Tag Archives: food

I’m Bored

After my morning classes, I’m required by contract to sit at my desk and stare at the wall for about five hours each day. I have planned the rest of my classes, organized all of my old lesson plans and materials for the next teacher, and cleaned classroom multiple times. Now, I’m officially bored.

I tend to eat too much when I get bored, so I make sure to have plenty of fruit on hand. This is the result:

Clementine Peel Art

It started simply enough.

Clementine peel flower fun

Then it progressed to this.

Clementine peel art fun

And, the Piece De Resistance. I’m not sure it’s possible to improve on beauty like this, but I plan to try.

I’ll keep you posted if I come up with any more fun food art projects to do at my desk.

Until next time.

-Taft

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Bob Burger

I’m a fat girl at heart, so I tend to eat my feelings. I’ve been a little down today, so I started my day with food from a new restaurant near my school. I’ve been wanting to try a rice burger since a bunch of similar shops started popping up around my neighborhood a few months ago.

Korea - New Business - Bob Burger

The business name is “뚱’s 밥 버거”, which means Dung’s Bob Burger.

In Korean, “Bob” (밥), means rice. Normally the English spelling for 밥 is “Bap”, but it seems like all of the rice burger shops use this alternate spelling.

The menus in these places are all basically the same. Each burger combines two or more foods. Some of of the combinations were quite strange. I chose the two that seemed the safest:

매운치킨밥버거 – Spicy Chicken Rice Burger
돈까쓰참치밥버거 – Pork Cutlet and Tuna Rice Burger

The total came out to 5,000w (~$4.75). I watched the owner prepare my burgers by microwaving pre-packaged rice and meat.

Korea - Bob Burgers - Wrapped

Both of the burgers were quite large. Each was enough for one person. (I still ate both, of course.)

 

Korea - Bob Burger - Chicken

The “burgers” turned out to be more like balls of rice with meat and sauce in the middle.

Korea - Bob Burger - Messy

I tried to eat the first one by hand. It didn’t go so well. Now I understand why there were free spoons in the restaurant.

I had high hopes for these burgers. Since so many of these places popped up almost overnight, I thought they might be tasty. Unfortunately, they didn’t impress me.

A sad reality in Korea is that the vast majority of restaurant owners are retirees who have no idea how to make good food. They buy into cheap franchises and sell fried or microwaved food. Since this describes most restaurants here, Koreans don’t seem to notice that most of the non-traditional food is awful.

I think I’ll be sticking to traditional Korean food.

Until next time.

-Taft

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Service in Korea

I’ve mentioned before that service in Korea sucks. It’s been a few weeks since I’ve had a really bad experience with a Korean business, so I started to think that maybe I was wrong. That was, of course, just silly. I was absolutely right. Today was a great reminder…

My roommate Patrick and I ordered delivery today for lunch. We got friend chicken from a local shop. The delivery took an hour (30 minutes longer than they said), and the driver couldn’t find our building. After fifteen minutes and three phone calls, we finally walked down the street to meet him. Aaaaand…the box on the back of his bike was empty. He forgot our order.

To be fair, the driver was very polite. He was apologetic and seemed genuinely embarrassed by the poor service. He told us that he would ask the owner to give us a discount.

He returned a few minutes later with our food. He looked embarrassed again as he told us that the owner agreed give us a discount “next time.” It was obvious that even he knew it was bullshit. But we were hungry, so we decided to let it go. Being foreigners, we knew there was no way to convince him or the owner to give us a discount.

Korean fried chicken delivery.

Korean fried chicken delivery.

As if that wasn’t enough, this was at the top of my half…

Korean fried chicken with hair in it.

The hair was cooked into the batter, so I at least it was sanitized.

I called the store and spoke with the owner. I told him that their was a hair in my food. His response: “Do you want to order something else?” My Korean isn’t good enough to rant, so I just hung up.

I’m not in a hurry to move back to the states, but I’ll never take service for granted again.

Until next time.

-Taft

 

 

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Teaching ESL is Difficult!

This Thursday is Chuseok, which is arguably the most important holiday in Korea. Some westerners like to think of it as Korean Thanksgiving, because it is a harvest celebration. Because of the two-day work week, I was totally confused about my schedule yesterday. At the end of the day, when I was preparing to go home, a bunch of kids showed up for an after school class for which I was totally unprepared.

When I don’t have a lesson plan, I generally go to the computer and use a great website called Barry Fun English. They have lots of great ESL games that the kids love.

ESL website, English, fun, teaching

This is the home screen for Barry Fun English. It’s a great ESL program. (Not a paid ad – my honest opinion)

 

Unfortunately, the computer in my classroom was dead. This isn’t the end of the world., though I decided to take advantage of the fact that the kids are excited about Chuseok.

We began comparing Chuseok and Thanksgiving. I made a column for each on the board and we listed their similarities and differences. Everything was running smoothly until I wrote “Mashed Potatoes and Gravy”.

As soon as I turned around, a hand shot up. “Teacher, what is gray-bee?”

“Well, gravy is…..”

How the hell do you explain gravy? Especially to someone without a point of reference? No computer means no pictures. They don’t all understand words like “thick” and “stock”. I was stumped. I managed to get through it, but it took some time.

So, Southerner Abroad readers, how would you explain gravy to a bunch of Korean who have no clue what you’re talking about? Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Until next time.

-Taft

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You Know Vurjania?

I made a mistake…a big one. I know that I should never react to something that a student says, but sometimes that’s easier said than done.

Every day, a group of third and fourth grade girls surrounds me after lunch. The routine is the same every day. They spend about thirty seconds trying to communicate with me, get frustrated, and then spend the next minute or so feeling my arm hair and chattering in Korean. This never bothers me, because they’re nice kids and that age is super cute.

Yesterday morning, three members of the aforementioned group passed me in the hall. One of them said “teacher, you know Vurjania?” At first I thought it was a Korean word, so I said no. They all laughed and one girl said, “yes teacher! You know Vurjania!!!”

Me: No, I’m sorry. I don’t know.
Girls: Teacher, yes. Vurjania!!! (pronounced: burr-jan-ya)
Me: Is it a Korean word?
Girls: NO TEACHER. ENGLISH!
Me: Ohhhh. You mean lasagna? A food?
Girls: NOOO TEACHER!!!!
Me: Explain it to me. (a common exercise in class)
Girls: Boys are penis. Girls are VURJANIA!
Me: Ohhhh….uhhhh….well….hmmmm

That split second of shock was all it took. I’m fairly certain that they have no idea what either word means. All they know is that it freaks out the foreign teacher, and that’s fun.

I managed to avoid the group after lunch, but I knew the word was spreading when I walked into one of my fourth grade classes. A boy in the front row said, “Teacher, are you know Vurjania?” I didn’t react this time, but the damage was done – several kids laughed hysterically. I was too embarrassed to explain to my coteacher what was going on, so I’m worried about what might happen in today’s classes. Wish me luck!

Also, I’ll never look at lasagna again.

And I really love lasagna...

And I really love lasagna…

Until next time.

-Taft

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