Saturday, August 29, 2009

Episode 3: In Which DFM Is Told He Smells Pretty, But Is Also That He Should Put A Paper Bag On His Head

Today was my first day of teaching. I won't bore everyone with all the details of every day this year, but things would seem to have started ominously as I somehow managed to mistime my journey and arrive an hour and a half early. This led to an awkward conversation between myself and the director who had very limited knowledge of English. I salvaged the situation though when I managed to "accidentally" under guessed her age by 10 years (34 v. 44), thus finding myself rewarded with the most delicious citrus juice in the world from the famous Jeju island.

Once I got into the class and started teaching though, things were back to normal and I felt like I had never left. Although it was a different school the children behaved exactly the same as my other students. They asked if I was a friend of their old teacher, J.M., and when I said I was they fell down with excitement (or horror) and squealed with delight. After that I was called J.M. or Seth (yup, the same teacher who taught at my other school and for whom I was also mistaken also appears to have taught here too) or Canada Teacher by all the students. I suspected they were having me on though, so when one of the girls asked me what my name was I said "J.M." She scrunched up her face and said, "nooo!" So I thought about it and said, "Seth." "Noooo!" "Hmm... DFM?" "Yes! Good job." "Thank-you."

Another humourous situation involved my bodywash. I have a bodywash by L'Oreal I use every day. One of the young girls smelled it and said that I stunk. But then later one of the boys smelled my arm and said "pretty!" He then proceeded to try and smell the rest of me. I'm not sure what the marketers of L'Oreal Body Wash for men would think about this, or even what I think about it. It may just another or the many closeted aspects of Korean culture I've yet to learn about though.

After work I went to Ace to buy a three month membership and start getting back into climbing shape. Last time I was here I completely ignored every balancing muscle to climbing in my body and paid the price for it with a months long recovery process for a destroyed shoulder. This time I have undertaken a daily push up and neck routine in my room (finally I have a room big enough in which to do push ups), and a bench press, shoulder press/rotator cuff program at Ace Climbing Centre's workout area. If the results are impressive I'll post an article on The Kindergarten Cop blog.

While climbing I managed to communicate to the regulars in limited, but well chosen Korean. I was quite proud of myself since I have endeavoured to learn at least two new Korean words or phrases every day for the remainder of my stay, and this was a sign that my work up until this point was starting to pay off. Earlier in the day I was even told that if I put a bag over my head people would think I was Korean. Unfortunately the comments about my Koreanisation have not all filled me with joy. Ji-hyeun told me that when she hears me speak English now, she sometimes thinks I am not a Native Speaker (It's official, I speak Konglish).

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