Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Late night theories continued...

福 (pronounced "fook"), is "luck, or fortune" in English. If you are Chinese/Taiwanese or have friends that are I am sure you have seen this in around (on calenders, on the wall, back of the door, above the door, etc..) I find it to be an interesting word..
old people sometimes say 沒有福氣 (or to have no luck) if they don't have kids that care for them when they are old.. or they don't have much money... or live in an old home.. etc.

Recently, I was talking to a friend from Korea whilst in Hong Kong and I came to the realization that 我有福氣 (I am lucky, or I do have luck). I have always thought that I was someone who didn't take anything for granted and had little sense of entitlement. I was telling my friend how I was staying with my uncle and the things I have been doing... he told me wow you are really lucky there are not that many uncles and aunts that would house you and feed you for so long even though they are family.. looking back I see that a lot of things fell into place, my mom was the only girl in the family so she was pretty close to her brothers because they took of her and she took care of them.. so I was fortunate to be always around my favorite uncle's family when I was younger. Even now we don't talk and see each other as much now, its still really cool to be back in HK and still hang out and be cool with them and talk. Like they say, "you can pick your friends but not your family"... and even though every family has a black sheep (my family has a few..) I am extremely appreciative of mine...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Back from my Motherland..

Back from a one week vacay from Hong Kong... it felt so nice to be back since the last time I went was 5 years ago. Unfortunately, I didn't take much pictures because I didn't feel like a tourist so I hardly brought my camera out. Things haven't changed much in Hong Kong..

Going back to some of the places where I grew up and roamed as a kid brings back some fond old memories, made me reminisce. Basically the Hong Kong trip was EAT EAT and EAT MORE. We always met friends and family for lunch or dinner =P However I did do a little sightseeing and experiencing; went to Macau and discovered that they mainly play Baccarat there and Craps is hard to find and Poker even harder... people that go there are real gamblers or ballers they drop mad cash at the tables.. didn't sleep much that night, it was definitely something I will remember for years to come. I also went to Cheung Chau which is an island 45 min ferry away from Hong Kong. We got there to walk around and ate some REALLY fresh and good seafood there (tried this type of long clam that i never had before)

I learned to appreciate the casualness of many Hongkongers because in Korea EVERYTHING is bali bali bali.. hurry hurry hurry, for example not everyone is running to transfer to the next train or pushing people out of the way to exit the MTR. Another thing noticed was that service in Hong Kong has significantly improved since the last time I was there.. people are more courteous and accommodating then before, not as brash and nonchalant. This time around I learned whats good chinese food and whats good milk tea so it was really fascinating to eat and judge things and comment without my parents or relatives saying whats good and whats decent first.

Theres this ritual that involves burning things to the dead in Chinese/Buddhist culture, I am not sure which because the two seems so intertwined. We did this when we were visiting my grandfather's grave, and it just reminds me of the attachment and commitment to ancestry and family... duties and filial piety.

more to come....

Friday, July 10, 2009

Part of the List...

Things that I miss:
  • fam
  • the boys
  • the sisters
  • UCI friends
  • real Vietnamese food
  • jambalaya
  • Chinese food (even Panda)
  • chili
  • good Mexican food
  • my kicks
  • having 4 burners
  • oven
  • the black max and driving
  • pillow-top mattress
  • basketball and tennis
  • probably more...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Long time... sorry

