I have no idea what’s going on at my school 99% of the time. When I do know what’s going on, it’s pretty weird. Here are three recent memories of weird things that have happened to me, or that I have been told by my students and co-workers. Every day in Korea is entertaining.
1. I had an interim substitute co-teacher while my normal, fatherly head teacher was out for a few months to get throat surgery. (We visited him in the hospital and his wife gave us watermelon. Her shirt had a sequined zebra.) She was a very, very sweet pregnant woman. I gave her lotion and she always told me she would invite me over to her house for dinner but I think that’s going to end up being one of those ‘Korean Promises’ (like, ‘My friend is one of Big Bang’s managers! I will arrange a meeting.’ At least three people have promised me this in my life. Or, ‘I am friends with Dalmatian. We can go to their concert together. I have the backstage pass.’ Never heard from that guy again. Also, who likes Dalmatian?) She randomly told me this one day, and I thought it was adorable. She said, “Do you know that American husbands and wives give each other pet names, like honey and darling? I did not know it was not a real pet name. So for many years my husband and I were calling each other “dog” and “cat.” OMG precious.
2. On the school trip to the mountainside Buddhist temple, my fatherly CT and some of the other office ajussi bros were joking around about whether they had small faces or not. My CT acknowledged that he has a pretty ‘big’ face and said “KFC. Kentucky Fried Chicken? No. I am a member of ‘King Face Club.’” Did he just make that up or is that a real thing Korean people with big faces say? Either way I still laugh at that.
3. A few days ago two of my (totally unbiased) favorite girls (the fan club girls; probably the only students who come to talk to me every day) were chatting with me at my office and told me that my face looked yellow and asked if I needed to ‘poo.’ I said no, but I kind of did. The next day, they did the same thing (and I kind of had to again! That’s the best part.) No, actually, the best part is that they were practically screaming this in the office, and everyone heard. Usually they get so out of control a male teacher gets up and just sweeps them out the sliding door with his arm and yells “SHUT UP! GO AWAY!” It is really quite amusing. So, if a Korean person ever tells you that your face looks yellow, that is not a good thing.
Nothing much has happened recently, although my second graders were screaming like hyenas during the scene in the move Elf in which Buddy gives his father a ‘special’ gift of lingerie. There were so many tears.