It’s Friday

About to clock out on this sunny Friday. Another week completed in our educational marathon towards summer vacation – unfortunately still very far off even though we’ve already had our second wind and are waiting on a third that will probably never come.

Thank goodness for air conditioning.

Next week is the speaking test, and I no longer trick myself into thinking that means a week of taking it easy for me. It means a week of staying extra late to review the audio recordings and check all of the grades and make sure I’m being fair.

anyway.

A short anecdote for today:

Yesterday I left school a bit late, and our elderly security guard/janitor had just locked up the back exit. He saw me try the door, and I gestured that it was okay, I’d just go around to the front doors.

I turned the corner and heard him yelling frantically “HELLO! HELLO? HELLO!” to make me come back. I went back and he waved me over and showed me, “This. Push,” electronically unlocking the door. I thanked him in Korean. It was quite hilarious and adorable. I’ve greeted him in passing a few times before. He has to be like 70ish years old; who knew he had a couple English words tucked away in there?

It’s *that* time in the semester

…when the kids officially reach the peak of Mount Apathy.

The temperatures are rising, the classrooms are breezeless ovens (we’re not allowed to turn on the ceiling fans until they’re cleaned or something lest they shake dust and dirt all over everything… but I’d rather be sneezing and cool than fine in the rhinal region but oppressively hot), and final exams are just a little too far off to care about.

So it’s that time when I have to work VERY VERY HARD to remember the cute stuff my kids do from time to time. So that I won’t be tempted to start flipping desks and yelling “WAKE UP!”


Several weeks ago, I used a very basic game that lets students practice almost any key expression: put a bunch of words on the PPT, every team chooses a word and makes a sentence using the key expression, then random points are revealed. You can change the design or theme of the PPT to whatever the students are interested in (treasure chests, Mario boxes, K-pop idols’ faces, whatever).

In this case we were practicing “Do you know how to~ ?”, so the words were things like “paper airplane,” “microwave,” “cake,” “soccer.” The kids had to combine the correct verb with the treasure chest word, e.g. “Do you know how to play soccer / use a microwave / make a paper plane?”

One boy could not for the life of him remember the correct verbs, so time and again he would say things like “Do you know how to use ramen? Do you know how to make a guitar? Do you know how to play kimchi?” After about three or four rounds of him doing this completely innocently, I lost it and laughed with the rest of the class (and with him).


I’ve been having the 2nd graders play a version of “Taboo” or “Hot Seat” where a member of each team comes to the front and faces the class, and their team gives them hints about the secret word on the TV.

(They’re supposed to be practicing “Have you heard about (secret word)?” but usually they get too excited and just blurt out the answer without making a sentence.)

So one of the boys was trying to explain “weather” to his teammate:

“News, uh, 뭐지? Ah! Hot, sunny, weather

Then he clapped both hands over his mouth in classic dismay as he realized he’d just revealed the answer, and the class dissolved into laughter.


Today the 3rd graders were playing a “telepathy” game. I make a statement like “Ice cream is better than cake*: Agree or disagree?” Every team has to choose agree or disagree according to what they think my opinion would be. If they can “read my mind,” they get a point.

One of them was: “Fall is the best season: Agree or disagree?” As usual, the kids were trying to squeeze hints out of me by asking questions like “Teacher, do you like cold or hot? Do you like snow?”

But one team decided this was the all-important question that would allow them to read my mind:

Them: “Teacher, you meet boyfriend?”

Me: “Um, yes…?”

Them: “OKAY! We know, we know! DISAGREE!”

Welp, they were wrong since fall is my favorite season. It was especially funny because they were the only team in the class to get it wrong and they were so confident.

*I also find it hilarious (and also very, very sad) that 99% of my kids know immediately that I like ice cream better than cake (or better than basically anything else). Apparently I’ve really driven that point home in the last 2+ years.


Conclusion: my kids are still sometimes cute although mostly they appear to be brain-dead.

