Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The worse film ever.

I used to hate the two following films...¨Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow¨ and ¨Spirit, Stallion of the Cimeron.¨ However, I saw a movie the other day that completly blew them out of the water. It´s called Recoil, and here´s the plot summary copied from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0127751/plotsummary.

¨Detective Ray Morgan accidentally kills the son of a mob boss. The mob boss orders to have Morgan killed unknowing that the assassin killed Morgan's wife and kids. Now Morgan's out for revenge..and he'll do it his own way.¨

I was taking a trip with my new boyfriend for a bit of relaxation and we were taking the night bus from Quito to Puerto Lopez, a mere 10 hour bus journey. The bus journey was a whole other experience, and I shouldn´t blame the movie, but I can´t help it. First of all, they don´t have lights in the buses here, and anyone who has spent any time with me at all knows that I love reading more than almost anything else in life except food. So it´s 8 o´clock at night and too early to sleep, but too dark to read. Plus they put the air conditioning on so strong on all the buses. Every single bus, I have no idea why. And people know that it´s going to happen, so you´re going from one hot destination on the ecuator to another even hotter destination on the ecuator, and everyone has to pack winter jackets and hats and blankets. Not kidding.
So 10 o´clock rolls around and I´m freezing, but feeling like maybe I could go to sleep now and wake up when the bus rolls into the beach. However, at this point they put on movie. Not just any movie, but ¨Recoil.¨ The worst movie ever made. It begins with a 30 minutes bank robbery and car chase. No less then like 30 people die, and it is just so stupid. It tries to be emotional and tries to get you to care about the characters, but they really don´t have time for it in between the car crashes and bullets flying. And this isn´t the movie´s fault but the sound system in the bus was so bad I couldn´t tell if it was in English or had been dubbed into Spanish. And it was sooooo loud. CHCHCHCHCKKKKKKKTTTTTTSHSHSHSKKKKKKKKTTKTTKGGKKKK, was all you could hear for the next two hours. The sounds still comes back to me when I close my eyes. It was the first time that poor ChanHee had seen me really angry. It was just so stupid and pointless and loud and impossible to ignore. I think about my screenwriting class and how many really good screenplays my fellow students wrote, and how probably none of them will get made into movies, and this pile of garbage, this rediculous excuse for words pooped onto a page gets the budget for a film. I was just furious that enough people existed in the world that would like this type of thing, it made me want to pee my pants. Why? I don´t know.

I was just so violently enraged by the needlessness of the whole situation. I had to pee, they had locked the bathroom, it was freezing cold, it was so loud I couldn´t even understand what ChanHee was trying to say to calm me down, and the movie was so infantile and stupid and such a waste of human resources. I can´t even fully express how angry I was and how stupid this film is. Please never watch it. Never in any way support anything that has to do with this film.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The problem with having a beautiful boyfriend.

Something that I never thought I would have a problem with is having a boyfriend who is too attractive. Way too attractive.

Think this isn´t a problem? I didn´t think so either. However, it is difficult for two reasons.

1- In the past, I´ve always had boyfriends who were pretty much on par with my looks, we were a good match, attractive wise. But with ChanHee, he´s just so amazingly handsome. I am constantly thinking to myself, why is he with me? He could have any Cosmo model girlfriend he wants. You´d think it would be enough that he wants to be with me to bolster my self-esteem, but it does the opposite, I don´t know why.

2- I´m not a jealous person, and I have never been a jealous girlfriend. However, how can girls not hit on my movie-star boyfriend? And how can he say no to these stunningly beautiful petite girls? Why would he WANT to say no to them?

No matter that however many girls approach him, he says no, no matter that he tells me how much he likes me all the time, no matter that he doesn´t think he´s all that handsome...it would just be a lot easier on me if he were just a little bit uglier.

