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).
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