Thursday, March 24, 2011

More Soccer and Baseball Begins

Sticking to my promise, I went to two more sporting events last weekend. I even went all the way to Seoul for one. Not like me at all, but that's what cabin fever does to a man.

On Saturday, Onson, his girlfriend and I went to Seoul to hang with Barry and Christine to watch the Wyverns take on Doosan. It was a ton of fun. I'd never gone to a stadium other than the two in Incheon. So it was cool to see a different one.

We went to Jamsil, home of the the Doosan Bears. It was just a preseason game, which made it even more awesome. Tickets were free, so all we had to do was buy our beers. And we did. A lot.

Incheon won 5-1, and we saw some really great plays.

After the game, we went out for dinner and beers with Barry, Christine and Onson's buddy, Will. Will is even going to be joining our study group. So it was a great Saturday.

On Sunday, it rained in the morning, but the afternoon was beautiful. So Popper, Onson, Eun Hae went to the Incheon United game. Incheon took on Daegu. Unfortunately, Daegu doesn't have a soccer team, so they had to send their diving team (get it!).

I'm not one to get on referees since I did it for so long with roller hockey, so I understand that it is an impossible job and you can't really make anyone happy. But the ref was duped for 3/4 of the game from all the dives. That's not really his fault. If the player really sells it, the ref is going to call it. Plus if you factor in the speed of play, it's just tough.

But he eventually started getting it right and telling the Daegue chumps to get up and stop being babies. Unfortunately, Daegu used their cheating to their advantage, and got a 1-1 tie out of the game. But Incheon's goal came off a free kick and was an absolute blast. So that gave us something to cheer about.

All in all, it was great weekend. I got to hang out with a lot of friends and go to two sporting events in beautiful weather. It's sad that this semester has been rough so far, but the weekends are keeping me energized. Korean study group tonight!

Check out the Incheon United pics here.

Check out the Wyverns pics here.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Incheon Wins

Jeong Mi and I went to the Incheon United game against Daejon last night. It was quite cold and not many fans showed up. But we had a really good time. Incheon won 3-0 and they dominated play for the whole game.

Jeong Mi had gone to a World Cup game when it was in Korea/Japan in 2002. But she hadn't yet gone to a professional game. This wasn't a K-League game, but the Rush Cash Cup. So we'll have to get her to another game soon. Regardless of it being too cold to drink, we had a blast.

As always, check out the pics.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Soccer, Bad Movie and Faulty First Impression

Let's get this out of the way right now: I was clearly tricked by the initial impression I got from the vice principal. Like clockwork, she has already loaded more work onto Geoff, Ridia and me. She's making Geoff and me do an extra class on Wednesday, when we had our only break of the day.

Fortunately, she is paying us OT for it, because it puts us an hour over our limit. But I prefer the rest/prep time. This semester doesn't leave us a lot of room for prep time, and I liked having that extra hour on Wednesday. Instead, I'll be babysitting 20 first and second graders for an hour. What a shocker.

On a brighter note, it's been an entertaining week outside of work. Now that the weather is warming up, it's easier to get outside and do stuff, rather than just sitting in a bar playing darts.

Jeong Mi and I caught 'Black Swan" at the neighborhood theater last night. Jeong Mi really enjoyed it. Besides some of the sex scenes, I didn't really find anything appealing about the movie. Not my type of flick. But it's good that Jeong Mi liked it. I know she'd prefer to go to more movies, but I don't like just sitting there for two hours. I need something more social.

And that's why last Saturday was nice. Pel, Popper, Tim Woo Min, Woo Min's girl and I went to the Incheon United soccer team's home opener against Jeju United. We loaded up on beer and enjoyed the beautiful weather. The game was nothing special. It ended 0-0. But we had a really nice time. The weather was warm and the beer flowed freely. It was a really fun day.

Hopefully I'll be hitting two more soccer games this week, as well as a preseason baseball game with Barry in Seoul. We'll follow SK as they take on Doosan. It's going to be a fun week outside of work.

Check out our soccer pics here and expect more soon.

