Students, Walmart and other observations

I have some classes that I just love and thankfully only a couple that I expect trouble in. My last class (9-10 pm) on Mondays is one that can be a bother, although today it was surprisingly good – they are teenagers so you have to expect some attitude. Last week, the one guy cello taped another which was funny but I have learned that teachers need a good poker face – especially here, as none of the kids are really bad, just annoying or funny. Some of them remind me of myself at that age which makes it hard to be the adult as I really don’t see myself in that light. This was one of the situations that I had to struggle to maintain the adult-like veneer and discipline the two of them instead of laugh with the rest of the class like I wanted to. The upside is they were very well-behaved today. My good students are starting to learn that I won’t get them in trouble for chewing gum as long as they do it quietly (hey, I chew gum in class) and that I will let them eat candy if they share. I have made great strides in becoming more comfortable with people in my personal space – which is essential here as Korean culture is very touchy-feely and kids are always more so than adults.

Kelly and I ventured to Walmart on Saturday – mainly to window shop and to compare it to the ones at home. In some ways it looks just like a Walmart – they wear the blue vests here too – but in others, nope. The prices are typical Walmart prices and I can get most of the stuff I need to finish outfitting my apartment there – including some spices like Oregano and Basil that I thought I may have to have shipped from home. There is a housewares’ floor, a clothing floor and a grocery floor. Gotta love the fact that chicken breasts are the cheapest cut of chicken in Korea – they are ridiculously cheap here because everyone wants dark meat.

This past weekend was a fairly quiet one – Craig, Kelly and I went to a DVD room on Friday to watch Hitch. In case I haven’t explained a DVD room is basically exactly what it says – you rent the room and the DVD for the length of the DVD. The room is the size of a decent sized living room and there is a movie screen that takes up one wall and a large comfy couch with a large ottoman opposite the screen. It would be expensive for a single person but affordable for two (and downright cheap with four). Koreans often use them on dates (as they live with their parents until they are married traditionally). It’s a great way to watch a movie as it’s comfy and intimate like your living room but you get the big screen too.

I have a favorite Korean dish – at least so far – spicy chicken. It’s chicken cut into smallish pieces and coated with a spicy red pepper sauce – it is really spicy but quite good. Well, I should go, type more later.

Cindy Zimmer

Live life to the fullest everyday - this is a the philosophy I try to live by and it's taken me on many adventures. I write about Korean culture from a non-Korean perspective as the editor/founder of ATK Magazine and I'm the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Toronto Korean Film Festival (TKFF). Previously, I ran a Korean-English language exchange group (in Toronto) for 3 years to stay connected to my three years living in Korea as an English teacher. I love music, film, food and sports and write about 3 of the 4.

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