Thankfully the speaking test is coming up soon, which is my one chance per semester to have some impact on their school performance and thus perhaps motivate them to pay attention, dammit.

 

A little middle school humor

I gave my after-school class this comic template – it’s supposed to be based on the Disney animated short “Paperman,” which we had just watched. Two of my middle school boys decided to take the story into their own hands.

20170419_160006

Text:

Man 1: Who are you?!

Man 2: I’m a boss

Man 1: [casually smoking a cigarette] Ah… I’m sorry…

Man 2: Not smoking in company… [throws paper plane directly into Man 1’s mouth]

Man 1: [clearly distressed] Ahk!

Woman: Are you crazy? Don’t eat paper airplane!

Yeah, duh guys. Don’t eat paper airplane.


My last class of the day on Fridays is a squirrelly, goofy bunch of 14-year-olds, with whom class feels much more like a rodeo than an educational environment. As is the case with all classes at this point in the semester (1 week away from midterms), their behavior has been on the decline.

Every Friday, the bell rings and I go into the classroom, and one (or more) of them has drawn a goofy cartoon character on the board saying “집가고싶다…”

But today, the cartoon character’s weekly lament had been written in English: “I want to go home.” I would consider that progress. Of a sort.

The comforting things

1.  The sound of someone else vacuuming. This is no doubt due to the countless nights growing up when I was snuggled cozily in bed listening to Mom vacuuming downstairs before I drifted off. Thus I feel irrationally safe and cozy when one of my apartment neighbors starts vacuuming and the sound drifts through the thin walls. (Which also means it doesn’t work when I’m the one who’s vacuuming. Too bad, right?)

2.  The crackles and pops in the quiet moments of an old black-and-white film (1930s-1950s). I just love this sound, again because it brings me back to childhood and weekend evenings spent watching old movies (expertly selected by Dad from his vast mental library of old movies) on the sofa with my family.

You can kind of hear the crackling in the background of this clip – actually, it’s not really the best example of what I mean, but I mostly chose it because it’s funny and I love this movie.

“Something horrible has happened!”

3.  The gentle spread of burning warmth after eating food with just the right level of spiciness. I enjoy eating spicy foods, but unlike the other items on this list, this love developed very recently, only since I came to Korea.

4.  When pain finally starts to subside. When you can feel the headache, the cramps, whatever it is creeping out of your body, the resulting not-pain brings a soothing lightness.

Everyone has their own list. What’s yours?*

*That’s the part where I pretend my blog has an actual following and audience participation. LOL.

an interview with myself

(Double post today because the first is not directed at my general audience. This post IS directed at my general audience and particularly dedicated to my few very loyal friends & family who check this blog every day, and who every day have had their hopes dashed for quite some time. Sorry it’s been such a long wait!) (Oh, and this post is also very goofy because I just needed something to start me writing again.)

Q: Where have you been, Maddy? THIS BLOG HAS BEEN DEAD FOR 6 WEEKS. 6 WEEKS!!! What the heck?? What’s your deal?

A: Yes, well, I have been busy, uninspired to write, living my mundane life but the good kind of mundane. I’ve been very Zen this school year. Taking stresses and surprises in stride. Not letting my feathers be ruffled, my mellow be harshed, my buzz be killed, my vibe be ruined. So to speak.

Q: Uh… okay then. So how are your co-teachers this year?

A: The first I am convinced has no idea that there could possibly be anything but herself at the center of the Universe. As a former psych student I find her fascinating. As a coworker I find her a nightmare err… interesting.

The second is very sweet and motherly but much busier than last year because she got a promotion and has Bigger and Better Things on her mind.

The third is actually a year younger than me, which was a huge surprise because I’ve never worked with anyone even close to my age at a Korean middle school. Not sure if that’s just luck or if younger teachers tend to go for the elementary school positions. Regardless, we share an office and it’s really nice to have someone to relate to.

