Updates from the schoolyard

After 2 weeks in school I’ve changed classes twice and in the end only take 5 classes with a total of 18 hours per week. The main Chinese class has the greatest teacher ever, teacher Zhang (张老师). She’s a middle aged woman who dresses formally, wears a big smile and doesn’t waste a minute of class time with nonsense. There is only one teacher who is a bit vague in her teaching. She’s the same age as me so I guess it will work out with a few years of experience.

I’ve taken a closer look to find that the person on the North Korean’s badges is the Eternal President of the Republic, Kim Il-sung (i.e. the deceased father). Also, not all of the North Koreans are teachers. One studies automatic control, the stuff you need to make missiles hit their targets (when I studied it in Sweden the examples were often military aircrafts or similar). Actually, automatic control is used in lots of industrial processes, so there’s no need to jump to conclusions. If I were a bit less lame I would just ask him.

Back to school

The Spring Festival is over and by now I’m almost certain that it’s some kind of mass psychosis. During all the 15 days of celebration there have been fireworks and yesterday the car alarms rang one last time to welcome the new year. I’ve heard that one person was killed and many others injured by fireworks during the festival.

Today classes started again. I’ve jumped up a level since last semester so things are a little different now. I have 2 mandatory courses and 4 selectable courses, in total 20 hours per week. I’ve only had one subject today, so I don’t know yet how things are going to be, but it seems that the level is OK anyway. One seriously cool thing is that I have no less than 5 North Koreans in my class. All of them are men over 40 and some or all of them are teachers. What’s more, all of them wear badges with the beloved leader Kim Jong-il (or maybe his dad, I haven’t looked closely). Given that North Koreans generally can’t leave their country I had never expected to see them in real life, much less talk to them. I’m not sure why but it’s kind of exciting!

Wanna die?

One of the first Korean movies I saw was My Sassy Girl. I absolutely loved it and I even dare say that it is the best romantic comedy I have ever seen. I’ve since seen a pile of Korean romantic comedies and of course many more of Hollywood origin, but few come close. The nameless girl in My Sassy Girl is quirky, violent and rather abusive of her boyfriend Gyeon-woo. One of the key phrases of the movie is “Wanna die?”, which the girl will say to Gyeon-woo whenever she wants to have things her way. In one scene, they’re in a restaurant:

Waiter: What would you like?
Gyeon-woo: Coke, please.
The Girl: Wanna die? Drink coffee.

As a tribute to My Sassy Girl, I’ve made a t-shirt with the phrase in Korean: