Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Korean Conversation

In my school the teachers are like family. They work together, play together, drink together, fight together, and attempt to speak English together. I truly appreciate the fact they do try so hard to speak with me and really try to converse in English. English is an insanely difficult language to learn, and Koreans are shy... so put two and two together and it's like pulling teeth sometimes.

But in all honestly my teachers really try to make me feel part of their "family" so any time they even remotely come close to speaking English I'm there, ready, waiting with a smile and nodding my head like crazy. I'm like an overly excited parent just waiting for my child to speak its first words.

Because English is broken and not alway communicated effectively, and because my co-teacher has been gone for the majority of this week I've had a few odd conversations with the teachers.

I work out quite a bit, and it's hot and humid this time of year so I'm usually working up a dehydrating amount of sweat usually 2 hours a day... so I guzzle water like no other. This is not so common in the world of Korea, you just don't see many Koreans guzzling down the water... beer and soju, yes... water, no.  So I'm up twice every hour. Once to refill the water and the other to unload my overly full and tiny bladder. And this does not go unnoticed.

Scene 1
Math Teacher: Oh, Sara.... so much water
Me: ummmm, yeah. I like water. *blushing and feeling extremely paranoid about my camel drinking habits*
Secretary: So much water... why?
Me: *note that I'm doing really awkward hand movements and arm movements as I explain* Oh, I sweat a lot. So hot. Need Water.  *yes I get cryptic and have horrible grammar when I talk with them... but it works*
Math Teacher/Secretary: *Looking at me like I'm a freak*
Me: *stammering, and starting to sweat, which of course makes me want to drink more water* ummm water good for you. so hot. *I think at this point in time I must have pointed to my face... maybe? *
Secretary: Oh so much water... face so skinny! And so dirty... lots of sun. good water.
Me: um yeah? *by this point I'm beyond confused. Do they really think that all that water made my face skinny? is that what they think I said?* ( and a side note when you have a tan in korea they tell you your skin is dirty... they like things white here)
Secretary/Math Teacher: OH face so skinny... water so good. *they smile and start using their hands to circle their faces*
Me:* smile, nod, and return to reading my book very aware of every sip I take*
End Scene

I also had an odd conversation in the lunch room...

Scene 2

* I'm eating rice curry with two of my teachers that I've sat with almost every day for the past 9 months. I happen to be eating with my spoon because the curry is similar to a stew*

Music Teacher: Oh Sara *points to chopsticks* What is it?
Me: Chopsticks
MT: Chopsticks, Chopsticks *she keeps trying out the word* You can use chopsticks??
Me: *staring at her*.......umm..... *continue to stare wondering if it's a joke*
MT: *She says something to the science teacher in Korea, then back to me* You use?
Me: *picking up the chopsticks, using the chopsticks to pick up everything on my plate* yah, I can use them * at this point in time I'm still confused*
MT: Oh so goood!!!!!! Chopsticks so good!! When did learn??? *Now she is the one staring at me like the child that has rolled over for the first time... we are talking estatic*
Me: ummm I learned in the United States. And I've been practicing in Korea?
MT: Oh so good! So good Chopsticks! *she continues eating and is completely proud of me*
Me: *staring at my plate, then at the chopsticks wondering what in the heck they think I've been using for the past 9 months!?*
End Scene

I also taught all of the teachers how to say 'The Netherlands' (it's a world cup thing) and have taught my head teacher my favorite phrase of all... 'Sara, go home please'

It's odd because in some ways they are aware of a lot of my behaviors. Such as, I like running, I like to read, I obviously like water, and I like to take photos.  And then they are completely oblivious to everyday little things like the fact that I can use chopsticks... and have been able to for quite some time. I really do wish my co-teacher would've been there for that last convo though because I would have most definitely asked what in the world they thought I was using for the past 9 months.... probably my dirty tan hands :)


Laura said...

That is PRICELESS! Hahaha I love it!

Heather said...

Funny stories! But I am not sure if the water was a good or bad thing??? What an exciting adventure you must be having!

Great fireworks/sparkler shots! So cool with the letters.

Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting on the hummingbirds... do you see them in Korea?