A Canadian writer teaches English and finds out what it's like to be a foreigner.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Crack the Life Code

Let me say but two beautiful words: Carne Station.

On Saturday my recruiter took his newest teachers (about 3o of us) out to this restaurant in Hongdae. It was free, and both all you can eat and drink.

It was done in the normal Korean BBQ fashion of cooking meat on a grill built into your table, only here you had unlimited meat of at least a dozen varieties. If that wasn't to your taste add shrimp, tempura, kimbap, soup, fruit and veggies, plus beer and scotch on tap.

Did I mention the freeness of it all?

Things would have been very sloppy if I hadn't had to catch a 10:00 subway in order to get back home.

That said, I stuffed myself senseless for an hour and a half, while a slightly peculiar old Australian man talked to me about arsenic in the water and the variety of stamps on his wrinkled passport...

While waiting for the aforementioned subway— standing behind a young man who's hoodie made the strange proclamation: "Integrew jeans real exist and the life code which create new future"— I saw a young couple slumped against a ceiling support.

The dude was wearing a velvet coat and wing-tip shoes. He was so drunk he couldn't stand up under his own power (maybe he had just held his mouth under the beer tap back at Carne station and let fly?). His poor girlfriend— who was functionally, if not stone sober— was attempting to stabilize the poor jerk. As the train arrived, we all shuffled in and the drunkard wheeled around to face me.

"Shut up..." he slurred in heavily accented English.

Unaware I had said anything, I ignored him since I figured he could fly off the handle at any moment. He short of lurched towards me but his girlfriend whined an angry protest and pushed him off to the corner.

The next 45 minutes of the train ride consisted of this asshole spilling from seat to handrail to door with his girlfriend weeping out of obvious shame.

As bad as I felt for her, I still laughed when we reached the next stop and her twit who was leaning full against the sliding door for support, simply fell out onto the waiting platform. I think they figured to taxi it from where he lay...

When I myself taxied it home from Jeong-wang station, the driver was playing a CD of Celine Dion, so the treacherously sped-down back roads of Siheung were accompanied by "My Heart Will Go On."

Go figure.

***

An activity I like to do in early afternoon class with the advanced students, is pick an illustration out of the book and write a story around it— letting the kids pick the characters' names. This always turns out interestingly (Please Johnson, Paul Medicine, Mrs. Mixer and Sarah Monie are recurring favorites...) and today was no exception.

"Joey, what about the woman in the blue sweater? What should her name be?"

Joey contorted his body in the most fiendish way to try and push his arm a little higher up, with a little more urgency.

"CONDOLEZZA RICE!" he yelped.

I had to laugh.

I asked if he knew who Condolezza Rice was, and he replied knowingly, that she was in the American government:

"Bushey... Condolezza Rice... Eat-the-Rice..."

Howls of derisive laughter followed.

These kids are surprisingly adept at word play, when they want to be.

They also always pronounce Bush's name as "Bushey."

I don't feel the need to correct them.

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