New term, new kids (not all new, lots of kids also)
  • I didn't tell my kids this term that I was Chinese because I got in trouble last time for it (one kid actually quit). However, my old kids already knew and they tell the new kids all about it.
  • They are in such amazement when they find out that I do not know Korean (but Chinese, Mandarin, and Spanish), and that I am a Chinese person from Hong Kong that moved to the states and is now teaching in Korea.
Thoughts on accents
  • most accents you can discern (ie NY, Teaxs, Southern, Midwest, Canada, NZ, Indian, Russia, German) but there is the “neutral” America accent that are in parts of the country such as California, I almost want to venture to say that this is a matter of a west coast neutral accent but then again I don't know if people form Oregon or Washington have accents (party people chime in if you have had experience)
  • what interesting is that a few friends and I were talking and they said that people from the west coast talk incredibly fast like we got somewhere we need to be (ie bone thugz and twista)
  • after that insightful information, I decided that I know a lot of people that talk super fast, and a lot of people that just talk slow (ie the laid back surfer type), and I got to thinking does cadence have to do with accents also?
Thing or two on dating
  • so for people that know me, you know that I am naturally flirty guy, someone told me that if its kind of charming so that was kind of nice to know (but I am sure other girls think otherwise hahaha)
  • this is kind of a problem in a country that is very literal (or so I've been told), a friend or two and I think that there is a girl that is really into me that I have been friends with for 3 months. I see her as a friend and cool to hang out with, but I think I really dig the attention she gives and not necessarily her. Also, I don't want to start a relationship here because my time here is so transient.
Minority recognition/acknowledgment
  • during college I learned of this phenomena (partially explained to me by Janelle). Recognition/acknowledgement is given to those of the same minority in a environment where one is overwhelmed. Either it be a simple eye contact, nod, smile or something of that nature.
  • Interestingly, this phenomena also exist outside campuses; in Korea, I see a lot of whites acknowledging each other. I blend in so I never get the recognition =P
Kids grow up so quick
  • you know what they say about kids growing up so fast, this is so damn true. I had a kid during my first term in a class, and I got him back this term and he has probably grown about 2 inches. He is lankier, still a jokester, and I predict that he will be a little heartbreaker/heartthrob. Just crazy I haven't seen him in about 5 months or so and he grew so much. Just amazing.
Book learning
  • I've read more fictional books in Korea in 6 months than I did throughout all of university. Last Lecture, Fight Club, Blink Tuesday with Morrie, and now I am reading 1984

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Sun is somewhere shining even when it rains.

props to anyone that knows where that line is from *hint* older r&b song

things have been even better lately, making more friends now and hanging out with more people *thumbs up* for example for Cinco de Mayo, a group of 6 of us went to Itaewon for mexican food. some legit stuff too, really good tamales and wet chimichanga!! after that we went to an irish pub for drinks and some games. we all got beers or cocktails and played "i never..." then some darts and sat around and chatted. good fun times on a tuesday then off on wednesday, certainly felt like a weekend ^^

recently we started hanging out with the owner and employees of a waffle shop on the first floor of my officetel. hes totally awesome, because he would pay at a whole round at a hof (anju, baekju, soju = food, beer, soju). he also did poker night with all bunch of us. and this sunday was his birthday, so he picked up 3 of us teacher and his worker in his coche (spanish for car) and we went out for all you can eat bbq lunch!!! it was his bday and he said its tradition and culture that the birthday person pays (not sure if this is true or if he is just being suuuuuuuper nice)

i am almost done with my second term in korea, tomorrow is week 13 (last week). went by kinda fast no? also i booked and paid for a ticket to visit Hong Kong from 8/15-23, i am gonna meet my parents there too so that should be hella fun, hmm stay tuned, i might add more if i have that inclination.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Daydreaming during class (while teaching)...

preface: i am home before dark for the first time since i've been employed full-time!!! i got off at 7 today!! w00t!!

somethings that i've noticed and observed the last few weeks:

1) some of my kids have genuine interest in some of the characters in the story, they have sympathy and actually care about some of the people in the books. in my english chip class we were reading a book called The Earthquake. as you probably surmise, the story is about an earthquake and 2 main characters. Gabriel likes Silvia and they were supposed to go to a movie but for some reason that doesn't happen and he goes to the theatre alone and she goes out to dinner and earthquake happens... Nicky is depicted as a really nice/kind guy.. and one of my girls asked me with a worried/concern look on her face "is Nicky dead??"... i thought she was cute

2) friendship forming: i had a girl that was quiet and shy but really wanted participate and stuff, but she wasn't as confident as other shy kids in my class (because she didn't have friends in the class). so for midterm group activities i put her in a group with 2 other girls that seem to be very friendly and they hit it off really well. ever since then the 3 girls sit together and are pretty good friends... its pretty cool to see it develop

3) kids are very adaptive/observant: we were reading a story, The Secret Garden, and there was Mary who was a girl that was always pist and anti-social. she wore black clothes only, which i associated with sad, serious, depressing, etc for my kids. later in the story she was wearing yellow/orange so i made my kids associate with happiness, energy, etc... and that day i was wearing black, and they asked if i was sad.... hahahah

4) saying "we": so the culture of korea is saying we and our when refering to people and things... kinda like the collectivistic mindset/culture of eastern society... and its interesting to know that i started saying things like that... the other when i was teaching my listening class about american civil war, so their project for the class was compare/contrast the american civil war and the korean war, analyzing the pros/cons of reunification... when i was talking about korea, i was using terms like if we... then our... for them... for us...

