Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Korean Kids with English Names

Many of my students that attend Hagwons have English names that are used at the Hagwons, recently I have been learning more and more, some of the interesting ones are....

  • Ardellio (No idea where that came from for him)
  • Peaches
  • Sienna
  • Shinee
  • Carly (for a boy?)
  • Cherry
  • Ocean
  • Bill (which isn't that funny but calling a 13 year old Korean child Bill gets me every time)
  • Shock

and finally......ADOLPH.

after being informed his name is Adolph, mid thought process (Do they even know....) his friends say "Yes, Teacher he is German"...

That lesson we played a game called 'Let's go camping' the students were invited on a camping trip and had to say "I'm (name), I'll bring (item)"

"I'm Adolph, I'll bring" ......oh the humorous possibilities!

My students names are not actually that amusing in comparison to some I have heard, students seem to name themselves after anything from people to just sounds they like! Hamburger, Beyonce, Ice, Kimchi....

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Kate Robey- Our favourite South African.

This weekend has been a nice relaxed one, we got some much needed sleep Saturday (I've been pretty deprived recently). We spent Saturday morning playing guitar and downloading Christmas songs (oh yes I'm a bit excited). Saturday afternoon our good friend Kate came to visit, we hadn't seen her wonderful face for a little while and were rather looking forward to seeing her. 

We spent the weekend pretty chilled out, a few drinks, pool, darts, battleships finished off with smoothies and waffles- delicious! Saturday night I declared I would have nothing interesting to blog about (although the weekend with the monk is still to come) and promised Kate I would write her a lil blog. 

So here it is....

Kate Robey:


Smiling through life

Loves her some BB gun action!

Makes me :D
 I could write more but I think this should suffice. 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Hapkido Tournament ('Championshop')- Seoul

Hapkido Championshop

The day had arrived where we would get to watch Hapkido students and masters battle it out with weapons, (yes weapons) and sheer 'body kilo' as our Master says. Now, when you think weapons do you think of a cane/walking stick or perhaps a belt, unless you are Steven Siegal, probably not. Hapkido participants DO.

The Crew from our school and a few other teeny participants:

Looking for her name

The Master

One of our schools competitors

This school had 30+ students from ages 7+ with black belts at varying stages!

Another competitor from school- purdy boy!

The day included cleverly masterminded and perfectly timed Hapkido school shows and Hapkido competitions. There were various areas you could compete in such as self defence (throws & locks),including knife defence, nunchuck defence, cane defence and belt defence. Then there was kicks or special kicks and jumps. The groups were all divided by age.

Firstly the shows; Some seriously impressive stuff.
I felt a great sense of pride watching the shows (not to mention awe) that I was in a minor way, a part of a traditional Korean martial art, that was able to prevail against the Japanese occupancy of Korea , therefore making the art form a highly respected and guarded attribute to Korean culture.

If you fail to be blown away by these words the following awe-inducing pictures should do the trick...(even old Stevie might learn a thing or two):

This girl is my hero she was awesome!

So small for such violence

I break things with my fist-wood.

I told ya

My hero

Fan defence- worrying stuff

6 people all jumping over one another..

Kicking a circle of wood

I think this was over 11 students

Saumersault over 4/5 students

The Masters at work

Now for the apple kick

Belt Defence

Importantly, we had wanted to watch the tournament as our friend Tawny was competing in the Kicks and jumps category. Now, Tawny has been doing Hapkido for 15 months (I think),she got her black belt in June of this year after 11 months of private lessons with the 'Master' and was signed up for this competition uninformed by said 'Master' haha, love it, Oh Korea!

With the belief that Tawny would be competing against other women we spent the day eye-spying anyone who looked a similar age. We found one possibility, who definately looked like she was a master, but we were unable to find the 13 other people on the list with Tawny....All would soon be revealed....

Well, It turned out, Tawny was actually competing against 13 high school+  aged BOYS (aged 18 years +)!
Now, anyone doing hapkido in Korea that is Korean and aged 18, is likely to have been studying Hapkido maybe 10 years (give or take a year or two), so you can imagine these guys.

Tawny, however was an absolute machine out there, check it out:

We were all ever so proud, tears in the eye (just the one, seriously) proud. She performed every move excellently, even one she had never before seen and the only help was from myself and an animated finger sequence of the move! The crowd were amazing cheering Tawny on in true Korean spirit, high 5's, 'good jobs' and pats on the back all round.

