Two Weeks in South Korea

It's Friday night of my second week in South Korea and I thought I'd share a little of what I'm doing and the general work and response so far.  The first week I was here was a "special week" here at Geonggyi English Village (GEV).  Troops from the South Korean military services were here to brush up on their English.  Every South Korean male is required to serve at least 22 months in some branch of the military; technically, this country is still at war with their northern neighbor, so, with that pot-bellied little thug still running loose north of here, the South Koreans remained prepared.  These are good young men, impressive, intelligent, and I was honored to meet them and help them with their English studies.

But that's not the main thing GEV does (I wish it was).  For most of the year, students from Korean middle schools come for a week of intensive English studies, and that's who was here this week.  These are 14-15 year olds, and I was a little disappointed, because they weren't as respectful or as controlled as I thought Oriental students would be.  They were pretty rowdy.  But they were also as sweet and as innocent as children can be.  There were about 420 of them here, which is a large number for this village; I met with about 150 of them, but only once or twice with 60 of them.  So I spent most of my time with 3 classes of about 30 students each.  It was somewhat harrowing, high energy, 5-6 hours per day in the classroom, and that's a bit much, frankly.  And I don't especially like it because I'm exhausted when I get off work at night and that is beginning to cut into my blog time.  But it is what it is and I'll have to do it until it isn't what it is.

And yet, for all the aggravations, I was sad to see these kids leave today.  As I said, they are so sweet and innocent.  One of the last things all classes did today was to pass out "post cards" so that the students could write messages to their "favorite" teacher.  I received 40 of them.  Let me post a few of them for you.  Now keep in mind, these are innocent, sweet, Oriental teenagers.  They are different, oh, so different, from American teenagers.  I'm also leaving the spelling and grammar as they wrote it.

"Hello, my name is Hwang San Ha.  I like your H.R. [homeroom] class because that's very interested.  I think you are very kind and nice teacher.  I'm never forget you.  I love you, Mark.  I'll miss you.  Bye Bye."

"Hello.  My name is Jae Hee.  I like your homeroom class because I love you teacher.  I think you are very cute and handsome.  Your very kind.  I'll miss you.  I love you, Mark.  bye bye."

"Hello! My name is Kin Si Won.  I like your 23 class.  Because it very fun. I think you are very very kind and very nice teacher.  I had very fun time.  I'll miss you.  Bye Bye.  See you again."

"You very very cute.  You very very fuuy.  My mane is Seo Joo Young.  I love you Mark."  She drew a picture of me and her out to the side.

"Hello, Mark.  I'm So Young Cho.  You're very look like KFC [Kentucky Fried Chicken] grandfader.  So I'm loving you. kkkkkkkkkkkkk. You so cute and kind.  bye."

"Hi, Mark teacher.  My name is Yean Sun.  I class 23.  I'm very very like you very very very love you.  Umm....maybe you my father.  Nice to meet you...and I'm very not want to go to home.  I got home...sad.  I will miss you.  I love you, Mark."

"Hello, Mark.  I'm Joo Ah Hyun.  I'm your daughter [she told me all week she wanted to be my daughter].  Do you remember me?  I'm must forever forever remember!!  I'm so very sad and cry...don't forget you.  Um...KFC grandphather.  You look like.  When see KFC grandphather I'm think you!!  I love you.  I'm so miss you.  Must see you later handsome Mark."  She even left me her phone number....

One of my favorites:  "Hi.  I'm Yean Sun.  Your very smart Mark.  and cute.  you look like Haberd college teacher.  Bye bye."  "Haberd" should be so lucky....

"Hello!  my name is Ji-San in class 3.  I took your class to anyone.  It was very very very fun.  I have your sign in my "book"!  I am very very missing you.  Now, I want to see and talk with you.  Later, if I visit EV, I want to see you.  Please you remember me.  And please!  See you later.  I love you.  Good bye."

"Hi, Mark teacher.  My name is Lee Ah Ram.  You look like kind and funny.  You are very very soft hair.  I want soft hair.  bye teacher!  See you later."  Some of the girls just loved coming up and rubbing my hair.  I DO have soft hair.

Anyway, that's a fair representation of the "cards" I got.  And you can see how such kids can endear themselves to a person.  Of course, these kids will forget me by next week, but those notes were still darling. 

There are some pictures of the students in the column to the right.  Why most of them covered their faces up, I don't know.  The girl with the bearhug around me is my "daughter." 

I have the next two days off and I am looking forward to that, for sure.