Side note: I’ve discovered, upon chatting extensively with said co-teacher #3, that being surrounded exclusively by well-meaning ajummas (35+ yrs) for my first 2 years in Korea has led me to have distinctly OLD PERSON TASTES in Korean food and culture. Which I find hilarious.

The fourth is as old as the hills, and he spends every class we have together:

A) intermittently yelling “HEY! CUT IT OUT!” at the kids in Korean when the whim strikes him
B) asleep
C) staring into space with tortured eyes as if by staring hard enough he might Apparate himself out of the classroom

Occasionally he raises a hand from his chair in back and says “Maddy, wait” and lectures them for a good minute. As far as I can tell, “Maddy,” “wait,” and “OK” are the only English words he knows how to speak.

He seems to be a bit of a gruff old dear, though (I have no way of knowing for sure due to the language barrier). The kids who aren’t scared of him seem to like him – but come to think of it, not sure if it’s affection or just a desire to poke and prod the bear because it’s funny and they know he won’t do anything worse than growl a little.

Q: Wow, what entertaining descriptions. That’s fantastic. Bravo. Alrighty. Moving right along, how are the students this year?

A: They’re possibly the same as last year. Possibly better. I’m not sure. I’m too Zen to figure it out. (See answer to Q1) Sometimes they’re cute and hilarious and adorable and lovable, and sometimes I swear they flew straight from the depths of hell into my classroom just to torture me.

But I don’t carry it home with me. All the stresses or disappointments or failures in the classroom stay at school. This may not be something a “regular” teacher can do (i.e. not an expat ESL teacher), but it’s a benefit of this particular job that I’ve finally, in Year 3, learned to enjoy.

Nevertheless, the kids know me well, I know them well (except for the 1st years; we’re still kind of getting acquainted), I know my school, and I know the teaching ropes. So it’s been good, overall. Quite good.

Q: Great, great. You sound so enlightened and cool and stuff. You’re probably like the very first person to ever figure this teaching stuff out. Er… next question… I didn’t think this far ahead…

A: True. It was a spur-of-the-moment decision to do this interview, after all.

Q: Well, um… hmm… what’s your favorite color?

A: Blue.

But actually, I just always say blue automatically because that was my favorite color when I was a kid and I never reexamined it as I grew up. Even though maybe I’ve changed my mind and I just never thought about it. That’s got to be a metaphor for something about life.

Q: Stop trying to be cool. What did you eat for breakfast?

A: Coffee.

Q: That’s not breakfast.

A: That’s not a question. And I never eat breakfast. Never have, never will.

Q: Okay interview over. It’s getting weird. People will think you have a split personality or a massive ego.

A: Agreed.


In all seriousness, I have edited and polished some old drafts and lined them up to auto-publish this week. Maybe it’ll boost me back into it, but if nothing else, at least I’ll have a few posts up after a long hiatus.

Noobish mistakes in Korea

While I’m sure I continue to commit cultural faux pas on the regular here, there are a few particularly embarrassing ones that I thought I’d share to perhaps help other noobish expats out. Or just for your amusement.

Most of them occurred very early on in my time here, so don’t judge me too hard.

I shall omit the Getting Lost Incident, which has been previously documented.

1. The taxi incident.

I was taking a taxi to an open class observation at another school which was pretty far away from my own. After managing to get the driver to understand my feeble “[school name] ga juseyo“, I was feeling quite empowered by my clearly amazing Korean abilities. So when he asked me something in Korean to the effect of “do you mean THIS school or THAT school,” I confidently replied 몰라요/mollayo,” which means “I don’t know.”

The driver chuckled in a surprised way and repeated, “몰라요?” “네,” I said, feeling oh-so-proud of myself.

(Luckily for me, the driver knew where the correct school was anyway and dropped me off there with another little chuckle as I handed him the money.)

