Archive for April, 2011

Last Cuts

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

So last night I had my second to last radio show (ever) and quite appropriately I played last tracks from albums. In introducing the theme of the show I said that part of what constitutes a last track is the conditioning you get from listening to an album over and over again. I then went on to talk about other characteristics of last tracks including the fact that some just don’t know how to end and the use of fade-out by the group/artist. I’ve since been thinking about what I think contributes the most to what makes a last track a last track. I concluded earlish this morning that the reason a person might identify a last track as such is because they’ve been conditioned to thinking of it as a last track from listening to the album it finishes off over and over again. In our world of downloading what I consider to be the hallmarks of a last track (namely that sense of finality you get when listening to it) may not be as universal as it use to be. It’s not like with a classical piece where you go through certain structures (exposition, development, recapitulation, coda) that lead you to a sense of finality. I identify these songs as last tracks because I’ve listened to the albums enough to be conditioned to identify them as such. The reason I put “Come On Home” and “40′” from Franz Ferdinand’s first album together is because when I listened to the album (about a million times) I became conditioned to identify them as one big lump. So while there are things that are universal about last tracks, it’s also a very personal thing. However none of this changes the fact that songs that you identify as last tracks are hard to program within a radio show. Unless you put them last in which case it works just fine.
Playlist

  1. Talking Heads – Road to Nowhere
  2. The Clash – Train in Vain
  3. Cake – Tougher Than It Is
  4. Kate Nash* – Merry Happy**
  5. Keane – Love Is The End
  6. Ok Go – Bye Bye Baby
  7. The Beatles – Tomorrow Never Knows
  8. The Zutons – Don’t Ever (Think Too Much)
  9. The Cribs – Things Aren’t Gonna Change
  10. Franz Ferdinand – Come On Home/40′
  11. The Beatles – Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End***

*Nifty fact about Kate Nash: She’s from Harrow, Middlesex which is where I lived when I studied abroad. Also she’s dating one of the lead singers of the Cribs Ryan Jarman.
**Another nifty fact: I can play the main piano theme that you hear at the beginning and the other piano theme from the end. Knowing how to play those two things lead me to learn the following about the song: It’s in the key of A major. Yay being a music major!
***The Beatles – Her Majesty

The End of an Era or My Mashup

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

I have a lot to say about being a WMWC DJ. Most of it’s very positive. But that’s for another entry, probably next week. This entry is about the mashup I created for the assignment that will also be featured on my last radio show ever next week. My idea was that I would string together 15 second (or so) snippets of a variety of songs from artists who I a) played only one song of theirs, but I played it frequently, b) played often but not as frequently as others or c) played one song just once but who’s style covers a range of similar artists who I played one song by once or twice. The mashup-ed artists and songs are as follows:

  1. The Asteroids Galaxy Tour – Golden Age
  2. The Ting Tings – Great DJ
  3. Adam Ant – Goody Two Shoes
  4. The Rumble Strips – Not the Only Person
  5. Spoon – The Underdog
  6. Guillemots – Trains to Brazil
  7. Mystery Jets – Young Love
  8. BPA – Seattle
  9. Music Go Music – Light of Love
  10. The White Rabbits – Navy Wives
  11. Eliza Doolittle – Pick Up
  12. The Submarines – You, Me and The Bourgeoisie
  13. Feist – 1234

Obviously if I had unlimited time I would have included more songs, but I think the 13 songs I chose are a pretty good summary of all those outliers I’ve included in my radio show over the past 3 and a half years. And of course I know you want to hear it, so here it is in all its glory.
Elmashup by cydwarning30
Enjoy.

