Archive for March, 2010

Tuesday, 30th of March

Today was somewhat interesting. Between my first two credit classes this morning a coworker who teaches in the classroom next door came to chat during the break. He mentioned to me how frustrated he felt at having learned yesterday that his students who had taken the whole week off – for MT – had mostly not actually even gone on the MT trip.

In the afternoon I went to the dentist. They fixed a tooth with which I had developed a problem. That was not the interesting thing. The interesting thing for me was realizing how nervous I felt at having to go to the dentist!

Later in the afternoon I read my email, and saw I received an email from Greenpeace. I know that some people do not like Greenpeace, and other people like them too much. I know that they are not a perfect organisation, however, I do admire some of the things that they do well. One of the things I believe that they do well is share important information.

The email I received today talked about one rich family from the USA whose father had established one of the earliest oil companies. The two sons had carried on the company, and, even though they had given away quite a lot of money to many good charities, they had spent much much more on influencing the US and thereby world policy to do with climate change.

This is extremely disappointing, but does, however, make a lot of sense, as there had previously been a lot of nonsense being publicized by many groups who were, it now is apparent, being paid by this rich family. They were being paid to lie about climate change, global warming, and the role that the oil industry obviously plays in the world. Those two brothers need to go to jail.

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Monday, 29th of March

Oh my gosh – it’s nearly the end of March already!

Wow, time goes quickly sometimes. The old saying is that ‘Time flies,’ but I think it is more accurate to say that time evaporates before our eyes. This is the start of the fifth week in the semester already. It almost feels like time is going so quickly I hardly have time to sit down and think about it.

Today was a good day in class for me. There were less students in the essay class but apparently that is because there was a big test of some sort yesterday, so all those poor students who sat that test will be taking a day off to recover. … Fair enough I suppose.

Credit classes also seemed slow today, especially one class who had been away on MT last week. I asked them how MT was, and they would not answer me. It was extremely strange. I focused on the teaching point and not on the students’ strange behavior but it was quite disconcerting. None of them would even look at me. I do wonder what on Earth is going on!?

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Sunday, 28th of March

This morning I slept in a bit. I really wanted and needed to sleep in a lot, but my body is used to waking up early, so I did get up before too long and cleaned my apartment a bit, and did some homework on the computer. I made a big plate of delicious porridge for breakfast.

In the early afternoon I went down town to meet friends Jenni and Liz for lunch. We went to the Napalese/ Indian restaurant called ‘First Nepal’. It is delicious! The food was great, as usual. I met Mechel there too, although she only stopped by to say hello and to meet the other two briefly. She left, but soon after that two other friends of Jenni and Liz arrived by coincidence. They sat next to us, and so it was a really nice, sociable occassion to share some food and chat with nice people.

After lunch I went to buy some wine for dinner. Another friend had invited me around for a special dinner of oysters. We listened to music, drank wine, chatted, and opened oysters with small screw-drivers. We ate organic grapes for dessert which another friend brought to share. It was a really nice, relaxing and again sociable way to finish a lovely weekend.

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Saturday, 28th of March

I met three friends who enjoy cycling this morning. We met near the front gate of the World Cup Stadium and then cycled to Naju. It was a sunny day earlier in the morning, but actually it was not warm, and the wind was quite chill.

We cycled along the disused airport runway outside Naju, and then turned back on a quieter country road which led us back to Pungam Jigu. We went to a dukgalbi restaurant for a late lunch when we arrived back after 1pm. It was a really nice ride. Even Trevor, who works at Dongshin University and so cycles to Naju every day, said he enjoyed the ride. He also lives nearby my apartment near down town, so, we said goodbye to the others and cycled through the city together.

We stopped off on the way when he saw a stall beside the road where a nice woman was selling waffles, hohduhk and mugumwha cakes. He noticed the smell first, and so even though we had just had a great lunch he wanted to stop for dessert. He bought me a hohduhk too. It made for a nicely delicious ending to our long morning of exploring the Jeollanamdo countryside.

