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I was riding to school (that’s right, on my pink bicycle with a basket) this morning when I heard a frenzy of pedaling and heavy breathing behind me. “Hello Lo-ren!” It was Tae-Hun, a second grader who lives in our building. He sped past me on his tinker toy bicycle, waving over his shoulder. “Goodbye […]

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How to Operate the Aircon – Korean Style

Just as there is with everything in Korea, there is an unspoken set of obscure rules for operating the air conditioner. Here’s how it’s done. Step 1: Call it an ayuhcon. All one word. Don’t pronounce the ‘r’ or people won’t know what you’re talking about. Step 2: Wait for a really, really hot day. […]

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The Swelling Rage

Sometimes I get angry at the kids. Real angry. In my head. It’s the kind of anger that builds over a series of days, until every little thing pisses me off. Examples: A 6th grade girl showed up in a t-shirt that said ‘Pure F*ckin’ Canadian.’ On the back it says ‘Made in Italy.’ She […]

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Robocop: The Winged Chicken of Victory

A kid came up to me at the water fountain yesterday. “Robocop is like a winged chicken,” he announced.  Then he wiped the water off his chin and went back to his classroom. Wha-?  Is that like Winged Victory?  Or more like a chicken wing? Having never seen Robocop, I wondered if I was missing […]

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You Didn’t Have Any Plans, Did You?

“So,” a co-worker asked me this morning, “Are you going hiking today?”  She mimed hiking by pumping her arms vigorously. “Hiking?”  I asked, imitating her arm-pumps. “Yes, hiking,” she said, both of us now breathing heavily from our actions. “Um, no,” I said.  I didn’t like the way this conversation was going, and sensed an […]

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That’s One Enormous Hamster

Sometimes I am a really bad teacher. Recently, the ‘word of the day’ for my free talking class was enormous. To explain it to the kids, this is what I said: “So, pretend you have a hamster.  But it isn’t a little hamster, like this (cup imaginary hamster in palm of hand).  It’s head touches […]

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