Uncertainty can be happiness

"Security is a false god," or running around the world as an FSO

Archive for the ‘Incheon’ Category

Shoes

Posted by quirksalight on July 18, 2010

Why am I blogging about shoes?

Well, it’s not just a piece of leather, suede, plant-based, or man-made materials that shod your feet. They can be iconic, witty, gorgeous, hideous, comfortable, and painful. And they are a bit more important than I thought to a FSO’s job.

In the Foreign Service, we are considered to be generalists, jack-of-all trades, etc. And with that moniker, comes the job, which means that we can be called to do anything and everything as the need arises. So, if you need to sprint up and down the length of Incheon International Airport so you can meet the visitor who’s itinerary you are in charge of, you better have comfortable, well-padded, shoes.

Of course, never having thought that I would be sprinting up and down Incheon airport, praying that I would be able to meet up with my visitor, I was not wearing the said comfy shoes. Instead, I was wearing a pair of lovely maroon suede, 3″, Mary Jane style heels. Which, in a normal trip to the airport would be fantastic and just fine. This case, 3 blisters the size of Kansas (actually, 1-2cms), smaller areas rubbed raw, and all joints in my legs serious questioning my sanity and sense of judgement.

That said, my visitors (Yes, I’ve been here 3 weeks and this shoe business happened twice) were never the wiser of the behind the scene nuttiness and were apparently quite happy with my planning and organization skills.

Lesson learned. Keep the smile on your face, go above and beyond the requirements and you’ll be rewarded, and get better shoes. Yes, I bought out a chunk of Rockport’s inventory in Itaewon, 5 pairs of shoes this week. Screw the blisters and the like; this is a career investment. 🙂

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Posted in adventure, airports, amusing, ancedotes, commentary, Embassy Seoul, fun, Incheon, Korea, People, shopping, work | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Food poisoning

Posted by quirksalight on February 9, 2009

Last week, we ordered lunch (like usual) at school, and decided to pick Soon Doo Boo jigae, which is a soft tofu seafood stew. It’s definitely on my favorite Korean foods. However, this time, it was a little, off. I started eating it, and I really couldn’t place what, but I had to stop eating it because my palate and gut was telling something was wrong. In about 90 minutes later, yep, gut and palate was right. The good ‘ol GI tract started grumbling, and severe cramping kicked in.

I left school early, and went home, where in the early evening, my body felt like someone had taken a rubber hose and beat every single one of my muscles. Ugh… movement in general was severely painful and slow. Indeed, voiding the GI tract (you can use your imagination here) helped a little, but not too much.

After the muscle pains passed, I started on antibiotics… now… it’s 3 days later, and there are *still* some after effects… Blargh…

Lesson learned. Food is food. It can still f*&% you up.

Posted in adventure, ancedotes, annoyance, Bizarre, Bupyeong, Food, Incheon | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

Forensics and English

Posted by quirksalight on February 9, 2009

Last week was the second to last week I’ll be in the classroom. It’s also a great group of students to work with, as this was the “English Camp” and the students are self-selecting… I don’t have to push them, they all WANT to be in school. 🙂 Just awesome…

So I tried to keep things interesting… hence, the last two days, we learned about some simple forensics. What it was, fingerprints and fingerprinting, invisible ink, and ink analysis by paper chromatography.

Paper chromatography:

Black ink on strips of paper

Black ink on strips of paper

Using alcohol to separate

Using alcohol to separate

separated

separated


Invisible ink:
Paper with ink

Paper with ink

Heating the inked strip

Heating the inked strip

After heating

After heating

Posted in amusing, ancedotes, Buheung MS, education, english, EPIK, fun, Incheon, Korea, school, Science, teaching, teaching english | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Cheating

Posted by quirksalight on January 5, 2009

Right on Christmas Eve, 10 of my 2nd year (8th grade) students got caught cheating on their final exams. Not 1 exam, but apparently it was a coordinated effort that had gone for two days before the students were caught.

Needless to say, the parents and the school were extremely upset, and the school was trying to think of a just punishment for the students.
At the school-parents meeting on the 26th, the school decided that the punishment should be getting zeros on all exams for the students. (which is pretty lenient in my opinion) Apparently the parents (!) thought this was too harsh and would mess up their chances to get into good high schools, and that it was the teachers (!!) fault for not observing them closely enough!! WTF?!?! Where’s the logic in that? The students planned and executed this – sheesh….

Posted in ancedotes, annoyance, Bizarre, Buheung MS, Bupyeong, commentary, education, Incheon, Korea, Social commentary, teaching, teaching english | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

November 2008 FSOT test results

Posted by quirksalight on December 9, 2008

I received an e-mail saying that I had my exam results this morning.

After logging in, this is what I got:

I PASSED!!! Whee!!!!

Posted in future, Incheon, Korea, Nerdity, Seoul | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Apparently kids DO read the newspaper

Posted by quirksalight on November 10, 2008

“Teacher, teacher! In school last…umm…”
(whispers to classmate in Korean “What’s the word for Wednesday?”)
“..ah! Last Wednesday! You, in school last Wednesday?”

