Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Baaaah Humbug




At night, Seoul is radiant. I don't know if I mean this in a good way though. In a country where "beautification" is pretty much their motto, sometimes decorations can get a bit out of hand, especially during one of the most overdecorated and commercialized holidays of the year.


Fluorescent lights flood the streets, screaming for attention. I am starting to get used to the blinding lights, but now that Christmas is quickly approaching, things are starting to get a bit out of hand. The best image that I can give you is from "National Lampoon's Christmas."
Chestnuts roasting on an open.... wait, that is actually the bush with a ridiculous amount of red lights. I have never really been a fan of the red lights- they've always seemed a bit scary to me.

For the past month, my walk home from work has been distracting. Something out an extremely scary Tim Burton film on LSD. The trees that line the streets are now coated with Christmas lights, but it can't be a simple as stringing the lights on the trees, but to completely cover the limb with the lights ensuring that nothing is left exposed, almost as if the decorators thought this would protect the branches from the harsh Siberian winds. Unfortunately for the tree, only the branches are shielded. They look like giant deformed hands reaching towards the sky. Almost artistic. At the bus stop, just a block from my apartment, there is a Christmas tree. I can't really say that it is beautiful though. It is a mass of lights in the shape of a cone that plays Christmas songs sung by Korean children. I can't help but think that it is an oversized cat toy.Goldfinger: So here are the trees I speak of. You be the judge.

Lights, Camera, Action: Behold, ladies and gentlemen, the mass of lights. It looks almost like the view of the city from Chandra's rooftop view.

Although the lights are very pretty, I don't really get the whole Christmas vibe that the Hamilton Hotel was probably going for. I am sensing "waterfall" from a backdrop of a senior prom.


Wandering past the shopping centers are perfect places to find bizarre Christmas decorations. When shopping or even walking around the city, it is common to see shirts with "English" on them. Oftentimes, they either don't make sense or there are random grammatical errors. I will post more on this later when I photograph my evidence. My favorite Christmas one that I have seen thus far is a giant sign on the shopping mall that screams "What are you doing Christmas!" Ah... the mistakes. I can't help but nitpick since I have been teaching English. I just want to take a red marker and fix it. Were they trying to say "What are you doing, Christmas?" or "What are you doing FOR Christmas"? I guess its one of those things.

While my coworkers and friends are planning their escapes from the city to sunny destinations, I am planning my time that will be spent in Seoul. At least I get a break from work and screaming children for a while. I desperately need a break from work. Its getting harder to wake up in the morning and I have been waking up with only ten minutes to get ready. Also, I know I need a break because my students have been making comments about me like, "Teacher, you are starting to be crazy scary teacher!" This comment came from JiSoo, my favorite student. She studied the crazy look in my eyes, noting the pink sparkly heart sticker placed just at the corner of my eye and my fuzzy bird hair that I tried to conceal by sticking a teal feather flower in the corner. I will admit, I do dress to entertain my students, but I think I am getting out of control.


I am becoming more and more exhausted and confused as to why I am at work. Lately, we have been preparing the kids for their Christmas concert. For the past month, my students have been singing and dancing for at least one hour each day. Our lesson plans have been pretty weak and mainly consist of coloring random pictures, cutting out the random pictures, and gluing them on another random picture. . . everyday. I am pretty sure I have ruined the once favorite past time for my students. Learning is replaced with practice. Everything must be perfect. I now know why my music teachers would make us practice over and over for these things. I just thought we were being punished, when in fact, my teacher was probably being tortured just the same. I can't handle Christmas carols anymore. My head hurts and I can't help re-experiencing the same teeth grinding "grrrr" pain that I had when I once accidentally scrapped my finger on the cheese grater every time I hear the song "I'm gettin' nothin' for Christmas." I don't want to practice anymore. Practice is now having a reverse effect. Instead of getting better, they are getting worse. I can see it in my students' eyes. They are worn out just like me. The next few days are now dedicated to group rehearsals. I think it is a bit extreme that such a big deal is made out of this. They are only five and six year olds and it isn't like they are at a prestigious performing arts school. This is English school. The signs, the props, the countless hours spent, and not to mention the intense wardrobe changes... aaah the pressure.
In Living Color: Ah the kids doing another coloring activity.

Winter Curiousland: Ah my students. Santa broke his leg (aka the inconsiderate afternoon students ripped off his feet), so I replaced one of them with a cast as my lame and passive aggressive attempt to make them feel bad. Now Santa has to hobble around on a candy cane. I don't really think anyone feels bad. I think they are probably wondering why Santa is wearing two different shoes or that he forgot to put his other shoe on and he is wearing a sock. Broken Christmas Spirit: Sung June hardly looks thrilled to be at school and he is usually the merriest of my students. I am pretty sure I was getting the kids to line up to go practice for our group rehearsal. He refused to smile...even next to Santa.
The Cabbage Patch: So, the plants have been replaced by cabbage. Who says Christmas has to be filled with sweets and other glutenous foods. Not to mention it's nutritious and pretty!

video
Here is a video of what we have been practicing. It is also a taste of what I listen to. . . all the time

1 comment:

Bret said...

Ha ha... that sound stressful. I hope the concert went well and you are enjoying some R&R! Merry Christmas Nikki!

Bret