Archive for November, 2008

Huzzah!

I feel rather accomplished at the moment. I had a conversation, without using any English! Sure, I wasn’t really using full sentences, but it’s a start. I have translated my words pretty literally (as you can probably figure out from the choppiness).

While I was out walking to the ATM to get money for my oil, I saw a guy playing fetch with his Jindo. I waved and said hello. He spoke back, and it went something like this (Korean translated to English):

Guy with Jindo: This is a Jindo dog. They are very beautiful and smart. High IQ!
Me: Yes, Jindo dogs are beautiful and cute.
GWJ: Do you like Jindo dogs?
Me: Yes! I like Jindo dogs. Jindo dogs beautiful because orange fur. (playing with dog: Come here! Sit! Good dog!)
GWJ: Where are you from?
Me: America. (Migook) Boston.
GWJ: Ah! Boston marathon! Red Sox!
Me: Yes.
GWJ: Are you a teacher?
Me: Yes. Middle school English teacher. Teach at G******, U****, G******. Three schools.
GWJ: Ah! English teacher! Rotation?
Me: Yes.
GWJ: Difficult!
Me: Yes.
GWJ: Do you speak Korean?
Me: A little.
GWJ: A little?
Me: Very little.
GWJ: *laughs*
Me: Nice dog! Cute dog! Goodbye!
GWJ: Thank you! Goodbye!

As I walked away, I had a huge grin on my face. It really felt like a breakthrough. It was probably the first conversation (and certainly the longest) that I have had where I didn’t have to resort to English or gestures. I felt very accomplished. Sure, I’ve been here 6 months, but Korean is a very difficult language to learn purely by osmosis.

Meatpuppet Angst

Englishee!

This is probably the best Englishee I have found yet! I cracked up in the middle of the street when I saw this. Loudly. I seriously had tears in my eyes when I handed the guy the money.

I don’t use bags like this, but I absolutely had to get this, to document it. If anyone wants it, let me know.  I’ll charge you the $9 it cost me plus a couple bucks of shipping.

*sigh*

Because, you know, I’d want to work at this job if I spoke Turkish!  I particularly love the “ps: hurry up please” remark.

God, how insulting. Almost as insulting as the fact that the teacher who they have hired to replace our previous English Town teacher has been delayed because, once immigration saw in her photo that she is Asian, despite the fact that she was born and raised in the US, they have insisted that she has to go to the nearest Korean consulate to have an interview, “to confirm that her English is native”. This is not, by any means, the first time I have heard of that happening.

Oh Korea, your institutionalized racism is so entertaining. Only, not.

Hey, nice view…

There are definitely times when I really enjoy working out here in the countryside, “in the middle of nowhere”.  This was taken not 10 feet from my school’s front gate, and the others are from the snow we got yesterday.

snowday-1-5

The Human Popsicle

Oh my god. That was the coldest I’ve ever been in my life, I think.

I drove my motorcycle to school in this:

snowday-2

(that’s actually yesterday’s snow, but today was the same, possibly even harder) 

My WWII German parka got its trial-by-fire, and by the time I got to school, the formerly gray parka was completely white in front. Snow was plastered to my entire front, and I had to wipe off the front of my facemask every 5 seconds. I wish I had a photo, I must have looked hilarious.

In my defense, it wasn’t snowing until about 5 minutes into my 20 minute drive, so I had no idea.  I would not normally drive a bike in conditions like that.

Even wearing two pair of dense wool socks as gloves while I was driving, my fingertips still hurt, after 10 minutes in a heated room.

Here’s a video of the snow.  It’s choppy, but you’ll get a basic idea:

Oops.

Considering I live on “that island with the dogs”, this was bound to happen eventually:

leg-11

Yep, I finally got bitten.  It was due to my own stupidity, really.  Most Jindos, I have found, bark out of fear, and so when you step forward and show that you are not afraid of them, they actually begin to wag their tails and will come forward to meet you.  There’s a Jindo that I walk past almost every day that barks at my every time, and he seemed like the type that was in fact just “playing at” being a guard dog.  So, on Friday, I decided to step forward, rather than continue walking by.

Wrong decision.

The dog lunged forward and before I could take a full step back, gave me what I suspect was meant to be a “warning nip” on the back of my left knee.  When I had backed up a few feet, I looked down at my pants leg, and there wasn’t even a tear in the fabric, so I assumed I was okay.  Nope.  About 50 yards later, I could feel something wet on my calf, and pulled up my pants leg and discovered two dripping holes.  The good thing, at least, is that since the fabric didn’t tear, there was no way for any fabric to get into the wound, which is a major cause of infections.

I went back to my apartment, dropped off my bags (I had been at the market), and headed out to the hospital.  After sitting in the waiting room for 15 minutes, I was told that I had to go to a different hospital, and they pointed me in the right direction.

I finally found that hospital, and after waiting for about 10 minutes, they finally saw me.  They cleaned out the wound with iodine, and then stuffed two iodine-soaked gauze pads into the holes, and then wrapped the whole thing in a big bandage.  I also got a tetanus shot and either a penicillin or rabies shot, and a big bag of antibiotics to take (5 different pills, 3 times a day) and was told to come back every day until Monday to have the wound checked and re-cleaned, and that then on Monday or Tuesday, once they were sure the wound was clean, they would give me a few stitches in each of the wounds to close them up.

Well, I went back yesterday, but nobody had told me that the hospital closes at 2pm, so I ended up re-dressing the holes myself with peroxide and neosporin.  I will be going back today though, before noon, just to make sure that I get there in time.  I can’t believe I live in a town where the emergency room closes at 2pm on weekends.  What about all those farmers here who accidentally cut off a toe or something at, say, 3?  Korea is weird.

Anyway.  It’s less painful than it looks, though it is most definitely in an awkward location, to be sure.

Come on, say it with me: “awwww…”

This woman is quite possibly my favourite “character” here in Jindo.  She can barely walk (hence the big pole in her hand), and she does virtually everything from her scooter.  She has a Jindo who is extremely loyal and protective of her (he wags his tail and licks her, but growls at anyone who approaches her unless she says the person is okay) who rides around everywhere with her, on the scooter.  Jindos are known for extreme loyalty, and this is a perfect example.  I think they’d make excellent service dogs, personally.

When he was a puppy, riding around with him was relatively easy, but now that he is growing up (he must be almost a year old now, since she got him at 6 months) it is a bit more complicated. He dutifully rides along though, and it is absolutely adorable. Here are some recent photos:


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