Paddling It In

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

Waking up the next day every muscle in my arms and back ached. All the pointy edges on the front of my body (of which there are many) were especially sore from all the jumping onto the surf board I had done the day before. My hip bones were especially achey, which is odd because I didn’t realize I could have achey hip bones. The edges of the palms of my hand were also irritated from rubbing against the surf board. I wanted to sleep all day. I had absolutely no desire to get back into my wetsuit which was still damp and cold from the day before, and go back out into the water, and yet that is what I forced myself to do. After breakfast we all headed back out to Big Hill. Thankfully this time around the waves were a bit smaller and the rip was not pulling quite as hard. After about 45 minutes of toughing it out and catching a few waves I threw in the towel. I was so worn out from the day before and I did not have the energy to fight the waves for a full two hours. There were a bunch of people that were feeling the same way, and so about halfway through the two hours over half the group had called it quits and were hanging out on the beach. It felt heavenly to lay down in the sand and let the sun dry and warm my poor sore self. Once the lesson was over we loaded up the surf boards and headed back to camp for lunch and to pack up for the drive back to Sydney.

The five hour drive back into the city was fairly quiet as everyone pretty much passed out. I tried to sleep but the seats on the bus didnt recline and I don’t do well sleeping in a sitting position so I just put on my ipod and enjoyed the scenery as it passed by. Since most of the drive was through the countryside every so often we passed a sign that looked like this

Koala crossing!

I thought these were too cool. I am so used to deer crossing signs that these completely caught my brain off guard. After we saw the first one it became my goal to try and spot a koala, but sadly I did not. Apparently they are very hard to spot and generally shy away from areas where there is noise, i.e. near a major road. O well. Once we got back to Sydney it was dark and raining slightly. We were dropped off at the Wake Up Hostel where we had been picked up, and the guy who had been driving the bus who was also one of the surf instructors from the weekend asked us if we would want to get a free drink in the hostel bar compliments of Mojo. What kind of question is that? Of course we would! Free is my favorite price! A few people had to leave to get home, but most of us ended up sitting in the bar underneath the hostel sipping our free drinks, and they even brought up two huge platters of french fries and some pizzas, all compliments of Mojo. After chatting, stuffing my face, and hanging out for a bit I said my goodbyes and walked the 20 minutes back to my apartment. Once there I put away my things, showered and went promptly to bed. I needed another weekend to recover from that weekend.

Mojo Rules!

Mojo surf crew, again, my apologies for the watermark. I am the third person from the left with sunglasses on.

Surf’s Up

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

My first full day at surf camp started bright and early. I was not too keen to be roused from bed because at some point in the middle of the night temperatures had dropped below the comfortable low of 75 that I had been operating at, and it had woken me up and sent me scrambling for more blankets and extra articles of clothing. I woke up to a bright but brisk morning and a dull ache in my back and shoulders from being tightly curled in the fetal position all night under two blankets and my beach towel.

Breakfast was a relatively uneventful affair, cereal, fruit, toast, and some hot tea and then we all gathered around one of the surf instructors so that basic surfing technique and ocean etiquette could be explained to us.

Mojo rules

We also went over the Mojo camp rules, highlights of which include “no anonymous weed smoking share what you got!”, “No shit music”, and “No nudity before 11 am”. Yeah I don’t think we’re at girl scout camp anymore Toto. We were then each given a wet suit and told to gather our things and head down to the beach. The beach we were at was stunning. Much like most of the beaches here there were rocky outcroppings and hills surrounding it, but this beach was much bigger than the small cove like beaches in Sydney and because we were so far out of the city it was very secluded and there was not a commercial establishment to be found. The first day we didn’t see another living soul on the beach. The weather was absolutely stunning the whole weekend, staying in the 80s with cloudless sunny days and cooler evenings.

Empty but beautiful beach as far as you can see

Crescent Head Coastline

Once we were on the beach we were shown proper technique for getting up onto the surf board and how to balance oneself once there. I thought we would get a chance to practice this before going into the water, but after having it demonstrated for us we were given surfboards and sent out into the waves. There were two surf instructors that went into the water with us to help instruct and make sure nobody drifted too far out as Australian rip tides take some getting used to. Everybody just started trying to surf, and if anyone struggled one of the instructors came over to help, usually by picking out a wave for you and then holding the back of your board to stabilize it while you tried to stand up. While balancing on the board takes some practice, I think the hardest part is picking the right wave and getting the timing right so that you can actually ride it in.

