Archive for the ‘Sloth’s Coffee’ Category

Nametags

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

It’s easy to feel lonely. I won’t even qualify that with a “when you live abroad” or a “when you live in a rural town.” At the risk of sounding pretentious, I think our inclination towards loneliness is an essential part of the human condition. Everyone has been lonely at some point in their lives – it’s something that ties us all together. It also helps us appreciate our connections with other people.

Today we had our GO GO QUIZ KING show. It was absolutely ridiculous. Do you know how many cameras it takes to film a game-show featuring students? Six. There were also three different emcees, six people working the cameras, six people sitting behind screens behind the cameras adjusting goodness knows what, three personal assistants, two really mean directors, at least ten people whose job was to set up and take down the equipment, and a whole slew of other people who ran around telling people where to go, to clap louder, to wave their hands in the air, etc. In addition, we had the entire first and second grade in the auditorium, as well as a fair amount of teachers. We spent the entire day (9 am to 4 pm) filming.

Our students had to wear their school uniforms and their nametags. As every homeroom was able to send three students, in order for the lucky chosen few to share their experience with their friends and classmates, they pinned a few of their friends’ nametags on their vests. Over that span of time, as students were slowly eliminated, the number of nametags pinned to the vests of the remaining students grew. The nametags were redistributed in that manner to the point where at the end, when it came down to the final five students, the remaining students’ entire vests were covered with their friends’ names.

Later a student who had competed complained that he was tired. I jokingly told him that it was because of all the nametags he had worn were very heavy. No teacher, he seriously replied, those were my friends. I am tired because I was nervous.

I think I’ll remember this as my favorite part of the day. Not the musical performance, or the rock band, or the dance competition, and especially not the part where I had to get up on stage in front of six hundred of my students and introduce a question in Korean, but the simple image of the final five students covered in plastic nametags, standing apart on stage but sharing their experience and in turn being supported by their friends and classmates.

Whenever I get lonely, if I can, I leave my apartment and I go to Sloth’s Coffee. From here I can see my school, and no matter how down I am I’m reminded that though I don’t have students’ and teachers’ nametags decorating my self, I have their support. Today when I got up on stage, hands shaking, and leaned into the microphone and said “여러분 안녕하세요” the applause was overwhelming. I have my community here, and sometimes it takes being lonely to make that fact so much more sweet.

Sloth’s

Monday, June 4th, 2012

Currently lesson planning in Sloth’s Coffee, which is my favorite place in CP other than CPHS. I can see the school building from where I’m sitting, so I’m practically there anyway. I tend to come here either late at night, or on Sundays, because it’s open until 11 pm. I just filled up my frequent customer card today, and I finally asked the main barista for her name.

That's a sloth pillow, btw.

The rest of the cafe.

Changpyeong – the Slow City

Saturday, September 17th, 2011

I currently live in a Slow City. I had never heard of a Slow City until coming to Korea, where I somehow managed to live in one my first year and another one my second… which is especially funny because out of all of the possible F*bright placements in Korea, only two of them happen to be Slow Cities. It is rather difficult to be classified as a Slow City. You must have a population under 50,000, your area must not have any chains or fast food restaurants, your area must have minimal traffic, and you have to exemplify a “slow, peaceful, way of life.” What this means, is that I don’t have a single kimbab restaurant in my town, nor do I have a phone shop, or even a GS25, and we get a lot of tourists on the weekend coming to check out this “slow peaceful country living.” Which also means that I get gawked at a lot by tourists, who assume I’m another tourist. Which in a way, makes me wonder… who has more of a claim to Changpyeong? I live here, true, but they have the advantage of being Korean and they’ve lived in the surrounding area longer. I may live here, but I haven’t done a whole lot of exploring… in fact, I think I spend just as much time in Gwangju as I do in Changpyeong! Can I really therefore claim that I’m less of a tourist then the people who come here for lunch, wear super short shorts that scandalize the old women making rice cakes, take pictures of the “beautiful rustic natural Korean scenery” and then go back to their homes? Also is this really a traditional, Slow City if it’s become a tourist attraction?

Whatever it is, Changpyeong is very proud of their Slow City reputation. I’m currently sitting in the one coffee shop in Changpyeong lesson planning. This coffee shop is independently owned (so, see, it’s not a chain) and it’s called “Sloth’s Coffee.” This joke works on multiple levels – first of all a Sloth is a slow animal (ha. ha.) but secondly, Sloth could be pronounced in multiple ways with the “o” sound being pronounced as 러 (lah) or 로 (low). Though anyone who knows English and Korean would say that the first option sounds more natural, the residents and owner have chosen to pronounce it the second way, so that way this coffee shop’s name is actually “Slowth’s Coffee” – because it’s a Slow City. Ha. Ha. ㅎ_ㅎ.

DSC00091  View of my town from my bedroom window.

DSC00095   View of my town from the back of my apartment complex.

Whatever it is, genuine Slow City or hidden Tourist attraction, I still like it!