The problem with traveling

I hate that when I travel, I go back home to my best friends and my family, and no one has shared any of my experiences with me. I can´t reminice about the time that we were on a bus for seven hours through the bumpiest road ever and how badly we had to pee starting at hour five. No one back home knows just how scary it was to go to sleep in the jungle and how you had to pick crickets the size of your hand out of your bed by candlelight. And they don´t get why it would be funny to mention casually that ¨Norweigan hearts aren´t meant to be broken.¨

And you make all these friends that you will surely keep in touch with, thanks to myspace and e-mail, but that you´ll probably never see again. That kind of sucks.

Friday, November 10, 2006

People Suck.

So I have written on my blog before about a near-mugging that I experienced, and last night I had another near-mugging...but this time much worse. A friend and I were walking down the street near a park last night on our way to a movie. We were chatting and I mentioned that I had heard that this particular park was pretty dangerous at night. He scoffed and said ¨I´ve lived here eight months so far, and I always walk alone at night. I´ve never had anything happen.¨ Just then I saw a really big guy walking up really close behind David, and a shorter guy coming up behind me. I barely had time to turn around and grab David´s arm before they were in our faces, driving us apart. The shorter one grabbed my shoulder bag and tried to pull it off my head while telling me to give him all my money. I tried to fight him off and started shouting. He couldn´t get my bag off of my shoulder and so he grabbed my arms and tried to rip off my watch All this time I´m backing towards the street and shouting and trying to get away. Finally I realize, hey, wait, I don´t have to just back away, I can fight back. This is an acceptable time to hurt someone else. So I start kicking and hitting him and he decides to run off, with his friend following him. The only thing they got was David´s cell phone.

The reason that I say that people suck is A, the two guys who tried to take our stuff, and B, the people walking by on the street or sitting in idling cars waiting for the the light to change with their windows open, who didn´t do anything while we were being mugged. At one point in my-maybe 30 seconds-of shouting and fighting I looked towards the street for help and there was a guy walking on the sidewalk who locked eyes with me and then continued walking. It´s not like I wanted him to get stabbed, but a helpful shout would have been nice.

2005 / 2006?

If someone had told me when I was in high school, or college, or even a year ago that when the year 2006 came winding to a close, I would still have to pause and think about whether it was year 2005 or 2006, and that I would be teaching Swedish in Ecuador, I would have told them they were nuts. I don´t speak Swedish by the way, and since ABBA sang in English, I almost expected the language of Sweden to be English. And yet, here I am, teaching Swedish in Ecaudor and still writing 2005 as the date.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Humor in Truth

I´ve always thought that people who are really funny are that way because they have had a rough life. People laugh to come to terms with whatever they are having a hard time with. The reason I thought about this was a joke that I have with a friend of mine. She works with the street kids, abut five or so years old. I work with boys aged 12 to 18 who are in jail, and the joke is that in a few years I will be teaching her kids English...which isn´t very tactful, but also the other day the kids at the jail had a talent show and a group decided to perform a play that they had written themselves.

In short it was about a kid who was playing soccer and having a fun day untill his drunk father needed cash for more alcohol. The kid went out begging for money and finially met up again with his father who wasn´t happy with the small amount of money his son had brought home. So the Dad beat the son to death. The audience loved it. They thought it was the funniest thing they had ever seen.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

They all look the same to me.

The other day I went to an internet cafe and used the internet for about an hour. When I went to pay with a five dollar bill, they didn´t have change. (And just when I think my spanish is getting pretty good, something like this happens.) So we chatted for a while, just shooting the breeze and him trying to explain to me to come back in a few hours and I could pick up my change then, and me casually responding with delightful wittisisms like ¨I don´t understand¨ and ¨please tell me again.¨ But eventually we got everything understood.

So I went to work and came back later that night to pick up my money. As I walked in the guy asked if I wanted to use the computer again and I said no, I wanted my money. And he must have remembered how well I understood Spanish, and how much I enjoyed it when people spoke really quickly, because he spoke at about the speed of light. I eventually understood him to mean that he wasn´t going to give me my change. He was going to give me more time on the computer to use of up the rest of the five dollars. So I said ok, and just to make sure, I said that I would come back another day to use the computer, and he said ok.

