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Jaine *
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Kiwi in Korea 16 - the unblogged stuff

yeah all the little random bits that I haven't spoken of, or spoken much about - you know stuff like.....

Squat toilets - somehow K only used one once and that was in her last weekend here in Korea, she wasn't impressed.  Whereas I feel differently.  I must have a weaker bladder than her (and used more public toilets) and of course I teach at schools with only squat toilets.   Somewhere between 6-8 weeks into my stay here we were in Busan and I went to the toilet in this lovely little organic soy ice cream/waffle shop.  It was a Western style toilet and I was hesitant to use it, I have gotten used to squat toilets in public and didn't want to sit where so many bare bums had been before

Coffee - I don't drink coffee (don't be telling me there is just as much caffine in tea coz I don't care, to me, coffee tastes terrible), I don't like coffee cake and will scrape coffee icing off chocolate cake.  Anyway since I have been in Korea I have drunk 4 cups of the vile stuff (the only 4 cups I have ever drunken).  Why - because I don't want to offend the person who has given it to me.  If I can I put it down and try and forget it I will but this is not always possible.  The last time I was waiting for the bus to Daegu and one of my students, who also happens to live in the apartment next to mine, was going to Changwon with his mother and they bought me one from the shop.  How could I say no!  Remember that the English is really poor.

Middle School - its not an unblogged stuff blog with a further rant about the Middle School, gah I'm not upset that I will be leaving that school.  After the last time I blogged about them (when I went out to lunch and was embarrassed by the Deputy Principal) I tried to explain the situation to my co-teacher and she misinterpreted me - she thought I was embarrassed coz they were offering me soju.  Er why the hell would that embarrass me, I'm a kiwi girl, bring it on (ok I exagerate but NZ is a drinking culture so I'm not embarrassed but that sort of thing).  I tried to explain that it wasn't that and NZ had a drinking culture so I used to it.  I explained again that it was the how the Dep Principal had exagerated my faux pas (as if I was an oaf) that embarrassed me and she said "even Korean women are embarrassed when men try and make them drink"  I mean wtf,  I gave up after that.   The teachers are kind and the Home Ec teacher invited K and me to the after school Korean craft club (which was really nice).  But they also tend to be a bit immature, it's like they have emotional level of Middle School students, seriously - they giggle when a certain male teacher speaks to me, the Deputy Principle speaks about me (I hear my name) and the staff laugh, he also asks me the same question more than once to show off in front of other teachers, another has asked me extemely inappropriate and personal questions in the school dining room (like if I think about men, and how much/do I think of them a lot) the kind of thing one talks and jokes about with friends, not with peops you hardly know at work.   When it is obvious I am uncomfortable with things my co-teacher assumes I am having trouble with Korean culture - which is patronising, overly simplistic and imo not true (unfortunately she doesn't have the English skills for us to discuss it properly).  I have none of these issues at the High School and last time I looked they were all Korean too.

Driviing - you know I have spent years arguing with people who use the stereotype "Asians can't drive" and then I come to Korea and the drivers are fucking insane - honestly.  Apparently Korea ranks worst in the OECD for pedestrian deaths and was ranked 4th (at last count) for pedestrian deaths of persons under 14.  Sometimes I feel like I take my life in my hands everytime I cross the road (also students and co-teachers warn me to take care and being on a pedestrian crossing makes no difference).   No road rage though which is a good thing

I hope you have all had a great weekend   and congrats to Korea for the gold medals they have won in archery, judo and swimming and the silver in shooting and weightlifting.

I hope NZ wins a couple of golds we usually do, our strengths are sailing, rowing, canoeing, equestrian (we like to do it all sitting down) and atheletics.  We have won at least one gold every Olympics since 1952 and our biggest Gold Medal haul was the 84 LA Olympics.   A few Golds everytime may not sound like much but it makes us proud coz there is only 4 million of us (gold medal per head of capita we do very well) and we don't have a lot of money to invest in sports (like Aussies do with their Australian Sports Academy). 

