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Archive for the ‘complaint department’ Category

korean students have a tendency to be incredibly observant…. and wildly judgemental.

a stain on my shirt or a hole in my leggings is pretty much grounds for an entire class worth of distractions. if i slip up and don’t quickly divert their attention to some cleverly inventive game of hangman, the class has the tendency to become more like a vh1 roasting special than an english immersion lesson on the differences between “to take” and “to give.”

on a number of occasions, students will crowd around me like one of those french-canadian quintuplets and gawk at me as they start to create a lengthy list of my imperfections.

“teachaaa. face dot.” 

“teachaaaa. hair. why?”

“teachaaaa. teachaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. funny hands.”

they tell me that my pupils are too small, my nose is too big, or that my hair is the colour of poo. (freud would probably hypothesize that koreans identify with the anal phase of dong-shaped pastries and etiquette bells in all roadside washrooms… because apparently, when you are in rural countryside korea and using a squatting toilet to do your business while you dodge an overflowing trashbin of used toilet paper, the LAST  thing you would want is for someone to hear you doing your business in a squatting toilet in rural countryside korea while you dodge an overflowing trashbin of used toilet paper.)

ANYWAYS, these kids are relentless.

the only thing that i should be an expert in, my english skills, are even the subject of constant mockery.  

“hahaha. teachaaa said ‘clock.’ hahaha teachaaaa. so crazy!”

it’s no wonder i am extremely self-conscious and try to advert all eye contact or any interaction at all during classtime. i even find myself getting slightly anxious as i walk the hallways to class. knowing full well that a grueling judges panel of third graders awaits me on the other side. they don’t know the difference between ‘twelve’ and ‘twenty’ but they are practically experts on why my choice of t-shirt just doesn’t make the cut.

and in the end, i am only perpetuating these tyra banks-like criticisms. because as it goes, there is a direct positive correlation between their judgemental observations and their ever-improving english level.

as their english skills advance… the insults get worse.

last week, some kid in one of those gifted accelerated program, wrote a letter to thank the teachers for doing such a bang-up job of cramming a year’s worth of english vocab into the span of three days. as we all crowded around the letter to anticipate another ego-stroke, it was clear ms. banks (the prepubescent korean version, of course) felt the need to uphold her duties as unyielding critic. 

after complimenting the pretty korean teachers and the entertaining foreigners, she ended the letter by explaining that she was so shocked and “surprise to hear that even the canadian teachers had good accents.”

…………….

unlike other posts, i don’t have a witty summarizing line to end this rant.

i feel phonetically deflated.

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maybe you’re reading this because you have a slight interest in my daily haps and scanning this post is another procrastinating scheme in which you are avoiding starting whatever else you have that is (surely) more important than watching my desperate attempts to fill every paragraph with brackets (seriously kids, choose a handful of posts and you will see. my batting average is probably about 6 or 7 per page. discontinued and choppy thoughts in its purist form).

or maybe you’re reading this because you want to hound me out for taking three months to respond to your thoughtful and caring facebook message. please recall my pre-meditated “i’m awful at keeping in-touch with people” excuse. i thought i was vague enough that i covered all my bases on that one.  either way, i read your emails. and i’ll seriously write back……later.

whatever the case may be, i just want to put this out there:

i kind of hate you.

but before you start assuming that korea has molded me into an even surlier dickhead, let me explain.

as you read this, you are probably sitting in the comfortable comfort of your own home. a home that probably has some sort of central heating, and maybe even a room or two with carpeted flooring. a home where you do not live next door to your boss, a man that without encouragement or any interest from yours truly, finds it beyond necessary to narrate daily activities, meals, and choice of inner/ outerwear (“yes, i wear moccasins in the winter. and yes, this apparently also means that EVERY SINGLE CANADIAN wears moccasins in the winter. the orange moccasin dye on the bottoms of our feet is practically a racial identifier…”).

maybe you are lucky enough to have walls which seperate one room from another, but even if that is not the case, surely (and for your standard of living, hopefully) your kitchen has a kitchen.

i hate you because you probably have an oven. i hate you because you most likely have counterspace where you can chop onions and carrots freely without running the risk of flinging your plastic drying rack into the open flame of your gas stove top. i hate you because you can plug-in your microwave, kettle, and coffee maker ALL AT THE SAME TIME.

i’m harbouring a lot of jealousy right now. it’s probably best i hold off on that facebook response for another month or two.

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admittedly, i am often a user (and abuser) of extremist language.

never, ever, always, best, worst, all of it, none of it. these are the words that practically pollute my vocabulary.

now in cases of extremist talkers, the whole boy-cried-wolf scenario is often assumed. was that really  “the best brunch EVER?” and come on let’s get serious, “you’re never drinking again?” these same assertions are heard again and again so can any of my claims really be taken seriously?

probably not.

but in my defense, things just seem a lot more certain if they are falling off either end of a spectrum (especially when discussing brunches and hangovers).

with that disclaimer in mind, i am pretty sure i may have very well experienced my worst week ever in geoje. now sure you can take this with a grain of 50% less sodium salt but hear me out….

recall my last post about the efficiency of pharmacists and over-the-counter medicines in south korea (and more specifically, okpo). all gravy right? wrong.

soon after i hit “publish” on that post, i started to notice some serious blurry vision in my right eye. not cool eyeball, not cool.

thinking i just needed a switch up in eye drops, i visited an actual eye doctor and hoped that this time, i could actually follow through with my whole award-winning charade skit. but instead, things took a turn for the ophthalmologically worst. (extremist alert).

after photographing my eyeball, doctor okpo let out a sigh and started saying “terrible” over and over and over again. at this point, i truly believed that i had met my extremist match. not really taking him too seriously, i quickly ran through my charade request for a better prescription or some cure-all formula for the double-double tricks of my eye. but then doctor okpo started getting real time serious. he was struggling to find fitting english words for his diagnosis (because we all know that “terrible” just doesn’t cut it in the medical world) and finally, probably out of pure translation exhaustion, settled on the word “permanent.”

permanent.

now that’s not one of those extremist claims that can be altered the next time you have a delicious bout of hollandaise sauce or a tasty microbrew.

i don’t think “permanent” can even be considered adequate vocab by us extremists. but confident with his choice of words, doctor okpo repeated this diagnosis for what seemed like ages.

fine dude. so this double, blurry, hazy vision is really “permanent” (i felt the need to mock doctor okpo by using hand quotations for his albeit wrongful diagnosis). up my prescription, give me a new batch of swan touch, surely something can be done to fix this whole mirror-in-a-hot-steamy-room vision thing.

but doctor okpo was insistent. with my permanent double-vision, nothing could be done. this was actually permanent. i would spend the rest of my life thinking there were two cans of pbr in front of me. for the rest of my life, i would not be  able to see the finer details of my belgium waffles. this was more than a bummer. this was the worst.

although this event on its own would be enough of an excuse to drop some extremist bombs, geoje had to up the ante a bit and toss out a bitter cold front that caused all the water tanks in our poor lil building to freeze. any turn of the tap meant nothing. no running water.

us extremists would deem this the worst week ever.

why you ask?

because now (with my permanent double-vision), im staring at not one, but two frozen water tanks.

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