Thursday, 4 November 2004

Open House Finishes

Well the last "Open House" class finished today and went very well. It was Cosmos, always rambunctious and enthusiastic, which translated very well to the rehearsed Open House class with their mothers watching (one father today too).

Even better was yesterday gym lesson with Forest, the class I'd most dreaded. With their mothers present and with the change in routine they were much more subdued. David had to teach them first and said they were dead. But by the time I got them for gym, they had relaxed a little and so were suitably lively while still easily kept in order. I ran a specially disciplined gym lesson and it went without a hitch.

So, all four Open House classes went almost perfectly. The small bit of pressure beforehand was worth it, because now in the afterglow I feel as though I passed a test.

Also going well is my Korean. This last week it has taken a definite upswing. I go through phases but I'm finding conversation easier and easier. Oh, it's still very limited, but more and more I can say roughly what I want, and faster. Korean word order is making sense now and is beginning to allow me to more easily incorporate the fairly good vocabulary I have. Although I don't expect to leave Korea being fluent, I think in a year's time I can hopefully classify myself as competent.

I had a meal with the Gin Girls last night too. They've certainly been a key factor to my learning, as they are always more happy to let me talk away in Korean than in English. We went to a typically Korean restuarant (i.e. low tables, sit on the floor, cook your own food at the table, loads of free side dishes) across the road from the school, and little Benny from Cosmos class appeared with his family. He took a while to notice the only white man in the building, but when he did he cooed with exictement and ran over. I asked him, in English, "How are you?" and he dutifully replied "I'm fine!" and scampered off as the Gin Girls cooed in wonder. They were quite taken with them as he scampered about the restaurant with some other little friends that appeared.

Yeah, Korea is far more relaxed with children in this respect. Benny and a few friends were free to roam the restaurant, having fun, and nobody minded in the slightest. In fact, everybody liked it. He was able to speak to myself and the Gin Girls and the parents weren't even remotely concerned he was speaking to strangers. Although Korea is not relaxing for kids with regard to the severe education system they are hauled through, it's far more relaxed and less paranoid than Western countries.

So, still five more classes to teach today, but Thursday is one of my easier days. Later, I think I'm going to Matt's (well, Matt and Rebecca's right now, as she's living there for the next month for so before going home) and watching a film, or "movie" as I've started to call it. I'm really sorry, but slowly Americanisms are beginning to infiltrate my British sensibilities.

Talking of our US cousins, I would like also to take this opportunity to congratulate Mr Bush (or Boo-shee, as Korean renders his name) for his re-election. And at the same time comisserate with America for the four years of increasing paranoia and unpopularity that will follow.

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