When I got home I chatted with my roomate a bit. She´s Norweigan, tall and has long really blond hair. She told me about the wierdest thing that happened in the internet cafe today. They must have been having some sort of promotion. She went in and used the internet for an hour and when she went to leave, instead of her paying them, they tried to give her four dollars.

So obviously, they had thought that we were the same person. It was all cleared up. I went in to tell the internet guy...unfortunatly my roomate was sick and wasn´t with me. So when I went in to tell him that there were two foreigners that would be patronizing his store, and that we weren´t the same person he asked, ¨Are you sure?¨

I´m pretty sure that to this day he doesn´t believe me. And he won´t untill he sees us both at the same time. Although, I have to admit...I´m not sure anymore, is this like something out of fight club? Or a beatiful mind? Has anyone else ever seen both of us together?

Monday, October 23, 2006


You know what is a big fat lie? This idea floating around that roosters crow in the morning. Let me tell you the truth. They crow all the time. Five in the morning, ten in the morning, four in the afternoon, midnight. And if there happpens to be two, they take turns so they don´t get tired and have to stop making noise for a few minutes.

It´s true.

I´ve seen them.

The truth will set you free.

No, wait, I mean the truth will wake you up at four a.m. and inturrupt your nap at 3 p.m.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


I was a bit sad that the short time I lived in San Diego I never got to feel an earthquake. I didn´t want to feel one that did any damage or hurt anyone, just a little shake in the ground would have been enough.

When I moved to Ecuador I never would have thought that here would be where I would feel an earthquake, but last Sunday there was a tiny little shake in the ground, two in fact. I wasn´t nervous untill I felt the second tremor and remembered that I live on the ground floor of an apartment with five stories on top of me. Then I stopped being nervous and took a shower instead.

If I had any brains I probably should have taken the time to have a picnic outside, away from tall buildings...but that´s what happens when you grow up in the midwest, you always have the mistaken idea that you are safer inside a house, maybe in the doorways or next to a wall. Comes from all the tornado drills in school, I imagine.


The idea of a long-distance relationship is very strange to most people in Ecaudor...and I think in all of South America. When I mention that I have a boyfriend, whoever has asked immidiatly asks next, in Ecuador? And I say no, he lives in the United States. And then they ask again, to be sure, ¨But you don't have one in Ecuador?¨ As though I would have two. And it seems that is exactly what they are asking. They are so confused when I say that I don't want two boyfriends, I only want to wait till I can see the one in the US again.

Here if people are apart, it´s not strange to have another boyfriend or girlfriend for the time being...no one minds.

El Cárcel

I´ve started teaching English at a prison for kids. Well, youths, the kids there are aged 12 to 18, and most of them are there for robbery or drug use. It was pretty intimidating at first. You walk in the door and there is a soldier guarding the front door in full camo uniform. You give him your ID and walk in to see a bare dirt courtyard with rough-looking teenagers staring at you.

Then one of the kids comes up and offers to take you on a tour of the place. He shows you the bakery, the kiln for ceramics, the cupboards they are building in another workshop, the metal working room, the classrooms, and the little hearts that the kids have made out of wire with initials in them. Finally he introduces you very politly to the directors, one of which he calls Mom. Then you notice that the guard, with his tall leather boots and camo uniform is the goalie for a soccer game.

I love working there. Most of the kids really want to learn English, and if at times they are too loud and boistrous, and basically too much like teenage boys, you can't be irritated for long because the next words out of their mouth are, ¨Teacher, como se dice ojos en ingles?¨ And when I say eyes, they respond with, ¨You eyes beatiful.¨

After two hours of English, it´s time for snacks and either soccer or volleyball. The kids push and shove each other to be the first to give me or the other teacher, (My friend Liz from Michigan) pieces of their orange or to offer a banana. Then my friend and I hang around for another hour or so to talk with the kids or play sports with them. It´s really fun, and I can tell that my spanish is getting better daily by speaking with them...but that´s the selfish part of the day because it´s just fun for me.

