Friday, March 26, 2010

I Wish It Were Rainbow Sherbert

It is 10:36 p.m. I am sitting in my bed eating ice cream that was leftover after a Cinco de Mayo celebration on January 5, 2010. Even though I have already brushed my teeth, I know I must eat as much of it as possible, because I am turning off my refrigerator tomorrow morning, and the last thing I need is for food to be left in there after the power has been cut, as it would undoubtedly fill the entire apartment with its malicious odor!

The fridge is being shut down because a band of CCS teachers and students are flying away from Seoul to Kuala Lampur in Malaysia tomorrow for six or so days of serving with an organization/institution/fraternity called the Harvest Center. I am one of those teachers. The prayers have been lifted. The funds have been collected. The arrangements have been made. It should be good.

Be that as it may, I am not excited. I am not very concerned about my lack of excitement. I (and I am the only one who knows or cares about the coming statement) have a long history of not getting pumped about trips and excursions that are worth getting pumped for. The 2007 China and Hong Kong Interim Trip, EDU201, through Bethel University? I did not want to leave. 2008 YouthWorks! summer in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan? I did not want to go. 2008 Mok-Dong Poly School? I cried a lot before I left. However, all of these trips and many more have another common denominator in addition to my lack of enthusiasm: all of those journeys were awesome in some way, shape, or form. They left deep imprints on me, and I am inordinately glad that I went.

Despite not being very concerned about my lack of excitement for Malaysia '10, I am more worried than I was in prior cases. My reasons: exhaustion and sickness. The past week has been alarmingly taxing on me, due to our academic quarter coming to an end and a couple of other unusual occurrences.

I am fairly sure the chain of devastation began last weekend. Saturday morning we went and coached a middle school volleyball tournament. The afternoon was more chill, but upon nightfall I went to Ilsan for an evening with Peter and Kelly F-Burg, which was late as it was but then resulted in me getting up at 7 the next morning to take the bus back to the Hae Bang Chon area for KMI worship practice at 9. After church I worked for a while and then went to Gangnam for a birthday celebration. Monday was a normal day but Tuesday night I discovered that I didn't have the movie I needed for English 12 on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday. The aforementioned Peter Freeburg had the movie in question, but the only way I could get it was to trek out to his home, which I left to do at 10:30 p.m. and accomplished at 12:22 a.m. I slept on his floor and left at 5:41 the next morning to get back to my apartment just before I had to be at school. The rest of the day was normal and I got a decent seven-hour sleep in, but Thursday took away whatever I had gained. Violently.

After school, several students and teachers were to go down to the Han River and do a prayer walk, during which we were going to hand out candy and prayer cards to whomever was walking around on the paths near us. The group split up and, after waiting for forty-five minutes in the freezing wind on Banpo Bridge, most of the group with Jordan and me left to do the prayer walk while I waited for the straggling others. Those straggling others never showed up. I waited for about thirty more minutes before striking out on foot myself. Halfway to my destination the urge to urinate hit me with frightening intensity, but there was nowhere to go. Three-fourths of the way through, I tried to give a candy-card combo to some dude (the first person I'd seen out there, probably due to the frigid breeze) and he just stared me down. My already-feeble spirits were crushed. I finally made it to the subway and went home. Apparently that wasn't enough activity for the day, because I went and saw "Alice in Wonderland" in 3D that night, which was fun, though the movie wasn't as sweet as I figured it would be, but it just ended up being another late night. And, since the prayer walk took a little while longer than expected, I had to get up early to plan a lesson or two for the morning. Even after noticing a slicing pain in my neck, which is generally my body's way of foreshadowing the arrival of a tremendous cold.

Today was alright, but there was a meeting after school, then a dinner date with a bunch of wild students, then a haircut, and then an apartment-cleansing.

*Note: if you are a beautiful, single woman, do not read past this point. Come to think of it, why are you reading this, anyway?

