Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Dilemma

People who know me know that my attention span is relatively short, and they know that I tend to be forgetful.  It is nothing to be ashamed of, nor is it anything to kick myself in the butt over, because I would be doing a lot of butt kicking to myself.  It is what it is.  The big scavenger hunt is happening this weekend, and I was invited to be apart of my coworker Maggie's team.  Naturally, I accepted and was excited about it, because I saw it as a great opportunity to explore the city, and to meet a lot of other foreign teachers.

Last Saturday, I went to my second rehearsal with the praise and worship team at Wolgwang, and afterwards, Jay and his wife, Darlene, took me out to eat.  It was a wonderful meal and we stuffed ourselves.  Jay, Darlene, and the other members of the band are some of the most friendly people I have ever met.  Apparently, Darlene is a fantastic cook, and suggested that she cook dinner for all of us after rehearsal this Saturday.  And again, I excitedly accepted.

Just yesterday, I realized that I had a dilemma.  The rehearsal starts at 5:30pm, and ends at around 6:30.  The scavenger hunt starts at 7:00, the same time that I would be arriving at Jay and Darlene's.  I began to cringe at the realization.  It is not the first time that something like this has happened, and probably will not be the last.  My first reaction was to tell Jay and Darlene that I would be unable to make it, because I previously made a commitment to the scavenger hunt.  It would be a difficult task being that they are Korean, and their English is limited.  How would I explain it in a way that they would understand?  If I were speaking to a native English speaker, I would simply tell them the dilemma, cancel, and hopefully, they would be understanding.  But how do you explain it when there is a language barrier?

Maggie is from England.  She is kind, understanding, and tactful.  I went to her with the dilemma.   I asked her how I should go about explaining it to them when there is a language barrier.  She kindly suggested that I go to the dinner party, which is what I decided to do.

A lot of people can view a particular weakness as a curse.  I do not see it that way.  I see it as an opportunity to take a look at what I have.  And when I do that, I see that I am blessed.  I am blessed to have friends who would think highly enough of me to invite me to a dinner party and a scavenger hunt at the same time on the same weekend.  And I am blessed to have people who are understanding when I need help.  I guess it's a good dilemma to have.

Here are some shots of Gwangju at night from atop a small mountain near my apartment.  Being that it is one of the shorter peaks, I was unable to get shots of the entire city, but this is the area in which I live.  This particular area in Gwangju is called Pungam.  In these pictures, you can see the lake around which I run, the street that I walk along to get to school, and World Cup stadium.  It is a pretty area.  Hopefully, in the near future, I will be able to hike to one of the higher peaks, and get some shots of the entire city.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

So Far, So Good

These fan reaction videos never get old.  This is one that I stumbled upon when I was bored one morning in my apartment before leaving for school.  I know I will begin to miss Louisiana in the fall when the Saints begin their march to their second Super Bowl title.

Happy Easter everybody.  Honestly, I don't have much to write.  I am happy and content, so here are some more random observations:

1.  The weather here in Gwangju has been perfect.  During the day, you can wear shorts, or you can wear a jacket with jeans, and still be comfortable either way.  Nights usually require a jacket.  It's rained a few times here, but it doesn't pour down like it does in Louisiana, at least it hasn't done so yet.  The rains that I have experienced so far in Gwangju have been light and misty.

2.  Korean ladies cover their mouths when they laugh, blush, and/or experience a sudden burst of excitement.  It is feminine, as well as endearing.  I like the way they dress.  It is femininely conservative, and not revealing.  

3.  I love walking by groups of high school girls in school uniforms chatting away.  I'll hear some giggles, and one will exclaim in a Korean accent, "You are handsome!,"  or simply, "Handsome!"  It never gets old.  I'll reply with "Comsomnida (thankyou in Korean)!  You girls are very pretty!"   

4.  My earphones now serve the same function as car speakers.  

5.  I used a nonwestern toilet for the first time.  At least it was clean.  And I will leave it at that.  

6.  The quality of play in professional baseball here in Korea very good.  Keep in mind that South Korea finished second to Japan in the last World Baseball Classic, which fielded teams with rosters full of Major League Allstars from the U.S.A, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela, among other places.  The pitching is not as good as it is in Major League Baseball, as there are very few dominant starters, but the hitting is superb.  Maybe the lack of quality pitchers can be attributed to the great hitting.  I also find that the fielding is not as crisp either, but the overall play is very good and entertaining. 