One student has already decided that I am his Godmother. I can´t decide whether that´s better or worse than Liz. She´s his wife...no matter how much she denies it.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Library Project

It´s hard for me to imagine living in a place without a library. Whenever I move to a new country or even a new city, the first things I look for are the bathroom and the nearest library. I can´t even count how many libraries there were in my hometown, between the public library and a library in every school, there must have been dozens. I also loved going to thrift sales or discount stores and buying books for a quarter a piece. I always took for granted that if I wanted to read, I could do so.

It´s different in Ecuador. There just aren´t any libraries. Not in the cities, not in the schools, nowhere. There are bookstores here and there, where you can buy books for eleven or more dollars. When a full meal in a resaurant costs a dollar fifty, and kids sell cigarettes on the streets for pennies, eleven dollars for a childrens book is an impossibility for most people.

I teach English to some kids from Columbia. They are refugees and in December are going to move to either Switzerland or Canda. A few days ago I was teaching them the names of places, Police Station, School, Library....etc. They didn´t even bother to learn library. Why bother learning that? they said. I said that there were lots of libraries in both Switzerland and Canada, and they could go whenever they wanted, and read books for free. They almost didn´t believe me. It was like I had told them that they could get free candy and puppies and money whenever they wanted. But once they believed me, it´s impossible for me to describe the excitment on their faces. They started grinning at each other and speaking Spanish quickly untill I interrupted them with, ¨Speak English please!¨ Then they stopped talking because they can´t really have a conversation yet only knowing, ¨How are you?¨ and ¨one two three four five.¨

Anyhow, that brings me to my friend´s project here in Ecuador. She is a librarian and wants to build a library here. She´s found a great place for it. It´s this foundation that teaches kids who work in the markets. These kids are too poor for their parents to spare them the time to go to school, but this organization, wants to help however they can. It provides workshops for parents and children to make their crafts they sell in the markets, and offers classes for the kids and tutoring in the mornings and afternoon. (It´s called CENIT, www.cenitecuador.org) This is the place that Anna is going to set up her library. All we (I say we because I am trying to help any way I can.) need now is some money or books, and in a dream world, maybe even a computer or two.

So I´m warning everyone I know that what they are going to get for Christmas are cards saying, ¨This much money has been donated in your name to the library project in Quito Ecuador.¨

Also, I´m asking anyone with access to books in Spanish or English (if the books are in English, children´s picture books are what are most needed) to send them to Ecuador. (e-mail me for an address) and if anyone has too much money this week, to donate the excess. Anna is going to set up a paypal account, again, e-mail me for the exact details.

If anyone wants more information, please feel free to e-mail me. Also feel free to visit the website, www.cenitecuador.org to learn more about the organization that we´re working through.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Dream job.

So it turns out that I have found my dream job. I actually have two dream jobs, both of which I would love to do forever. Kind of sucks that both of them are kind of difficult to come by.

1)Author. I have a book written, and a pretty damn good one, by the way, but I just need to wait for a publisher to give me money and publish it. Not as easy as I´ve just made it sound.

2)Teach English as a second language to kids with classes no bigger than 12 students. Now this is a ridiculously easy job to come by, and pretty well-paid, provided one wants to live in Korea or Japan. Not so easy to come by if one wants to live in the United States...but not impossible. Teaching kids is so great, because they look at it as an adventure most of the time, and they think it´s exciting to try and communicate with someone who doesn´t speak their language. If I ever see my students outside of school, they always run up yelling, ¨Teacher! Teacher,¨ and give me a hug. And then they don´t speak another word of English the entire time because they are too shy around their parents and friends and wouldn´t want to make it look like they were actually learning anything with me.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Typical rich tourist

It is amazing how fast a person, can become desensitized to the poverty that surrounds me...I mean...not me, other people. The reason I say this is because I was thinking today that one of the biggest problems in Quito is how hard it is to get change.

I get money from the ATM, and it always comes in twenty dollar bill form. The main problem is that no store anywhere will take anything except exact change. If you buy food at a huge grocery store for $15.71, and try to pay with a 20, they will look a you like you tried to pay with poop. Much less trying to buy a lunch for $2.80 from a small corner restaurant when all you have is a 20.

