Lucky One

Standard

I’m the worst blogger ever. Yes I can make the excuse that Dream Concert blew my mind and I haven’t been able to put that into words. Yes I can say that I slammed my hand in the door and it is still painful/swollen/bruised 3 days later.

But mostly I’ve been lazy.

There has been a lot that has gone down since I last blogged.

So I’ll start with the important new things and end with Dream concert so you don’t have to listen to me ramble about KPOP .

First, our school introduced a new policy yesterday. We can only take out garbage and trash on certain days at a specific time. Why? I learned that one of my students from last year, a current sixth grader who has special needs (AKA she has never said one word to me and I learned from YoungJoon last year that she was a little slow) was sexually molested. She told her friends about it and they in turn told the teacher.

With regards to the major trial case that it currently dominating US news, I think the way my school and the students handled it is very important.

In Korea, females are still regarded as less than males, more so than the US where I grew up. Sometimes things like rape or sexual harassment are even less of a topic than they are in the USA. You just suck it up and continue because you want to keep your job and don’t want to be seen as a crybaby. This is not good policy.

The Gangnam murder was a big deal here (mostly because crime isn’t really reported with the same casualness that it is in the US). The murder said he hated women which was why he killed her. It sparked a talk about the major gender inequality in Korea. It gave women a platform to speak out.  And while it may not change too much, it makes more people aware of how male dominated this society is. One of the main issues became: was it a hate crime against women or was he mentally disturbed? From what has been found, he had prior hatred towards women-saying he couldn’t stand being mistreated by them which makes it sound like a hate crime. In other evidence, he had patterns of having mental illness for quite a few years beforehand. For me, I think if you do commit hate crimes there is a part of you that is mentally ill. Not in the sense of how people who suffer from bi polar, borderline , or other mental illness are defined. But if you hate a specific group so much that you have a need to go out and commit acts of murder and violence towards them…then yes I do think you are mentally disturbed. But at the same time it is not something that can be fixed with medicine or therapy….so it becomes blurry – is the killer someone who is suffering from mental illness or is he just a woman hating jack ass?

Going back to my student, wound up telling her friends who in turn told the teacher. Now I can understand why the student didn’t tell the teacher. She’s a young student, who has some mental issues, as well as maybe fearing that it wouldn’t matter. I’m so proud of her friend who were strong enough and cared enough for her to inform an adult. And I’m proud of the school for reporting it to the police, rather than trying to keep it quiet, fearing it would damage the school and cause people to think the school couldn’t keep students safe.  The school is also taking measures of safety as well. When I took out the paper recycling today there was a large truck with the paper right outside the front door as well as about 5 teachers kind of guarding the space.

Now I don’t know what happened to the student, or if the parents will get her the help she will likely need. But as far as Korean society goes, the school did it’s best to take proper legal and safety measures for the future.

It’s a shame I can’t say the same for the poor woman who now has to watch her rapist walk free in 3-6 months time.

This rape case is so much more than what it seems on the surface. It touches on the idea of color, victim blaming and judges.

Color: where to begin. While I do believe that America is a white dominated society I’m not someone who necessarily finds  color in every single thing and feel the need to debate it to death. However, in this case….it’s hard not to. I saw a video that compared rapist Brock Turner to other rapists of color. RBT (rapist brock turner) was given a name, information about his school, his sport of choice along with a nice photo. Set that next to a series of black men who committed roughly the same act : no name (just rapist/man) nothing about his personal life just the acts of crime  that he committed.

The prime example is the Brian Banks case. Almost identical case. No priors. Star athletes. Except that when he was found guilty (which ironically he was not actually guilty and later released) he was sentenced to years of prison time. And he served about 5 of them. RBT is only sentenced to 6 months, 3 if he has good behavior. The judge says that it could hurt his future. You mean like how Brian Banks kind of lost his future for 5 years after he was WRONGFULLY convicted? You mean how the victim now has to live with the fact she was raped for 20 minutes? The judge clearly was one of those pity students at Standford.

Which brings me to the next point. The judge should have not been judging in the first place. He should have recused himself. He is a Stanford alum, former athlete who has a past similar to RBT-well up until the point that he raped an unconscious girl behind a dumpster. Yes, it is a good thing to give a sentence that is fair to all-and in some cases that means a lighter sentence. But not in this case. RBT is like a child-he doesn’t seen to understand what he did wrong-he has no remorse-no self awareness. In this case…giving a lighter sentence is doing the reverse effect, it’s not helping him realize anything other than “I can’t commit crimes, and get off with a light sentence-maybe because I’m white and had a biased judge” No, he is just realizing that with the dumbest piece of writing in history (including Twilight) AKA a letter from his highly biased, misogynistic father, and some victim blaming, he can avoid any responsibility.