I was able to stand up a few times with the help of one of the instructors and then got the hang of it and was able to do it on my own as well. While all this is going on there is a mojo employee standing in the surf taking pictures of everyone with a long lens camera, and you can purchase these pictures at the end of the trip. I did this, but they have yet to be emailed to me, even though we were promised we would have them by monday morning after our weekend. So here are some pictures of me surfing, I was going to wait until I got the pictures sent to me, but its taking forever and patience has never been a strong suit of mine so here are the copies off the website. Pardon the water marks.

Surfin!

Getting a little help from an instructor

Getting there

And I'm up!

Our first lesson was two hours long, and we had it on the north shore of the beach. After two hours were up we packed up and headed back to camp for lunch. While two hours may not seem like a long time, when you are surfing it really is. Playing in the ocean normally is exhausting, but when you are surfing you are constantly being pushed to the shore and then having to fight your way back out past where the waves are breaking. If you are just swimming, this is difficult but not that bad, but when you have an incredibly buoyant object tethered to your foot this process becomes far more difficult. Even if you manage to duck under a wave, the surf board is still on top of the water, and the wave is going to push it towards the shore and pull you along with it. Getting back out past the waves after you have ridden a wave in is the hardest part, and you are constantly doing this. Not only are you fighting the waves coming at you, but you are also fighting against the rip current which is pulling you towards the rocks, and you are doing this with a surf board and while wearing a wet suit which holds water and makes you heavier. By the time two hours of this is up I was exhausted and ready for some food.

After a hearty lunch and about an hour of lounging around and resting we all headed back down to the beach for our second two hour lesson of the day. For this lesson we moved from the north shore to Big Hill, a different section of the beach where the waves were much bigger.

I got fairly decent at standing up

While this was fun, it also meant that getting out past the waves each time was more difficult to do, and since we were already tired from our first lesson this meant that I wasn’t able to stay out in the water for the full two hours. The most important lesson I was ever taught about dealing with the ocean is if you start feeling tired, get out. While I felt bad not taking full advantage of the time we had to surf, I also remembered this and decided my safety was more important.  After this lesson we went back to camp to dry off, shower and have dinner. Dinner was fantastic. I wasn’t expecting much in terms of food on this trip, but I was pleasanlty surprised. For dinner that night we had cheesey potatoes, salad, grilled steaks, and a three bean cold salad. I was the only vegetarian in the group, and for me they fixed a special plate with two huge vegetable kabobs that had been grilled, and a really good vegetarian hamburger pattie.

After dinner everyone got out the alcohol they had bought on the way to camp and headed out to a spot in the woods near the beach where a campfire had been started. I was asked to come along, but I had no intentions of doing this. I was EXHAUSTED. Due to my religious application of sunscreen every 2 hours I had avoided a sunburn, but my face was still freckled, and I was sore and absolutely drained. After dinner I brushed my teeth and crawled into bed. IT WAS 8:30 WHEN I WENT TO BED. In the world of me this is unheard of. The only time I am in bed this early is usually when I haven’t woken up yet (true story- its happened). I have no recollection of everyone coming back to the room around 3 am, turning on lights, changing, and generally being quite noisy. I was even told that some guy snored so bad that it woke up half the room and people started throwing things at him. I have no memory of any of this. Thats how tired I was. No wonder surfers are always so tried, its a HELL of a workout.

Surf boards

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Schoolhouse Crush?

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

This post title does not refer to me.

So one of my advanced students has taken to saying “I miss you so much(e)” whenever he sees me, and you know, randomly throughout conversation, to the point where I’m not quite sure he actually knows what that phrase means. Today he came into the teacher’s office because he had hurt himself so he came up to me to show his academic war wound (a cut on his finger) and chat.

“Emily Teacher! I hurt myself! I miss you so much(e)”
“Oh no I’m sorry! Stop hurting yourself” (this is the second time this week he’s hurt himself). I continue to wrestle with the copy machine that has decided to eat my lesson plan and spit only half of it out, and is now choking on my scholastic endeavours.
“I am inspired by your class.”
“Really?” That’s something every teacher wants to hear. “That’s so sweet”
“I like you. I like you. I like like you. I like you very much(e). Much(e) much(e). I miss you so much(e).”
“… thank you?” (honestly, I’m still not entirely sure what to say to stuff like this. As I’m really not that far in age from my students I feel like it’s inappropriate to say “I miss you so much(e)” back, so I’ve settled for the super awkward “thank you” which actually doesn’t make a lot of sense… also not sure he’s inspired in the way that I want to be inspiring >.<)
“Our class is next next day!”
“Yes it is! Friday! I will see you on Friday!”
“Yes. I miss you so much(e) goodbye.”