Anyhow, this relates back to my first sentence. ¨I was thinking today that one of the biggest problems in Quito is how hard it is to get change.¨ I am such a stereotypical rich tourist. I don´t see the people living and begging in the streets, the five year old kids juggling or doing cartwheels for cars at red lights to earn spare change, the schools with no textbooks or libraries, the violence, or any of the other problems. All I see is that I have two twenty dollar bills and no way to pay the 60 cents an hour the internet cafe charges.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

One door closes...

So every cloud really does have a silver lining. When I stopped volunteering with ¨Volunteering Ecuador,¨ I had to find a new organisation to work with.
Now, the United Nations building in Quito is pretty imposing and the guard next to the metal detector inside even more so, but a friend and I walked in looking for volunteer opportunities nevertheless.
And it´s not for sure yet, but I may begin volunteering for the United Nations teaching English to Columbian refugees. I hope to begin in the next three or four days, after an interview. I have always wanted to be involved with the United Nations somehow, but have never had the necessary skills to be of any assistance...to anyone, much less the United Nations. I´m very excited.


I love Ecuador. Last weekend I sat on top of a train as it wound through a mountain pass about seven inches from the edge of a cliff. No seats, only a railing on the edge of the roof of the train. Today I went galloping through the mountains on a horse without a hemet, without signing an insurance waiver, and only having paid three dollars.

Living In Ecuador

I´ve been working with this organization called Volunteering Ecuador for the past month. For $360 dollars a month (plus a $190 registration fee) I lived with an Euadorian family with three other girls because I wanted to learn all about the culture in Ecuador and practice spanish while making the world a better place. It didn´t work out so hot.
I don´t recommend this organization. It´s run by a guy who seems to be more interested in controling people and constantly having young women in his home so he can talk himself up than he is in helping the poor of Ecuador.
After about two days I didn´t really feel comfortable in this guy´s house, and I didn´t appreciate his jokes, ¨I thought she was a seven out of ten...with her blouse off.¨ I decided to move out after three weeks and in one day had found an awsome apartment with my own room for only 100 dollars a month with an Ecuadorian student as my roomate. I had initialy told the director that I would stay for between 2 to 3 months, but I hadn´t signed any sort of contract. I decided to tell the director that I had decided to move out, but I wanted to continue volunteering in Eucador. I didn´t want to be offensive so I just told him it was because of the price of the new apartment I had found. No one can argue with wanting to save money right?
WRONG. He acted like a petulant child. He was rude and offensive and immidiatly told me that I couldn´t continue teaching english and helping out at my school because I wasn´t affiliated with the organization any more. I said that was pretty stupid because his organization didn´t do anything for the school besides occasionally pointing volunteers their way, and there was no reason to take an English teacher away from them just because I wasn´t paying him a pretty exorborant price to live in his house. Well, after that he told me that he didn´t consider me family anymore and I didn´t cry all that hard when I left his house a week later.
You haven´t really gotten the whole story here, but oh goodness, I could go on and on for hours about how unusual and offensive this guy is, and how awkward it was living in his house, and stories about his strangeness, but I´ve already discussed it to death with the other volunteers...but if anyone pulled my arm I could be pressed to share some examples.
The bottom line is that I don´t recomend www.volunteeringecuador.org for anyone wanting to make a difference in the world.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

My New Family.

I live with two amazing roomates and a host family here in Ecuador. The host family consists of a really nice mom, two spoiled, snotty boys (still fully supported by their parents) in their early thirties, and a bi-polar dad.

Our worst (from here on out the phrases, "we," "our," and so forth refer to my two roomates and I)nightmare is to hear the phrase "for example." If you ask him a simple question like where the nearest place to make copies is, well, you only do that once. He will go off about stories when he needed to copy papers, he'll become nosey about what you need copied and why, and he'll go off on about eleven "for examples" about other people that have needed to copy things in the past. I don't know if he will ever actually answer your question or not because I've never seen it get that far. He's always inturupted in about the second or third hour with a, "Oh, I see. Thank you very much, ok, I need to go now. Thanks."

