Calendar

September 2017
S M T W T F S
« Aug    
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930

Categories

free counters
Free counters!

Vision English Class Photo

Oops, almost forgot to put up this photo I took last night of one of my Vision English classes.

VE students–click on the photo a couple of times to get a large version, then right click and save image. I hope all of you have a GREAT summer vacation and I hope I see you next semester.

Light at the End of the Tunnel

This is the final week of the Kids’ Camp for this session. No more kids until Summer Camp. Yippee! Ok, let me say that I don’t hate kids. They’re usually cute and adorable. But, put 15 of them, between the ages of 8 and 11, in a classroom and chaos ensues. They know that a foreign teacher is going to go easy on them, as far as discipline goes (by nature, I’m certainly NOT a disciplinarian), so they’ll get away with whatever they can. A couple of the boys were fighting as I walked into one of the classes last week, so I got between them and hauled them both down to the main office. It’s best to let the Korean admin people take care of something like that. They’ve been very well behaved since then. Here’s a few shots from a couple of my three classes.

The first one is from the youngest class. Wow, look how diligently they’re working. What could possibly hold their attention like that?

Let’s look at their work, shall we?

Ahh, budding Picassos. They’re supposed to be working on English activities, but I give them some free time near the end of class. It keeps them busy and out of trouble.

Here’s a girl from one of the other classes showing off the latest gizmo, which doubles as a ball point pen.

Hey, what are the boys up to? Looking up words in their electronic English dictionaries? Hahahahahah. Very funny. They’re playing games on their cell phones with the five or so minutes of free time I gave them.

We actually do get some English work done, believe it or not, and they’re pretty cool kids for the most part. Anyway, Friday is the final day of fun and games. I just hope that light ain’t a train. More later. (If I survive.)

More Field Trip Photos

Here are some more shots from the field trip a few weekends back. After visiting Hyangiram, we ate lunch at a restaurant in the village below the temple. The main dish was a fish stew, known as may-oon-tahng, which, I was told, means . . . spicy fish stew, oddly enough. 😉

May-oon-tang

Of course, as with every Korean meal, the main course comes with lots of side dishes–kimchi, assorted vegetables, pickled garlic and mushrooms, dried fish, rice and other goodies. No one should leave the table still feeling hungry.

May-oon-tang2

Then it was off to Jinnamgwan, the largest single story wooden structure in Korea. Here the students are enjoying the trip before some of them had to give a presentation about the site. The kids were split into groups that had to make a presentation after each stop. Most of them did very well.

Jinnamgwan1

On the small island of Odong, we stopped to admire the fountain that erupts a few times an hour, water gushing in time to various musical selections. Not exactly the Bellagio Fountains in Las Vegas, but still interesting. It’s lit at night, so I’ll have to try getting there some evening for some shots.

Some of the girls are taking a break here. This was our final stop and folks were starting to get a bit tired. We started at 10 in the morning and didn’t get back to the university until around 6:30 p.m.

Odong_Fountain1

Finally, here’s the Odong Lighthouse. As you’ll recall from an earlier post, my students and I were trying to emulate its logo. (See the photo in the previous post.) Oh, by the way, our group actually won the funny picture contest with the photo of the four of us together in the parking lot.

Odong_Lighthouse1

I’m posting these photos and some others to the Photo Gallery, so check ’em out when you can. More later.

Field Trip Revisited

As I mentioned before, we had a full-day field trip this past Saturday, so here are a few of the supposedly funny pictures my students and I took for entry into the English festival tomorrow. While they may not be all that hilarious, we had a great time taking them and visiting the various sites in Yeosu. With the new blogging software, just click on the photo to get a larger picture and click again for the maximum size. You’ll have to click the back button on your browser to return to the main page.

Here’s a shot of the four of us in the parking lot at Hyangiram Temple. From the left, the students are Kyung-hoon (kyuhng-hoon), Sun-tak (soon-tahk) in the middle at the bottom and Jong-cheon (Johng-chuhn) on the right. Yours truly is wearing the hat.

Funny_Picture1W

This one is at the Odong Island lighthouse, where we’re attempting to mimic the light house logo. There was too much contrast for my small digital camera to handle, so I played around with the shot in Photoshop to try to cut down on the glare from the upper right portion. Not entirely successful, but better than the original.

Funny_Picture5w

I suppose everyone’s heard about the altercation between the South and North Korean navies. Not really a big deal, as it’s happened before, but I hope things don’t escalate into something more serious. Most Koreans that I talk to are ho-hum about the event. Business as usual. The article states that Pres. Obama is visiting South Korea soon as part of a trip to Asia, beginning Thursday. As much as I browse the news daily, that’s one thing I didn’t know. Wonder if he’s coming to Yeosu? :-)

Class Photos

I added some photos of my English classes to the Photo Gallery. You can see them here. I didn’t plan to be in the center of every shot; it just worked out that way. Go figure.