7.  Taxi rides are cheap.  A ride to church, which is a little less than three miles from my house is usually around 3,000 won.  A ride to downtown, which is a 15 minute cab ride is around 5,000 won.  Every cab that I have ridden here has had a well kept leather interior, a nice sound system, and has been spotlessly clean.  Compare that to a $20 cab ride in one of those minivans in New Orleans, where the seats are dirty, worn, and full of rotten dorito crumbs.  And not to mention, unlike Korea, tipping is strongly encouraged in the states.

8.  I have a new found appreciation for the Kings of Leon.  I have given their latest album, Come Around Sundown, another listen, and it is a fantastic album, and goes well with their previous works.  Contrary to popular belief, they did not "sell out."  Their popularity was inevitable because their music is that good.  They matured in their sound, and Come Around Sundown seems mellower than their other works.  Their music seems to match the vibe around here in Gwangju, which is why I always seem to dial them up on my ipod.  

Again, I am content.  The culture shock hasn't hit me as hard as others because my mother is Korean.  And what I experience here is similar to what I grew up with, only on a grander scale.  The difference is that I grew up with American culture also.  And my access to American culture here in Korea is through my computer.  The first mild frustration has set in.  I am unable to catch new episodes of The Office, as apparently, they are only available in the states.  I haven't missed American food yet because I have enjoyed sampling new Korean dishes so much.  So far, so good.    

This is a popular dish in Korea called Kimchi Chigae.  It is Kimchi cooked down in a spicy pork broth, and is another meal served in the restaurant below my school.  I have grown to love this dish as it has a unique spicy, and tangy taste.  As all soups are here in Korea, this dish is served boiling.   In the dish above it is pickled radish, kimchi, and cucumber namool.  In the package to the right is dried seaweed to be eaten with the rice.  This was a terrific meal for only 4,000 won.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Settling In: Teaching

I am getting comfortable teaching my new students.  Every level has a particular required method for teaching the students, and I have seemed to figure them all out.  I have one second grade class, one third grade class, along several fourth, fifth, and sixth grade classes.  Class sizes are relatively small, as I have anywhere from five to fifteen students in a given class.  I am fairly lenient with my students in terms of talking, and other petty disciplinary issues, provided they are speaking in English, and they are not disrupting other students.  I am hard on them if they do not bring their books, or do not do their homework.

I like the fact that I teach at a large school that is organized, because it makes effectively teaching the students easier.  I come to work an hour before my first class, read all of the stories that will be covered in the day, and integrate the stories into the established lesson plans for each class.  Honestly, it is the easiest job that I have had out of college.  Each class is forty-five minutes long, and they are so structured that we as teachers seem to have less freedom of creativity than teachers from other schools.  But I like it that way, because our jobs seem to be less stressful and time consuming, and our energy is focused on presentation of the material.

Each class has it's difficulties.  It is difficult to keep the second graders in their seats, and understandably so.  Seven year olds are energetic.  Melissa is a cute little girl in that particular class who loves to hug my arm, and sometimes, she won't let go.  A lot of the second graders like to get out of their seats to tell me something important, and some seem to have a natural tendency leave their seats to follow me when I am patrolling the class observing group work.

In my third grade class, I have a notorious student named Harry.  He is extremely charismatic, and is very good at making other students laugh.  On my first day with that class, I made the mistake of trying to control him through conventional discipline.  It seemed to endear him more to the other students, causing him to be more of a disruption.  I have recently accepted that Harry is who he is, and attempting to control him is hopeless.  Now, I simply let him do his thing, and he seems to be an intelligent child, who through the correct channeling of his charisma, can be quite an aid to teaching these third graders.

In one of my fourth grade classes, Steve is a student who sits between two girls, Chelsea and Danielle.  I get the feeling that Steve has given other teachers a hard time, but he definitely pays for it in this particular class, because Chelsea and Danielle are relentless in their aggravation.  The two girls seem to be charismatic in their own right because the rest of the class loves joining in on the fun.