On the other end of the spectrum, he will invent things that your agreed to or that you've said, like spending a saturday in the park with him. Then when we're ready to head out Saturday morning to go see some Pre-Inca Ruins he'll be all confused and angry that you're not going to spend the day with him and slam doors and refuse to speak to you for two days. Then the following monday he'll give you an hour lecture about keeping promises and not asking to have an escort in the park if you don't plan on following through. Then he'll move on to "for example," how they used to do all sorts of things with former volunteers, but they never kept their word either, and so they had to stop organizing activities like this.

He's also quite a perve. He's just always talking, in the words of a roomate, rubbish. He likes to tell the story of some former volunteers from Austria who liked to come to the breakfast table in their underwear, and he respected that. He respected their culture, and if we wanted to do the same, he would respect us as well. He's just such a gentleman. He also likes to talk about movies and books where old men hook up with young women. He also likes to talk about how women should always wear skirts and dresses and express their femininity. He also likes to tell the same joke over and over again. When talking about an unattractive girl he'll say, "She's a seven...with her blouse off." It's a wierd house.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Five Screaming Kids...my new band name.

I work at this daycare for kids aged one year to six years old in the outskirts of Quito, Ecuador. I assumed that because this particular country is located on the Ecuator, that it would be pretty warm. In fact I planned for this and brought plenty of shorts and T-shirts. I brought very few items of warm clothing. Turns out that once you hit about two miles in elevation, like it is here, it gets cold. And once you travel by bus for an hour even higher up into the mountains it gets even colder.
The day care is exausting. There hasn't been longer than an hour without some kid screaming at the top of his lungs. Which is way down from the first few days, in which the longest time without at least five kids screaming was 0 seconds.

It's funny to see how the kids react when other kids won't stop crying. At first they try and comfort the crying kids, they ask why they're crying and try to bring them toys to cheer them up. They pat their back and whisper that it will be ok. When that doesn't work they get irritated and start shushing them. Basically what I do.

One of the things that helps me be patient with the screaming kids are the cute, playful kids. Though there is a limit to how much they even help.

There's this one 3 year old that cracks me up. My first experience with him was him whispering to his friend while we were walking outside to play, "Voy a escapar!" and then he took off for the exit. I caught him and brought him back but before I even set him down he was whipering to his little friend, "escapate! escapate!" Thankfully at that point a girl started doing ballet for me and Alex got jealous of the attention she was getting and started to immitate her and forgot about escaping.

The kids get fed twice and it is just like something out of Oliver Twist. They sit down at long tables and eat out of steel cups and saucers. They get gruel and a chunk of bread for breakfast and rice for lunch. Alex sits down to his gruel and bread and shouts, "Que delicioso!" and starts chowing down. He finishes earlier than everyone else and then turns into a mini Dad, shoving food in the other kids mouth so they can come outside and play with him faster.

Apparently when I signed up for this project I temporarily lost my brains because I thought playing with kids all day would be fun and rewarding. Turns out that it is more exausting and tiring than fun. Especially once you add in the 2-hour round trip on the bus totally packed with people.

I've gotten shut in the bus doors four times so far, and busdoors here aren't as kind as they are in the states. (I would like to thank our high ratio of lawyers for that.) The doors really hurt when they close on you. I seem to be too polite when I'm trying to fight my way off the bus when it's my stop. Instead of shoving my way through the people hanging from the rails while the bus screeches to a stop and bowling through the people shoving their way on the bus I politely whisper, "permisso, permisso." Which only causes people to sense my weakness and stand firmer.

It's funny to see how the kids react when other kids won't stop crying. At first they try and comfort the crying kids, they ask why they're crying and try to bring them toys to cheer them up. They pat their back and whisper that it will be ok. When that doesn't work they get irritated and start shushing them. Basically what I do.

Monday, September 04, 2006

I either escaped loosing my wallet...or was really rude to a police officer.