What I found out MONTHS later is that there are two ways to say “I don’t know” in Korean. 모르겠어요 (mollegesoyo) means “I don’t know, but I’m willing to find out/I’m sorry that I don’t know.” 몰라요, which I used, has a connotation of “don’t know don’t care.” LOL. Sorry, Taxi Driver Ajeosshi. Didn’t mean to be rude. At least he found it funny.

2. The bus incident.

I still cringe when I think about this one.

In my first couple days in the city, I decided to attempt to take a bus that I had been told would stop near my school. I wanted to prepare myself for how I would get there come Monday, my first day of teaching. I knew the general area but didn’t know exactly how to get there from my house.

Can I just say that Korean buses. are. terrifying. I can take them now, but I prefer not to for fear of being thrown into the windshield before I have a chance to grab onto something after boarding.

So I got on this bus, and after a couple of stops I realized I was now the only person on the bus. And it seemed like we were going the wrong way (not that I really had any way of knowing).

Worried that I would end up in like another city, maybe, I cautiously approached the bus driver in this empty bus and said in Korean, “Chogiyo, ajeosshi (excuse me, sir),” and then said what I now realize is the Korean equivalent of “Bus go [school name]?”

The gruff bus driver responded with a few grunts and then energetically waved me off at the next stop. He probably thought that I thought that he was some sort of taxi driver who would take me exactly where I wanted to go. Obviously I was just trying to figure out if we were going to get close to my school, but I must’ve seemed like an extremely clueless and/or entitled weirdo with the language skills of a two-year-old.

Anyway then I took a taxi and found my school and was able to work my way backwards to figure out a walking route and it was all fine.

Come to think of it, taxis saved my life more than a few times in the first couple months.

3. The Olive Young incident.

Olive Young is a makeup/beauty products chain and my go-to for buying BB creams and facial masks.

Whenever you check out they’re required to ask a series of rapid questions including “Do you need a bag with handles?”, (if yes) “It costs xyz extra, is that okay?”, “Do you have an Olive Young rewards card?”, and “If you want to return anything, you have to do so by this date.”

Nothing out of the ordinary, but the first time I experienced it, I only understood the “do you need a bag” part. When she said the part about the price, I had no clue what she was saying and just stared at her helplessly, which led to a series of even more confusing attempts at communication as I didn’t know whether to say “yes” or “no” and she didn’t know how to explain it any differently, apparently, so eventually she just charged me for it. Of course, it just so happened that half the population of Daegu was behind me in line, witnessing the whole thing.

Not that this is the most embarrassing thing to ever happen or that it’s the only awkward communication issue I’ve had, but it just illustrates how frequently you can feel completely stupid when you first arrive and don’t know much of the language yet.

Incidentally, I recently had one of the Olive Young cashiers do her spiel entirely in English for me, which impressed me greatly since the location I go to probably doesn’t get many foreigners. I know Koreans have no obligation to speak English to foreigners in Korea, so I always feel warm and fuzzy when they do. Especially in grouchy Daegu.*

*I love Daegu but it’s a little bit of a crusty old man sometimes.

4. The co-teachers incident.

I guess it sounds worse than it is, but it’s still a bit of a faux pas. When I first met my co-teachers I tentatively addressed all of them as, for example, “Kim Seonsaengnim” or “Park Seonsaengnim” (“Teacher Kim”/”Teacher Park”).

Yeah… don’t do that.

I was trying to be respectful, but it just sounds really clumsy and awkward and will probably make your co-teachers feel weird.

Honestly, you should just ask them “What should I call you?”, since some like to go by an English first name, others like to be “(Korean Name) Teacher,” and some (rarely in my experience) like to be “Mister/Miss (Name).”

Personally, when I’m referring to them to the students, I use “(First Name) Teacher” in English, or just the Korean way of referring to other teachers, which is “(Full Name)쌤/Saem.” However ‘saem‘ is technically slang and is a casual, borderline too casual way to say ‘teacher’, so don’t use it right away / unless you hear other teachers using this method. English is the safest bet.

