Korean Schoolgirls

I’m sitting in the computer lab of this dorm for a girl’s school in Youngchen. There’s been middle school age girls coming in and out using the computers. I been here for a while catching up on my blog readings, checking my money situation to make sure I’m not bouncing any checking accounts and of course updating all the necessary social mediums.

Being in this dorm got me thinking about schoolgirls in Korea.

Most of them are in uniform, so they look much alike. But yet you can see personalities shine through.  It’s in in the way they laugh or the hip sneakers they wear, the only fashion statment they are able to make.

They love seeing English-speaking people. They have spent years learning English grammar and conversation, but don’t have much opportunity to use it. They use the greetings they were taught.

“Hello!” “Nice to Meet You” and oddly enough “I love you.” 

The third statement is scary considering how much fear there is from American girls and boys to use it when they are dating or in a relationship. I think back about how big of a deal it was when Jerome and I said that we loved each other. I laugh when these girls feel free to say it freely to people they barely know. But then again, when you are a schoolgirl, love is fleeting. So perhaps it is appropriate to express for a moment, how much you love that American or Canadian. That you love them because you can finally practice the English you were taught since the age of 9 or 10.

***

A young girl came in, answering her cell phone. She’s just one of many that are mobile. Reachable by dialing a ten-digit number. Like their parents, they don’t hesitate to answer, regardless of where they are.

***

When we were in sitting in on a group of 12th graders, it were the girls that asked good questions. The boys didn’t want to lose their cool. The girls, on the other hand, weren’t afraid. One asked us, “What don’t you like about Korea? Speak frankly, please.” Another asked, “What stereotypes did you have before you came to Korea?” They are shy at first to ask these questions, but you know inside they can’t wait to ask, can’t wait to practice their English.

 

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In Korea…

Yes, I have absolutely failed in my atempts to update this blog. But Korea hasy been a busy times. Our gracious hosts have us do everything, leaving little time to even update or team blog, let alone this one.

Korea has been quite an experience. I have had a couple of mis-steps and a minor breakdown, but otherwise a wonderful trip. We have done so much. Gone to Temples, museusm, sang karaoke, and so on and so on.

Here’s a few  things to know about my trip…

  • Be careful when you complement someone on something they own. They interpt it as that you want it and will give you whatever you’re complementing on. Example, I was in a homestay and I pointed at this woman’s hat and said it was gorgeous. She ended up giving it to me.
  • The high school and university students speak excellent English, everyone else pretty much speaks little or no english.  Often many of them may understand you, but just can’t speak back to you.
  • It’s amazing how much driving we’re doing considering we’re in such a small area. This probably is because tehr’es a lot of cars and very narrow roads. Koreans are actually excellent drivers, but because of the nature of roads and such, they are also super aggressive drivers.
  • Speaking of cars…not a lot of imported automobiles. People pretty much sick to the Korean big three – Hyundai, Kia and Daewoo (which is actually partially owned by General Motors).
  • The toliet facilities are an interesting paradox. One moment you’re peeing in a hole on the floor the next you’re sitting on a toliet with heated seats and can be washed with a push of a button.
  • Everyone thinks I’m Korean. I’ve been given material in Korea, and spoken to in Korea. So much for the Asians shiould be able to tell what other Asians are theory. I don’t think I look Korean at all though. but it’s nice as it keeps me blended in.
  • The technology is something here. The GPS units here don’t only get you from point A to B…but can detail on everything you’ll encounter in our journey such as steep hills, curves, etc.  The hotel rooms electricity only works when you put the hotel key in a designated place.
  • We’ve been eating on the floor a lot. Good thing I have awesome indian-style sitting skills.
  • Lots of singing room. My favorite song to sing? West End Girls by the Pet Shop Boys. The new stuff doesn’t bode really well with the crowd. (Not even Sexy Back!)

Okay I got to run. Time for dinner. Maybe there will be another update?

Much is happening…

Okay, I’m improving the frequency I write in this thing, but yes I know I could be better. It’s a work in progress.

***

It’s going to be a busy next few months. Here’s the schedule.

April 6-May 7 – Korea!
May 24-26 – Memorial Day Weekend. Probably a weekend in Portland with Elizabeth.
June 14-June 21- J-Dawes Wedding in BG /Family Visit in Louisville /Girls’ weekend in Chicago.
July 22-29 – Unity conference in Chicago.

That equals about $781 in plane tickets and about 8,000 in Delta Air miles. My budget is suffering, but if I work it right I won’t pay a lick of credit card interest or totally deplete all my savings ( I might be able to actually increase my savings..only slightly…but that’s better than nothing right?)

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I ‘m excited that Western made it to the Sweet 16. I am your typical bandwagon fan, but who wouldn’t love moments like the one Ty Rogers made when he made a 3-pointer within five freakin’ seconds before the game. A small-town boy launches into national prominence with just that one shot. I love it. It’s easy to say that Western doesn’t have a chance with UCLA. But this time I will say that anything is possible, especially when UCLA has had to claw their way out of every round. My hope is the Hilltoppers will make them claw again.

do-it-yourself

Jerome’s mother bought me a sewing machine yesterday. Unexpected? Yes and no.

She’s been teaching me how to sew. We’re working on making a skirt. A blue one that drapes at the bottom. We used her machine, but she quickly realized that I would have to have a machine of my own so I can really learn quickly.

So she went out and bought me this one.  It was quite a deal. It was orginally $499. But she got for much much less. It’s a pretty one…and I got to sew a couple of my hems on my skirt with it, and it was quite easy to use.

I am looking forward to sewing more skirts and cute bags.

the revolution?

The revolution starts with me. Not with Hilary Clinton or Barack Obama. Not with John McCain. Not with any political official.

Me.

The question is, do I have the guts to start it? What does that look like? Does it require me to adapt to a political ideology? Why do people stick to an ideology even when it’s completely wrong?

Some food for thought.  I’ll explain later.

By the way…

I know that I also slacked on updating this blog. I will try to do better. Can you guys keep sending me e-mails for encouragement?

Running log — February.

February started off great, but I totally slacked during the last two weeks. The goal is to be consistent…I need to be if I want to run that half-marathon.

Miles run: 25.85 mi
Weekly average: 6.5 mi (not great, but not horrible)
Longest run: 5 mi (yay! an improvement)
Hills: 2! (Rich people playgrounds are great workouts!)

So let’s set the 40 mile goal again. I think it’s doable, but I have to stick to it the entire month!

However, I do feel more healthy. I have been eating less junk. I only ate fast food once last month and lots more fruits and veggies. Also I can tell that my core is getting stronger.