I replied, “Nope. I was in Seoul all day.”

Upon hearing this, the two girls get excited and I overhear them saying to one another in Korean,
“See? I told you that was her!”

Then they turn to me and tell me, “Teacher! We see you in the paper. Itaewon, right? Obama party?”

I replied, smiling, “Yes, I was at the Obama party.”

They run off, giggling, and the last thing I hear in Korean is, “Hee, hee… teacher was toasting with alcohol!”

Posted in 2008 Election, amusing, ancedotes, Buheung MS, Bupyeong, Humor, Incheon, Korea, Politics, teaching, teaching english | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

It’s not just on our minds…

Posted by quirksalight on November 4, 2008

It’s Nov 4th, 2008, and election day in the United States. Three of my 2nd year (8th grade) students came up to me, asking, if I was voting. When I replied that I was, they got very excited, and said, “Obama, yes? Obama!” One student, Hae Mi, who has a better grasp of English than the other two, asked me if I was going to vote for him. I explained that because I wasn’t in the United States, I had voted several weeks ago by mail, so it would get to the US in time.

I asked the three girls why they were excited about Obama and the US elections. One thought he was handsome, another wanted him as the US president because she thought he was “very very smart”. But the most interesting answer came from Hae Mi, who told me (after struggling a little with her words) that she thought Obama would be better for Korea than McCain.

Interesting conversation and more proof how much our election is on the minds of people, young and old, around the world.

If you haven’t, GO VOTE!

Posted in 2008 Election, amusing, ancedotes, Incheon, Korea, Politics, Social commentary | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Halloween

Posted by quirksalight on November 4, 2008

One of my favorite times of the year is Halloween. It’s a bit strange this year, that I’m not celebrating it to the hilt like last year. Why? Well, a bit of fatigue and studying left me a bit less than in my normal Halloween excitement levels.
But my students did help me celebrate by decorating the English Activities room in my school, and carving pumpkins on Halloween day to take home. Here they are with their handiwork:(yes, middle-schoolers utilizing sharp knives at school and not cutting themselves or others! )

The last one is mine, grinning out my apt window.

Posted in Buheung MS, Bupyeong, holidays, Humor, Incheon, Korea, teaching, teaching english | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Duck and cover!!

Posted by quirksalight on October 15, 2008

I’m sitting at my desk, puttering around (b/c it’s exam week, and I finished my prep for my classes in the next 3 weeks), when I hear this loud whining noise that I haven’t heard before. First I thought it was a fire alarm, but just an odd one. But then it kept on going. So I asked two of the other teachers in the office what it was.
Turns out it was the “raid” siren. Yes, the one they are going to use in the likelyhood of an invasion by the DPRK. They were testing it out. Apparently it’s a regular thing, though they stopped doing it once and month and now it’s more 1-2 times a year. (Which makes sense that this is the first time I’ve heard it since I arrived here). Strange… makes it really clear that I’m living in a heavily fortified country.
Hmm? Ah… the siren is back on.

Posted in ancedotes, Buheung MS, Bupyeong, Incheon, Korea, Korean, Mental Stream, military, Social commentary, teaching english | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Minus 9 in 10 minutes

Posted by quirksalight on October 12, 2008

This semester, I instituted a third rule to the “No throwing” and “No hitting” rules in my class. The third one is “No bad words”.

Now, you must be wondering why I put this rule in place when I’m not supposed to be understanding Korean in school. However, it’s apparently rather trendy for the middle school students to swear in English. The most popular being “sh&t”, followed by “f@#k”, and “b#&ch”. Yeah, yeah… I know, I do swear myself, but I know that the students swear b/c they watch movies where the characters say various profane words in a multitude of situations, and think it’s OK. But… it’s not really… and I don’t want to encourage it.

So a violation of one of the rules would lead to that group being docked one point for each infraction. One of my 7th grade students from the “New Zealand” team (I have the team names as English speaking countries), gotten a question wrong, and blurted out, “Oh, sh&t!”

To which I replied, “Excuse me? What did you just say?”
Upon his look of horror, I said, “Right. I thought so. Minus 1 point.” And walked over to the scoreboard and took off a point.
He was so annoyed that his outburst lost a point, he exclaimed, “Oh, sh&t!” once again. So I shrugged, walked over to the scoreboard, and took off another point.

At this point, the entire class, including my co-teacher was laughing at the boy’s exclamations. Especially because, once again, he swore when the second point was removed. This happened several more times, with his teammates getting angrier, the class laughing harder, and I, continuing to take off points as he apparently could not stop repeating the phrase, “Oh, sh&t!” again and again. Finally, after 8 points had been removed, he literally clapped his hands over his mouth to stop himself from saying anything.

Oh, the ninth point? After he had managed to stop swearing, one of girls on his team had gotten so angry with him, she punched him. Minus 9.

Posted in amusing, ancedotes, Bizarre, Buheung MS, Bupyeong, english, EPIK, Humor, Incheon, kids, Korea, language, school, slang, Social commentary, teaching, teaching english | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »