Monday, October 27, 2008


I made a grand ass of myself yesterday so I thought I'd share......

Important Background information:
1 All the teachers at both the middle and the high school, including the vice-principals, work in one large room together.
2 Koreans couples do not live together unless they are married - it's just not done, although that is beginning to change.

So yesterday this American came to my school who taught here a couple of years ago. He was black and dressed in African get up and was talking about his work in West Africa, but he's actually from Flint, Michigan. Anyway so he went around the room saying hello and reuniting with everyone - they were all really glad to see him and so were the kids. When he got around to Wilber (Hilke, the western Pennsylvanian they hired to teach the high schoolers) and me, we talked for a while and it eventually came up that he needed a place to stay. So John and I basically live together because we have apartments in the same building and I wanted to offer this guy a place to stay, but then I was told it was time to leave for the day (this happens very suddenly and you are expected to haul ass when you are told it is time to leave), and the man was on the phone talking to someone who wasn't around that day. As I was leaving, he mentioned again that he needed a place to say and I just blurted out in front of the entire office, "I have an extra apartment!!" And they all looked up at me and were like, "What? Really?". And then just like Nixon I immediately attempted a cover-up and blurted out the dumbest lie to ever be lied: "John's away." oohhhhhh my gooood!!! That was so dumb haha these people are not idiots! We're not allowed to take days off unless school is not in session! Not to mention the fact that John teaches 3 km down the road and the two schools are very much in cahoots with each other - they often know what John is doing before John even knows.

It was silent for like 5 seconds. Well, maybe 3 1/2. They didn't question me because that would be rude in their culture. Honestly, I wish someone was just like bullshit!hahaha there's no way! But instead, it was just awkwardness. Straight up inescapable awkwardness.

When I came into work I thought for sure today I would be fired or something else drastic would happen to me. Like a public whipping or something.
Nothing's happened yet but I've only been here a half hour. I'll keep you posted.


Andy Stravers said...

I was wondering what I was going to do with that "Awesomest culture clash moment" award I have. Now I know.

nisse said...

oh no sarah! if they punish you I will come over there and yell at them in spanish, they'll have no idea what hit them.

Sarah said...

okay so there was no whipping...not even a tongue-lashing. everyone just treated me the same as they did the day before, which i thought was pretty gracious of them. but then, they're trained in not making people feel bad. so that's good. however, the dude showed up again at school when he was supposed to have left yeoju in the morning! ah! but he's a really nice preacher dude who's starting a boarding school in nigeria at the moment - he gave me and wilber his contact info in nigeria and brooklyn, ny.
nisse, you're still invited to come and yell in spanish. i think it'd be funny.