Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I am now a videographer...

I am now a videographer. :-/ When I first came to Korea I was just an ordinary English teacher. But this experience has really helped me expand my horizons. I went from teaching English, to teaching Musical Theatre, to teaching Animation, and now to being a videographer. I have nothing against this because I constantly like to be challenged and I am forced to learn new things all the time. The video aspect of it happened this morning. As you recall I told you before that due to Swine Flu we were asked to hold our production on a much smaller stage. However, when I arrived to look at the stage it was taken up by a massive grand piano on one half. BIG PROBLEM. So I said, "well this is what we could do...." so now this week we are filming the production and then I will download it on the computer, put sub-titles, and credits and the credits. Never done it before, but I have an awesome program to do it with, and am a bit of a nerd that can learn things fast. Anyways, it should be fun. Oh yes, another kink - the tailor can't have all the skirts done, so I asked the school to give me all the red velvet curtains from one second floor classroom and I will go wild with a pair of scissors and start doing the Sound of Music thing making them. Good thing I watched that movie so many times. Should be fun though! :-) As usual I will keep you all posted.
Well, as of last night, I may be switching to the PROJECT RUNWAY method. My assistant left it too late and we are filming this coming Thursday night, and the costumes are still all in pieces. :-( So I am heading down to the art store to buy a load of straight pins and glue and create the costumes by hand. I am thinking that it should be a lot of fun. :-) By last night's practise though I was burnt. Traveling back and forth to the assembly for four days last week shouldered with practising every night this week just zonked me. I had to sit all the cast members down and tell them that "tonight is the night that you need to be especially good listeners and be good for me". I am usually super patient with the students but I just was so tired I knew I didn't have much left inside. I just explained that if they weren't there was a danger that they would see fire coming out my ears. Most of them understood. I really work hard at being patient with the teenagers because I know that child abuse happrens here and I often see kids in class with casted fingers, arms, and bruises. Much higher than a teacher would see in America or Canada. It is just accepted in Asia. After all this time I have become pretty good too at identifying the boys that are treated rough at home - it is in their demeanor also - so I give them jobs of responsiblity in the classes to try and build their esteem in other ways. Right now in my writing class I have the boys analyzing that chapter in the YOUNG PEOPLE ASK BOOK about teenage stress and how to solve problems. Reading what they write over their shoulders and their homelife and what causes them stress is very enlightening for me. I will tell you one story from this week that goes along with it. I was asked to write an article for the school newspaper coming out at the end of the month, so I thought instead of writing the same old boring stuff that teachers do all the time, I thought that I would write something uniquely Western - a Dear Abby (Dear Darci) type column. So I asked the boys in my writing class to submit questions for me. I told them that they could ask anything they want as they could sign them names like SLEEPLESS IN SUWON, or SAD IN SUSUNG or whatever. Well anyways, I hand out the paper and go sit by my desk and put a box at the back of the room for the boys to put their folded questions into. In a minute I see the Korean male teacher walking around the room looking at the boys writing! One boy turned to him, shielded his paper and told him it was confidential as teacher Darci had said. The Korean teacher was niffed at the boy so he took his paddle and hit him in the forehead, and then took him in the hallway and spanked the life out of him. When he brought him back I told the Korean teacher that he was not allowed to look at any more boys papers. I tell ya sometimes you have to have nerves of steel to stand up to some of the things that happen. In the end though when I opened up the box I got some awesome questions that I wrote all Biblical advice to for the newspaper. Now I will be surprized if it is printed. I will let you all know. Okay have a wonderful evening. Lots of love for everyone, d :-)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

How Many Feet Do I Have?

My latest fleet of boys in Muscial Theater probably have terrible blisters at the moment. There are two weeks left before production night and I am making them rehearse for hours on end. Dancing REALLY is the best exercise. :-/ My leg muscles are sooooo sore right now. We are finally getting control over our feet and brooms though - even though it feels like we all have one too many feet at times and someone still seems to get a good bonk on the head with a broom head. :-) I am sure boys are wondering what they got themselves into at this point as I must seem relentless to them..."yes teacha we know, agaaaiiiiinnnn"...I just figure if you're going to do something do it to your best ability. :-) So they are dancing and dancing and dancing and singing and singing and singing. HOWEVER, we have had some kinks. When I arrived back at school on Monday I was told that the school was afraid of putting everyone in the same auditorium due to Swine Flu. As you know we do have it in the school and I have a big bottle on alcohol stuff that I bathe myself in between classes of touching the boys or walking the hallways. I'll probably die from alcohol poisoning before I die from Swine Flu. Anyways, this means that now we have to learn to do everything on a much smaller stage where the play can be televised from. And the boys now have to learn to project their voices because of no mics. They are pretty much scared. The high point to this is that I can get the boys to carry the props a much shorter distance instead of across the soccer field to the gymnasium, and "items" around the school will be missing for a much shorter period of time before people notice they are gone. As you may recall me telling you previously, Koreans are obsessed with mirrors, so they have HUGE mirrors in the schools, all over the place. I have found these extremely handy for using as walls on the stage...and the plants and trees through the school I plan on building a forest with on one part of the stage. However, I am NOT going to ask anyone for permission. That would be opening a WHOLE can of worms for the Koreans - they would have to go find the oldest most authoratative person in the school to ask permission from (I keep telling them it's me) - the heiarchy thing. So basically I just tell my boys to take the things and then hope that nobody notices until we are finished or otherwise I will have someone ask "teacha Daci, where all da mirrorsa gone? An where you getta all da foresta stuff? someone noza you got it?" Anyways, it should be very interesting to see how it all comes together by next week. :-) ...after almost 3 years they know who to come looking for when something is missing. :-)

Here is a picture of my latest home project - brewing vinegar water. In Asia, for a refreshing summer drink we drink vinegar water. It is flavoured vinegar, very concentrated that one puts into a glass of water. I put about a tablesoon. Some people like it stronger, but basically I don't like curling my eyelids so I stick with a small amount. Since I was drinking it like no tomorrow I decided to search on the internet how to make the stuff. I found a good recipe and bought myself some fruit, mashed it in a sealed container and then covered it with apple cider vinegar and let it brew for about 10 days, after which I boiled it in my rice cooker to steralize the stuff, and walah I now have a long supply!
Well, I will run, I have about an hour left before the day ends and I have to punish some boys for being naughty. They know that I won't cane or beat them like the other teachers but I make them clean with me which seems to be a fate worse than death by the way they react. Korean kids aren't really that hard to control because they are controlled by family still and intense guilt about losing face for themselves and their families. You can tell them they are bringing shame on their family and they will pretty much hang their head. I am very colourful in class and remind them sometimes that if they ever put their head down on the desk or are naughty it will result in "certain death", and then if anyone is ever naughty all the other boys will start yelling, "teacha! he is interested in certain death! certain death!" - becomes like a scene from a Roman ampitheatre. But since they know I am fair and kind, in their minds they pretty much got it figured that "certain death" is associated with a bottle of windex and a cloth.

Okay, have an absolutely wonderful week! Lots of love,d :-)
1. Pearl after she wakes me up at 5:30am. The best alarm clock in Korea. She is only faithful to that time though because she knows I will hop up and make her a little beef strip for breakfast.
2. Harvey the heavy sleeper.

3. Brenda and I went to Lotte World. Kind of like Vancouver Playland under a roof, except for this cool sculpture fountain area.

4. The brew. This one is grape vinegar but I am doing lemon next.

5. Here is a pic from the assembly. Sunday morning was a test of faith. It rained and rained and rained. Plastic EVERYWHERE.