Oh Tuesdays…

In other news I’m starting a pen pal project! I’ve already bothered people about it on facebook/email/gchat/skype but the project deadline’s approaching and I still need about 40 or so more addresses, so I’m going to shamelessly plug the project. Basically it’s a pen pal project with my two intermediate classes where they write a letter and draw a picture of themselves and send them to America. The recipient of the letter takes a picture with/of the drawing and writes a letter back in email form, and emails both the picture and letter to me at msemilyteacher@gmail.com. Then the recipient sends the student’s original letter and picture to someone else and the process repeats. I’m going to be documenting the whole thing through the blog I have shamelessly plugged not once but twice. click it. CLICK IT.

As most of my readers live in South Korea… how can you guys help? Well, do you have friends outside of Korea that speak English? If 진구가 없어요 do you have, family, a co-worker, anyone who you communicate with in any shape or form? If you know anyone who’d like to get involved please have them check out the project description on the blog and then email me their mailing address at msemilyteacher@gmail.com. For my non-Korea-dwelling readers who want to get involved send me your mailing addresses at the aforementioned email address, but also feel free to talk to friends etc, the more the merrier!

Last Week’s Radio Show

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

This entry has nothing to do with copyright. I promise.
So I haven’t written about last week’s radio show. I apologize for this, it’s just been one of those weeks. I’m doing it now though.
As I mentioned on my show I have had some trouble in the past programming female (or lady) artists. We all have blind spots when it comes to what we listen to and for whatever reason, lady singer/songwriters or just female artists in general is a major blind spot for me along with rap and hip-hop. So this past week’s show was an opportunity to try and explore a group of artists I’m not particularly familiar with. In putting together the playlist for the show I knew I absolutely had to include the following artists: Patti Smith and Blondie. While the song I chose for Patti Smith doesn’t really show it, Patti Smith had a huge impact on popular music in the US and really is considered the first punk artist in the US. Again, the song I chose didn’t really show that side, I was really pleased that I finally got to tie in something I did in high school to a part of my college life that means a whole hell of a lot to me. As for Blondie, much like Patti Smith, they were a major influence in the New York post-punk music scene and unlike the Talking Heads, have no connection to an art school. I knew I wanted to include those two because of their importance to musical movements that still influence what I listen to on a regular basis. Everything else, particularly Rickie Lee Jones, were artists I either knew because of my parents or are artists that I listen to all the time. I’m still kind of surprised at how few female artists (who write their own material anyway) I have in my music collection, but as I said, we all have our blind spots. And now for the actual playlist.

  1. Rumour Has It – Adele
  2. Paris – Kate Nash
  3. Oh My God – Ida Maria
  4. Frederick – Patti Smith
  5. French Navy – Camera Obscura
  6. Waltz (Better Than Fine) – Fiona Apple
  7. Chuck E’s in Love – Rickie Lee Jones
  8. Kiss With a Fist – Florence + the Machine
  9. A Smokey Room – Eliza Doolittle
  10. Rocket – Goldfrapp
  11. Sweet Dreams – Eurythmics
  12. Call Me – Blondie
  13. Born Secular – Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins

As heads up this week’s show will consist entirely of last tracks from a variety of albums. And I will write about it before this time next week.

