Saturday, September 24, 2011

Sports Day

So yesterday was interesting! I went to the Office of Immigration in the morning to follow up this dual citizenship thing and just ended up aggravated. I got there at about 10 to 10 and waited for about 80 minutes (there were three people ahead of me) to see someone, who got annoyed at me for not being able to explain myself in Korean properly, and then asking if anyone there spoke English that I could see or make an appointment to see. He also told me that I was stupid when I told him that I'd tried to call and hadn't been able to get through, and that I should have tried harder (apparently a dozen attempts was not enough). After not listening to me telling him I just wanted some information which I hadn't been able to find enough of on the internet, he got angry at me for not having my passport and the paperwork, then gave me some very dubious information - apparently not only do I need an F-4 visa, I don't even need ANY visa to apply, and don't need to be in the country to do it. He then gave me what turned out to be the wrong paperwork (for naturalisation) in Korean (after I'd asked about ten times whether it was for dual citizenship or not) and shuffled me out after a grand total of 10 minutes. Great people skills there. Anyway, the upshot of it is that I have no more idea about what to do than I did before, and will have to go back with my co-teacher another day. Pfft.

Anyway, so that was annoying. Luckily, it was Sports Day at my school! So I knew that my afternoon was at least bound to be better. And it was! Since my co-teacher Paige is a 3rd year teacher, we went and said hello. Now I don't know if anyone remembers my school excursion to the Cheongju Museum for 3rd year photos, but if it weren't for a group of boys keen to practice what English they had by telling me how one of them was hungover from drinking soju with his father all night, it would have been a day as dull as grey wallpaper. Most of these boys are in the same homeroom group, as well as the school captain, Seung-Ho, who is also one of my star pupils in my extra-curricular English class, and they were the first group we ran into. Oh and did I mention that they are HILARIOUS? So I ended up spending the next two hours surrounded by 15 year old boys telling me how gay each of the others are, how big each others' heads are (Twice as big as Amy's! As big as this basketball! PLANET-SIZED!), being suitably impressed by their sports abilities and biceps (yes, they are 15, and some of them actually have them!), and them trying to trick me into admitting that I speak Korean . I was actually quite impressed, since most of them were fairly quiet when I actually taught them, and I must have spoken to at least two thirds of the boys at some point - or rather, two thirds of them actually voluntarily talked to ME. In fact, they got annoyed at Seung-Ho's ability to actually have a fluent conversation with me, since his English is so good and they know he's in my extra class, so every time he asked me something, they immediately started jeering him for hogging my time and showing off. Now don't get me wrong, it's not just the boys who like talking to me, but facing down a group of teenage boys for teacher rights was apparently too much for the girls, and the few who braved it to try and pull me over to their side got shouted at and shooed away by the boys, who felt it was their duty to also tell me (and the girls) in great detail which of the girls were actually boys and why they were ugly. To be fair, they were also very sure to tell me why each of their friends was also ugly and why they were 'bad boys' (not in a good way). A lot of them are also good sports players - I taught them the difference between the words 'player' and 'sports player' (선수) - so of course I had to cheer for them appropriately.

And of course, being boys, there was a fair amount of attempts to lightly maim and injure each other (an acceptable response in boy-language). Including wrapping each other in clear packing tape, especially over each other's mouths, which is not so easy to get off when it was over their hair! I don't think I've ever laughed that hard at school before^^ Anyway, so even the student manager giving one of them a slap on the head for wasting tape couldn't dampen their enthusiasm, and they managed to get three of their classmates before the tape ran out - lucky for me because I would have been next! Oh and apparently, I now have a boyfriend, Jae-Hun, haha^^ But apparently I shouldn't be his girlfriend because he has such a massive head. I won't tell you what I thought Byeong-Jo said when he told me "Jae-Hun head big size, planet size!" but it took me a moment to wonder a) why he was tellling me that and b) why that was a bad thing. Think another word beginning with 'p' that teenage boys are likely to know well (which they'd actually tried to teach me in Korean before). I think Jae-Hun was happy that I was so aghast, since he knew what they were actually talking about and no-one else realised what I thought Byeong-Jo had said. And by the way, I'm not the only one with a student 'boyfriend' - my friend Michelle actually has a 'husband' who gets her lunch tray for her!