Perhaps next year if the beau and I are ever black belts we shall be asked to do such things, although I think Master Sim was one tired guy after it all and completely unimpressed that he was made to change from leather jacket and skinnys to a suit for the occasion. We have one trendy Master!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Another moment of glory

Ok, so I fear this blog may get taken over by me talking and talking about my students and the things they do that make me chuckle (at least my mum might still read it), however, I just can't help it! Also, most of these things really aren't funny unless you are there..but here I go anyway.

Today, during role play class (role play included a Sphinx that was asking tourists what day it was and if they were wrong he would blow them away making a noise "pheeeew") my students were particularly hilarious. As the dialogue was easy it meant they got to really think about acting, what joyous moments followed:

Smelly breath group: Decided the Sphinx had bad breath which killed them.

The group of death: Changed "pheeeew" for "You Die, oh my god!".

The mute rock: This group informed me prior to performance that one boy "no English", So I told them to pair him with another student. Before their performance, the boy, who is the size of a 5 year old (no joke) walks to the corner, crouches under the TV display and curls into a ball and the others begin to perform. I am lost, when they finish I ask my co-teacher "Why is he in the corner?" she shrugs and a team member informs me "teacher he is a rock"....bahahaha

Doesn't quite live up to my students telling me "Teacher he dong on chair" whilst acting this out, in response to me asking where a student was.

Dong=Poo in Korean and they weren't joking either! He really did dong on chair.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

It was a close call...

Here's ShineeAfter some time of deliberation, my student 'Shinee' has decided:

"Teacher you are pretty"

Me: "Only maybe though Shinee?"

Shinee: "No, Teacher, you ARE pretty"

and a happy life I shall now lead.

I have to record this kid he is fantastic, last week he had me crying with laughter trying to imitate a 'grandfather frog', later in the class he was dancing frantically with a ball (we were playing 'pass the ball', basically 'pass the parcel') with his lil belly sticking out! He is truely great....

Next week stay tuned.

Click here for: The man himself

Monday, November 22, 2010

My first 'Thanks Giving'

This week we partook in our first ever Thanks Giving. Now, all you Brits may ask "What is Thanks Giving exactly?" OR "Surely, you must be American to do such things?" OR "Is it even that good to shout (blog) about?".....

Well, well I shall try to answer your questions (any more, feel free to post them). 
Thanks Giving is celebrated the forth Thursday of November and commemorates the Plymouth Colonists (English Folk) and the Wampanoag Indians (Native American Folk) coming together for an Autumn feast (at a later date they may well have pillaged said Native Americans, but all is forgotten upon this day- possibly everyday, I wonder.... Do native Americans celebrate Thanks Giving?)

Anywho, in respect of this original feast, Americans now come together to share food and say Thanks for all they are great full for in life.

NB: I may be wrong about any/ all of this, I am British after all.

For our first Thanks Giving, we went to our friends, Tawny and Chris's house. Also there was Landis (the oven bringer- what a great oven, such things are hard to find here) and importantly the main chef for the night, Chris's mum (or Mom) Suzanne. Chris's mum had come to Korea to visit and kindly brought with her ingredients for a Thanks Giving dinner.

Our chef for the evening.

 Served to us was...

Chicken (Turkey is impossible to find here and apparently very expensive once found)
Mashed Potato (powder style-I was dubious of such things but they were good)
Gravy (Thanks to our friend Matt Brown who sent us a parcel), Roasted Sweet Potato's, Corn Bread (I had no idea how bread went with what was potentially a roast dinner-but, but- It definitely did!), home made and delicious stuffing, cranberry sauce, salad (again a lil odd to us Brits to have with a roast but great nonetheless).
For dessert- apple crumble and to drink- wine.

The table to start

and to finish

We also maintained tradition and before eating we all said thank you for various aspects of our lives, good friends, great experiences and caring family was the main jist. 

The whole night was great and I believe at the very least England should adopt the celebration- who doesn't need an excuse to eat and we could all do with a moment of pause to say Thank you, furthermore as it was in fact English men involved in the original thanks giving all reasoning is covered!

I personally can not compare Thanks Giving to Christmas as Christmas for me is the most special day ever, but it sure was wonderful. It made lil Tawny Marie Clark ever so happy, I think she likes it more than Christmas and was worried about missing another one. 

