Thursday, April 23, 2009

midterms, pinheads, turkeys, the French Revolution, and drunken baskets

although i was tired from my trip to pusan and daegu, i had to get right to work, writing tests and finishing up grading my classes. tuesday, the first day of midterms, was especially rough because i had three tests to give, all different levels and subjects. wednesday was much better, with only one test and plans to hang out with my class, 1A, afterwards.

the test was finished by 2:30, and five minutes later, we were on our way to the neighborhood bowling alley! this was just the medicine i needed. as i mentioned in my last post, the accident i witnessed on sunday night shook me up pretty bad, and coupled with midterms and problems with my girlfriend the night before, i was run pretty ragged. nothing like spending time with 1A to rejuvenate the spirits!

(teaching side note: sometimes i wonder why many english teachers in korea don't allow themselves to get closer with their students. ive made so many friends through teaching, it's strange to hear other teachers complaining about having to go out with their classes - i've always looked forward to that. i dont think it's because of lacking things in common. language barriers aren't even that hard to overcome with the right attitude. i think some teachers feel the need to maintain a professional attitude outside the classroom; as if they are worried of familiarity undermining away their authority as a teacher. so far, ive found my students respect me more when they feel like im willing to toss my hat aside in order to get to know them better. perhaps it's because im closer in age to many of my students. anyway, my students are great. i love teaching, and i love teaching in korea. it's as simple as that.)

[eileen and jinny waiting their turn - game one started out pretty slow for just about everyone; i bowled around 80 i think... ouch]

[betty and chuck let it fly]

[wook (closely watching the game), chuck, and jade]

after game one, we split off into teams. team one: sam, betty, jinny, wook, and jade - team two: mk, eileen, smith, chuck, and me. game two went a little better. wook amazed us all with an incredible 193 (am i correct?), sending his team into the lead. at this point everyone started getting really competitive and things got pretty ugly. insults and jeers ran rampant through the air. people started cursing each other's families and at one point smith pulled out a knife when betty laughed at his gutter ball. but cheering also became more passionate, and camaraderie was at an all time high. we decided to play one more game and go all or nothing. the stakes: a COLD DRINK. when we took a break before the third game, the air in the smoking room turned chilled with foreboding...

[sam, jinny, and betty - our enemies]

instead of being too tired to play well in game three, many people did even better (except for wook who cashed in all his chips in game 2). jinny got a smashing-hundred-forty-something, and chuck surprised us all by almost tripling his game 1 score! i was probably most surprised by my own luck, starting off the game with a turkey and finishing up with a new high score of 178! (and to think that i used to hate bowling as a kid...)

['the gutter bums' after the match - unfortunately it was beyond the bowling alley employee's capacity to take a clean photo in a brightly lit place... sad.]

afterwards, most of us went on to get some 갈매기살 ('kalmaegisal' - pork loin served unfrozen, uncooked; you grill it in the middle of your table, like samgyeopsal) and the necessary accompanying beverage.

the first 10-weeks of the daytime 20-week english course at HUFS ended on thursday, rewarding the students and teachers with a day off on friday (except for those few of us who have to teach night classes). 1A invited me to join them on their trip to lotte world, one of the highest attended parks in the world with an indoor theme park, an outdoor amusement park, shopping malls, an island connected by monorail, theaters, hotels, sporting facilities, and a folk museum.
[we arrive]

[waiting in line for Gyro Swing which scared the crap out of me cuz you're swung out over the lake so that you're facing downwards with only your seatbelt holding your body from dropping out of the seat - i was imagining dying the whole time... woohoo!]

[sam actually looks like he belongs in there]

[that's pretty much how i looked riding Gyro Drop (see below)]
next stop: bumper cars
we may have waited in line longest to ride these, but it was well worth the wait. nothing like taking out your rage on strangers and seeing their necks fly in unnatural directions - it's like driving fantasy
[i pull john over and ask to see his license]

[lily sideswipes me good]
[waiting for Gyro Drop - the ride where you can experience the thrill of free-falling - betty was the only girl brave enough to ride it]

Gyro Drop slowly raises you up, rotating the platform around so that you can get a really great view of the park, river, and surrounding neighborhood. you pause at the top for a few seconds, spinning around with anticipation so heavy you cant breathe. then it drops and if you aren't already screaming, the air has no chance to get out of your lungs. i rode this one twice :)
gyro drop is almost 400 feet high. when it falls, at the apogee of it's acceleration, you're moving as fast as 84mph (125 f/s). the first time i rode gyro drop, i couldn't breathe at all - my mouth was just hanging open. the second time i rode it, i bet with sam that i could scream louder then him and when we got off, both our throats hurt for quite a while afterwards.
[we were ravenous after gyro drop - we feasted on yummy kimbab, ramyeon, and hot dogs (if anyone knows the korean name for those circle-shaped kimbabs, please tell me - thank you mk for bringing them!)]

[lovely 1A]

[waiting to ride the Atlantic Adventure - jade, jinny, sam, smith & me]

[some cute kids on a field trip (they even had little ties!!!)]

[me an' john]

[mk and betty walking like an old married couple]

[we moved in doors; waiting in line for The French Revolution (i put this in the title just so you would think, 'wtf does that mean?')]

[the hidden cam picture of us - betty (looking pretty bored) and mk in the back, eileen and me up front (i was trying to take off my shirt to flash the camera)]

[lookin' badass inside the virtual roller coaster]
next was a ride on the merry-go-round
[john and jinny (considerably less badass)]

[sam & smith (too boring for you, smith?)]

[mk and me]

[one more goofy pic (note: person on the left is not my student - that's lily, grammar teacher)]

[aptly named, this ride was the equivalent of 'spinning tea cups' - the day wouldn't have been complete without giving these a whirl; i foolishly chose to be in the same cup as sam and felt pretty sick afterwards...]

[our last ride was a revisit to the ever-classic Viking - always fun ...unless you're ginny and you've already ridden it five times]
then it was time to go!

[don't worry mk! we can come back another day!!]


  1. 7 times not 5 before throwing up but it's still my favourite regardless heehee~

  2. i apologize for underestimating the magnitude of your recklessness
    in the future, i'll be sure to err on the side of exaggeration
    "ginny vomitted IN THE MIDDLE of her 34th ride on the viking and still rode it again 12 more times"