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8 December 2004
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KLB - "He's Got the Passion!"


Bonnie showed up at work today. I wasn't really surprised. I thought she may come in to ask me again about teaching next week part-time, and that's just what she did. By coincidence Julie was with me at the school today for the first time. She's quit her job because her boss hasn't paid her in 6 weeks (2 weeks late, though she managed to get 1/3 of it after asking over and over again). Her boss claims she has no money and will pay her all of her pay the following pay day (December 25...yeah right) but Julie doesn't believe her - so, unlike the other teachers who naively do whatever the boss says, she's quit. She already lined up another job down the street which she will start on Monday and if her old boss doesn't pay her, she plans to call the labor department soon - which may work, seeing as how the boss doesn't pay her taxes, of course (tax evasion is a very common at private schools in Korea). Julie's pretty fiesty about some things and is astonishingly brave...you should have heard her on the phone with her boss this morning...yikes.

Anyway, Bonnie wasn't expecting to see Julie, of course, and it worked to my advantage because while I was teaching Julie told her how I felt bad that I couldn't help her next week but it's just too early and too far. Bonnie pleaded a bit, saying I was the best teacher they have (she was really impressed with the open-house, she said) and finally gave up. There was some good news, though; she's working on the winter schedule. If all goes as planned, I will teach the three classes for two hours each and get double the pay for the month. That will be nice. I'll make sure to pick up some Sesame Street videos across the street at the department store.

Bonnie left, but Julie and Cathy stayed and watched me teach. Though I didn't think I was doing anything that special, apparently Cathy told Julie she's never seen me teach so well before, and that "he's got the passion" today. I have to admit, today's lessons went particularly well, except for the second class - mostly girls - who told Cathy they don't like that I have a girlfriend. They refused to even say hello to poor Julie who was a little embarrassed. The whole class they remained eerily quiet and it was like pulling teeth to get them to talk (until I whipped out the stickers!)

Yes, I'm in a good mood. As I've said before, this is the first teaching job I've actually liked, where I have been able to make progress with the kids. I felt an odd sense of pride as the kids excitedly spoke in English in front of Julie and Cathy, raising their hands so energetically, some sighing and almost in tears when I didn't call on them, and everyone remembering most of what I've taught them. We played a few games and sang songs, even had a singing contest (man, these kids love to sing) and I gave out stickers, which made them crazy with joy. It's amazing how much kids get excited a little thing such as a small red sticker.

I wish I had my camera for the sam gyeop sal / bo ssam dinner we had near Songnae Station...it was fantastic, but you'll just have to take my word for it until we go there again.

After the gigantic meal, I beat Julie at two games of pool using a free 30 minute pass we got but never used. (Yes, it took us 30 minutes to play just two games).

Now we're about to watch a couple of DVDs we picked up: Nuremburg (my choice) and some teenager-type movie called Honey (Julie's pick)...

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