Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My First Kyopo Friend

Oh Mr. Tibbs! the Tibby! Monsieur Teebs! el Tiburrrron (with extra rolled-r)!

In the beginning you were just a reminder of my past life and were never meant to come this far. But as the Great West was being seen alongside you, it was clear that we were to be together for the remainder of the North American residence.

And now, someone just got a deal because I didn’t want to haggle. Perhaps I wanted the pain of the departure to be a quick tear of the band-aid. I know that you may feel undervalued but the sale was only after you received the spa treatment not given to you since Malibu.

Yes, yes, I know there was that one time, let’s not discuss it. And there were some regrettable moments of flat tires and an encounter with a hit-and-run Iowaegian truckster, but I do not factor this into your true value as a person. I mean, as a person-car. Ok, so just a car, fine.

True, there were other Kyopos pushing me towards this destination, and yes they are actual Kyopo-people, but you were the first. There long before anything of the sort was a consideration.

And so this is the end of our journey together, you have now driven away with your new owner and I leave for your homeland Thursday morning.

Farewell Mr. Tibbs

(To be specific, it’s the city of Gwanju - alternatively Romanized Kwanju.)

Thursday, October 02, 2008

The CELTA and Beyond

Yes, it hath been more than days, it seems as though I am setting a precedent for cautiously slow development. Blog imitating life?

CELTA stands for Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults. Earning this certificate involves a month of one’s waking life and sleep is often sacrificed. I received the certificate this summer in New York, where I stayed in Queens with friends and was part of the commute to downtown Manhattan where I would attend classes.

Besides taking classes on grammar, phonemics, and pedagogy; I taught classes (along with a team of 6 other teachers-in-training) to classes of foreigners who were there to receive free English lessons. Amongst these were a couple of favorites:

Massimilliano (aka Max) from Italy, who lauded me for my pantomiming and acting abilities;

and Saline from Northern Columbia, whom I taught to say ‘massage’ rather than ‘mashage’.

The month was exhausting. When not in classes or teaching classes I was preparing detailed lesson plans, writing papers, or rewriting papers. Our tutors were good and tough, I liked our students, and had fun with my fellow teachers-in-training. After one solid month of enduring such brutality it was a heartbreaking relief to say goodbye.

Otherwise, I spent a total of about six weeks in the town oddly likened to a large piece of fruit, where other highlights involved Irish bars, Queens, karaoke, and my roomies.

Where am I now and where am I going you ask? Nay, you demand!?

I am midway through a Midwestern tour, having left Minnesota to now find myself in Bloomington, Indiana to visit friends not seen in years. I may then go to Cincinnati to see another friend before heading back to KC before the big departure to…

Should I say? OK, most of you probably know that I am not going to the place that I have dreamed about for years. In that case, it’s…

Really? You wanna know?…OK fine…

Korea, yes the southern part of the peninsula. Some of you know this, some of you might be saying, “huh?” For those of you wondering why the change of plans, you’ll just have to make a personal inquiry, ask a mutual friend, or remain in wonderment for the rest of your life.

There were at least a couple of things pointing to Korea these last few years. The next entry shall be devoted to one of our Korean friends to whom I will ironically be saying goodbye.

Until then,