5. The paying incident.

This one is an ongoing cultural muddle for me. In Korean culture, when you go out to eat, traditionally the oldest person pays for everyone in the group (part of the Confucian hierarchy, and I suppose the only beneficial part for younger people, is that older people are supposed to take care of and look out for them). If there’s a round of coffee or dessert after the meal, the younger person can then pay for this smaller bit as a way to say thank you.

There is a “Dutch pay” concept (a.k.a. splitting the bill; somehow “going Dutch” got Konglishified into “Dutch pay”), but it depends on the circumstances and who you’re with.

However, deeply ingrained Western norms about splitting the bill when out with friends or coworkers plus confusion about what is expected from me, as an often-younger yet also foreign person in Korea, make this such an uncomfortable situation for me.

I’ve had many an awkward half-conversation, half-skirting-around-the-topic with my Korean co-teachers, something like “Oh, I can -” “Oh, next time -” “Can I -” “I invited you -” “Half? -” “Don’t worry -” *awkward silence*.

I honestly still have no idea whether I’m supposed to keep completely quiet and just thank them, offer once and then shut up, or continue protesting. I suppose I should try to figure that out.


Okay, there are my Top 5 Embarrassing Moments in Korea. (I’m sure there are others that I’m forgetting at the moment.) Thankfully these days I’m a bit better at remembering to avoid most of the faux pas.

Also, though I’m grateful to all the taxis that saved me in the early days, I now avoid taking any form of transportation that is not my own two legs whenever possible. Walking is the one method of getting around that is guaranteed not to stress me out.

bright spots on a gloomy monday

On Mondays, I fear for my vocal cords.

(vocal nodules are sometimes called ‘teacher’s nodules’, you know)

But there are always bright spots, and today there were these:

  • A very small, very brief smile from a very sullen girl who hasn’t given me the time of day all year
  • This interaction during an offering/asking for food lesson:

Me: What would you like?

Girl:(wraps both arms around my hips from her seated position) I would like a boyfriend.

(turns to her male desk mate) Will you marry me?

(upon no response from him, turns to her other male desk mate, completely unfazed) Will you marry me?

Maybe that kind of unshakable confidence and hopefulness is what we all need on a Monday.

sunset.jpg
from my office window, 5:28 p.m.

i’m alive and stuff.

thinking about explaining why i haven’t blogged makes me want to close my browser, so let’s just strike while the iron is hot (at 11:58pm on a monday… okay…) and ignore the fact that it’s been MORE THAN A MONTH. I SKIPPED SEPTEMBER.

that’s fine with me. september wasn’t so great.

On a different note (which deserves proper capitalization and punctuation), when I reentered the blogging arena tonight I discovered I was nominated for the One Lovely Blog Award by the very lovely Adina (check out her blog, unfiltered freckles!). I’m honored and grateful (and also feel bad because it’s been several weeks since she posted the nomination, and those were the weeks that I didn’t have the motivation to even check my WordPress feed).

The rules are to nominate 10-15 other lovely blogs – which I will try to remember to do at some point (but this is just my ‘I’m still here’ post, and honestly I haven’t been reading many blogs lately) – and to list 7 facts about myself.

I’ll try to list things that I haven’t previously brought up (or beaten to death) about myself in other posts. Like, ‘yeah, we know Maddy, you’re all introverted and hypochondriatic and stuff. cool story.’