As genuinely entertaining as all this was, there was actually a truly amazing moment too. One of my worst and most troublesome students from my most boisterous class (2-8) last year, Gyeong-Hun, was his class leader and is a very high level student. But unfortunately he's also only diligent when he wants to be, and he never wanted to be so in my class. I continuously tried different tactics to get him onside, from giving him responsibility to having (many) serious talks to him about his attitude to exclusion to bribery, but nothing worked. So it was rough at times, and because he was the class leader and quite sporty and pretty tough, no-one else in the class would shout him down when he got out of line like they normally would. Anyway, as I don't have 3rd year this year, I haven't really seen him last year, but yesterday of all days apparently he felt guilty enough about it that he actually came and APOLOGISED to me. And it was a good apology too! Literally, "Teacher, I'm sorry that I was so rude to you last year and made so many problems in your class. I feel very bad that I made you so much stress."

O_O <<< that was my face. I was so taken aback I couldn't even respond for a second! The fact that he actually said it and didn't just let it ride was so damn amazing it almost made up for last year. Anyway, after he'd made his peace with me, in between the other boys, we had some good conversations. You might be asking why (I was certainly wondering a little) but it all became clear after about half an hour when he 'stole' me from Jae-Hun. Apparently he likes my style because I'm so glamourous. Usually, that's not always a good thing - if you have 'glamour', this can kind of mean like in an adult movie, like being called Russian (meaning, I think you are a foreign prostitute) - but he actually used the adjective correctly so I think he meant it well. Anyway, these are excerpts from some of the conversations I had with Gyeong-Hun over the course of the afternoon (you might notice a developing trend).

GH: "Miss Kim (his English teacher) is too strict. I don't like her. She is my third favourite. Second favourite is Paige teacher, but first favourite is you."
me: "Because you don't have to take my classes any more, right?"
GH: "Yes!"

GH:"Amy teacher, what's my name?"
Me: "I know your name is Gyeong-Hun."
GH: "Ok. Don't forget it! I am very special."
> repeated 10 minutes later and then again 10 minutes later.

"Amy teacher, you are too pretty to be Jae-Hun's girlfriend. You should be MY girlfriend. I am a soccer star."

"You must give me your phone number. Give me your phone number before I graduate, OK?!"

GH: "Teacher, I dig you. Don't forget that I tried to dig you!"
Me: *Hahaha* "Ok, I won't. Do you know what 'dig' means?"
GH: (embarrassed) "... it means that I want to make you my girlfriend."
*cue me and Paige laughing* Me: " Haha, ok. I'll remember."

"Amy teacher, you must sit next to me! Because you are my girlfriend now."

And last but not least (sitting next to him):
Me: "So why didn't you want to talk to me last year? I was very disappointed that you always seemed bored in my class."
GH: "Because I am not good at talking to girls."
Me: O_O... "Uh, well, I'm not a girl, I'm a teacher."
GH: "No, you are a girl teacher. You are best girl teacher. So it was difficult. Sorry."
I was so impressed at such a cogent reason that I almost applauded. Serious about-face from Mr Attitude last year!

Anyway, so it was an interesting and very entertaining day in all. The girls are adorable, and I spend at least half the time talking to them thinking "awww!" in my head because they're so cute, even when they're making fun of their friends (e.g. announcing very loudly that "my friend is bangu-jjaengi!" - bangu = farting, jjaengi = someone who does something well, so literally, 'a fartmaster'), but I love the limitless potential that the boys have to astonish you outright sometimes^^

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