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Friday, 26th of March

It seems strange to me how much I can enjoy working with my students, and enjoy teaching this material – whether essay writing or just the same silly conversation book again – and enjoy working on this beautiful campus of Chosun University, and enjoy sharing this job with my coworkers, and enjoy living in my apartment near down town, and enjoy living in Gwangju, and yet feel so exhausted at the end of the week. But, that is teaching. It is an exhausting job. Communicating face-to-face with four, five or even six groups of up to 35 students who mostly do not understand you demands a lot of thought and effort. Have a schedule where I also have to spend time waiting around on campus for the next class, and not really relaxing by doing something else I want or need to do adds a sense of frustration.

However, I must say, at the end of the day and at the end of the week, my feelings of tiredness are happy ones in that I enjoy my work and putting effort into it.

Also, another reason that this week may be different from others in terms of my finding myself suprisingly tired is my exposure to the yellow dust storm last Saturday night. I was coming back from the swimming pool that evening, after also having gone on my first good cycling trip for several months. No doubt my body needed to recover from the bike trip itself, but coming back through town and the dust storm as well probably put an even bigger strain on my immune system. A few of the many teachers I work with at Chosun University seemed to be fighting colds throughout this week. I did not actually catch a cold, but perhaps my body was fighting those colds at night when I was sleeping, and so that is why I was so tired…

Anyway, today went well. After my first class I raced home to call my sister in New Zealand to help organise some family matters with her and someone from an organisation in my home town. The man from that organisation is not always very good at his job which makes the work more complicated for my sister, but, my sister is already busy trying to look after her son who is nearly three years old. It is his birthday next month. She has not been well since she gave birth, so, life has been complicated for her. I was glad to be able to help even though I know it was really only in a small way.

After my last class I cycled across town again with a new friend. We ate some duinjung jigae and went for swim. I felt much better after some good Gwangju food and some good exercise! Now, I am very tired, but also ready for a good sleep and a great weekend.

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Thursday, 25th of March

It was another long day today. It has not been a very sunny week but tomorrow is supposed to be better.

This morning when I got up I looked outside my window and saw that it had rained recently. The road was dry already though so I thought I could ride my bicycle to school. I went to eat breakfast and get ready to go, and then later looked out the window again. Oh no – it was raining again! I called my friend and nice-guy co-worker Marcus. He was not far away in his car, and he agreed to stop outside my place, so I got a lift up the hill with him.

I look forward to cycling on Saturday with a few friends and anyone else who wants to join us. We will go to Naju, and look at the old airport runway on the way to the town there. Then on the way back we will go to the Thai restaurant out near past Gwangju airport for lunch. It will be nice to go for a ride with some other people, and even though I love Korean food, it will also be great to eat some different food for a change too.

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Wednesday, 24th of March

This morning we finally got to read the ‘Julia Roberts’ essay from the Blueprints book pages in the essay class. It is a very good essay, and it is on a topic that most people can usually understand, even if they have not seen the movies themselves. For me, it also marks the feeling that we are over half way through the course. And actually we are at exactly that half-way point.

I think next we will take a break from the classic ‘five paragraph’ essays for a brief while. I think we need to work on both writing speed and also proof-reading and copy editing. Hmm. Tomorrow morning we should start the ‘circle writing’ exercise! We will do the paragraph structure activity on Friday. That will be more fun. Also, in terms of writing itself, I do think it is time for the ‘Norwegian Wood’ descriptive writing exercise. Maybe we will do that next Monday. I think by studying these few extra classes our writing will improve quickly in ways which will help us when we come to doing ‘persuasive essays’ early or mid-next week. And of course it will be nice just to do something a bit different for a while!

Anyway, today was another long day at school so I went almost straight home after my final class today. Just before I left the office, however, I asked a co-worker about a place where he exercises. He told me of another club in Jisan Dong where I can exercise too, so, riding my bicycle quickly down the hill on the way home I stopped off in Jisan Dong… and found that gym just where he said it would be! I went inside and talked to the intructor there immediately and found out the details such as time and cost of membership and everything else. I was very glad to learn of that club. … Maybe I will join up soon…

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