This ‘n That

Today’s weather in Yeosu felt a lot like early autumn in Montana. The wind was blustery, threatening to strip the trees of their early fall foliage, there was a slight chill in the air and a wan sun competed with a slightly overcast sky. Still, that hasn’t’ stopped the last day of a 3-day student festival at the university. Various student departments (majors) and clubs have set up tents on one of the main open areas on campus, where they’ve been selling food, beer, and soju (the unofficial Korean national drink) from 6 p.m. to the wee hours of the mornin’. There are also various arts and crafts exhibitions, and one of my classes has a caricaturist, one of the students, drawing interesting portraits (for a price, but cheap = $3) of customers. He did a decently humorous job on me and I’ll try to take a photo of the final “work of art” and post it here soon. All in all, it’s been a very good time.

Yes, I’ve been keeping up with the developments in the U.S. about the economy and the campaigns. I won’t post my thoughts here about them–it’s not worth the heartache that might ensue–but those of you who know me know where I probably stand.

But the bigger news is that the Yanks won’t make the playoffs this year for the first time in eons. Well, in the immortal words of the late, lamented BROOKLYN Dodgers–Da Bums. No, no, that’s not right. The correct quote should be “Money can’t buy me love.” (If you actually click on the link and watch the video, I’m not really sayin’ that the Fab Four’s antics remind me of the way the Yanks played this past season.)

Finally, to all my Muslim friends–I hope you’ve had a blessed Ramadan, Insha’Allah. More later. (Insha’Allah)

Weather, Baseball and Down Home Guys

Although Tropical Storm Sinlaku might have an effect on our weather tomorrow, with a 70% chance of rain predicted, the conditions here have been beautiful lately, with blue skies and moderate temperatures. We had a bit of rain Monday evening, but overall it’s been very nice.

It looks like the season is over for the Yankees, with only a snowball’s chance in hell of making the playoffs. Hmmmm, then who am I rooting for? Not Boston, not ever, no way, no how–except for one condition. I would root for them, possibly, only if they made the World Series because I HATE the National League, but as far as the American League Championship goes, may the Red Sux be playing golf in late October. I suppose I might be prodded into rooting for Tampa Bay, but — and a BIG but — and in contradiction to what I stated above about the NL, I might root for the Cubs if they make it into the Series and if they play against the Red Sux, if they make it. That would actually be a fantastic Series, one for the ages. Not sure if it’ll happen, though. Both teams tend to disappoint. (An understatement, at best.)

So far, Yeosu, and, in particular, the university, has been superb. My students, for the most part, are very nice kids — respectful, willing to learn and willing to interact with me outside of classes. (Remember, I posted before that I live on-campus.) The city itself, which I haven’t seen enough of yet, is also quite nice. In many other cities in the country, foreigners are, in a way, frowned upon. Yeosu citizens, however, have been nothing but friendly to me. It’s really a nice place, the city and the university working conditions. I can see staying here for at least a few years, and I recommend the area, especially since it is hosting the 2012 World Expo. One upshot of having the Expo here is that the Yeosu City Hall is pushing for their employees to take English lessons, so I’m teaching a couple of classes a week that are exclusively for City Hall workers (very welcome overtime hours).

One observation that is quite a bit late. I was VERY impressed with Montana Governor Schweitzer’s address to the Democratic Convention a bit back. The guy was very folksy, yet oratorical. A credit to the state. I hope ALL Montanan’s, whatever their political persuasions, are proud of his appearance in Denver. More later.

Back to La Capital

Saturday, I go back to Santo Domingo for a couple of months, returning to the Yankee camp when it reopens around Feb. 1. Naturally, all the players are anxious to return to their homes and for the past few weeks have been daydreaming about the journeys there. Some left a few days ago (the Panamanians), but all the rest are leaving tomorrow, either very early (5 a.m.–the Mexican, Nicaraguan and Brazilian players) or in the afternoon (the Venezuelans and Dominicans). I have mixed feelings about moving back to S.D. Negatives–Big city, the noise and pollution, it’s expensive, I’ll miss the players and coaches, the baseball atmosphere, the beautiful night skies and the overall peace and quiet here at the camp. Positives–Big city, cultural opportunities, opportunities to travel around the country because of my job, excitement and uhhmmmm . . . Ah, well, it’s only for a little while.

I weighed myself this morning for the first time in awhile, and all those hour-long jogs are paying off. I’ve lost around 8 pounds and feel that I’m well on my way to losing at least 25 before July, hopefully closer to 30 or 35.

We’ve been plagued by hornets the last few weeks; they seem to be everywhere, sometimes disrupting English classes, weaving and swerving, threatening mayhem. At least the mosquitoes have died down, with all the dry weather we’ve been enjoying lately. It’s been very nice, not too hot, (even a little chilly at night), and clear skies. Running around the outfield warning tracks at 6:30 a.m. is very enjoyable, but that, too, is coming to an end. I’ll be enjoying afternoon jogs at the Parque Mirador del Sur in S.D., which is closed to motor vehicles from about 4:30 to 7:00 p.m. At least I don’t have to worry about the infamous S.D. traffic, but wish me luck anyway. More later.

