Sean (7): Amy is touching Robin!

Me: Amy is touching Robin’s pencil case. Let’s be clear about that.

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9 Class (7): Sean is the meth king (math king).

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Spencer (11): God loves us. God is gay.

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This next ones stems from me calling them slowpokes:

Robin (7): Girl is fast poke, boy is slowpoke.

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Sean (7): Die person go to…die person go to hell!

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Ben (8): I go bitch (I went to the beach).

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The two are playing a one-upping game:

Sean (7): I will be the god. (And by the god, he really just means God.)

Robin (7): I will be the… godfather!

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Spencer (11): Romance movies are so buttery(cheesy).

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Me: I’m the king of everything.

Robin (7): I will call to Obama and tell him to think about that.

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So, this next quote came about because the class was using waited in their sentence and I was trying to prompt them to change it to waiting. After several incorrect guesses, Eliza (8) raises her hand VERY enthusiastically and says, “I know! Waited-ed-ed!” Sorry kid, better luck next time.

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For the next one, we were learning about sports, and I asked them what was their favorite sport to play in P.E. Robin (7) told me that he doesn’t like any sports. I said, “None?!” He said, “I like fighting.” I responded, “They let you fight in gym class?” He told me proudly, “Yes. I am the best boy fighter in my class.” I teased him, asking. “Wait, there is a girl that is a better fighter than you?” He responded (with an evil grin on his face), “She had (has) a lot of power, but I can mess with her.” No doubt kid, no doubt.

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I was trying to explain election day to my kindergarteners (bear in mind their limited vocabulary) and I said, “Today is a very special day in America. Today we choose a new king.” Angela, my favorite of the little nuggets, shouts out, “I choose Megan!” Sorry Obama, I’ve got news for you…

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This was my very first quote. I had only been teaching for a few weeks. I was hurrying my then kindergarteners through something because we were running short on time. Robin (7) looked up at me and said, “Megan, you are not being patient with me.” I was stunned. I responded, “Fair enough. Take your time.” A week or so later, Robin was hurrying me because he knew that if we finished early we were going to play a game. I turned to him, fully expecting this to go right over his head, and said, “Robin, you are not being patient with me.” He looked at me for a second, and then busted up laughing. I couldn’t believe it! It totally became a long-running joke between the two of us. I heart this kid right in the face.

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That same class also liked to discuss (at great length) my love life. After what they think is several months of me being single (they would be SO disappointed in Megan Teacher if they knew how long it had really been), Robin (7) gave me some advice. He told me, “I will give you ‘Megan’s Project.’ Number 1: Be clean.” Apparently my showering skills leave something to be desired. “Number 2: More this (as he waves his hands over his face).” I ask, “You mean make-up?” “YES! Number 3:Wear beautiful clothes.” Clearly, my wardrobe is also quite lacking. “Number 4: Diet.” Ouch. “Number 5: Give to him a rose. Then you can kiss to him, marry to him, and lay a baby.” Yes, you read that correctly. And everyday for nearly 2 months they asked me if I was working on my project. Eventually I think they, much like my mother, decided it was an exercise in futility and accepted my future as a crazy cat lady. So I lied to them and told them Joe was my boyfriend. I hated letting them down. So now they think Megan Teacher is off in America planning her wedding and then I’m moving to England. At least my imaginary life is awesome.

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I should warn you that this next portion is rated R for adult content. I’m sure you’re thinking, “They’re children. How bad can it possibly be?” Bad. I assure you. This is the class that is mad at me because I won’t tell them what word is worse than the F word. Also, after telling this story numerous times, I’ve discovered that there are an alarming number of people that don’t know what that word is. If you don’t know, I’m not telling you, either. Anyway, here’s how the conversation went down. Spencer (11) asked, “Teacher, what does fuck mean?” To which I responded, “I canNOT tell you that and for the love of god and all that is holy, stop saying that in class.” His classmates proceeded to explain to him in Korean what it was in terms of “that’s how babies are made.” So he asked me, “So I can do this when I want to make a baby?” I replied, “You can do this when you are married.” He said, “I want to get married, but I DON’T want to do that.” Wait a couple of years kid, wait a couple of years.

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Stay tuned for for Part 2 of Kids Say the Darndest Things…

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Hanok Village

I know what you guys are thinking. Aren’t you in America right now? Why are you still posting about Korea? Well, kids, here’s the thing – I was kinda lazy when I started this blog, so I didn’t get to write about everything I wanted to. Also, since I’m going back for a second year, I might as well keep it going while I’m home, keep you guys interested and such. I mean, you are interested, right? Of course you are. So you can look forward to a couple more posts about Korea and maybe even a couple about my time stateside. Lucky you.

Hanoks are traditional Korean-style houses. A Hanok Village is a bunch of hanoks that have been turned into either shops or restaurants or have been preserved to reflect the ways of the past. Jeonju Hanok Village has over 800 houses you can stroll  through. I’ve been there several times and every time I feel like I’m wandering a labyrinth. There are numerous tiny alleys that lead to new parts of the village to explore. Or sometimes they lead to me right back to where I started. I’m not very good with directions. So I guess, really, it could be a very tiny place and I just keep getting lost. I choose to believe the former. Amidst the shops and restaurants are mini-museums usually dedicated to one aspect of the Korean culture (paper, alcohol, fans, games, etc.). It’s a great place to try Korean food and pick up souvenirs. The majority of the souvenirs I brought home may or may not have come from there… This particular Hanok Village also has a bamboo forest and a one room gallery of portraits of famous Korean kings. But the best thing about it is a guy known as “The Magkeolli Man.” The foreign crowd refers to him as Casanova. I don’t know why. He’s not a ladies man by any means. He runs a small restaurant and has a table out front where he lures people in (mostly foreigners) and plows them with free alcohol. He seriously just shouts, “Hey, foreigner! Come here! Free magkeolli!” at every foreigner that walks by. If you stay for a long time, he’ll even give you free food. Don’t ask how I know this. No one can figure out how he can afford to do this (because he does it every day), but there are lots of rumors flying around town.

The village is also host to an abundance of festivals, like the bibimbap (a food Jeonju is famous for) and hanji (traditional Korean paper) festivals, where you can watch taekwondo performances, traditional Korean song and dance performances, and even contemporary performances. Or you can visit one of the many vendor stalls and try their food or scope out their wares. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon and get some fun photos.

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