  1. i have a playlist of certain music videos that i watch when i’m in the mood to cry (among them are “Set Fire to the Third Bar” by Snow Patrol & Martha Wainwright, the acoustic “Thinking of You” by Katy Perry,  and “Elastic Heart” by Sia). please tell me i’m not the only one? (i mean, not necessarily with those songs, but just having a crying playlist. it’s healthy to cry for no reason once in a while.)
  2. i once lightly tossed my hairbrush towards my bed because i was apparently, in that moment, too lazy to put it down somewhere like a normal person, and my Herculean strength overthrew that thing straight into the window and cracked it. actually, that was a few months ago and my window still has a spiderweb crack in it. ooooops. welp, that’ll be coming out of my housing deposit.
  3. living in a perceived mess, or things appearing dirty or unkempt around me, causes me a great amount of stress.
  4. when i was young, i was a voracious consumer of books, i thought i loved dogs, and i thought fruit snacks were disgusting. now i am 26, i can’t remember the last time i picked up a physical book, i know that i’m not fond of dogs, and i quite enjoy fruit snacks. weird how life does that to you. (and yes, i am an adult and i eat fruit snacks. don’t judge. they’re made with real fruit juice.)
  5. when i’m nervous or stressed, i pick the skin around my nails. that poor skin will probably never know wholeness.
  6. a couple weeks ago, i went to see Sully with my 3rd year girls’ English reading club (it was after the midterm test, so all the clubs had some kind of special activity in the afternoon, and we were the lucky ones who got to see a movie). It was amazing and I highly, highly recommend it. i cried (speaking of crying).
  7. Good Mythical Morning (Rhett & Link) is my favorite thing on the internet, and almost my favorite thing anywhere.

it is now 12:41 am and i should definitely be sleeping.

so, yeah. anyway.

i’m alive, and stuff.

Is this a school or a zoo

I kid.

But surely this thought runs through every teacher’s head from time to time.

We’re into Week 2, we’ve picked up speed, we’re diving into the textbooks.

This is only Day 6 and I’ve already come to that desperate stage of being tempted to eat all the candy I bought for the kids. In one sitting, possibly.

I decided to try out some new activities this week (and this semester), and the first has been getting the 2nd graders to brainstorm a ton of “Have you ever~?” questions in groups, then each group takes turns asking me one question. If I say “Yes, I have,” they get a point; “No, I haven’t,” no point. I change up the scoring (Yes = 0 pts, No = 3 pts / Yes = 5 pts, No = -5 pts, etc.) to keep it interesting, and then I have a student come to the front to answer the questions, and we rotate. The kids have been more interested and engaged than I thought they’d be.

Currently, an entire class of 2nd graders is “cleaning” my classroom. Half of them are belting out “Let It Go” at the top of their lungs and one boy is screeching like a hawk. Exactly like a hawk.

Hence the titular zoo comment.

… He came out through my office just now, looked at me and said, “Oh, loudly? Sorry.”

As I finish typing up all the “favorite things” surveys I collected last week, I find a strange entry under “Favorite Computer/Video Game”: “엄마가 내 게임을 숨겼다” – “Mom hid my games.” LOL. Sorry, kid.

 

And so it begins

This was Day 2, Semester 2, Year 2.

Yesterday my stress-and-heat-induced headache was way too strong to allow me to blog, and when I got home around 6:30 p.m. I literally collapsed into bed and only ventured out of it to get sustenance from my kitchen (so, about five steps).

But today I’m feeling much better and more energetic, perhaps mostly due to the fact that I only have two classes on Wednesdays, which is lovely because every other day of the week is pretty packed (and bottom-heavy, so I’m usually teaching back-to-back classes after lunch straight through till last period).

There have already been ups and downs. The blistering, record-setting heat (apparently the hottest summer in Korea since 1994!!!) is not helping anyone’s back-to-school spirit, but we’re trying.

Among other activities, we’re playing People Bingo this week to talk about our summer vacations. (There was no way I was going to make my kids study the textbook in the first week; I’ve learned my lesson from previous semesters. It’s completely counterproductive.)

The kids have to go to other students (or teacher) with their Bingo sheets and ask questions like “Did you eat ice cream during summer vacation? Did you visit another city? Did you go to a museum?” If the answer is “yes” they can write that student’s name in the box.

Well, a boy came up to me within 3 minutes, confident that he’d achieved BINGO. I glanced at his sheet.