An interesting and bizarre tidbit about the fourth, fifth, and sixth graders at my school is that a huge number of them have a dry sense of humor.  A lot of their jokes in class, and in sentence writing are about death.  And I am not talking about one or two students.  The other English speaking teachers warned me about it, and they were not exaggerating.  I have "thick skin," and can tolerate a lot.  But in one particular class, it got to the point where I had to say, "Okay, okay, no more sentences about death."  But as I said in an earlier post, these kids are enthusiastic, extremely kind, respectful, and willing to please.  And they are a joy to teach.

This was a meal that was served in a restaurant near my apartment.  I have eaten at this particular one twice because it has the best Kimchi that I have had so far in Gwangju.  In the large black bowl is a pork stew with hot pepper, bean sprouts, green onions, and other vegetables.  In the covered dish to the left on the bottom is rice.  Above it to the right is onions, and some sort of pepper.  The peppers were considerably spicy, but not so much that they were unbearable.  To the left is the unknown green vegetable.  Above it is kimchi, and to the right is kimchi made with radish.  And in the small dish diagonal to the radish is baby shrimp.  They are extremely salty, and a small amount of them goes a long way.  Above it is the strong tasting leaves to be eaten with the rice, and to the right is fermented bean paste to be eaten with the onions and pepper.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


I just returned from the grocery store.  I bought around 40,000 wan ($36) worth of groceries and household items.  The grocery store, called Lotte Mart, is very similar to Super Walmart, and is around two miles from my apartment.  It has everything from groceries, household items, electronics, clothes, and whatever else one can think of.  Included in the items I bought was milk, orange juice, grape juice, and a half gallon of water, among other things.  I had 41,000 won in my wallet, which was just enough for the groceries.  I forgot to take into the account the cab fare to get back home, because in Louisiana, you simply hop in your car, load your groceries, and go home, provided there is enough gas in your tank to get there.  And if there isn't you simply go to a gas station, swipe your credit/debit card, fill up, and get home.  Anyway, I flagged a cab down, and to do so in Korea, you hold your arm out palm facing down, and simply flap your fingers.  I loaded my groceries, and when I opened my wallet to show the cab driver the paper, in Korean, telling him were I needed to go, I realized I didn't take enough cash for the ride home.  How embarrassing...  I had the suburban American mindset of a driver, instead having the urban mindset of a pedestrian.  Needless to say, I learned a valuable lesson today, and walking two miles home with two large bagfuls of groceries was a workout.  

I found a church that I really enjoy attending, or better yet, Mr. Ryu (Pronounced "You"), my boss, found it for me.  When he picked me up on my first day in Gwangju, I mentioned that I was looking for a church.  He insisted that I attend the english speaking service at the one he attends, called WolGwang Church (Pronounced "Werlgwong").  My first day in Gwangju was a Saturday, and he picked me up the next morning to show me how to get there.  I am glad that he assertively introduced me to the new church, because I love it.  Wolgwang is an enormous church with thousands of Korean members.  It has five services, and one of them being the english speaking service that I attend.  Most of the people who attend it are young native english speaking teachers, like myself.  There are also some Filipinos, as well as Koreans who want to practice their english.  I am blown away by how welcoming and friendly all of the people who attend have been.  For example, on the first Sunday that I attended, after the service, numerous other native english speakers assertively introduced themselves, and invited me to lunch.  I know it is cliche, but I felt like I had known my new friends for years.

Pastor Jeremy, the minister who presides over our service, has preached two truly inspiring messages, one being on Servanthood.  It was based on Mark 10:43, where it says, "...whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant."  His sermon basically outlined the fact that humans naturally want glory, and promotion.  Humans simply would rather be served, than to serve.  And contrary to popular belief in the humanistic nonchristian world, servanthood is the avenue to becoming great in the Kingdom of God.  The sermon segued into a houndout that was given to all who attended the service that particular Sunday.  It listed various ministry opportunities, and their respective points of contact, among them being the praise and worship team.

The one item that I was determined to bring to South Korea was Jake, my Taylor acoustic guitar, simply because I knew I would miss it.  (FYI, I name my guitars and guns.  My black Fender American Telecaster is named Rose.  My SKS is named Rico Suave, and my 12 gauge shotgun is named Bernice.)  I am glad that I brought it, because yesterday, I attended my first rehearsal for the praise and worship team.  The leader is a Korean named Jay, and most of the members are Koreans who are able to speak english, some better than others.   And once again, I am blown away by how friendly, hospitable, and welcoming my new colleagues have been.  There may be a language barrier with a few of the members, but the one commonality that we all have is that we love music, and we love to use it as an avenue to praise and worship God.  And might I say, many of them are college educated musicians, so I am looking forward to the challenge of keeping up with them, and becoming a better guitarist.

