Thursday, August 7, 2008
Today is my last day in Korea and it hasn't hit me yet. I'm sitting here in my empty apartment wondering where the year went. It was a long year. And a hard year. There were absolutely fantastic things about this past year and other things that left me lower than low.
I've spent the past two and a half years here in Asia and now I'm heading back to Canada to try my hand at "real" teaching. This coming year will be tough. Teaching jobs are few and far between in the cities and everyone wants in. But, you've got to start somewhere and that's what I'm going to do.
Keep your fingers crossed for me and, who knows, maybe I'll be back with more adventure stories some day soon.
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
However, in reviewing the worksheets students used for a debate in class, I found a small gem that reminds me why teaching can be great.
The topic of the debate was: It is impossible to stop file sharing, so music and film industries should not try to do so.
The student said:
I agree with file sharing. Because there are two reasons. At first, it can help an access of people to the culture. Many people, especially the poor, can't access to the culture easily because they have to pay a lot. File sharing helps people to access to the the culture and improve their culture level.
Second, we cannot stop file sharing. There are billions of file sharing network. If we try to stop file sharing, it must be a waste of time. Instead, we should work hard to develop other forms of products that can compete with file sharing network.
In these reasons, I agree with file sharing. I know it's illegal but some people have to sacrifice for the more good.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Friday, March 7, 2008
Friday, February 29, 2008
Now, if you remember my first Korean sauna experience, you’ll recall the whole the only-clothes-your-wearing-is-your-birthday-suit “thing” about Korean saunas. I was feeling confident, though, and determined to push through with the whole thing. We had done our research, this was a 10 000won sauna (approximately $10.00) so it was pretty much guaranteed to be a good one.
After a few minutes of standing facing my locker, avoiding eye contact with anyone near me, I finally felt brave enough to march down the stairs to the baths area. With a hand towel draped casually over one arm, which also conveniently doubled as full frontal coverage, I made my way to the baths.
My confidence was immediately shattered when a group of 12 year old Korean girls, who were splashing around in the ‘Children’s Bath’, stopped what they were doing and started giggling and pointing at me. I made a hasty retreat to the “36 Celsius” bath (they’re were all labeled by temperature) and plunged in. While relaxing (read: hiding) in the bath, I saw the scrubbing ajumas and decided that it had to be done.
At a sauna/spa/jimjilbang, there are ajumas (older Korean women sporting black undergarments) and ajoshis (older Korean men with no undergarments) who work in the female/male parts of the baths. They offer scrubs (a full body exfoliating treatment), massages and other things that I couldn’t understand from the ‘menu’.
And so I walked over hesitantly. One ajuma took my locker-key wristband while another gestured for me to lie flat on my back on the plastic covered massage table. I laid down and fought hard not to burst out laughing. Here I was, laying stark naked on a plastic table, in a bath house with a nearly stark naked woman about to scrub me down with exfoliating gloves. What had I been thinking?
And so the scrub began. Ankles, calves, thighs and… oh my! Then stomach and something akin to a breast exam. Shoulders, arm pits, arms and hands. Repeat all of this on the left side and then change to lying on my side where there was more scrubbing of legs, thighs and oh dear!! and up to the torso. Repeat while lying on my stomach and then again while lying on my right side. Add some washing with soap and a few buckets of water thrown on me to rinse off and it was a done deal.
I'm still not sure what to think about the whole thing - definitely the most invasive experience I've ever had - but when in Rome...
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
While everyone plunged their feet in…
For the 2 hours that we were there, I spent most of the time putting the heel of my right foot just below the surface of the water and yelping every time a fish came up for a nibble. I would gradually work myself up again to put a heel in the pool, wait for a fish to come, yelp, and retract the foot. And so the process continued for the evening. The nibbling fish felt like a cross between pins-and-needles in your legs and a strange tickling sensation. That combined with the fact that I generally have a fear of fish eating me (snorkeling is a whole adventure in and of itself), Dr. Fish and I have agreed to disagree.