Which brings me to my final point and this goes back to the initial sexual molestation crime that happened at my school. Rape is rape. Whether it’s because someone is wearing a short skit, or has had too much to drink. Yes, drinking makes us do really dumb shit. I’ve seen it. I’ve done…some of it. But when under the influence, never have I thought about committing a crime. Drinking is not an excuse for crime. So to use that against a victim is disgusting. That RBT father states “sexual promiscuity” in his letter….it’s a college. Of course it’s college. But it’s not a reason for rape. There is no reason for rape. Ever. When men say “oh she was asking for it” or “oh did you see how she was dancing” or “look at what she’s wearing”….

If there is no non forced consent….it’s rape. No matter if I walk around naked-in no way am I asking to be raped.

And this idea of treating women badly starts at a young age. People say young girls overreact which they do (I had one student who cried because she drank the soy sauce in our taste test) but in the matter of boys being inappropriate, it’s not such a simple matter. It’s not that boys need to be taught how to respect women. It’s that they need to be taught how to respect everyone. If they learn that then things like rape and hate crime would be less. But we simply brush these things off as “kids being kids”-but that’s not always the case. Just look at bullying. It’s still a major problem today and now with social media (as I was a victim of it myself in high school) it is even a bigger problem.

Now….moving on to something less depressing…..DREAM CONCERT!

Where to begin. Well I had standing with my friends so they wound up getting there super early and stayed overnight. I got there at around 8 in the morning. Thank god it was cloudy most of the day!

We got out tickets and wound up doing fan events for most of our wait time-fan events are Korea KPOP concerts best kept secret. If you don’t know what a fan event is let me tell you. Usually fan sites (like twitter) will post what they are giving away and where and what time though there are random pop up events too. Usually you have to follow them on twitter or something. But if you are there in time you get free stuff. Sometimes you have to be part of the fan club or have the lightstick or a concert ticket but not always. Things they give away are fans with idols faces and names on them, stickers, candy….I even got EXO-K Nature Republic note pad stuff this past time. It’s a hell of a lot of fun and running around and starts quite a few hours before the actual concert -super early if it’s EXO ( I learned this the hard way).

So after all the fan events, and eating a little bit, we got in line and went into the stadium. Last year I was number 190-this year 7…so we basically got to choose where we wanted to stand. We chose the right hand side corner at the very front. It was amazing. We were so close! We were right next to the extrended stage so a lot of the idols that walked by saw us and waved, and when I threw hearts at them they would throw them back. It was insane. Though the line up wasn’t as good my location was so much better so no complaints. At the end the idols were throwing stars with the entire bands signatures and a message on it. Ken from VIXX threw his star at me but…the star was too light and wound up falling in the space between the stage and the barrier. The girl next to me hopped the fence to get it. So mad I didn’t think to do that. And then of course EXO didn’t come to our side of the stage….jus the other side…oh well. I will see them again next Saturday…no to mention…the comeback….I will save that for another day because…yeah.

So that’s it for today. I’m almost done  with this semeter’s lessons. Almost every class will enter next week starting the final chapter for this semester.

Advertisements

Show me the money (for this job of wrangling 5th graders)

Standard

I know..I’ve neglected this blog for almost 4 weeks now but in all honesty I have some damn good excuses.

Starting with the Mozart Concert/BTS weekend-it took me a week to recover from that and I was barely able to keep up with lesson planning. All I wanted to do was sleep.

Then I got horrendously sick from some sort of nasty virus/infection thing. I was bed ridden for four days though I did at least try to come into work but was quickly told to go home and rest.  I almost went to the hospital because my fever hadn’t been getting any better and I almost started to cry in front of my 5-1 class (which is like the worst class).

After that it’s been a lot of money calucating with a ton of events, concerts, visits coming up as a I try to fudge with my budget on what I can and cannot do. It’s hard.

Trying to find a flight that is less than 2000 is a changing game. And because the website is in Korean I can only do so much without needing me co worker to help me. sadly any price I see on the weekend I can’t get because …I’m at home.

Not to mention still dealing with my classes.

Today was a low spot. My first period class didn’t feel like paying attention. Most of them spent the time looking at their desk, looking at the floor. And even when I’m giving them the answer they won’t speak louder than a whisper.

My second period class however was worse. They wouldn’t stop talking, talked over my co teacher (she’s started to become a little more strict but by strict I mean she simply tells them things in a stern voice an that’s it -no consequences) so I had to take control of the class. They were wasting time -we spent 60 of 80 minutes doing basically nothing but a few drills. They either didn’t remember or didn’t feel like reviewing last chapter.

I told them in the beginning of the year that things build upon other things…so they need to ask for my help. What drives me nuts is the students clearly can’t do it, but don’t even bother to ask for help. I can give as much as they need.

I try to remember back to when I was a student-how did I act in the class that I hated the most? (Which was Math by the way). I would have to ask for help because otherwise I would sit there, not know the answer and if I was called on, unable to answer and thus embarassed. And my teachers gave me a lot less help -really expecting me to do the majority of it on my own.

