Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Getting the Reins

Walked home from work last night and had a brief, but convincing, bout of the Bubonic Plague. The walk home was pretty boring, I was briefly surprised that the route that goes over the top had been walled off with big sheets of metal. Several Ajummas were ignoring that wall (which was pretty easy as you could walk right around it), but I wasn't taking chances with my limited Korean on any kind of kerfuffle.

So I walked a different path and other than a torturous roundabout (the Castle Wall Walk) that lifted my high, high in the sky and then deposited me back about 200 meters above where I had originally been, it was a breeze. About 45-50 minutes, including my partial ascension to heaven.

Got home, started working on some classes, and my bones started to melt. This melting was a direct result of my joints achieving temperatures found in steel mills, burning tungsten, and journeys to the center of the sun.

I drank as much water as I could, gobbled half a pain pill, and turned the Ondol up to a zillion. I rolled sadly on the floor for about an hour, then headed into the bedroom and crawled into bed with the window open. I had a series of weird dreams about attempting, in various ways, to smuggle packets of heat.

But sometime in the early AM, I woke up and felt a lot better - even as if the cough that has been dogging me since the US would go away. Well enough, in fact, that I walked to work. With the advantage of not getting lost this only took 40 minutes and I'm still confused why my landlady-ajumma and Mrs. Kim were so astonished when I told them I planned to walk to or from work at least once a day. I suspect their fear is on account of my Western corpulence.

But got to work early and worked more on the classes. I've found the cafe, so now it's coffee powered as well. Got to a point I think I'm ok in all the classes and also think I've connected with the students. There were a few days there, where that did not seem to be happening, but now I've more or less figured out the room, and adopted a couple of strategies for the less English-savvy student. Primary among these is that I'm letting students take their questions home, and I'm posting all the sound files and videos to my website. That way the slower students can play and replay them as often as they want.

As a bonus, in my convo class a worried student came up to me to discuss how he would do in the class. I gave him my usual rah-rah and reminded him that a Conversation Class includes the possibility that he ask for clarification, repeats, slower speed, etc.

Somehow this mini-conference turned into a conversation (nearly unheard of in a conversation class but, to be fair, this did happen afterwards) and I discovered that he is a big fan of filming and photography. He showed me the world's most awesome video camera and we talked a bit about lenses. We walked to the subway together and discussed possible plans for film projects.

Plans, it is certain, that will fall through!

But he also mentioned he has a bottle of bourbon, so there's a plan that might well work out.

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