Post-Production Reflection Post

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

I would like to start by saying how pleased I was with our performance last Tuesday. I thought we did an excellent job of putting together all the disparate pieces our composers created and making them work as a whole. While the performance wasn’t perfect by any means, I thought that given the short amount of time in which we put together the opera, the performance went really well. While I wish we had had more time to organize and rehearse the opera, I felt that the parts of the performance that went particularly well were the parts of the opera that we had rehearsed the most. I also feel that the parts that went off the best were the parts where we had fun. While more rehearsal time would have been nice, I think our opera was at its best when the performers simply had fun with material. This can be seen in the opening drinking song and the final scene where the performers weren’t thinking too hard about what they were doing and instead focused on enjoying what they were doing. The parts that went less well were the ones where the performers, whether because of the complexity of the music or because of the lack of rehearsal, were thinking too hard about what they were doing and didn’t have fun with what they were doing. If I were to do this project again I would like to have a clear timetable for when things need to get done (eg when pieces need to be composed by, etc) and a firm rehearsal schedule where the rehearsals occur well before the actual performance.
In thinking about the music while the pieces turned out to create a cohesive whole, I think that each composer (of which there were three) was influenced by different composers but because of our musical training and schooling also shared a large number of musical influences. As a group before we started composing it was agreed that we were going to try and do essentially a pastiche of various compositional styles from the whole history of opera. Some of those historical efforts are more obvious than others, but I think in the end the composers (or at least two of the composers) composed their pieces in their own styles. The fact that all of these pieces ended up sounding alike speaks more to a common musical background than to similar compositional styles.

Spur the Moment Surf Weekend

Monday, April 11th, 2011

After my plans to go to Tasmania fell through I decided that this would be a good weekend to go surfing. There are many companies that run weekend getaways but Mojo Surf is one of the major ones, and since they give a discount for Study Australia students I decided I would go with them. My roommate Courtney had done a surf weekend a few weeks back, and a bunch of people in Glebe had done them as well, so in talking to them I kinda knew what to expect. This being said, almost everyone else had gone on the weekend with a group of kids from our program whereas I had opted to go by myself. I made this decision Wednesday afternoon, and since the trip would leave Friday afternoon this was fairly last minute.

It had been a productive Wednesday and after a three hour block of classes I had decided to take a stroll through the study abroad fair that was going on just for kicks and giggles. I stopped by the America table to listen in on some of the conversations being had there. When I walked up there was an Australian girl who was frantically questioning the girl working the booth about what her life and classes would be like in the states. She was asking what the grading would be like, how her classes would be structured, how hard things would be compared to her Australian classes. I asked her what university she was going to. Her reply? Arizona State. It took ever ounce of self control I could muster not to blurt out that all she needed to be successful at Arizona state was a pulse, and I’m not even sure thats 100% mandatory. I really wanted to tell her that she would be better off brining a set of shot glasses with her instead of any school supplies, but somehow I found the strength to walk away. She’ll figure it out soon enough. At least she won’t be too bogged down with studying while she is “studying” abroad. They should call the Arizona State program “get liver cancer abroad.”

I had to stop by work to touch base with my boss who had been out the day before on a project he wanted me to get started on. That only took a few minutes, but since I was in the office with a landline telephone at my disposal I decided I would put in a call to Mojo Surf. I had called them in the morning, but the person who authorizes the Study Australia discount had not been around, so I had been told to call back later. When I did, my intention was really just to ask questions about the camp and then to book online later. The woman on the phone seemed to think that I had called to book my trip and kept asking me for my credit card number after every question I asked. I finally relented and just gave it to her, theres no time like the present right?

The rest of the week went by uneventfully and by Friday afternoon I was excited for my weekend getaway. I met the Mojo bus at the Wake Up Hostel, which is only about a 20 minute walk from my apartement. My name was checked off of a list and I boarded the bus along with 18 others for the six hour drive north to Crescent Head.

Mojo bus!

We made three stops on the way there. The first was at a truck stop just outside of the city to get some dinner and it was there that I got talking to two girls that were from Mexico. They were very sweet and giggly and were speaking to each other fluently in Spanish. I assumed they had come to Australia together, but I found out that they knew one another from a summer camp they had attended when they were 12, and hadn’t been friends then. Then they both turned up in Australia at the same university and upon figuring out that they knew each other had been traveling around together together. One girl from from Cuernavaca and the other was from Mexico City. We had a nice chat about Mexico and they were impressed that I knew so much about the country. The last stop we made before arriving at Crescent Head was at a bottle shop (basically an ABC store) and the bus driver told us to load up on all the alcohol and cigarettes we would need for a weekend. The whole time I had basically been envisioning that this trip would be kinda like girl scout camp but with surfing instead of hiking and with boys, but this announcement shattered that vision. It still weirds me out that I am old enough to drink. Every time we go out to a club and I get asked for my ID my heart jumps, it has taken some getting used to.

