A small victory, but a crucial one.
It's now about 9:08 or 9:12 depending on whether you go by the computer clock or the one in the school lobby. That means that I just finished my 8th class of the day - normally I'd have another, but since this is exam week, the middle schoolers (as I may already have mentioned) are taking it easy for the time being, so I don't have the advanced night class that would normally go from now till 10pm. The MWF Friday schedule has grown even more intense/ludicrous, since a new girl signed up for class and got herself inserted right smack dab into my break period. Now I work 3-4, have a break from 4-4h30, and then work again from 4h30-9h15 or 10. I feel like this schedule is insane - only about 5 minutes between most classes to prep - especially given that my T/Th schedule is 4h50-5h20, 6h35-7h05, and then 8h25-10. Unfortunately, I realized today that my contract is for up to 30 hours of teaching a week, 6 hours a day, and so I'm more spoiled by easy T/Ths than I am ripped off by grueling MWFs. If the business manages to blossom as it should (that is, given its excellent staff), most days will probably be like my current MWFs. Except without that 30 minute break.
Even if that never happens, though, my fate is sealed for next month. I've agreed to teach during the intensive session, which is when all of the kiddies are on break from school - which of course means that they can be made to work harder at all their private academies. Thus, there will be another class coming my way, on MWF it seems, but for some sweet sweet overtime pay. I don't have anything else to do in the mornings, anyway.
As for this past week, nothing terribly noteworthy has happened. Today I saw two people walk straight into different transparent doors. I don't want to say that this should reflect poorly on the Korean populus, but honestly, what are the odds?
In the area of food, I've been exposed to a bit of mall-food, some of my own cooking, some back-home favorites, and, most recently, some home cooked goodness. At the mall, about a week ago, I discovered a disch called 불고기 오무 라이스, "bulgogi omu raisu." I'm not sure what it means, but here's the proverbial skinny: for 5000 원 (a little over $5) you get a wonderful battered and fried pork cutlet of reasonable proportions, a little shredded cabbage salad with a limey dressing, a bowl of bbq sauce, a bowl of soup (chives and broth), a bowl of 김치 (kimchi), a little shot of liquidy yogurt for desert, and, oh yeah, a huge was of rice, meat, and sauce all held together inside of some sort of egg souffle. For a few days I was enamored with it and brought tupperware to the mall food court so that I could save the leftovers (IE about 1/2 of the meal) for the following meal. I've eased up on it now, mostly because during the week I haven't had the time to go do it.
As for as my own cooking goes, it's been spicy noodles (think Ramen) and a medley of the usual suspects - carrots, onions, shrooms. Unexpectedly, the ramen here costs about 50 cents a packet, far more than in the US.
By back-home favorites above, I meant PBJs. That's right, the grocery store here has PB. And milk. Makes for a wonderful breakfast. I would buy this box of green cornflakes that they have, but it's about 6 bucks. Way not worth it.
Today for lunch was the home-cooked meal. It was called 김밥 (kimbap, which means seaweed rice) and is pretty sushi-like. Actually, this was called nude kimbap because the rice was on the outside, and inside was a bunch of seaweed, radish, egg, cucumber, and fake crab meat. Pretty good, way healthy, and apparently about the cheapest food source here. I think it costs a dollar for a stick about a foot long.
I haven't yet approached the street vendors, mostly because I'm not confident enough in my ability to buy anything. I think, though, that I'll probably stop at one for lunch while I'm out and wandering tomorrow. I can ask 올마에요(olmaeyo, how much is it?) and I can count to 99,999 (구 막 구 척 구 백 구 십 구, ku man ku chon ku baek ku ship ku), so I think I should be OK. The biggest problem will be of course that the best things - I mean the fried ones - have a layer of breading so I won't know ahead of time what's inside. Whether I'm adventurous enough to risk biting into an octopus-corndog or whether I'll stick with a skewered hunk of meat, only tomorrow will tell.
Oh, yeah, the school has also already offered to renew my contract for a 2nd year. I guess they are pretty sure that their business will continue to grow, and are also pretty sure that I won't have a total meltdown at some point. Anyway I told them that we could discuss it later, that I wasn't sure a year from now what I'd want. Ah, and they're also planning to hire a 2nd native teacher, perhaps in February, and I'll probably wind up helping them recruit. So, if you need a job, let me know.
School closing, gotta go. bye bye.