Tuesday, January 4, 2011

15 days to home!

Two weeks from tomorrow and I'll be stepping off the plane, hugging my family, and hopefully stepping out into some lovely 35 degree weather and baking Sydney sunshine.

So I had my first winter classes today. I was slightly disappointed that my parents class didn't in fact turn out to be any of the parents from last semester like I'd thought, and also appear to be lower level and expect me to teach them English in Korean, despite knowing that the class was going to be taught by the foreign teacher, without making any effort themselves. Apparently my Vice Principal was also disappointed that only 3 mums showed - one of whom didn't actually sign up for it and apparently got press-ganged into it by him - and got angry at my co-teacher to be, so I might have to fudge the numbers from now on. Mind you, I'm also not very happy with her because she tried to palm a copy of Watchtower off on me as a 'mostly science' and deny that it had anything to do with religion, but I guess she'd get flak from whatever you call groups of Jehovah's Witnesses (.... no I'm not going to make a bad joke here because she's mostly very nice) if she didn't at least try.

After lunch, I had my students class, which went a bit better and turned out to be mostly composed of students from my recent 2nd year conversation class. I did feel bad for one student though, Dae-Ho (or 'Paul'), because there were only two boys signed up for the class and I knew the other, Il-Hyeong, wasn't going to show because he had only signed up due to heavy badgering from his mum. Frankly I wasn't too bothered about Il-Hyeong, as he's very disruptive, has no English, spends every class drawing pictures of guns and shooting people, and told me he wanted to be a Nazi when he grows up last time I talked to him. It's a good thing that his eyesight is so bad that he'll probably be exempt from his military service, although he'll probably be very disappointed. But anyway, his no-show left Dae-Ho all alone as the only boy, and even though Dae-Ho is by far and away one of the top students in his grade, if not the school, and is usually pretty confident and competitive, being the only boy with six girls and two female teachers was probably pretty nerve-wracking so he was unusually quiet. Since it was the first lesson, and Paige hadn't told me which girls were going to be in the class yet, I thought I'd let them play a game to also test their English capabilities. So I let them play my version of International Monopoly, in which all the streets are different countries arranged by continent, the railways are airports, and instead of community chest and chance, there are English Challenge and World (Knowledge) Challenge cards, such as "Give me a different adjective for every letter of your name" and "Name the capital city of every country that you own". It was pretty fun, and the girls that kept winning all the money, Seon-Yeong and Ah-Young (also known as 'Sunny' and 'Jamie'), got really excited. So much so in fact that they didn't notice me stealing their money (I was the World Bank) ㅋㅋㅋㅋ~

Don't worry, they had so much it didn't matter anyway, and I did eventually tell them and give it back. I'm not that bad a teacher!

After school, I headed to that Mecca of groceries, Homeplus Express, and picked up some goodies for dinner with Lara, my finally returned neighbour and much missed Yongam-dong buddy! (She had been to Thailand for five days.) We had jjajangbap (짜장밥), black bean saucy rice and champagne, then turkish delight and Christmas cake (thanks mum/Fran!) and watched 'First Wives Club'. And now I'm blogging instead of re-writing all my lesson plans for the parents' class and remaking my Powerpoint on plural nouns with Korean explanations. Awesome evening ^_^

Hehe, so my funny for the day is Lara's blog entry. Remember my earlier allusion to her faceful of snowball? Hehe, guilty as charged ^_^ Oh and also, I learned how to walk on ice properly today - not something you take to naturally after growing up in Oz. What you do is walk like you're ice-skating, so you push with your toes and slide a little, but you slide to fall over forwards and only gradually, instead of walking normally by stepping heel first, which results in falling backwards and suddenly with flailing arms and an aching backside.

Oh and some more random information thrown in, here's my recipe for jjajangbap for about 2 people which of course could also be jjajangmyeon if you want to eat it with noodles instead.

About 100g of fatty pork, such as samgyopsal pork or belly pork.
Jjajang sauce - I used about 1/2 a packet of Ottugi Jjajang (오뚜기 짜장) which is a dried powder.
Whatever vegetables you want, cut into small cubes of about 1cm. These should at least include 1/2 an onion, about 1/4 of a Korean radish (mu/무) and half a zucchini. You could also try adding carrot, broccoli, some peas, etc.
About 1/2 tbsp of minced garlic
About 300mls of water.
Oil (use something that doesn't burn easily like soybean or canola).
Rice/Wheat noodles
Yellow Korean pickle as a side (danmuji/단무지 or 단무치, I can't remember how it's spelt)

1. Put your rice/noodles on to cook. Dish goes best with plain medium grain white/brown rice if eating with rice.
2. Cut up your vegetables. You may want to microwave the radish a little after you've cubed it (say for about 4 - 5 minutes in water) or it will take a little longer to cook.
3. Cut up your pork into small strips, about 2cms in length. I cut off most of the really chunky fat, but you shouldn't cut too much off because this is a Chinese-Korean dish so it's meant to be a little oily.
4. Heat about 2 tbsps of oil in a frying pan. When it gets hot, throw in your pork and cook until browned and a little crispy.
5. Add your onions and cook until soft, then add the garlic.
6. Add the rest of your vegetables and stir. When everything starts to sizzle again, add your water. Allow to boil.
7. Depending on how thick you want your sauce and how much bite you want your vegetables to have, you can either add your jjajang now, or let everything simmer for a few minutes first. When you add the sauce, keep stirring it slowly until it has thickened evenly. If you want a strong flavour, add another couple of spoons of jjajang powder.
8. Turn the heat down and let it simmer for at least 10 minutes.
9. Serve over your rice/noodles, mix in energetically and dig in! Eat with the danmuji.

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