But the students just won’t ask for help. They sit there looking confused or doing nothing until I have to volunteer to come over to help. Most of them have no interest in improving either. At least last year the students that I helped made vast improvements and were quite proud of their accomplishments. This year it seems the trend is to no care. And I guess if you are getting passed and not being grading ,really why should they care? The only thing I can do is keep them after class to finish work they did not do during class. It’s become relatively effective which is good but still the same students  sit there knowing they are going to be stuck during break doing their work, instead of asking me for help. It’s Lesson 5-they know better by now. I can’t coddle them like my co teachers.

As for my blog…with all the insanity happening soon I am going to suspend the weekly schedule until I have some free time again to post reguarly.  I will do my best to post as much as I can.

Like this weekend…I have Dream Concert! I will get to see VIXX and EXO! My two favorite groups. After that there is a Suwon concert that has Astro, Up10tion Mamamoo (who is also at Dream concert-so excited to see them!) and of course EXO again. That is followed by the VIXX fan meet …and then my friend is finally coming to visit! So my June is already looking pretty packed full so hopefully that will gie me something to write about.

Also I started really getting into this season’s Show me the money 5 – rewatched all of season 4 and even stared season 3 . Some of my students seem to like the show as well-which is on at 11 pm and contains several instances of swearing. #koreanparentingatitsfinest

 

Hey now, Hey Now, Don’t Dream Concert is over

Standard

This post is entirely dedicated to the insane KPOP weekend I just had-a full Dream Concert experience, MYNAME concert, as well as travelling to Gangnam to see “pandas” and then learning that what you eat really does affect you skin, stomach- entire condition. If you really don’t care about KPOP I would strongly suggest you skip this post…because it’s about to GDFR 🙂

I can’t believe it!  After over a month of waiting, Dream concert finally happened on Saturday!

This past weekend has been so crazy that it’s insaneness(pretty sure that’s not a word) has now leaked over into the week. I’ve almost completely adjusted back to normal-I think my 14 hour jet lag wasn’t even this messed up.

So where to begin….let’s begin with the fact that me being me left packing to Friday night. So I was up later than I intended while still needing to catch my train that left at 9, which meant I had to leave my apartment by 820…which meant I had to wake up at 730…..that didn’t happen.

For the first time in a while I had to take a taxi to the station. I like taking the taxi because it drops me off closer to the station and allows me to leave whenever I want-it’s not that much more expensive but I have been pretty frugal lately.

I knew that the train was going to be nuts which is why I bought my ticket a week in advance-with dream concert, jazz festival and buddha’s birthday seoul was crazy busy! But I never thought it would take me 5 minutes to battle people to get to my seat (yes I did enter on the wrong side of the train car and had to basically go from one end to the other) but with my roller suitcase and get well poster present for W I felt like the Hulk-and not in a good way.

But once I finally got to my seat I was so grateful that I made the reservation. I however did not book one for the way home. I had no clue what time I would be leaving on Monday. I couldn’t really focus because I had so much adreniline that I kind of zoned out during the train ride.

Because W was taking the slow train I had an hour or so to kill. So I went to the airport line (it’s so far downstairs-you take like 3 or 4 separate super long escalators) and took it over to Hongdae, put my suitcase in a locker and then headed to the World cup stadium. I was not about to drag my suitcase all over Seoul, despite it being much lighter at the time.

At first I was concerened because I couldn’t get a hold of our friend J and I didn’t know what exit to come out of (see previous posts for the stupidty that is exiting our of Korean metro) but I soon found that all I had to do was follow the hoardes of teenage girls. My fears of getting lost vanished the moment I stepped off the train and witnessed over 100 girls sprinting to the exit.

I knew that it was going to be crazy but I wasn’t quite prepared for what I would see. Lines so long you couldn’t see the end or the beginning, a ton vendors giving out free stuff, so many people, merch everywhere etc.

It was my first time at the World Cup Stadium. I had been trying several times to make it out there only to be reminded by W that we would be going for Dream concert…..duh!

The stadium itself is huge. The sheer size is impressive. But the complex outside is rather large as well so once again the fear of wandering lost hit again.

I must have looked pretty stupid wandering around. But I was already dying. Mornings and evenings are cooler here in Korea, but during the day it’s like the desert. I had worn jeans and a jacket so for sunburn scale I was all covered up…..on a temperature scale I was dying a slow painful death.

Finally I managed to get in line to buy W and myself lightsticks and the slogan towel (which came in super handy and saved my neck from the sun) before heading over to our other friends. They had been there at 7 am. I don’t know if I would ever be that dedicated.

W finally got to the stadium and we got our tickets and headed to our hostel to drop our stuff, check in and then rush back. Our hostel was in Hongdae so it was short ride. We stayed at the Neo Seoul hostel. Apparently it is a “foriengers” only hotel where you need to show your passport and everything.
It was nice-we shared a four person “dorm” with a bathroom. But our “roommate” was barely there and left the next day so it was basically a 2 person room-the beds were hard so I wound up sleeping on top of my comforter.

After dropping off our then light suitcases we headed back to the stadium. At this point she and I had spilt a pain bagel with cream cheese, an orange and a iced coffee. But we were both running on adrendline at that point so hunger wasn’t even on our radar. If i had only known this was the beginning of a messed up eating schduele.

When we got back to the stadium, after having lathered in SPF 50 , we wandered around a little. Because we were in the foreinges sections we were like a giant “tourist” group. We met a guy who had been all around the world and was currently in Korea with his friend. He said Las Vegas was next on his place to go.
W easily spoke with him. We found out that he was a Red Velvet super fan to which W and I both made faces. Just go listen to “Ice cream cake”….you will want to die. But he also loved 2ne1 and called Sandara Park his future ex -wife which cracked us up. Then he revealed that he was probably the only straight red velvet fan there. So much for assuming he was gay. That’s what I get.

Anyway we all ended up waiting for a while in the sun, but W and I were protected thanks to my sunscreen. After burning about a month ago after being in the sun for 2 hours, there was no way in hell I would be caught dead with out sunscreen again. I didn’t need my chest turning a lovely shade of red again. With my new hair, it would clash wonderfully.

Finally we went to our “seats”. Now as many of you I wound up spending a little more than I originally had inteneded to-and way more than any person should feel comfortable with on a concert. However…stepping out of the tunnel onto the field and looking around at the sheer size….I had a mini World Cup fantasy where I was walking out onto the field representing the USA……yeah.

The sheer size of the stadium is enough to make your head spin, but being able to stand on the field and really take in the amount of seats….it was surreal. W was entertatined at my mini soccer fan freak out.
But then things got much worse. When I saw where we were going to be….well let’s just say it was well worth the 100,00 (x3) that it was. Not only were we in the “pit” for standing, but we were surrounded by the stage, meaning we had to step up onto the stage. This also meant if there was a fire we would all die (the only reason I’m bringing this up is because they had a moment where they mentioned what to do in the case of an emergency).

With the sun going down slowly the heat of the day faded and the air become cooler. I knew this concert was going to be long, but hearing the words “3 hour concert” kind of made me wonder if I was going to be awake at the end.

The lesser known groups went first: Red Velvet, Speed, Topp Dogg, CLC-some rookie groups, some who have no yet been able to reach that major fame. Some of them were really good-like Boys Republic.

W is a super fan so she was already going a little insane but when BTS came out her sanity slowly began to unravel and it was really entertaining to watch. BTS was really good-J Hope had a dance battle with someone from GOT7. And then they performed there new song “I NEED U”.

But when BTOB came out, as W puts it “it was the beginning of the end”. BTOB performed “Wow” and “Beep Beep” I had seen them in Busan, but still it was awesome. They were amazing and did the really sweet choreography for “Beep Beep” that they didn’t do in Busan. (seriously watch their dance practice video). W and I both went a little nuts. But nothing compared to what happened next.

We were already riding a high with BTOB but then when I heard the opening for “Love Equation”…let’s just say my mind when blank because I am having a little trouble remembering it at times. I’ve been waiting to see Vixx since the Utopia concert-one of my biggest regrets (if you want to see how I stupidly ignored the first half of the concert please refer back to previous posts) so now to finally see them again…it was amazing. After “love equation” they performed “error” which isn’t one of my favorite songs by them so I was able to collect my brain and settle down a little. It was over way too soon but I knew we had a “special stage’ with Leo later on which was amazing as well.

Right after Vixx came 4minute. They were amazing! Both W and I thought Sohyun looked amazing-her body is seriously 10x better than Hyuna and we think she’s much prettier.

Other artists were SISTAR-where they did an improved dance remix of ‘Touch my Body” (thank god), EXO-I kind of tuned out during them and their insane fans who performed their newest single and “Growl”, and then the show closed with SHINee who I was pleasently surprised. Their new song was actually really good. And Onew ( I think that’s his name- I can really only tell 2 of them apart) had the cutest blue and orange striped shirt on that made him look like a little kid.

Though it was kind of obvious that EXO fans and SHINee fans were at odds with each other (and they were in the sections right next to each other) the overall reception was amazing.

If I had to categorize it-Super Concert. The line up was incredible and it gave you a mini preview of groups that maybe you didn’t know, or that you would have never bothered to see before (sorry EXO looking at you). If definetely left me looking forward to BTOB’s full length album next month, made me actually interested in SHINee’s newest single, still made me dislike EXO, and just completely made me happy that I got to enjoy VIXX fully. (and made me wish they both would take a break to prevent burnout while at the same time wanting them to make another comeback)

The concert end time: 1040-yep over 4 hours long. We all decided that we would head back to Hongdae and grab something to eat. It seems after concerts we always get chicken. By the time we go to Hongdae and found a place, it was 12 am. I had not had a real meal in over 24 hours. But i wasn’t actually that hungry….I think I was still on adrelinene at this point….until I actually had one bite of chicken…and then I realized how hungry I was. I knew I was going to regret eating fried chicken but at that point…I couldn’t have cared less.

I had been eating extremely well, exercising and drinking a ton of water. My skin had been reacting well and I felt amazing. However…that chicken not only destroyed my diet but my skin and stomach as well.

After showering, and unwinding a little with TV W and I finally fell asleep around 1 am.

The next day I woke up at 730 because my alarm clock went off. I was in and out of sleep until about 10am when I realized I couldn’t sleep anymore. We got ready for the day (it took us both an hour to get ready) and then headed out for “breakfast/lunch”. We found a really nice place in Hongdae where we had pasta and donkatsu. It was followed by much needed coffee and then we headed out to Cheongdam. W had wanted to get the new BTOB lightstick from Cube and I needed to get Hyunseung’s new album (which I have yet to put into my computer). Cube had completely renovated. Also…their drink menu.

I ordered an iced latte to keep me awake….it was about 3x the size a normal iced latte should be. It took me over 1 1/2 hours to drink which anyone who knows me, I am a fast drinker. Needless to say it kept me occupied…and then occupied for the rest of the day in bathroom.

Due to our waking up late we had to head over to Gwangnaru for the MYNAME concert. I hadn’t planned on going but deicded why the hell not. So W got her ticket and I bought mine…which wound up being 6 rows in front of her…and 6 rows from the stage.

We had some time to kill so we went to find a GS25 (like a wawa) and on our way we walked passed by a group of 5 really good looking men. I thought they were staff (they had special tags on) so we passed by them without really paying attention to them. Both W and i noticed they were staring at us as we walked by in slight confusion. Turns out…it was a famous Korean model who was good friends with one of the MYNAME members.Whoops!

I knew nothing about this group (turns out I had seen them before on tv show with VIXX and BTOB but had no clue who they were) but they put on a decent show. They had a few good songs and I learned that they were much bigger in Japan.

I sat next to a girl from Sweden whose English had me completely fooled. I knew she had an accent but I assumed she was from Northern America-Minnestoa or Wisconsin. She was very pleased to hear that I thought her English was amazing. Then she was shocked when she found out I was not a student- I was very pleased at that.

The concert went a little longer than I thought and we got out around 10pm. W and I headed back to Hongdae where we ate mung bean pancake and scorched rice for dinner at around 11ish. It was another night where we ate super late.

We got back to the hostel, both dead from the previous day and the current day’s actitivies. But somehow at 1230 we both got a second wind and were going on youtube, and tumblr and just kind of lost it. It might have been slight deprevation or exhaustion but the both of us cracked up for a solid minute when we started talking about Ravi’s real name (Wonsik…..poor guy). Then we both passed out.

The next day was check out so we had to hurry and get our stuff together by 11 am. We said out goodbyes to the resident dog who was super cute and friendly. Then we headed out to Gangnam to see the paper mache pandas. Apparently it is to raise awareness for pandas so there is one paper mache panda for every real life panda left in the world. It’s sad.

However, it took 40 minutes to reach Gangnam from Hongdae…and I was so tired that I fell asleep on the metro ride there. After we took pictures with the pandas we headed to the Dog Cafe where one of the little dogs completely fell in love with me. He plopped himself down on my lap. And when I tried to give him to W he got upset and wanted to come back to me. And when we had to leave he kept trying to jump up on me. It was so cute and sad at the same time.

But the we ran into the problem of getting back to Hongdae in time to grab our bags and still make it to Seoul station at 5. We got into Hongdae at 430 and then bascially sprinted to our hostel to pick up our bags and then to the station. I got my workout in.

I finally caught the 5 pm train which wasn’t too crowded shockingly and then made it home an hour later.

So that was my entire extended insane weekend. I’ve adjusted back to a normal sleep scheduele however my eating is still a little off. I’m not hungry around dinner so much because I got used to eating at 12 so I’m slowly getting back to eating dinner. Also I had zero energy so I didn’t go to the gym until yesterday. I’m almost 100% back!!

I realize that I had gotten a little behind on the posting mostly due to the business that became prepping, attending and then recovering from dream concert.

So next time on the Real Black and White Dog Archives : heat and the approaching summer, teaching struggles in dealing with the heat, W’s surgery and nerves, my Korean gym and when I realize I’m the only female “going hard” .

*This post was exhausting to write and remember so I will add photos later 🙂

Buddha(ish) adj.

Standard

Some monks were dancing, and waving and having a great time...others were more solemn and serious.