Tawny with a place mat her mum had sent-possibly made, specially!

Finally, Thank you to Chris, Landis, Paul, Suzanne & Tawny for a delightful and unforgettable first Thanks Giving. I hope to one day experience it on American turf.

Pictures courtesy of Tawny Clark.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Lotte World.

It has taken me a few days to write this as I am still recovering from the weekend. Last weekend involved some serious hours on a bus, waiting in ques and watching Hapkido.

Saturday; Following an early start, we took a bus (crammed full of Hapkido 'goers', mostly primary school aged) 5hrs + to the capital of South Korea, Seoul. We were heading to Seoul to watch a Hapkido tournament.

Hapkido is a traditional Korean Martial art that Paul and I have been participating in since June (I shall have to dedicate a blog to such things to inform you all further).

Once we arrived in Seoul and as the competition was not until the next day, Master Sim presented us all with tickets for Lotte World (A huge indoor theme park-the biggest in the world- and outdoor theme park)..... ah the Korean way to assume everybody wants to do/eat/drink the same!

Lotte World Entrance
 Well we arrived at Lotte World, just in time for Christmas, yes it is definitely Christmas there. A little early you may say, but no, it was actually great! From the grotto like interior to the fake snow and tacky Christmas souvenirs- I felt a little warm and festive inside.

'Happy Christmas' Its what they say in Harry Potter apparently.

Lotte Outdoors-Magic Land

Lott World Indoors

Ears of all variety's a necessity in theme parks here.

For both sexes.

Also we made it just in time for the Christmas Parade and what a delight it was:

Almost all the performers were foreigners.

Obviously Koreans aren't that into it.

This little one was clapping away excitedly!

She was a lil unsure of what to make of it all.

However, Lotte World on a Saturday is oh so very busy and in the 5 hours we were there we managed to get on 2 rides. One of which was infact a short 3D movie shown from the perspective of being a cat. The effects were amazing, but really an hour in a que to walk around a scary house as a...cat. Hmm...

The other was this:

Look at them faces!

Maybe half the full height.
 It dropped so fast you were unable to breath, which I quite liked as I'm not a fan of screamers on rides, although given the chance I may have let a small squeal out!

Just because no one should be deprived of an insight into the 3D cat movie:

Just some words of reassurance and guidance.

So glad we waited.

We did manage to eat some Mexican-esque food, Hodak (Korean pancakes with brown sugar and crushed nuts inside-delicious!) and I found pick and mix in Korea. This made Tawny and I quite the happy folk, until we got to the till and realised its even more extortionately priced than back home!

Making the Hodak

Yummy Hodak.

While walking back to the meeting spot, joy of joys, the night parade started up, exactly like the day one but....with lights. Just when you think something can't get better! I am still a child, the dancing elves, trees and Christmas puddings made me ever so happy!

Magic Land by night.

Cute Little girl directing her mum for pictures-trying to get her to do a love heart here.

This horse could dance!

Lil better than our scooter

The most embarrassed guy/candle stick EVER

Departing Lotte World, Master Sim informs us people are staying in a Jimjibang (Korean Sauna's, with many pools and saunas about, clothes are not permitted, the sexes are divided and you sleep in a huge empty room on a heated floor for very cheap). However, as Chris's mum is over from America and a Jimjibang may be too much to handle so soon into her visit, we get to stay at a motel! HA, don't know about Chris's mum but I wasn't sure I was ready for such an event to take place (nude sleeping with strangers), yes yes I'm a prude, But I vow right here for all to see, I will try a Jimjibang whilst I am in Korea.

Oh gaud.

Anywho, we were up at the crack o' dawn the following day for breakfast (Korean stylee, boiled beef, egg, rice, kimchi). Now, beef especially of the boiled variety, is one thing I just can't stomach, even the smell, so at 7.30am there was no chance! Master Sim (and I'm sure others) were concerned as to why I ate only 'small breakfast, very important', no idea what the correct response to this is, I tried 'ah too much, very early for me', Master Sim just looked confused.

Back to the bus for us and...

Away to the Hapkido tournament we were...

A few pics of everyone's happy faces throughout the day to finish...

Some of the Hapkido kids and their master

Tawny got a lil hat

Chris won some lollipops

The master