So here I am in Ecuador. I'm sitting in a park reading and studying spanish and I realize that the sun is low in the sky. So I gather my things and begin to exit the park. The park is larger than I realize and I am still inside the park once the sun sets. There are still children playing with their parents and I can see the street from where I am. It seems fairly safe. Two guys on a motercycle drive up in front of me and start speaking really quickly in Spanish. This is our conversation as well as I can remember it. (I'm changing into English what I think they said and what I hope I responded.)

-Hey, what are you doing? (them)

-What? (me)

-What are you doing?

-I'm walking. (I begin to walk off)(They get off their motercycle and stand in front of me)

-Where is your passport?

-I don't have it here. (At this point I notice that their helmets have Policia written on them)

-Where are you from?

-The United States


-I said I don't have it. It's at my house.

-Where do you live?

-In the Portugal Building, just over there.

-Where's your immigration card?

-I'm a tourist!

-Give us your card.

-I don't have one!

-Where are your papers? In your bag? Give it to us.


-Your wallet, show us.

-What? (I know exactly what they want, but I'm not about to hand it over.)

-Your wallet.

-(blank stare)

-Wallet. WALLET. Wallet, wallet, wallet.


-We're police! Police! Look! (Points to his helmet)

-I don't believe you. You're not police.

-We're police. Do you have drugs?

-No, I don't have drugs.

-You have drugs in your bag, show us.

-(At this point I'm angry and it's getting darker and I have no interest in chatting it up anymore.) Fine, look. Here. I have water. You want water? Three books, a dictionary, a novel, and look, here's my spanish book. You want to learn spanish? A pen. Two pens. An apple. How do you say this? (I hold up flashcards) I can look it up in the dictionary if you want.

-(Spanish I can't understand, probably swearing.) Go away, get out of the park. Go.
(As they drive away I see on their left shoulders a pretty official looking badge and the words again, policia)

So I went home and told an Ecuadorian what had happened and he said they were probably not police, but they might have been...so who knows?

Friday, August 25, 2006

What would you give up for Lent?

I've never participated in Lent, but if I have it right, you give up something very important to you for 40 days. If I was serious about it, what precious thing would I give up for 40 days? What is the most important thing in the world to me? I think I would give up reading. (Pleasure reading of course. There'd be no way to give up reading billboards while driving or recipies or things like that.)

What would you give up?


Something that bugs me is when people get angry at U.S. citizens when we introduce ourselves as Americans. For a long time I agreed with those random people and made a point of saying I was from the U.S. rather than that I was an American.

The arguments behind it is that America is made up of two continents, not just one country. People say it's arrogant and pretentious to call ourselves Americans when there are two continents full of people who are Americans. And, like I said, at first I could see their point, but then I began to disagree and here's why.

-We're the only country with America in our name. It's not the Canadian Territories of America. It's not Peruvian America. However it is The United States Of America. Which is quite a mouthful, leading me to my next point...

-Most people are lazy and are not going to always say The United States of America, so of course we need a shortening. A lot of people might ask at this point, "Why not say you're from The States?" An adequete shortening of the name, however, a shortening that might offend our neighbor to the south. The United Mexican States. (Estados Unidos Mexicanos) See, they actually have States in their name.

-Another suggestion people give is, why not say USA? I guess that's all right. I could say I'm a USA citizen, but it sounds a bit trite. Maybe I'm just making excuses now. However...

-...last of all. It's a nickname and it's probably here to stay.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Friday, July 28, 2006

Bribe whomever needed to be bribed...

