Wednesday, October 27, 2010

It's cold in here.

The weather has taken a turn towards cold and my work day has become quite chilling.  Yesterday's high temperature was 10 degrees; the low was 3.  Yesterday I learned my school has no central heating.  In fact, only the classes and offices are heated--everything else, e.g. hallways and lavatories, is warmed only by the sun's feeble autumnal rays and body heat.  I also learned that someone in charge likes things brisk.  Both yesterday and today, when morning temperatures approached freezing, exterior doors and some windows were left wide open all day long.  In the halls, the school's a meat locker.

I have experienced a new discomfort:  my office and classroom are on one side of the school.  The lavatories are on the other (and down several flights of stairs), perhaps 100 meters away.  This is a miserable trip to make through a meat locker.  As I mentioned above, the lavatories are not heated.  They're also adjacent to three (open) exterior doors.  And the gents' sports an exhaust fan, i.e. a sizable hole in the wall that allows cold outside air free ingress.  And there's no hot water.  And the only hand-drying tool supplied is of the electric air-blasting kind... and it only blasts cold air.  All this adds up to a dreadfully cold excretory expedition.  A conundrum:  do I leave the toilet with wet hands and suffer all the way back, get my suffering straight away from the hand dryer or not wash my hands at all?  My coworkers seem to prefer the latter.  We'll see how this plays out.

Oh, and the heater in my classroom is broken.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

We all look alike to them.

I'm doing a lesson on describing people.  I use this picture of David Beckham as an example of a shaved head:

In one of my classes, a group of girls formed a committee, nominated a spokesperson and asked if this is a picture of me.

Also, like three times now, classes have responded to a picture of Michelle Obama with "Oprah!"  So I guess it's true:  we all look alike to them.

Friday, October 8, 2010

In case of tissue emergency: Jesus!

Sometimes there's a person standing outside the subway exit nearest my apartment building.  This person intercepts me and gives me marketing stuff.  I think she works in tandem with the anonymous ne'er-do-wells who tape local restaurants' delivery menus to every damn door in my apartment building about once every two weeks.  Then the security guy has to spend an afternoon removing them all.  It's an eternal game of cat and mouse, unless the security guy gets a kickback... 

Anyway, a few weeks ago, the interceptor was distributing to each passerby an ad for a noodle restaurant and a free stick of gum.  I got the package two days in a row.  But the joke's on you, lady:  I don't understand Korean and you have just wasted your gum but I do appreciate your giving me the benefit of the doubt and believing that maybe I can read the prospectus for your noodle restaurant. x2.

Today I was handed something novel:

Two packets of tissues and a pamphlet, all with a Jesus theme!  The pamphlet is 100% Korean and thus meaningless to me.  I can figure out the packets though!

In Korea you carry a packet of tissue for two reasons:  (1) every meal you eat in this country will liquefy your sinuses (2) some public lavatories do not supply tissue.  I guess the idea here is that when next I eat a hot meal in a restaurant with inattentive waitstaff or move my bowels in a poorly stocked convenience I will reach for my packet of Jesus tissue and be evangelized in my moment of shame.  Will keep you posted.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

N Seoul Tower

There's this mountain in downtown Seoul called Namsan (literally South Mountain).  Someone built a tower on top of it like 40 years ago.  As is typical with these things, the tower was made into a tourist trap.  I went to see it on Wednesday because hell, why not?  The view from a tower on top of a mountain in the middle of Seoul is bound to be pretty good, right?