In addition to cleaning all counters, straightening all cupboards, and sweeping all floor space, I removed things from my fridge that were left over not only from the previously-mentioned Cinco de Mayo celebration on January 5, 2010, but also from a Thanksgiving dinner on November 25, 2009. A new record!

And then I threw myself into the position in which I now lie. My nose is running, my lower back is achy, and I don't want to get up to turn off the light. My only conclusion is that that I will really have to lean on God during this trip. That is the point anyway, though, right? And, really, there is plenty to look forward to: Malaysia will be sweet, hanging out with the other trip-goers will undoubtedly be money, and I will get to get out of my apartment for a spell. This apartment that smells faintly of sour cream cheese dip and turkey.

Maybe I won't eat all of this vanilla ice cream after all.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Pop Quiz

Alright! We're takin' a quiz! Put everything away except your most cherished pen or pencil! If you want to lose points and get a yellow slip, talk to your neighbor while people are still taking this. Good luck.

1. For the past two weeks, I have seen ______________ every day on my way to work.
a. the same two alarmingly large piles of vomit
b. dogs eating their young
c. Yuna Kim
d. four horsemen

2. From March 27 to April 4, several students, other teachers, and I will be going on a mission trip to _____________.
a. Niagara Falls, New York
b. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
c. Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan
d. Warroad, Minnesota

3. At a recent SK Knights basketball, I met _____________.
a. Pistol Pete Marovich
b. Dimitrius Underwood
c. Joe Krabbenhoft
d. Luke Elie

4. From May 20 to May 23, Mr. Mark Nola, Mr. Peter Freeburg, Mrs. Kelly Freeburg, and I shall, Lord willing, be escaping from South Korea to ___________.
a. North Korea
b. Antarctica
c. Japan
d. heaven

5. The estimated number of Bethel University graduates populating South Korea as of Sunday, March 7, 2010, is _________.
a. one, as opposed to Hamline graduates, whom there are more than a hundred of
b. a hundred, as opposed to Hamline graduates, whom there is one of
c. eight
d. who cares

6. From June 15 to June 28, I will be flying to, hanging out in, and generally disturbing the fine island of ____________, where Nasty Nate resides.
a. Ibiza, Spain
b. Greenland
c. Alcatraz
d. Harriet Island

7. By the time the next school year rolls around, ____________ of my favorite people in Seoul will not be.
a. too many
b. none
c. 100%
d. not enough

8. The church I attend _____________.
a. sacrifices unblemished lambs each Sunday morning
b. is an all-girls church, and I love it
c. lets me play drums for the worship team
d. is composed solely of deaf mutes

9. On March 18th and 19th, our school has a(n) ____________ planned; pray for it, yo!
a. large-scale book burning
b. spiritual retreat
c. archery tag session (think laser tag, but with bows and arrows)
d. modeling contest

10. ________________ has proven himself/herself a worthy a cook over and over again in the recent past, whether it be with chili, pancakes, or Snickers.
a. Sandara Park
b. Anne Hathaway
c. Jordan Williams
d. Dwayne Johnson

When you're done, fold your paper in half and give it to me. Do. Not. Talk.

Answer Key:
1. a - be happy there are no pictures for this.
2. b - pray for this. It should be good.
3. c - A crew of us went to an SK Knights KBL game. Free tickets provided by the head CCS boys basketball coach! During a time out the cheerleaders were throwing stuff into the crowd and I was nearly hit in the head by a Frisbee, a Frisbee that I grabbed after it fell into the seat next to me, a Frisbee that entitled me a spot on the court after the game in a shooting contest. Then I (and Mark, who snuck into line with me) got to meet all the players and take a bunch of pictures and get autographs and all this hoopla. We talked to the lone white player for a little while after the game and found out his name was Joe Krabbenhoft and he was from Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He played basketball at Roosevelt High School and was an absolute stud. I vaguely toyed with the idea of going to watch him play there, but it didn’t happen. He also played ball at Wisconsin. He knew where Rock Rapids was. Few others do. Count it.
4. c - knock on wood. If you know sweet places to see or stay there, e-mail me.
5. c - Tony, Jordan, Pete, Kelly, Holly, Ashley, Dawna, and me.
6. a - finally, an answer that is not "c." I'm super pumped about this.
7. a - more details to follow.
8. c - I know, I know, I sort of gave the answer away with the link to that picture.
9. b - pray for this.
10. c - with "b" being a close second.

If you scored 100%-70%, let me know and I'll send you your prize (which is synonymous with the answer to question 1). If you scored between 70%-40%, take better notes in class. If you scored lower than 40%, don't ever try to contact me again.

*Again, many, many pictures stolen. Thanks, victims.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Bits and Pieces: February Edition


The following is reminiscent of the stories I think I tell quite frequently. You may recognize similarities between this post and my reports on the day if you've had the misfortune to have hung out with me before. By that I mean that most of them are funny in context, to me, and I feel obligated to try to share them, but I know that most of them probably aren't funny to anyone except me.

*A girl gave a speech entitled "How to Annoy Teachers." The speech revealed what rubbed each teacher the wrong way and what ways her class had found worked best to disturb each instructor. She said that the best way to make Mr. Haggar mad was to take Mr. Williams away from him. Later this student heard Bloodlined Calligraphy resounding from my room after school and said, "Mr. Haggar, your music is weird. No wonder you don't get mad when our class is loud."

*Other speech topics included how to kill goldfish, why superheroes wear tights, how to avoid receiving paper advertisements on the streets of Seoul, and ghosts.

*On a grammar quiz:
Write two sentences that contains infinitives.
1. There is no infinitives in my sentence.
2. This sentence, also does not have an infinitive.

*Many bathrooms here don't provide the privacy that restrooms elsewhere in the world do. One problem is that the female custodial staff never cares who is present in the bathroom; they go in there and take care of business regardless. But another problem is that you can see into many bathrooms without much effort. My head teacher summed it up nicely: "Got a clear shot of guys takin' a leak? You should be good; go ahead and build that men's bathroom!"

*The first weekend that Pete and Kelly were in Korea, we were on the subway heading toward church when a little old lady came up behind me, smacked my shoulder with her fist, rattled off a string of seemingly-frustrated Korean words at me, and stalked away. Everyone sitting near us laughed.

*Excerpt from a student's paper, published without permission: most Ivy League graduates are total warthogs that seem to think they’re the best, but all of the graduates I have met from here were actually pretty decent. I never had to slap any of them.

*Excerpt from a student's paper, published without permission: if eating at a buffet is a 10, eating at McDonald's is a 5, and eating at home by yourself is a 0, I would give this book a scale of 3, which is probably eating a Big Mac at home by yourself.

*There was the mention of a concubine in a chapter we read from "The Joy Luck Club." As a reading check, the students had to write a page about what they read; one girl wrote that so-and-so "became the porcupine of some stupid guy in China." I gave her credit.

*A dude in a study hall I oversee decided that the best way to dispose of the gum he was chewing was to spit it out the window. He backed up and threw his upper body forward in order to add as much momentum to the gum's projection as possible but, in doing so, he smashed his head on the top of the window.

*A student compared one of my assignments to "an idiotic question intended for 'truth or dare' sessions at girl sleepovers." No joke.

*February 17, 2010: of all that I had to say about the English language, the most interest that one class showed was in my explanation of the Molotov cocktail and its practical application.

*Statement I received in passing from a senior at CCS: "When your student have memorized your closet, it's a sign that you need more shirts."

*Statement I received in passing from a sophomore at CCS: "I think it's ["Twilight"] an abomination to the literary world."

*Before seventh hour one Friday, I went down to Mr. Jordan Williams' room to see if he was doing anything cool enough to sit in on in his creative writing class. He wasn't in there, but all the students were, so I told them as seriously as I could that Mr. Williams had been hit by a taxi and, despite being hospitalized, was okay. Some kid began the class with a prayer and suddenly Mr. Williams walked in, miraculously healed. He explained that he'd forgotten that he had class that hour. Who knows.