Some monks were dancing, and waving and having a great time…others were more solemn and serious.

the dancing dragon-yes they really did make it dance!

the dancing dragon-yes they really did make it dance!

almost looked like it could sail into the sky

almost looked like it could sail into the sky

so pretty

so pretty

in the lotus

in the lotus

11012680_10204346991014791_1157190337758292898_n[1]
So much music

So much music

"King and Queen" opening the parade

“King and Queen” opening the parade

Ever since that seminar trip I was forced to go on and make friends, I feel as if I have been playing catch up. Lesson plans are taking longer, classes have been moved around (or flat out cancelled) so trying to keep up with posting has been almost impossible.
Today for example, both of my classes are not happening because the students have “physical test” day. This of course is coming on the heels of classes being cancelled for “sports day” and the preceeding “practice for sports day”. The amount of classes that have simply been cancelled is staggering.
My co teacher is the one left to teach “supplementry classes”. This has also caused me not to see one of my classes in over a month. To me, that is outrageous and also pretty sad. I don’t remember a single student from that class because it’s been so long.
But that’s how schools here work. Almost nothing is official or set in stone. For example this week, I won’t have class until 1040am tomorrow morning. So now I finally have the time to finish my lesson planning and post.

So the last two posts I believe were about….going to the teaching seminar and music.

Today is about….the Lantern Lotus festival! Well it will be in part-also other things which I have yet to decide.

This past Saturday I went to the Lantern Lotus Festival with Emily and Rob. It’s the first time I’ve seen them in a long long time, but they have been busy with wedding preparations and dealing with Emily’s dog dying.

I will say this-from now on I will only be using public transportation in Seoul. We knew it was going to be crowded but damn. It didn’t take too long to get to Seoul, but I suspect most people had gotten there early on in the day to do all the other activities.

We got there around 330/4 with minimal traffic. I will admit, as strange as this sounds, I have missed being in car. We drove over the bridge into Itaewon which is where the HQ army post is located. Then came the main area-near Gwangju Market. Everyone and their extended family was there.
I had friends who had spent the entire day there, going to cheer rallies and getting lotus lanterns and such. They were also staying for the next day’s activitives.
But with my upcoming weekend in Seoul, and the ever piling laundry, I didn’t want to spend too much time in Seoul.
It took us maybe 45 min to find parking. It was stressful. But once we did, it was in a good spot. We walked to the main drag and found ourselves a second story restrataunt called “Koba”.
We were all starving so we got good old “American food”. It turned out that we ended up having a perfect view of the street and just sat there for the main event: the parade.

I don’t know too much about Buddahism, only a little from my World Religions class in high school, but it was very cool and kind of spiritual watching all the monks walk down the streets. I am guessing this is one of, if not the, holiest day of their year (I could be completely wrong). It was cool to see the full monks, the monks in training, the nuns etc. (Emily explained all of this to me). Buddha’s birthday is techincally next weekend, so I don’t know if this was the “pre” celebration-like kicking off the entrance into a holy time or something (kind of like advent/lent). Like I said, I could be totally wrong, and I’m not trying to offend anyone, but that is my guess. I could google this…..and probably will after I finish this post.
The “king” and “queen” opened the parade and then all of the monks, and lanterns and floats followed.
I think each “temple” had their own monks and then some “parishoners” walking behind them with lanterns. The lanterns were all different, and the people were dressed in traditional garb.
It was a honor and a joy just to sit and watch. It especially got more beautiful as the sun started to go down and the lanterns and floats really started to shine.
After the parade was over, we started to leave the city. Here is where we got so turned around by Emily’s bad GPS. We started out ok, driving past Myeongdong and Namsan (which I finally got to see the N tower at night….so pretty). But then somehow we started making our way over to World Cup area….and then back towards Yeouido….and then towards the olympic park…and then gangnam….basically we did a huge digonal route across Seoul which took at least an hour.
While I generally knew where we were…there wasn’t much I could do because I only knew PT. Driving is a beast in Seoul and I will never do it.
When we finally managed to get out of the city, Route 1 opened up pretty well and we got home at a decent time.

I had not initially wanted to go to Seoul to the festival because I wanted to use the time to relax before next weekend’s craziness (which will posted sometime next week-i have a feeling it might end up really long). But in the end I was really happy I went-next year (hopefully still here and more hopefully in seoul by then) I would like to do the whole day’s activities as well.

I always said, if I wasn’t Chrisitan I’d be Buddhist….or Jewish…

So this weekend coming up….is finally DREAM CONCERT! W and I have been waiting for this for so long. Too long. And too expensive…but once we’re there hopefully…it won’t matter. Saturday is when I will be heading up to Seoul-I’ve already bought my train ticket-knowing how crazy the trains are going to get that weekend. I’m guessing we will be checking into our place (staying in Hongdae this time to be closer to world cup stadium) and then….I have no idea. I do want to try and hit up the dog cafe though! I need me some puppies!
Then that night…..KPOP CONCERT EPICNESS!
The following Sunday-I’m going to try really hard to make it to church-it’s close(ish) so I should be able to do it. And then I think we were going to hit the strawberry festival if we could. If not…I have no idea. Then W is going to the MYNAME concert that night…and I….once again…have no clue.