5) some people are so dense: i think of myself as generally open-minded, mild-mannered, and nice (maybe not mild-mannered but it sounded nice in that string, but the other two i truly do). so theres never only one way to do things... and its not always the right way and the wrong, there are just different ways. so why can't some people just expand their minds and recognize that...
  • exhibition 1: if you know a way to get home by subway that takes 30 mins to get to one of two stations nearest to you place but still have to walk 10 mins or taxi ride wouldn't you want to find a more convenient way to get home?? i am trying to help you out by saying that there are two buses you can take to get home that drops you off right in front of your place, one which takes 25 mins or so with a guaran-f'ing-tee seats, or two 45 mins with a 80% chance of a seat, wouldn't you want to know about it, or just tell me off and say well its nice that YOU know about it... blows my mind
  • exhibition 2: step out of your comfort zone, you are not at home... some things people have strong beliefs for or against and that's fine (such as things like being vegetarian-ism, or not drinking), but things like eating spicy food, c'mon people this is korea (its known for that!!). if you had a stomach ulcer, allergies, or weak stomach i wouldn't say anything... but oh i don't like it, step up to the plate homie/homegirl. there are different levels of spicyness in korea (its not just on or off), just like how there are nice people of differeing degrees. and you end up sitting there eating something that the place is not know for so its not remotely satisfying when everyone else is eating something so damn dericious... AND the waitress has to make yours on a different pan instead of throwing everything in the middle of everyone... AND you pay more than us... grinds my gears -.-
sorry for the last bit of rant... just kinda bugs the goodness out of me

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Rant and Rave

its been really fun and great lately... until today...

originally this particular post was going to be filled with explicit content, but i thought better of it and realized i am better than that... so here goes

i absolutely detest and abhor hypocrites... they complain and whine about things you do and never criticize or realize what they do themselves... i know when i play defense on the court i am a little handsy and block-happy, but usually its a foul but no harm done except frustration.. but today some guy on fast break thought i was trying to hurt him (but in fact i got ball and arm and then he kinda fell and so did i, but no harm done), example:

then he starts missing shots and chips (short bank shots) because i was stuck on him... thing is this guy plays dirty he pushes when you are shooting in the block/key, he pushes when you box him out on a rebound, he tugs at your shirt so you cant jump, he also sets screens with his elbows totally out like a blocker in football... then a couple drives he would stick on his knee or flail his arms if i block his shots. so he ends up hitting me a few times and kneeing me once but i didn't mention it until finally i said watch your ___ing hands then he starts cussing me out in korean and he doesnt stop talking for a while... finally the game is over and i am packing up my stuff and he comes over and starts haranguing (one of the few words i remember from SAT classes days) in korean again and i told him i dont know korean and i am chinese american and he seems to get more mad and then i look away and he hits me over the head... and my glasses fall off (no one saw this btw)... there is no respect in hitting someone when they dont see it or dont know about it if i was looking at him and he throws a punch at least there is honor in that (but it doesnt mean that i am not gonna do something back but i wouldve felt better about the situation) and i said whats wrong with you i dont know what you are saying to me, and the coordinator of the court comes over and breaks it up... he and i were the last ones there and he didnt even apologize or anything... what he did was so unwarranted (unforgivable!!!!)

now i am extremely frustrated/angry/dumbfounded... i have to go find another league now because i dont want to be on the same court with that coward, and i am sure if we are on the court again something is going to happen and i want to avoid that happening. to compound everything... some one drank all of my pocari-sweat and the bottle was just chilling there (the thieves didnt even have the decency to throw away the empty bottle so i had to do it)

this is the second time in the last six months that someone deliberately tried to start a scuffle with me... first was frozen yogurt and a push out a chair... now a hit over the head... why why why??

note: i still absolutely love korea ^^

Sights and (a lil) sounds

a lil update

the last week or two i went to an old temple in the middle of the city, kinda reminded a lot of when i was a kid and go to the temple with grandma all the time... also went to the aquarium in the COEX... saw otters get fed and play (they are like little dog/mouse things, aka really damn awesome amminals)... saw some fish that are almost as long/tall as i am (crazy stuff) but unfortunately my camera battery died at the ginormous shark/ray/tortoise tank.

new foods i tried: bibimguksu (wheat noodles in a spicy cold broth with cucumber lettuce and some other fixins... kinda like hiyashi chuka), and more indian/nepalese food (pure awesome food and environment/decor)... yesterday went to Yeouido Flower Festival (lots of cherry blossom raining down, big stage performances, outdoor art exhibit, random street performers.. very pretty and gorgeous weather, sat by the Han River for a while and just listened to some music..