Moments (part 1)

I’d really like to a do a series of posts like this, featuring little slice of life snippets.

1. I came home from the gifted program on Saturday, absolutely shattered. I’m still not entirely sure how, but I managed to scrape off a chunk of my heel on my bathroom door. I didn’t realise it, until I noticed that I’d tracked blood all over my (previously clean) floor. I also realise that, despite considering doing so, I hadn’t bought any plasters. So I patch myself up using cotton wool and sellotope, limp to Daiso to buy plasters and a mop, and limp home.

(This probably says more about me than it does about life in Korea, but it’s cool that Daiso is close enough to my flat that I can limp there while injured.)

2. Arriving to work early one morning and realising that the office I work it was locked. One of the homeroom teachers (realising I didn’t know how to get in) showed me how to use a bank card to break myself in. Apparently, this is fine, as long as we don’t let the students see.

3. I decided to go and sort out my banking. KEB has a branch in Incheon that opens on a Sunday (in Namdong Induspark). I get myself out there, and it looks like the branch is closed. I worked out which entrance was the correct one when I spotted a bunch of conspicuously non-Korean people standing outside. They were also, incidentally, the only other people I’d seen after getting out of the station. I walk into the bank, unsure of how to say what I want to do. The translator available at the bank was not meant to be there as an English translator – she was there to translate for the migrant workers from places like India and Sri Lanka (where she was from), and she incidentally spoke some English. Form the conversation that then went on around me, I managed to decipher that they were discussing what I do, where I work, where I live and where I’m from, while setting me up for internet banking. I sat, feeling stupid, trying to see if I could explain that I wanted to set up a remittance account, but finding nothing in my phrase book.

4. I manged to find and buy two tops, after being informed (back home) that I had a snowball’s chance in hell of being able to buy any kind of clothing here, barring shoes. I suspect that they’re meant to be baggy, but they’re not particularly so for me. Still – score! Small things like that feel like accomplishments  Also, I got a slew of compliments when wearing one of them yesterday, and one of the other teachers gave me a scarf that matches it.

5. The many mentions of my love life from all quarters. From my students, as expected:

Student A: Do you have a boyfriend?
Me: No, I don’t.
Student A: Ah! Korean men (thumbs up) very handsome!
Me: Yes. Very handsome.
Student B: Ah! [Name of another NET at my school] teacha! Very handsome!

[several other similar conversations, including whether or not the new Chinese teacher was the girlfriend of one of the NETs]

From the native Chinese teacher, when asking if I’d be staying a second year.

Me: I think I might. I like it here.
Her: If you stay for two years, you must find boyfriend!

From my colleagues, after discussing the fact that I’d just bought a new laptop.

Teacher: So you have a new laptop, and a new cellphone. Next, you must get a new boyfriend!

6. Class moments:

6.1: Riddle game – the class is given a series of clues, and must guess what the object/person is that is being described.

Clue: I am a beautiful girl.
Students: Miss M!

(The answer was mannequin)


Clue: I am flat on top.
Student: Table mountain!

(The answer was table)

6.2: Given the topic “Ways to improve daily life”

Students: Listening to music. Spending time… with you. Eating lunch… with you. Learning English… with you.

6.3: The resounding cheers I get when I announce that the class will be focused on speaking.

6.4: My students amusement at the fact that my accent leans more toward the British accent than to the North American. Words like ‘ask’ and ‘rather’ are endlessly funny.

6.6: Gems from my group discussion class:

Asked: Is it better to have a magic powers or a billion dollars.
Answer: We need magic powers because (pointing at one of the other students in the group) his face is so ugly, we need magic powers to fix it.

Asked: Should schools allow students to wear their own clothes?
Answer: No. School uniforms are uncomfortable, and so we focus on our work better.

Asked: What qualities should a person have to become rich.
Answer:  Rich father! Finish-ee!

6.7. Students were asked to use the word ‘professional’ in a sentence.
Sentence: I am a professional terrorist.

Most of these are from the last week or so. I intend to collect these little moments, and post about them here. Stay tuned.


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