Me: “Did you ask different people?”

Him: “…”

Me: “You have to ask different people each question!”

Him: *taking the Bingo Sheet back in defeat* “Oh, Jeejus. Jeejus.”

Apparently he thought asking a couple of his friends over and over until he got BINGO was acceptable? Not so fast, kid! It’s a mingling activity, not a cliquing activity.

Because the cafeteria is under construction until November, all the kids have to eat lunch in their homerooms with their homeroom teachers. As a result, when I go down to the teachers’ cafeteria at 12:30, instead of a hallway filled with ravenous, squabbling, play-fighting children, there is silence and emptiness. The teachers’ cafeteria room is like a funeral room of hushed voices and silent head-bow greetings as the handful of non-homeroom teachers (teachers on shorter contracts like me, for example) eat together. It’s not necessarily a bad experience. I kind of prefer it, actually.

One of the other activities I’ve been having the kids do is a “favorite things survey.” I have a series of questions like favorite food, movie, music, K-pop group, city in Korea, superhero, sport, candy, color, etc. etc. I’m letting them write their answers in Korean if need be (but encouraging the ones who can to use English wherever possible) – and the reason for that is that I really want every single kid to be able to participate, because I plan to compile all their answers into an Excel spreadsheet, find the top 3-5 most popular answers, and play a Family Feud-style game with all the classes later this semester based on our school’s student opinions. It’s an idea I’ve seen on Waygook and other sites in various formats, but of course it’s more fun and engaging for the kids if they’re guessing the opinions of their own peers and not some random strangers.

Beginning to compile the answers* has tested my Korean handwriting-deciphering abilities, which I’ve discovered are markedly improved but nowhere near great. The process has involved a lot of googling my best guess until something viable pops up.

On a personal note, it’s nice to see what my kids are actually into. Sure, some of the 2nd grade boys have trolled me with their answers – a few have done things like put the name of an erotica drama down for “best TV show” (which I only discovered after googling the title) or “North Korea” for “country you want to visit.” But for the most part, it’s helping me see what they’re interested in (and what candy to buy if they deserve a treat).

Fortunately there have been no Korean surprises yet (other than a few last-minute co-teacher switches), and we can only hope it remains this way.

And we also hope that the air con holds up because yesterday it was struggling to cool the entire school and kept cycling off and on.

Fall, please hurry up and get here.

Love, Maddy

*For anyone interested in Korean pop culture du jour, here are some of the top survey results so far:

  • K-pop (boy group): BTS, EXO, Big Bang
  • K-pop (girl group): TWICE, iOi, Mamamoo
  • Foreign band/singer: Maroon 5 (overwhelmingly so, probably because it’s basically the only Western music they know), honorable mentions for The Beatles & Michael Jackson
  • Movie: Train to Busan (recent Korean zombie thriller), Suicide Squad
  • Game: Overwatch (it’s beating out League of Legends, amazingly)
  • Subject: P.E. (so, so, so many votes for P.E.)
  • Superhero: Ironman far & away in the lead, with Captain America a distant 2nd and a few stubborn votes for The Joker and Harley Quinn
  • City in Korea: Daegu (Daeguites are a loyal bunch), followed by Sokcho (because it’s the only Korean city where Pokemon Go is available)
  • Animal: Two-thirds dog, one-third cat. 1 vote for armadillo.
  • Country to visit: Japan at the top, followed weakly by the U.S. and then Brazil (no doubt influenced by the Rio Olympics)
  • Baskin Robbins flavor: “My Mom Is an Alien” (pretty sure we don’t have this flavor in the U.S.!? But apparently it’s really popular here)
7f3034c2ea5c8445b686f4f37ba3d359112224
Behold “My Mom is an Alien”, which contains dark, milk, and white chocolate ice cream and is studded with (I think) malted milk balls. I think I need to try this. For like… research purposes. To see if my kids are correct or not, you know.