One of the funniest things about living in Yeongwol Korea is that everyone else lives here too. By everyone I mean everyone that I work with, including all my students, coworkers, and Principal. And they probably notice you every time you leave the house, because you’re that foreign girl (the one that always wears sunglasses) that lives in Sam Ho apartments, and therefore you stick out a lot. So here are a few instances where I’ve run into people from school when least expecting too.
- There was that time we all went for duck at the Duck restaurant with the other Native English Teachers (NET’s) and as I was taking my shoes off at the entrance, I notice a boy lying on the floor of the restaurant doing his homework/watching TV. He sees me and says Hello Amelia teacher!!!! That was my first week of teaching and at that time I couldn’t recognize any of my students if I saw them anywhere. So I just blindly waved back and said HIIIII back to him. He didnt think it was so strange though, he went right back to his TV watching. He’s probably used to seeing his teachers everywhere. His parents, who owned the duck restaurant, asked him who I was and I assume he said I was his English teacher. Still cant say which school he knows me from since I teach at 3 elementary schools nearby.
- On Sundays, Vanessa and I decided we will go grocery shopping together as an incentive to actually have food in our fridges every week. So we are walking back from the supermarket with our shopping on Sunday afternoon and this car pulls up next to us and it’s the Administration lady at the Trout Academy that I go to on Wednesdays and Thursdays. She doesn’t speak any English at all, but usually we just smile and say hello, and offer each snacks. We say hello, and she asks if we are walking home from the supermarket, and we said yes (I was carrying a pack of toilet paper along with my food items) We said goodbye and she drove away, and then after she left I realized my outfit was the weirdest, most mismatched combination of prints and colors. I looked like Laundry day basically.
- This last sighting is perhaps the funniest, and it happened just last night. Vanessa, Ngozi, and I had gone out for Korean BBQ, and leaving the restaurant we decided to swing by the Donut Grandma to see if she was still making any donuts because they are so good and warm and sugary. We get to the donut place and she is scrubbing all her pans and donut paraphernalia. We were just standing there feeling sad when a bunch of people came stumbling out of the restaurant next door all talking pretty loud. They were older looking important people in suits. Ngozi recognizes one of them as her principal at her school, and then I realize MY principal from Trout Academy is there too, along with my 5th grade Co-teacher. We wave at them and they all come over to talk to us. So we all introduce each other, and several awkward handshakes ensued. We knew they were drunk because many Korean adults will pretend they don’t speak English most of time, but when they’re drunk they have a lot more confidence in their abilities. They asked us what we were doing, and we said “No more donuts!” and made sad faces as we pointed to the Donut Grandma still closing her shop. They said “AAAAaaaaaahhhhh” Then my principal gave us all high fives, and then they walked away.
I just keep thinking I’m going to be here for a whole year, and come spring and summer, i’m going to be outside all the time. My apartment is way too cave-ish to be in when the weather is nice. So I guess I have a lot more of these funny interactions to look forward too. My students are probably going to know everything about me, including where I live, what I do on weekends, and where I buy socks. Should be fun.