over 12 years ago 0 likes  20 comments  0 shares
Photo 91517
Apparently, it's easier to hmmm conduct your business using squat toliets, because it widens your.. ahem.. and your muscules are... hmmm in a better position to be used... lol
over 12 years ago
Photo 16256
You don't talk about how people smell. lol j/k As annoying or irritating these behaviors from these foreign people, isn't this one of the best things you've ever done in your life? A great experience in my book. In a couple of more years, with K more grown-up, you'll be able to return to Korea and enjoy more of the same! haha. =) Squatting is easy to get used to. It's the smells that take a little longer to get used to.
over 12 years ago
Photo 5614
the Middle School people really do sound like a pain... =( OMG it sure does sound scary to cross the road there... *eek* The Olympics have been great to watch... =D
over 12 years ago
Photo 28042
Always interesting observations. I'll bet that NZ will also look a little different to you when you get back. You've probably changed a bit.
over 12 years ago
Photo 1967
Haha, yeah, I used to be offended when people said "Asian drivers" but now it's like "tell me about it!" Some guy from China who was in the wrong crashed into my Aunty's car and he started yelling at her. The people behind my Aunty were really good. They got my Aunty to sit back in her car (I think they were worried she might be in shock) and started yelling at him and telling him that he was in the wrong. I've seen driving in China and it's the same - it's insane! You can kinda see why they think that they're driving correctly.
over 12 years ago
Jrs 8c 1405439596528
On a Discovery channel show, "Mythbusters," they actually concluded that toilet seats are the cleaner than the floor around the toilet! Just thought you'd like to know....
over 12 years ago
Photo 43083
About western-style public toilets in Asia .. I bet they haven't heard of seat-cover tissues .. Ah, Coffee .. French dark-roast espresso is the finest kind .. I just finished drinking a cuppa with a square of Lindt 85% dark choco and cream in it .. Those middle-school people sound like real wankers .. good thing you're away from them .. Ok .. the thing about drivers is the ONLY thing I've got against traveling to Asia ^_~ Best of luck to NZ for their Olympic competitors .. I'm gonna wait & watch the Winter Games myself ^^
over 12 years ago
Photo 10733
I am so sorry to hear about the childish acts the school has given you. Thank God you are leaving soon. I used squat toilet in public restroom when I was little. I can only remember it as an interesting experience now. It is very caring of you to take coffee, Jaine. You will be my kind of guests to my dinner party. hahaha. I am like you. If someone serves me something I don't normally care for, I will take it too unless it is something I am allergic to.
over 12 years ago
Mark moran in spokane 920x920
lets go to china someday and I'll show you what CRAZY driving is all about. ;-) jiayou!
over 12 years ago
Photo 35692
We like to do it all sitting down...tee hee! I think what you've done in living in another country (NOT just visiting) is so brave, and I have so much respect for you. The language barriers must be very difficult. I shared an apartment with a Korean woman here in the States, 10 years ago. I learned a lot, but it was very hard.....
over 12 years ago
Default avatar
JS
I got used to the squat toilets, but it's daunting at first, like my friend, I worried about mis-aim. Oh hard luck on the coffee, not sure I could drink the stuff. It's hard to get your point of view and opinion across when English is not their first langauge, seems Middle School has been quite uncomfortable for you. High school sounds much better.
over 12 years ago
Photo 911
i hate squat toilets.. they have it all over asia
over 12 years ago
Photo 23799
i hate squat toilets too... thanks for sharing these tidbits with us =) NZ sounds like canada in terms of not putting enough $$$ into athletes for training. =( i'm all for china now (since i'm in HK)...
over 12 years ago
Photo 39850
well , i AGREE ; HAHA ; Asians cant drive , different traffic rules , yes they are just crazy , I was suppried that you didnt like coffee
over 12 years ago
Photo 34078
I remember squat toilets from when I lived in Taiwan as a kid. Didn't care much for them. I never sit on public toilets ever. I actually squat over them. Great exercise for the quads :P I'm not one for coffee either. I can't even remember the last time I had a cup. I feel like it leaves such a bad taste in my mouth. You're so polite. I think I would've felt obligated to do the same though. I guess these Middle School people feel like they have to have the same mentality to relate with the students. It'll be nice to not have to deal with them anymore. I have Olympics fever now. It's been so much fun to watch. Go NZ and China. I don't think our countries are strong rivals in any events.
over 12 years ago
Photo 50023
Hahaha....you beat one to me this time round Jaine! I was actually gonna blog about the squat toilets during my trip to Malaysia. Yup they are truly disgusting and difficult to use. Especially if one wears pleated trousers like I did! When I was there I went to one near Klang (a port on west side of Malaysia) which was behind a pharmacy. Because the pharmacy had no other means of providing water (the facilities in many parts of Malaysia are very poor), the toilet was the only place which had a hosepipe. So I went in there......and saw to my horror the workers drinking cups and stuff was placed right next to the squat toilet!!!! I was just grossed out.....
over 12 years ago
Photo 25
I hate the squat toilets. It hurts my thighs and I can't read when I do my bizness.
over 12 years ago
Photo 42904
squat toilets . i rarely see that any more. the toiled of my grand Aunt's house in Kyushu used to locate in courtyard. the old traditional hoese style. I was so scared in my childhood. the big house, no light in yard...
over 12 years ago
Photo 29080
Yikes, Middle School sounds like a real pain in t'arse. The Deputy Principal sounds like a strange character. The hs experience must have been a relief after that. It's sweet you accepted the cups of coffee so as not to offend. Funny how wires get crossed, they probably thought you'd prefer it to tea & that they were giving you a treat lol.
over 12 years ago
Photo 24423
CF
I look at squat toilets as good horse stance training. Haha. Crossing the streets in Asia, though, is like a game of Frogger, except you only get one life.
over 12 years ago

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