I got off the bus when we arrived at the bottle shop, but I had no real intention of buying anything. I was with a bunch of people I didn’t know and I didn’t think I would want to drink with them, plus I didn’t need to spend the money. A bunch of people on the bus invested in boxed wine, which provides you with the most amount of alcohol for your dollar. Boxed wine was actually invented in Australia by a man named Thomas Angove, a winemaker from Renmark, South Australia and his design was patented in 1965. The original design consisted of a polyethelene bladder that could hold one gallon of liquid placed inside a corrugated cardboard box. This design required that the customer cut off the corner of the bag, pour out the serving of wine and then reseal the bag with a special peg. In 1967 Charles Henry Malpas of Penfolds Wines, another Australian wine company, improved on this design by patenting a plastic air-tight tap that was welded to a metallised bladder making storage more convenient. This was all going on around the same time that America was preoccupied with putting a man on the moon. Clearly Australia had their priorities in order. I mean what have we ever gained from a man being on the moon? Thats right, nothing. But boxed wine? The cheap gift that comes in a box and keeps on giving.

Once we arrived at camp we were shown to our accommodations, which consisted of a large dorm style room with bunk beds. The rooms were co-ed which was weird. I know I’m an “adult” and I shouldn’t feel weird about such things, but it still strikes me as abnormal when I am sleeping in the same room as some boy I don’t know who is the next bed over. It was already past midnight by the time we arrived at camp, and since we would be getting up around seven the next morning we were told that it would be in our best interest to get to bed soon. Before doing this a few of us decided to head down to the beach to check it out. From the camp to the beach was about a five minute walk through a narrow path through the woods. Once we got to the shore and looked up into the sky we were met with more stars than I have ever seen in my life. I swear I could see galaxies and planets. It was completely breathtaking. I was blinking furiously trying to take it all in, thinking my eyes were deceiving me. The stars on the Australian flag represent the southern cross, which is a constellation that can only be seen in the southern hemisphere. On this parituclar night I was able to see it clear as day.

The Southern Cross. This image is from a google search but my image of the sky that night looked very similar to this, it was incredible.

The group of us that had ventured out onto the beach stayed there and talked for a good half hour. There was a group of of five or so girls and guys from England who were working in Sydney for a few years, a brother and a sister who were traveling for a year from Sweeden and had just arrived in Australia the day before via Vietnam. There were also the two girls from Mexico and a girl from Canada. We were quite an international bunch. After 45 minutes or so chatting on the beach under the stars we all turned in for the night.

Is it Possible to Be Jealous of My Own Life?

Friday, April 8th, 2011
I have been so enjoying my life in Sydney lately that I had almost forgotten about my upcoming spring (technically its fall here) break trip. I will be going on a 10 day pre arranged excursion to Thailand through my study abroad program. I received a copy of the itinerary to my email yesterday, and in the interest of making everyone hate me I have posted it here. It is as follows:
DAY 1 – CHIANG MAI ARRIVAL
Travel Day – Our group arrives in Chiang Mai this evening. Here, you will be met by guides and
transferred to hotel for our evening welcome dinner.
DAY 2 – CHIANG MAI / HILLTRIBE VILLAGE
This morning we transfer in small local trucks to an Elephant Camp located on the outskirts of
Chiang Mai. Everyone will get to ride the elephants through the local countryside. After meeting
the elephants, we continue into the mountains with a stop for lunch.
After lunch, we begin our afternoon with a hike to a Hilltribe Village. The walk takes
approximately 3 hours and takes us through the countryside and other small villages, affording us
a glimpse into the lives of locals. Upon arrival at our village for the evening, we enjoy a
traditional dinner by candlelight, meet villagers, and enjoy some local entertainment before
preparing for bed.