Also on a good note is that both of my discussion groups went well. The guys all came prepared and we had a nice discussion. Everyone followed pretty well, and we're all learning. So we're meeting again this Thursday.  Jeong Mi and I worked on our discussion when we met Alex and Pel for dinner. So they peppered her with some questions, as well. She did a good job, and we're meeting again Wednesday. As long as everyone keeps working hard, the group should continue to go well.

Warm weather is arriving, and I need to simply keep my thoughts outside of the office. That's how I can keep sane here.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Study Group, New Principal, VP and Semester

As always, the beginning of a new semester means a lot of preparation work. But this time around is a little bit different, which means we're even busier.

Our new principal and vice principal have arrived at Hambak. We had a staff dinner last Friday to greet them along with the many new teachers. Teachers in Korean public schools have to rotate every four years, so each new year brings a lot of new faces.

Some of the new teachers are pretty cool. I had nice conversations with a few of them, including one unfortunate chick who is basically a freshman teacher, but was given the terrible responsibility of homeroom teacher for a first grade class. Nightmare for her.

The new principal was very nice, even letting me take the welcome shots in place of Ridia and our new assistant, Hye Yun. The former principal and vp were not big on letting that happen. There's actually a word in Korean for taking a shot in place of someone. Yes, it's that serious. I don't remember the word, because I only hear it when I'm tagging in for someone.

The new vice principal was really cool. We got to know her a bit better than the principal. I sat next to her for about an hour, just chatting and drinking. It's always a hesitant time when new administration comes. We never know if they're going to want to change things, and the English center is always a prime target for an administrator looking to make his or mark on a school.

Our outgoing principal left us with the terrible gift of switching around our whole afternoon class. The changes include decent things like adding students from the other schools that come for morning classes, and bad things like stretching all afternoon classes to 50 minutes. Forty minutes was almost ideal. Fifty minutes stretches things quite a bit.

So things are up, but I'm sure we'll be fine. As long as Ridia is in charge, I'm confident.

On a personal note, my friends and I started a Korean study/discussion group. I've never studied with fellow foreigners before. I just worked on my own, and of course with my Korean friends (especially my lovely lady, Jeong Mi).

The group includes Pel, Popper and Onson. Onson has the most studying experience, while Pel has been hitting the books a lot within recent months. Popper has been in Korea the longest out of any of us, and while he lacks any formal studying, he has a strong base of vocabulary and phrases.

The group works as a discussion group. We pick a topic and, on our own, have to fill out at least one page of our notebooks with vocabulary, phrases and anything else that might be pertinent to the topics. Then, we meet a week later and have a discussion all in Korean for 30 minutes. After the time is up, we share our notebooks with each other, and ask any questions we might have in English. I am moderating the group as far as keeping the discussion going and asking questions when necessary.

We had our first discussion last night, and the topic was food and restaurants. We had plenty of stuff to fill the 30 minutes. It went really well. I only had to remind Popper a couple times that even asking questions in English is not allowed during the 30 minute time period. Questions have to be saved for afterward.

Everyone showed up on time with their notebooks filled. I'm pretty excited to see how quickly we'll advance our speaking skills. It's definitely going to be beneficial for all of us. Just sharing our ideas and hearing different voices will help us. Also, when Jeong Mi is around, it's really nice. I think she enjoyed sitting in. She got to see exactly how my study group with her will run. We'll have our first English discussion on Wednesday.

So there it is. It's a new semester and big things are happening. Spring is here and it's time for soccer and baseball games. All is well.

K-Blogger Added -- Check the Blogroll!

Just a quick update on the blog:

I added a K-Blogger I recently started following. The blog is 'New Yorker in Seoul.' Not only do I really enjoy her perspective on Korea and Korean culture, but she speaks Korean. That's something even many of the well-established bloggers lack.

I think speaking Korean gives a person a more in-depth perspective on the country and culture, especially if you have regular discussions with your Korean friends or family. While it won't give you any more info on the big picture things, just hearing how a Korean describes a cultural topic or current gives you a little peak inside their wacky heads.

So check out the left side of the page where my blogroll is located. Give my new blogging buddy a read.