I think the easiest thing in the world is to sacrifice for your children. Parents who give up time or material possesions or meals or their lives for their children aren´t all that heoric. People who give up a kidney for an ailing uncle...again, I don't think they deserve any great kudos. (Not that people usually do things like that for kudos anyhow.) But sacrifices for family memebers, even ones you don´t like, aren't all that amazing to me either. Slightly more impressive is the sacrifice for a stranger. Pretty few people do that on a regular basis.
But the one thing that truely boggles my mind is sacrifice to an idea. Not only that, but an idea that perhaps not everyone is behind. Although I respect soldiers who fight to protect their homeland, that´s not who I´m talking about. They get room and board and training and supplies, they have going-away parades and the support of their country, they have sargents telling them where to go and what to do and when to do it.
I´m talking about people who go against those stronger than they are to stand up for ideas more fragile than themselves. When the punishment is pain, loss of possesions, a home, friends, social standing, respect, death, the death of loved ones, or any number of other things mearly to stand up for something like freedom of religion, equal rights, and other ideas, I don´t know if I could do it. Am I the person that Bennie is talking about below?

"Those who would give up a little freedom to gain a little security, deserve neither the security or the freedom."
-- Benjamin Franklin.

I think I might. If it came down to being able to speak my mind about the government or being driven out of my comfy and expensive home, which would I chose? If it came down to looking the other way while my neighbors were persecuted against because of their religion, would I stand up for them and bring the wrath down upon myself and my family?
You know who my new hero is? You know the guy in Tiananmen square? Of course you do, the man holding a bag, standing in front of a line of tanks, The Unknown Rebel. There's a guy standing up for a cause. And the other unknown hero in this historical event? The tank driver who refused to run him over. Did these people have family? What sort of retribution occured? No one really knows for sure what happened to either of these people.
I imagine that if I was young and felt strongly enough, I would fight in a war if my country was attacked while in a combat unit with a sargent telling me when to attack and when to fire with the support of my family and country. But what if it was an underground resistance against the government? What if I never knew who to trust? What if we were outnumbered and never had enough money or supplies? What if I knew exactly how slim the the chances of succes were? What if I had children who might be targeted because of my actions? What would I do then? I imagine I would stay quietly at home and look the other way and bribe whomever needed to be bribed and say whatever needed to be said.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Electronic Dictionaries

Merriam - Webster needs to come to Korea and straighten out the electronic dictionary system. The following are three true-life examples of the translations that students have come up with. No wonder they have such a hard time learning English if these are the translations their dictionaries are giving them.

Teacher: What did you do today?
Student: I go to school, I go to the home, I...(frantic typing into their dictionary)..."negative interaction with Mother."

Teacher: What will you do this weekend?
Student: I will study.
Teacher: Will you go out with friends?
Student: No, I'm afraid it would be...(typing)..."The Royal Seal."

Teacher: You and your friend fought?
Student: Yes, I am, no, I WAS angry, but then I sad. She feel...(typing)..."the liability of the accused."

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

"Poetry in Translation."

I was searching for something do one class period and so, on a whim, I had a class of mine translate a poem for me. It was the hallmark variety and was on a card I had gotten. Their translation had a sweet ring to it and I had another, more advanced class do the same thing. I liked the result.
I am thinking I should make a book (documenting the sources and paying the authors and translators, of course) composed of the origional Korean poem and two translations of it, a low lever English one and a higher lever English one...it is far more interesting than those "Chicken Soup" books that sold by the billions.

Here is an example...

(The younger student's translation)

Where do you go from me?
Closed eyes and mine question
My truth and windy
Where do you and I go?

(The older student's translation)

Sometimes I do it.
I don't know where I go to.
Then close your eyes and question your heart.
In heart, truth and hope.
The hope in your heart will take you somewhere.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Phrases I've heard in the past 72 hours.

I swear I've hear every single one of these phrases uttered in the past 72 hours, either to myself or to my co-workers.

-"My favorite book I read in the year 2005 was, "I Love You and I Do Love You," it's not a love story. It's about a husband and wife and she had a disease, but he loves her anyways."

-"Do you have any plans to starve yourself for your New Year's Resolution?"

-"That dog is not for eating. Pet."

-"If you could change any three things about Korea, what three things would you change?" *hostile silence* "I wouldn't change anything. Korea is perfect."

-"Your hair is very messy today. Do you ever wash your hair?"

-"You look awful today. What's wrong with you?"

-"My neighbor's rice cake is always larger than mine."