In this picture, you can see Jay in the distance.  He is in the middle playing the white bass guitar in front of the screen.  

A shot of Pastor Jeremy

Being that today is the last Sunday before Easter, we had communion to commemorate The Last Supper.  The senior minister of Wulgwang, I forgot his name, presided over the communion while Pastor Jeremy translated.  It was a moving experience.  Wine, instead of grape juice, was served with the bread.

And as always, a shot of a meal that I enjoyed during the week.  This meal was served in a restaurant that is just below my school.  The featured dish in the large black bowl is one of my favorite Korean dishes, called dulce bibimbap.  It is a variety of julienned vegetables including seaweed, cucumber, carrots, and bean sprouts, among other vegetables on top of an uncooked egg, spicy red sauce, and ground beef on a bed of rice.  The black bowl is extremely hot, and everything is meant to be mixed together.  And as everything is being mixed, the egg is being cooked.  In the cup to the left is hot chicken broth, and above it to the right is kimchi, pickled radish, and spicy seasoned cucumber, called namool.  This was a terrific meal for only 4,500 won.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Settling In

The cherry trees are in full bloom, and it is georgeous.  The first picture is at the foot of a small mountain near my apartment.  The second two are just outside of my school.  They line most of the streets here in Gwangju, and I enjoy seeing them.  

I am finally getting settled in.  My apartment is arranged to my liking.  My bathroom is finally clean.  I have most of the household items that I need, but I still need an ironing board.  I am tempted to have my shirts and slacks pressed at a local dry cleaner two blocks over.  My coworker, Maggie, received her monthly electric bill today.  It was 11,000 won ($10), which is around one seventh of what I paid in the states.  And she lives with her husband, so that is between two people!

I started teaching this week.  I have yet to meet all of my students, but I have met most, as I still have more classes that I will see for the first time later in the week.  The students are a lot of fun.   They are enthusiastic, and willing to participate.  They are all amazed at my left-handedness.  Apparently, Koreans are all trained to write right handed.  It has happened in numerous classes.  A student will notice and say in a Korean accent, "Teacher, you are using your left hand!"

"Yes I am,"  would be my normal reply, as I resume writing on the chalkboard.  

Then all the students would chime in, "Wooooaaaaah!!"

One of my favorite parts of the day are the nightly telephone calls that I am to give to my students to review, and to be certain that they have a grasp of the lesson, and also so parents can tell their friends, "look at what my school is doing for my kid!"  For the younger kids, we have them repeat some basic statements that were learned in the day's lesson, such as, "Where is Amy?...  She is in the kitchen...  Where is Joe?...  He is in the bathroom...  Where are Jack and Jill?...  They are in the yard..."  The older kids answer some basic questions from a passage that was read and discussed in class.   

Here is the average conversation:  "Yoboseo... (the korean telephone greeting)," says the mother as she answers the phone.

"Hi, may I speak to so and so please?"

She would then say something in Korean meaning hold on one minute, then I would hear, "Hello...," in a high pitched voice of a younger Korean girl.

"Hi so and so!  This is Chris Teacher."  My goal is to sound excited when I speak to them.

"I knew it was you, Teacher!"  I have gotten this reply numerous times.

"What are you doing?"

"I am doing homework."

"What are you studying?"


"Are you studying the story about so and so, and such and such?"


"Are you ready to answer some questions about so and so, and such and such?"

"Yes, Teacher."

"What did so and so do after such and such?"

"So and so did this after such and such," would be the reply in a Korean accent.

I would ask them a few more questions, and I would finish by telling them, "So and so, you were terrific."

Usually they would laugh and say, "Thankyou, Teacher."

"Now I want you to do well on your homework, okay?"


"And I'll see you next time we meet for class, okay?"


"Bye so and so."

"Bye Teacher."

I guess you just have to be there, but I enjoy hearing these kids speak in Korean accents over the phone.