We will be leaving that monday afternoon-the final day in the three day weekend all thanks to Buddha’s birthday.

It’s actually kind of funny: The final monday in May in America is called “Memorial Day”-it’s where ….acutally i’m not entirely sure but I think it’s suppposed to be in memeorial of all those who have died serving our country (vs vetern’s days who I’m guessing is in honor of those who are still alive). It’s a three day weekend where people can have cookouts because the weather is nice, outdoor pools open up, you can wear white shoes again (the end of that is labor day…i don’t know why), people go to the beach for vacation, there are huge sales, those stores that aren’t having the sale are closed, kids have off of school…basically you could almost say it’s like a celebration of spring/summer.

Either way, I’m used to “having off” (or working my butt off) and having a nice cookout with my family on the deck. I’m the only one that typically makes it a big deal, and I will miss the grilled broccoli, seafood, and potatoes….so I will do my best to find “american BBQ” in seoul…..i don’t know how that will work out but we’ll see.

May is more than halfway over (barely but still). As I have said before, March dragged on, April went by at a decent pace, and now May has progressed much faster than I could have anticipated. Dream concert is finally here! June is almost here-which means my dad will be finishing up his school year and start his summer vacation…lucky. But that also means August is getting closer..when my parents are coming to visit.

I’m excited about it but also sad that I won’t be able to see Logan. I can’t believe I am going year without seeing him. It is very hard and difficult. I’ve already made the decision to visit home during my January break. It will be a shame that it’s in winter but I hope to visit again August 2016 to see Baltimore in summer (and the O’s)!

I think that should do it for this post.

Next time on the Real Black and White Dog Archives of Korea: finally being able to watch Modern family, heat waves, china bff, exercise and the clean eating diet that is killing me….well actually saving me..but killing me.

Get by with a little help from my new found aquaintences

Standard

I don’t know if I would consider the people I met at the GEPIK teachers seminar “friends” but I would consider the possibility.  Now before you think I sound like a complete heartless loser, let us define what a friend is.  Someone you talk to on a daily basis, hang out with, share you issues and secrets.  So no, I don’t think I am a heartless tin man…woman..person.

 

Moving on. The seminar was good. I did learn some things about teaching, my personal situation, and myself.

First we had 4 classes a day all 50 mins.  Topics included writing, art, communication and issues.  I found while these were helpful, everything felt very rushed.  I had hoped we would have spent more time in class.

 

There was an “elective” that we chose which lasted over an hour and a half…after our regular classes.  Needless to say I don’t think I was being unreasonable when my lack of participation in group work was noticed.  I hate group work anyway.  Always have.

 

Aside from learning helpful techinicuqes and activities, the seminar gave me the biggest piece of helpful advice by simply turning me into a student once more.

It’s been over a half a year since I last had my Spanish class, and even those were not your typical structured classes.  I suspect most of the teachers have been out of school even longer than me.

By becoming a student once more and having a teacher lead the classroom, I was able to remember and understand the perspective of being a student once more.  I wanted my teachers approval.  I wanted to get all the answers right.  I got competitive with the other students.  I think realizing the dynamic of the classroom, not as a teacher, but as a student , was the thing that I took back with me, conciously planning to implement it in my teaching. (I realize that was one long ass sentence and full of fragments but whatever).

I think putting yourself back in a student mindset is something a lot of teachers forget.  They forget the students needs and struggles.

Now getting down to my living and group situtation.

Most dorms had 3-4 people.  I had one other who happened to be the loudest/leader/most outgoing of the entire group.  I wanted to shoot myself.  By nature, upon meeting new people, I am more reserved, wanting to get a feel for their personalites by watching and listening.

While some people get the hint and back off…others refuse to leave! Constant “Roomie!” and “My roommate is the best!” and the “My roommate loves me.” Silence…That was all I asked for at night….thank you Beats by Dr Dre with your noise cancelling feature.

But after spending some time alone with my “roomie” I came to the realization that she could be relatively normal.  In a weird way she reminded me a lot of my best friend (currently in China) back when we were in college.  We wound up spending the last night talking with her other friend.  I came to the conclusion that my groupmates weren’t completely scary and the final day turned out to be rather enjoyable.

Though..I will say…I was called “cute” by my younger classmates….my “dongsaengs”…that will never go away will it? I finally understand Baby Spice’s little breakdown in “Spice World” “I’m going to cute even when I’m 30.” which…is now scarily not that far off…..ugh.

