Han-il Middle school volleyball team, first XV

Its certainly an all male club. But given the environment and culture. It’s a boys school, with an almost all-male staff, and in Korea, females don’t play sports. The exceptions are few such as Kim, yu-na, the ice skater.

Though none of them could claim to be expert in playing volleyball, they do take their game seriously. Win or lose, it builds good team spirit. The game has it’s unorthodox moves too, with some returns being inspired from Soccer, with use of the feet to effect the saves.

It’s all comers welcome (so long as you’re a guy), with no deference to position you have at the school; the principal and vice-principal nearly always participate, with frequently up to 8 players on a what would normally be a 6 man volleyball team.

Christmas tradition, ginger cookies, custard and cake

Christmas day, was spent at a fellow native speakers apartment. There was a bunch of us there. Dinner was a stuffed chicken with gravy, mashed pumpkin, mashed potato, steamed broccoli and even some salad chucked in for good measure.

I was able to redeem my Paris Baguette points for a (semi) free cake. It was eaten with home made custard. Yummy. To top it of, we were given a small plate of ginger cookies, with a small chocolate tucked away amongst them. I can sense a tradition when I see it.

No big boubles, just shiny lights

Christmas is definitely a Western tradition, but it’s gaining recognition here in Korea. Even here in the void.

Merry Christmas everyone. 🙂

Sorry Bob, it’s The Village People

Songs have so many uses in EFL, in my case it was selecting lyrics within the song and using them as a base for a lesson on the present continuous.

After having written out a rough lesson plan, I showed the lyrics to the song to my co-teacher. This is when the trouble started. After having thought about some of the lyrics referring to Sodom and Gomorrah, she said the song is too boring, and went on to suggest an alternative,  YMCA by the Village People.

Excuse me for trying to raise the bar here. Everytime we played the YMCA video I just couldn’t help thinking to myself, “they cannot be any more camp if they tried”. Still, they had a good run, and even put out a movie in the early 80’s. Which I got to see by the way. All I can remember of it though was the black guy climbing through someones window.

I get blood drawn, the bum needs a ciggie


I went to hospital recently and the phlebotomist (blood person) had great difficulty in drawing blood from my vein. I hate needles and this one was stuck in me for at least 2 minutes. The staff were very helpful, leading me this way and that. Normally my listening to Korean is pretty good, but today it seemed the battery on my universal translator was flat.

They even had a bum waiting outside radiology just to round things out. (Actually, he wasn’t a bum, he was just badly dressed). He was very uncultured, rude (for a Korean) and kept on asking me if I had a lighter. I didn’t, so I just kept on ignoring him.

Out with the old, in with the expanded

New things take a while for me to use. I’ve been sitting on this piece of tech since I got my new laptop. It actually came bundled with the laptop, but it’s taken me this long to fill up the photo partition on my other external hardrive.

500 Gigabytes of unplundered capacity, this could last me for quite sometime. As far as animation goes, it’s not. All it does is blink at me with it’s green status light.

High-five university, graduate with a knuckle sandwich

Unlike Bikini university, you could graduate with a serious degree.

Or a broken nose if you fail to graduate. From whom the clothed arm belongs to is another matter altogether.

Awarded award, faux hubcap

My school was proud me. Enough so, that the Princiapl awarded the hubcap to me, again, in a mock ceremony at a staff meeting.

Al, also got a shot of me. Taking a photo of my award in the hotel room. He was doing it too, so I sort of followed suit. For once the Paparazzi gets photographed.

You are, not forgotten

The note burnt outside, with surprising ferocity.

It must have been the cold, dry air.

EPIK renunion, the fear and the loathing

I actually said yes to going to the workshop conference. It meant time off going to class and a free trip to Seoul. The downside was that most of the conference ran over into the Saturday. But there were upsides, I got to meet up with Al again after quite along time, and also I was awarded, (along with 25 or so other people with time in Korea, totalling over 3 years) an award. It was very nice, I likened it to car hubcap mounted onto a wooden shield.

The timetable for the conference was gruesome to behold. Lectures on cultural differences being taught by a fictional mass murderer, comedy skit show put on by volunteer native teachers, and a trip to see ‘Jump’, a Korean drama based around a martial art medium. Al, had decided to jump from seeing ‘Jump’, and instead had had some donner kebabs. A timely decision.

But what I was really hanging on for was the trip to Namsan tower. Perhaps the highest point in Seoul offering the best vista.

Nope. Even that was dissappointing. The long awaited photo-shoot up Namsan tower run aground on the account of Seoul air quality.

I have to say that I left the conference (with the remaining HobNobs in my backpack) feeling less intelligent than when I went in. Even without the cursary lecture (the veteran teachers were excused), it was a brain-sapping exercise.