Tuesday, January 6, 2009

My apartment is dirty and other conundrums...

Sometimes I feel like Spike in Notting Hill. Just complete despair about the cluttered state of my apartment, the dishes, and laundry, etc... When Hugh Grant or someone helpfully points out that "There never will be any clean clothes, unless you actually clean them," I just give a sheepish grin and think "Vicious circle..."

I mean, I have at least one excuse. The property manager guy stopped by a few days ago and pointed at the washing machine, said "Aniyo" and crossed his arms, which in Korean means "No." As in, I'm not supposed to use it. I'm not sure why. Clearly there's some sort of problem with it, but I have no idea what it might be. Problems with the water? Detergent shortage? Terrorism? I'm at a loss... and of course I'm incapable of asking him for how long, so I'm off washing clothes... indefinitely. I've got a couple more weeks worth of clothes, I guess. Well, not clean clothes, but clothes that don't smell too bad yet, at the very least. =)

I did paper mache for the first time today. Well, that's sort of a lie. I did it for the first time this weekend with Jill, in preparation for camp this week. We're making paper mache globes out of balloons and ... you know, paper mache. Newspaper strips and flour glue. Next week, after a few layers of flour-gummy paper have been applied, we'll paint them. Yes, this is Sean. What do you mean, what have I done with him?

When Jill and I practiced, it was really very easy. Each layer took about 15 minutes to apply, and then we used a hair dryer to speed up the drying process. So, naturally, I completely underestimated the time involved in getting 10 kids to finish the same amount of work. Also, I totally neglected to take into account the natural propensity for kids to take a blown-up balloon and uh, play with it. So during class today, I have them help me mix the flour into warm water to make glue. This goes fairly well. I then have them cut up newspapers into strips, which also goes fairly well. I'm feeling pretty cocky at this point. After all, how hard is it to control 7 and 8 year olds, anyway, right? Then I hand out balloons, and this is where the proverbial shit hits the fan. I've got kids blowing them up half-way, then letting go to watch them fly all over the room and hit other kids in the eye. Potentially. I've got kids dunking the balloons into the flour muck, for some inexplicable reason. I've got kids running into the hallway to play soccer with their balloons. I've even got two enterprising young souls that managed to find brooms to play hallway hockey! I mean, I was sorta impressed with their sudden motivation to clean. Till I found out the real purpose. Anyway...

I eventually got them all to sit down, balloons in hand, newspapers down to prevent too much mess. And before I can even begin to demonstrate the proper way to go about this project, which involves careful straining of excess water out of the paper to promote ... hell, I don't even know, but that's the way the internet told me to do it... before I can do that, I've got kids who are already about half-finished covering their balloons in soaking, dripping-flour-glue-all-over-the-floor newspaper. Chaos ensued. Finally I laid the smack down, started busting heads and screaming like a banshee. I instituted a reign of terror on that classroom that those poor kids had never dreamed of. There was an inquisition, burnings at the stake, I even beheaded a monarch and instituted a bastardized form of meritocracy in one misguided attempt at regaining control. But no, anarchy and mob rule was the order of the day, and I was merely an observer. I was Norway.

Long story short, the first step ended up turning out pretty well. I can't wait for phase 2! Whoo-ee! Tomorrow we're making paper airplanes. I've decided, as long as the inmates are running the asylum, they might as well build themselves a military presence. You know, to ward off invasion and inspire delusions of grandeur that will eventually lead to a misguided attempt to conquer Russia over land, probably just before winter.

Another fun fact: apparently, if you're a foreigner living in Korea on an E2 Visa, which is the teaching visa upon which my employment is based, there are some restrictions on leaving the country. Well, that's not entirely accurate; it's not that you can't leave. They've got no problem with that. It's just that if you decide to venture abroad, you need to purchase a "re-entry visa" prior to leaving. You can (Yes, you can) get back in without it. You just can't work anymore. Your E2 is immediately cancelled. Good thing I found out today and not say... a few weeks from now when I tried to re-enter the country, right? Whew! Crisis averted, I guess. However, this re-entry visa (I got the multiple re-entry, in case I feel like travelling again this year) costs like 50,000 Won, which if I remember correctly is about the same price as the E2 visa cost in the first place. Quite a racket they've got here, I tells ya. But that's still preferable to losing my job entirely, so... yeah. There's that.

There's that. And that, as they say, is there. ... they do say that, ya know.

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