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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Frustrations: Money, Men & Teaching

Hurray! I just got notification. My blog has been accepted to: http://korea.banoffeepie.com/: The Korean Blog List. The above photo was borrowed from a blog called 'Shapshots of Korea.' So cute!! If you're considering Korea as a vacation or job destination, the list is a great resource.

Today was frustrating. I schlepped a good hour to a camera shop only to discover the school hadn't deposited my pay cheque! I felt like an ass at the cash register. I couldn't even use my Canadian debit card because it isn't valid here.

I stopped into a restaurant before walking back home. There was a man in his fifties sitting one table over and I felt his eyes on me as I ordered lunch. He got up, whispered something to the waitress in Hangul and plopped himself in front of me.

From his man purse (these are socially acceptable in Korea) he pulled a Hangul-English dictionary. "Hello," he said. He was wearing small, round glasses and his pin-straight hair fell over his eyes, to his chin. He kept fussing with it. I wanted to hand him a pair of scissors.

To my utter shock, he had cancelled my order and decided on a meal of seafood for the two of us! Some nerve! I wanted the beef and vegetables I asked for but didn't fight it as the waitress loaded our table with seafood. She couldn't understand me, anyway.

I picked at my clam shells and allowed him to make a fool out of himself, nervously searching for vocabulary. I wondered why he happened to have a dictionary on him. He picked out words like "where" "are" "you" "from", "where" "is" "your" "apartment," like it was his life's vocation.

I didn't want to feel like I owed him anything so I gave him the two bills I had left (2,000 Won, or $2.00 CAN.) Remember- Korean food is substantially cheaper than Canadian eats. I left him eating his food and threw his business card in a trash bin outside.

On my way home, I saw a vendor selling fresh apples- rare in Korea. He took a knife from his pocket and sliced off a piece. It tasted sweet like it was just plucked. I tried to barter with him and give him the change in my pocket (less than a dollar) for one apple, but he didn't take. He was selling small bags for $5.00.

Then I taught. My students were more unruly than usual. I had to play their game. Two boys insisted on stealing each other's coats and hitting, kicking... so I took their jackets and squeezed into them. They were astonished as I stood at the front of the class, teaching in 2 layers of children's coats. I got the silence I wanted.

2 comments:

E.M. Herbert said...

I just came across your blog and was really suprised to see one of my photos. Thanks for the reference. Please send me a note if you're going to use one in the future.

Eva said...

Will do. Thanks so much for letting me use it ; ) I admire your photos.