This particular meal was one of my favorites, because everything, except the soup was spicy.  I'll start with the main entree in the middle.  It is an octopus pancake with green onions and carrots.  For all of you who say,  "Ewwww.....  That's disgusting," don't knock it until you try it.  It was amazing.  The octopus was tender, and the pancake was moist and crispy.  Next to it in the small dish on top is seasoned spinach.  I have never had it spicy before this, and it was incredible.  Next to it in the black bowl is a cabbage and Tofu soup.  On the far right is the standard fermented bean paste, next to it on the bottom are snails, or escargo.  They tasted like a more chewy oyster.  Next to that, is the last of the carrots to be dipped in the fermented bean paste.  On the bottom in the dish with the chopsticks, is steamed cabbage, to be dipped in the small dish above it, which is seasoned soy sauce.  The pancake was also to be dipped in the soy sauce.  Above it is spicy seasoned bean sprouts.  This was the first meal that excluded the Korean staple, Kimchi.  And it all costed 7,000 won.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

First Impressions: Korean Cuisine

As I mentioned in a previous post, dining in Korea is relatively affordable.  Tips are not accepted, and sales taxes are nonexistent.  An elaborate meal with all the fixings usually amounts to around 3,500 - 5,000 Korean won, which is equal to roughly $3.50 - $5.00.  The goal of restauranteurs seems to be to provide quality food, and not to offer portions that are so large that the patron is so full that he/she is barely able to walk out of the place.  The goal seems to be to offer enough to satisfy.  And Korean food is relatively healthy, so the guilt factor associated with eating out is removed.

So far, I have sampled restaurants that serve Korean food, and also those that serve western food.  The western food can be a little pricey.  My coworker, Kirk, took me to a burger joint near my apartment, and I spent around 10,000 won on a "classic" half pound burger, fries, and a coffee, which is about what one would pay in the states for such a meal.  Toppings on the half pound "classic" burger included lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, a fried egg, and bacon.  And I can honestly say that it was a terrific burger by U.S. standards.  

I am more adventurous than most in terms of trying new foods.  The language barrier associated with ordering food has definitely tested that.  For example, on my first day here, I fell asleep on my bed at 5pm and woke up at 4am unable to go back to sleep.  At around six, I began to feel hungry, so I took a walk, and stumbled upon a restaurant that is open 24 hours.  I walked in, and noticed shoes all over the foyer, so I promptly removed mine.  As I placed my boots on the shelf, an umbrella fell, and caused quite a commotion, so I was immediately noticed.  The lady led me to a table, and sat me.  There were no chairs in this particular restaurant, and tables were slightly shorter than coffee tables.  As I sat on the floor, the lady handed me a menu written in Korean, which I am unable to read.  I pointed to a random item on the menu priced at 5,000 won, she said something in Korean that I know would have been translated as, "Are you sure you want this?"  I confidently nodded.  Then she said something else in Korean, which I know would be translated as, "Ok, if you say so..."  Around five minutes later, She brings out a trey of food, including a soup, several sides, including various kimchi's.  The soup turned out to be pig intestine stew.  Again, I am open minded, and adventurous with foods, so I ate it, and it wasn't bad, but it wasn't the best thing that I have ever eaten either.  Kimchi is served with every meal, and the Kimchi served at this particular place was the best that I have had in Korea so far.  

During that particular instance, I was still disheveled and unsettled, so I didn't bring my camera to capture the meal, but I did so with others.  

The roll in this particular dish is called Kimbap, and is well liked by native english speakers.  This particular meal costs around 2,500 won.  This variation of Kimbap consisted of rice, egg, ham, crab, cucumber, and pickled radish.  Included in this meal is (clockwise) kimbap, water, pickled radish, kimchi, and chicken stock.  

 I was feeling adventurous when trying this restaurant, which is across the street from my apartment.  This particular one serves goat and dog.  There was a language barrier at this restaurant, so I had the waitress choose for me.  The soup was a goat stew, which was amazing.  The broth was extremely rich, and the goat was "melt in your mouth" tender. Going clockwise, the dish next to the soup is a sauce in which the green vegetable on the next plate over is to be dipped.  I am not sure exactly what vegetable it was, but they were steamed, mild tasting, and good.  It resembled green onions, but it wasn't.  The sauce was spicy and tasty.  In the next dish up, is a kimchi made with radish, and above it is kimchi that was eaten before the picture was taken.  Next to it is a plate containing onions and peppers to be dipped in fermented bean paste.  The fermented bean paste goes very well with the onions and peppers, and is quite refreshing to eat.  In the dish below it is some sort of pork innards.  I tried it with low expectations, but was more than pleasantly surprised.  It was amazing.  This was a really good meal, and was rather pricey at 7,000 won.  