Now during my stay it was my “25th” anniversary of leaving Korea for America…..weird.  It passed without much fanfare i’m sad to say because I was busy with “school.”  I will make some time for this soon though.

After my 3 day seminar I had a 4 day vacation that was “spring break/children’s day” so I had over a week off from work.  It was hard getting back into the swing of things.

You know how after the initial two days of being happy you have no school, is slowly followed by 3rd and 4th day where you kind of are bored and want to go back to school, is quickly replaced at day 5 and 6 where you are content to no have work? Well that’s where I was.  I had even gotten accustomed to going to bed later.

It’s now Friday and I’ve only had two classes this week, due to “sports day” being the wednesday that I returned to school.  I was glad I got to see my 1st, 3rd, and especially 5th graders compete, despite that only being in the sun for an hour or so on a cloudy mild day, I GOT SUNBURNED! Now the top of my chest is red-this does not happen to people like me.

While yes i no longer can tan and look like N from Vixx, I sure as hell have never burned the first week in May…..except…I do now…..dammit. Maybe the sun is stronger here?

But Maryland is pretty damn hot.  Speaking of Maryland, Sunday is mother’s day and my first one away from my mom.  I sent off “cards” which was an easy and cheap thing to do-so i will def be doing it more often.  But it will still be strange.  I guess we will have to skype that day.  She still gets confused thinking i’m a full 24hours a head of her, not just 12.  It’s very funny and cute.

Now regarding some teaching life/customs because I feel like i need to make this some how informational…that is so not a word….is it?  I swear since I had my hair “dyed” (bleached people, bleached) from the dark dark dark dark brown (aka the shade above black) I have said/done more dumb things that I have ever done before.

I won’t say what they are because…well thats just too embarssasing.

So as I mentiond I had been on break. When I left, I was told to go and talk with the principal.  I was given a specific saying on a post it.

Now I have no problem doings things asked of me if it’s not a normal custom for me.  I understand that.

However, when I came back from break, I was not told that I needed to see the principal again and greet him AND give him a gift.

I was not told of this at all until of course after the principal had mentioned something to my co teacher about recieving a gift from the other foreign teacher who has been teachnig in korean for about 6 years.  So i was given a “passive aggressive” note saying that I need to learn Korean style.

I would have had no problem buying the principal something small, or going in to say hello to him had I been told BEFORE. In this situtaion, I was the “scapegoat”  because I was the foreinger.

Those who say that “oh you’re korean  they probably just assumed you knew what to say and do.”  I have this to say: they’ve known me for over two months.  They still think I can’t read hangul and romanize everything for me.  So they clearly knew I would have no clue what to say to the principal.

After talking (VENTING) to my friends I calmed down a bit, took the passive aggressive letter with a grain of salt, and continued on.  This is Korean custom as well-not wanting conflict to save face where in America this is considered rude, cowardly and one of the things most people consider their biggest pet peeve.

So today, I continued on with my normal day, did my business and have kept to myself a little more than usual.  My friend told me that there is a time when your co teachers no longer treat you as a guest, and you are considered part of the staff-and will be treated like so. She said most teachers decide during this time to leave or stay a year. I am guessing this is the “light switch” but it was so bizarre-I don’t know if they thought that the GEPIK seminar (run by mostly westerns) would suddenly make me a korean teacher…..I don’t know but they signed me up for it so I think they would know.

March went by like a slug. April was a bit faster.  Here’s to hoping May will progress fast as well…which judging my calander sitting on my desk, it has-since it’s already May 8…and I totally just realized it’s my half birthday….which now means I’m closer to 26 than 25…..which in turn means i’m closer to 30 than 20…..ok I can’t deal with that head trauma right now.

Luckily this month I have “Dream Concert” to look forward to on the 23rd.  Like I’m way more excited than I should be.  For those of you who don’t know what that is, which yes I used to be you like…a month ago …..it’s bascially a giant kpop concert with different artists.

This year 4mintue, BTOB, Shinee, Sistar, topp dogg, BTS, EXO (what’s left of them anyway ….not sorry) and Vixx are some of the names as well as a bunch of others.  I am sad that I will miss out n Beast who was there last year.  But I’m totally excited!

I also spent more than I’ve ever spent before on a concert.  Let’s just say the inital price was 200 for reserved sitting …..and we got standing so….I don’t want to reveal the price because I’m not that gaudy…and I’m also slightly unable to wrap my head around it still.

 

I do want to talk about a conversation my friend and I had about music and KPOP in general because it could seem that I’m a pyscho fangirl ….which I’m really not. But that would invovle going on a tangent and it would be unrelated to this post.  So check out my next post which I will start now!

Next time on the real black and white dog archives: my introduction and journey through KPOP, how music is beyond normal thinking and reason and feeling, and  why it’s more than a simple song. Prepare yourself…or simply skip over it.