Winding Down

Only two weeks left until I return to the U.S. for a while, and then it’s on to Thailand, Laos and Singapore. I’ll be fairly busy here, getting things together, filling out forms and reports that are necessary for the completion of the current contract and for the start of the next. I’m also preparing a workshop to give for teachers in Samana, in the northern part of the country, as soon as I return in the second week of October. The tough part about that is that most of the English teachers there speak no or very little English!! I’ll have an interpreter when I need one, but it’s still going to be a difficult task. It should be very interesting, if nothing else.

My teaching schedule here at the Yankee camp is winding down. Friday is the last day for my regular classes, although I’ll be teaching some classes next week to some of the new players who will be signing contracts on July 2nd. I’ve given them a few classes already and they’re a pretty sharp group of youngsters, aged 16 to about 18. They’re very charming and polite, and, as I’ve found out with most of my other students, they actually know more English than they think they know (if that makes any sense).

In the other classes, to avoid going into a chapter that I know we wouldn’t finish by the time I leave, I’ve been showing some excellent English language videos about baseball, especially about old-time Yankee teams and players, which the students enjoy. It’s fun and it’s English! To check their listening comprehension, I ask questions afterwards and lead a discussion about who is better; e.g., Babe Ruth or Alex Rodriguez? (Babe Ruth, by a mile.)

Anyway, like I said, I have a lot to do, including getting everything packed. I never have made a practice pack yet, but I have to do one this weekend in order to see how much room I’ll have for souvenirs going back to the ‘States and for class materials to bring back to the D.R. When I go into Santo Domingo for the Ambassador’s 4th of July Fiesta, I plan to do some souvenir shopping earlier that day and the next. Actually, from looking at the U.S. Embassy website, it seems that there is not an official ambassador appointed to the D.R. at the moment. The Charge d’Affairs, Mr. Roland Bullen, appears to be the Chief of Mission at the moment. (Someone correct me if I’m wrong.) The party will be at his residence, I assume, and Rex Moser tells me that it’s a great affair. I’ll let you know in a later post who of influence and power I end up rubbing shoulders with. 😀

My Laotian friend Nai is in the hospital with malaria. He sounds ok over the phone, but I definitely am worried about him. I told him that if he was still sick when I got to Laos, I would take him to Bangkok to find a GOOD doctor to help him out. I’m not sure that I trust the Lao doctors or their health care system, an unfortunate drawback to living in this charming but impoverished, Third World, Communist country. (Sigh) More later.

Cave Trip, Players

We had a nice trip to Las Cueva de las Maravillas last Saturday. There were about 30 people on board the bus, including Rex, my supervisor from the embassy. I was right in my tongue-in-cheek guess about picture-taking within the cave–the photosynthesis from all the flash bulbs going off would eventually lead to the degradation of all the old Taino pictoglyphs on the cave walls. So, I can’t show you any photos of the interior of this beautiful cave system.

The upgrading of the cave is brand new–the folks who are responsible have added motion sensor lighting, so that only one area of the system is lit at a time. When the group progresses to another area, the new area gets lit up and the previous one goes dark again. Their are stainless steel handrails, subdued foot lighting that never goes out, and, in places that are appropriate for it, marble flooring. The visitors center is all new and they are constructing a new entryway on the main road. It was very impressive. The tour guides all spoke excellent English and were very knowledgeable about the cave’s history and about the state-of-the-art upgrade.

After the cave tour, our group had lunch and relaxed for several hours at Cumayasa Ranch, where you can go horseback riding, take a river trek, or relax under the covered patios surrounded by peacocks. All in all, it was a good trip.

One of the peacocks–I was able to creep up on it before it got miffed and walked away.

peacock

I hung out a lot with these guys. Here we are just before grabbing a lunch buffet of Chicken Cumayasa, Macaroni Tuna Salad, Roast Eggplant, Red Beans and Rice, bread and dessert. From the left front, clockwise are Alex, Spencer (both members of embassy families), Roberto (I think), Rex (my supervisor), and Ken (who works with USAID at the embassy).

lunch_companions

We’ve had a bit of turnover in players, with new ones arriving and others leaving. A few players have been released, and one fellow, quite fluent in English, very bright and a pleasure to have in the class, called it quits in order to continue his education. He wants to go to university and major in Linguistics. Many people were sad to see him go, including me.

I’ve become pretty good at knowing most of the players’ names, so my memory must be getting better. . . it’s either that or the fact that half of the players seem to be named Jose or Juan. 😆

And, by the way, Nai seems to be doing very well lately. Many thanks for any thoughts and prayers you may have sent his way. More later.