Chiang Mai

DAY 3 – CHIANG MAI
This morning we enjoy breakfast with the villagers and then board our taxi trucks and head back
to Chiang Mai.
This evening is at your leisure. Take some time to enjoy the fabulous street bazaar of Chiang Mai
which contains blocks of open-air markets, with abundant cheap food, and amazing arts and
crafts. All of this is within walking distance from your hotel.
DAY 4 – CHIANG MAI
We leave the hotel early this morning to travel to the original Chiang Mai cookery school where
you can try your hand at making traditional Thai dishes and then dine on the results.
This afternoon we drive up Suthep Mountain, which is located west of the city. The journey is
around 17km and provides us with excellent views over Chiang Mai City. Near the summit is the
stunning Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. This temple, one of the most important of the province and
an enduring symbol of Chiang Mai, is a place of fascinating history and legends.
Our Chiang Mai cultural experience finishes with a traditional Thai dining experience and
authentic Lanna entertainment.
DAY 5 – TRAVEL DAY / KRABI
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before we transfer to the airport to meet our flights to Krabi via
Bangkok. Upon arrival, we are transferred via minibus and longtail boat to the beach area of
Krabi. After some time to check-in, we provide a short orientation tour of the resort and local
area before providing the rest of the afternoon and evening to be enjoyed at your leisure. A
welcome dinner will be provided at the resort.

Krabi

DAY 6 – KRABI
Enjoy this amazing place as you wish today. Although there are no organized activities, there are
many options for you to choose from. You may want to go monkey-spotting as Krabi has many
primates playing in and around the beaches. Alternatively, you may choose to go sea-kayaking or
perhaps try your hand at climbing or caving that this area is known for. Or you can simply like
on the beach or enjoy a massage (or two).
DAY 7 – KRABI / PHI PHI
Around lunchtime, we depart Krabi via high-powered speedboats as we head to the island of Phi
Phi Don. Along the way, we take a bit of time to enjoy some great snorkeling (equipment
provided). We check into our hotel accommodations, have some free time, and then travel to
the island of Phi Phi Lei where the movie “The Beach” would filmed. Our boats take us to
numerous impressive locations as we explore the island. After some free time on the beach, we
head back for dinner. The evening is free for you to take in a fire show or perhaps check out the
local market.

Phi Phi

DAY 8 – PHI PHI / PHUKET
After breakfast, we head to Phi Phi Don for the island of Phuket. We view some smaller island on
the way and arrive with plenty of time for some afternoon shopping in street markets.

Phuket (pronounced Pu-ket, get your minds out of the gutter!)

The current exchange rate is about $1AUD = 30 baht. (The Australian dollar and the American dollar are very nearly equal at the moment) 70 – 100 baht will buy you an upscale dinner at a local thai restaurant ( for those of you who are not mathematically inclined this means I can eat a fancy dinner for $3.5 USD roughly, and get a massage for an hour for about the same price)
It is very easy to eat and drink for a day on $10
15 days left till I leave! Anyone left who doesn’t hate me yet?

Language Exchange and How it Leads to Acupuncture and a Career in Rapping

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

That may be the longest blog post title I have ever written, but it’s fairly accurate.

Let’s start with the acupuncture, shall we?

In Korea oriental medicine is fairly popular, especially in the countryside and among older people, but many people outside of that demographic use it. Everytime I get sick my host mother suggests I visit the 한의사 (의사 is doctor, and 한 comes from 한국 which means Korea… so basically the Korean, or oriental medicine, doctor) because she knows I dislike hospitals, and oriental medicine is a lot cheaper. I’ve never really felt the need to go because I am incredibly stubborn when it comes to disease in general and have always been of the mindset that rest and water cures everything, and also because I am fairly skeptical about the efficacy of oriental medicine. The main thing that would prompt me to go to an oriental medicine doctor would be curiosity.