This particular restaurant is near my school.  The sign caught my eye, because it had a picture of a duck.  Again, there were no pictures on the menu, and nobody at this place spoke english, so I had the waitress choose the dish for me.  She made a wonderful choice.   On the wooden dish is beef pulgogi, with bean sprouts and green onions.   Going clockwise the dish next to it is rice.  On the next dish is, once again, the unknown green vegetable with soy sauce, wasabi, and onions.   On the next dish over is garlic to be dipped in fermented bean paste, and the dish above that includes seasoned leaves of some sort to be eaten with the rice.  These leaves have a particularly strong taste.  On the silver platter next to the leaves going clockwise is spinach, spicy pickled radish, tiny dried anchovies, seasoned potatoes, and a spicier version of the the spinach.  On the plate on top next to the silver platter is kimchi.  And on the far end next to the kimchi is a mix of greens to be eaten with the pulgogi, rice, and the spicy red sauce to the right of the pulgogi.  The mix is commonly known as a "lettuce wrap."  Below the kimchi is a common salad with a wasabi dressing, and below that is a seaweed soup.  This was probably the best meal that I have had so far, and costed only 5,000 won.  

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Only American

This post will be extremely brief, but I just wanted to share my experience with dinner tonight.  My coworkers invited me to a dinner at a restaurant in downtown Gwangju.  There were eleven of us, all being natives of english speaking countries.  Three of my colleagues were Irish, two were Australian, two were English, three were Canadian, and I was the lone representative of the Good 'ole USA.  And every single one of my new friends were extremely pleasant and hospitable.  I have never been the only American in any group, let alone a group of english speakers.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Flight

The service was noticeably better on the Asiana flight between Los Angeles and Seoul than on the United flight between New Orleans and Los Angeles.  The Asiana flight attendants were, with no exceptions, tall slim attractive asian women.  Their uniforms were khaki, and consisted of a modest skirt, a long sleeved top, and sometimes a coat.  When they served food, they wore these feminine red aprons that seemed to tie the uniform together.  The flight attendants on the United flight were a mixed bag.  Two of the flight attendants were men, and the lone woman had short hair.  Both groups seemed to be hard working, but the difference was that the flight attendants for Asiana were always smiling.  It may have been forced, but it was pleasant, and it set the mood for the entire flight.

A story about one of the flight attendants:  When serving food they provided a choice between an American dish, and a Korean dish.  The first meal served was a choice between a small steak, and bibimbap- a korean dish consisting of rice, a variety of vegetables, and sometimes a meat, which in this instance was ground beef.  While explaining the dishes to others, she seemed to do so eloquently, and when it came time for her to explain them to me, she nervously stumbled through the explanation of a steak and bibinbap, and fully expected for me to choose the steak.  The two filipino women sitting next to me chose the steak, so I was able to see what it looked like before ordering.  I said, "I would like the bibinbap."  

"Are you sure you want this?  It is going to be really spicy,"  she replied with a korean accent in a pleasantly surprised tone, as she found it hard to believe that an american would choose the bibimbap over a steak.  She gave me a smile that was definitely genuine as she served the meal.

The next meal was a choice between a sausage egg and cheese omelet, and kimchi with rice.  Those who know me know that I prefer not to eat cheese.  When it was my turn to order again, she offered the choice, and I said, "I would like the kimchi with rice."

She smiled, and replied in a Korean accent, "But it is going to be very spicy."  She seemed very pleasantly surprised that I, an American, would prefer Kimchi with rice to a sausage egg and cheese omelet, as she once again gave me a huge genuine smile when she served the meal.  Needless to say, the flight was a pleasant experience.

I start work tomorrow.  It is a private school, called a hogwan, where parents pay to send their students in afternoons after their regular school, and also during school holiday breaks, such as summer and christmas vacation.  Apparently, (Somebody correct me if I am wrong on this.) Korean children previously went to school six days a week, and only recently have they been going five days a week.  So parents feel that students should make up for the lost time, so they started sending their children to these Hogwans, to learn english, and study for midterms.  I will teach some first graders, and primarily fifth and sixth graders.  Wish me luck.  It should be interesting.