I have successfully moved to Seoul! I have lived here in the past, but there is something about this move that has a finality to it. All my belongings are here in my new flat, and I’m enjoying going through boxes and notebooks I haven’t seen in at least half a year. With this new city comes looking for a new job, and I’m hesitating pushing that green call button when the name of my connection is highlighted on my cellphone contact list (that was a very long-winded sentence, but my excuse is that I am tired. I haven’t had a good night’s rest in quite a bit due to a ridiculous cough and moving). I’m finding delight in little moments of peace: dipping my Korean “Ace” crackers into cheap coffee; knitting scarves, mp3 cases, and other things that conspicuously indicate my “beginner” level; getting the long overdue job of sorting out my music done; re-reading In Cold Blood; and going through my Busan students’ creative writing assignments.
I taught at one of many Hagwons, which are prestigious after school academies Korean students attend — this is where most of their studies transpire. The Hagwon I taught at was, of course, an English Hagwon. It was run by a couple I’d met at the church, and I taught children whose school year ranged from Year 1 to Year 6. I do miss them already. I miss their huffy sighs they would breathe when I corrected their pronunciation of “the” from their version, “duh.” I miss dear little Min-Gyu’s antics to try to hide the freckle below his right ear that distinguished him from his identical twin brother, Min-Gi. I miss Sang-Hoon’s smart remarks when I’d ask him to make a sentence from a word the class had just learned. Exempli gratia, when I had just taught the class the word “interesting,” I put a firm hand on his cranium and said “Sang-Hoon, give me a sentence.” He cocked his head to the side, glaring up at me with mock enmity. Grinning, he said “My English teacher is ve-e-ry interesting.”
From left: Se-Hyun, Min-Gi, Jae-Hyoung
Today, however, the dedication of this blog goes out to my two advanced English class girls, Sarah and Esther.
Esther (left) had lived in New Zealand for two years, so her English was at a good level to do reading and writing assignments. Sarah (right) had lived in Australia for a year, and her English was just as adequate. I would give them creative writing assignments with haphazard subjects chosen by Your Humble Narrator, and they would give me only the finest. I will type out a couple of my personal favourites. They have amused me and made me grin and often laugh aloud. I hope you will find as much delight in them as I have.
Disclaimer: Everything is exactly as was written by these two girls, grammar, spelling and all.
Esther, age 11. Prompt: Pick an animal in the sea and imagine you are just that. Tell me why you chose that animal and what you would do.
“If I am a sea creature I would be a seahorse because mum told me that I look like a seahorse when I swim. If there’s a restaurant in the sea I will go there and order plankton, crill and seaweed rolls. I will get red because I think foods will have to much salt because every where I go will be sault water. I think I will live at a small cave with other sea horses and turtles. I will be going to a sea horse primary school and have plankton sandwich for lunch and play on the sponge bed with other friends. I will have a small plankton for a pet and if it die I will eat it.”
Sarah, age 11. Prompt: If you could meet anyone, anywhere, anytime, who would it be and why?
“If I could meet anyone in the world, I want to meet Tomas Edison. I want to see him how smart he is because he made so many helpful things like lights. I also want to steal Edison’s ideas because I could be famous and rich. I would make many stuffs before Edison makes it. I would tell Edison that I am more smart then him so I would be more famous and everyone would know my name. So Edison will be poor and he will be my servent to earn money. He will give me many ideas and I will make things and put my name in it. I think it will be fun.”
Esther. Prompt: What is your least favourite food? Make that into a monster.
Title: The food monsters
“It was a dark and stormy night. There were nobody outside. Everyone was having dinner but not one girl it was Frenny. k. stein mad scientist. She brought her dinner to her room. She didn’t like kimchi, broccoli and mushroom so she put them on the desk then she made a potion.
1. 12 spider legs
2. 6 eye balls.
3. 3 frog mouth
4. Jelly beans (more than your age)
5. 1 cup of fart
6. 3 Pig nose
She mixed it. She droped one drop of the potion on each food. she put one finer up high and shouted It’s alive! She put the monsters in a cage. That night the monsters broke the cage and ran away! They went to the town and went to the grocery stores and ate all of the vegetable. The first they I loved it. After 1 week everyone got sick. I thought that killing the monsters are the right thing to do. All of the children came outside because only the children was not sick because of there pure body. We started finding the monsters. We found the monster! said the 4 graders Gimmy and his twin Jimmy. We started shooting out tomato sause gun. The fatest kids started eating! Now there were no monsters! From that day we started eating vegetables but not Granny. She said she lurned that we need to give vegetables to out pets if you don’t like it.”
Sarah. Prompt: same as above.
“Onionkiller was born in s small village. He was sold from a small market. He was very unhappy. Oneday, Sarah’s mom bought a onion called Onionkiller from market. She bought 3 onions. Onionkiller, Onioly, Onionhappy. Onioly and Onion happy was happy. Sarah’s mom didn’t know they are alive so she cut Onioly and Onionhappy into 10 pieces, but Onionkiller didn’t want to die so he rolled his body to garbage box. There was smelly foods so Sarah’s mom couldn’t take it. She cooked with two onions, Onioly and Onionhappy. While mom is cooking, Sarah took garbage box out of home and take out all the arbages and throw it to the big box filled with garbages. Onionkiller didn’t like there but he had to go inside because Sarah closed the top.
3 days later, 2 man came to the box and take out all the garbages into a car filled with other garbages. Onionkiller didn’t know where they are going. It was very smelly so he rolled his body to the window. But the window was opened Onionkiller tried to go out. Finally, Onionkiller was free. But he can’t see anything because he was very short. He just roll his body and stoped at the corner. there was a small basket. He saw other onions in the baskets. Onionkiller said “Onions! We have to run away!” The boss onion named ‘Iambossonion’ agreed. All of the onions came out of the basket. They swam ‘The Chocolate River’ and hiked over “The Jelly Mountain”. Finally, they saw a house. It was Sarah’s house, But they didn’t know so they just entered the house. Sarah’s mom saw them and said “It’s onion army!” and made a onion soup with Onionkiller and other onion. Onionkiller died and Sarah ate him. It was sweet because the onions swam the chocolate river.”
Esther. Prompt: What is your dream vacation? Tell me where, why, and what you would do.
“I want to have a sleepover with my friends. I will go to the moon and have a sleepover. I will go to pluto and get some milkshake and cheese burgler and potato chips. I will catch some fur bunnies and bring them back to earth. They eat living creature exept thing bigger then them (20cm). They are very fury and has 2 long ears. The fur bunnies like bright places and can stay at places more than 2000°C. Anyway we will play all day.”
Sarah. Prompt: It is the future! How would you spend your weekend?
“If I were in the future, I want to travel to the Mars. I would meet alien and make them my servant. They would have stranger power so I would be safe. I would take their spaceship and travel to the other planets too. I would take aines to Earth and I would live in a big house that aliens would make. I would give them little money and make them to work in my factory. the would always listen to my order so I would take their spaceship again and go to other planets to get other aliens and again take them to Earth so I would make them work like my other aliens. I would be rich and I would be happy.”
There it is, friends! I hope you enjoyed. They are such bright children, and I was blessed to have been their teacher.
[On: Veckatimest & Yellow House by Grizzly Bear, Songs of Leonard Cohen by Leonard Cohen]