During CLEA I had hurt my wrist and while it is much better (I can move it!) it is still not completely healed. I found this out the hard way while attempting to do push-ups at hapkido which, in hindsight, was rather stupid. It’s very frustrating that 2 1/2 months after I hurt my wrist it still isn’t completely healed, so when a fellow hapkido-goer (an adult who’s relatively new to the academy and loves to practice her English with me) exclaimed that she was a nurse and her husband was an oriental medicine doctor and they could look at my wrist for me, I said sure why not. I didn’t realize it’d be immediately after my 8 – 9 pm hapkido class.

So there I am, in a car with a woman I don’t know very well, about to go to an oriental medicine doctor. Also, what do oriental medicine doctors normally do to hurt body-parts? Stick them through with needles. That’s right, I had unexpected acupuncture.

Acupuncture in itself is surprisingly painless. The doctor explained to me (mind you it was in Korean, so I only got the basic gist) that the idea of acupuncture is that your “chi” (energy flow, life force, however you want to paraphrase it) is blocked, and so to release the pressure and to create a road for the chi to smoothly flow you strategically place needles both in the blockage and where you want the chi to go. He put four needles right where my wrist meets the base of my hand on the side opposite to my palm, and one in the crook of my elbow. The only painful part of acupuncture is that you have to sit still for ten or fifteen minutes, which means that every time you reflexively move (like when the doctor’s adorable 18 month-old daughter decides to throw a book at you), the needles move. Ouch.

I couldn’t help thinking as I sat in this strange apartment at 9:30 with needles in my arm that this wouldn’t have happened if I wasn’t an English teacher with some knowledge of Korean. Life as a Native English Teacher can be very strange sometime. I’m apparently going again tonight and I’ll try to get pictures this time.

So I have tried to make my advanced students rap, and I have officially decided to call this lesson a failure. Hey it’s a learning experience for me too, right? I had taught my most advanced class how to rhyme, and taught them how to make couplets (my personal favorite: “there is a snake in this cake”) which they proclaimed was “teacher! easy!” so I decided that next week they could handle rapping, especially as we had successfully rapped with a pronunciation lesson last semester. So the next week (2 weeks ago) we listened to Eminem, practiced rapping, then I told them they were going to create their own raps, by writing four couplets in groups of four on a subject I assigned, and then battle. They freaked out. We worked all period on the raps (I let them use electronic dictionaries and an online rhyme dictionary) and then I told them they could have more time the next week.

The next week I wasn’t there because of the Jeju conference.

So the next next week, which would be today, they brought their raps and I told them that I would give them more time, however I had a surprise prepared for them that would hopefully raise morale. First, I reminded them of my class rules:
1) Respect the teacher and other students
2) Do not be afraid to make mistakes
3) Do your best
4) Have fun!

and stated that numbers 1 and 2 were the most important of the rules. I then told them that I knew last week’s lesson was difficult (cue groans of agreement) and keeping that in mind, I also wrote a rap following the same rhyme scheme I made them use. In Korean. I then told them that it was really bad and not to make fun of me… and here it goes:

저는 영어 선생님인데
한국 말 조금 밖에 못해
그렇지만
2 학년
1 반 공부를 잘하고
재미있는 학급이에요 요 요!
이 학생들 대박!
매일  반짝 반짝!
 
Well, I think that my rap got the point across that I wasn’t expecting them to be 2Pac. However, they really enjoyed it, and though “rapping in Korean” isn’t in my job description and was something I never even imagined I’d do… I think it showed them it was okay to be silly. We did some of the raps today, and will finish the rest next week.

No but really who am I kidding, I’m obviously meant to quit my job and pursue my dream of rapping. Sign me up with JYP as I am obviously a Korean rap legend-in-the-making.

Peace out homies,
Em Teach-izzle

Realizing that some of my readers can’t read Korean, I just plugged my rap into Google Translate (which would be my first instict upon seeing a foreign-language rap) and got a very… um… interesting translation, so I’ll provide the translation here so you can see how incredibly basic my rap is. I promise for those of you that can’t read hangul that in Korean it rhymes:

I am an English teacher
I can only speak a little Korean
However
Grade 2
Class 1 are good at studying and
They are a fun class yo yo [Note: 요 is a very common verb ending, and it actually sounds like "yo" so I had fun with that]
These students are awesome!
Everyday they are bling bling.