30
Mar

Strange and memorable things in Korea again sorry hindsight and all!

Parent’s day *We had a parent’s day at the school today. At the meeting before the parents went off to see the teachers in action,(not me, English doesn’t count)the faculty had to line up at the front of the room and get introduced and the principal would say a little bit about them. So when it comes to my turn, I do the bowing to the parents, the smile at the principal and the appropriate looking humble bit, all the while not understanding a word of what’s going on. All I understoood was Nama Gong-South Africa and il nyun-one year. After that was all over I asked Soo Hyun my new co-teacher what the principal said. She told me he said to the parents I have a pretty face and a good heart and that the school is glad I’m teaching there for one more year. See what a silk tie from Thailand can buy you.

Bus drivers
*Korean bus drivers are such boy racers, you are lucky to survive a bus trip especially if you are standing up, which is probably all the time.  Most buses have a row seating 5 ppl right at the back, two 2 seaters, then 8 single seats on the right and 5 on the left-yes I counted.
I had such a great bus driver last night, he kept on shouting out when he was about to brake or turn or stop, he was so sweet.  Also while stopped at a traffic light, he got out of his seat, got his on-board mop and started to mop the bus! That tells you two things, one about Korean service and another about the time you spend waiting for a green light.

Propolis
*So it’s winter holidays and I am desk warming, a term I’d never heard of until I came here, but it means to sit and do nothing, at a desk. 
So I get called down to the teachers office for lunch, sushi, yummy, and there is this sales guy who gives us a presentation while we’re eating. He was selling propolis, which I have since googled and it’s made by bees and is very good for you. 
For more info-google it!
So he shows us a video clip on his laptop of a tv game show, similar to like ‘who wants to be a millionaire’ and this Korean guy had to get one more question right to win. He didn’t know the answer so he lost out and the game show host gives him the correct answer, as propolis. 
In the absence of actually understanding what was going on this is my interpretation:
Buy our product propolis and you won’t loose money on TV game shows?
Our product is so famous it’s on TV game shows?
See what happens when you don’t know about propolis?
I love this country! Where else would they use a game show to sell a product.

Doctor’s logic
*Since coming to Korea I’ve been sick about four times, it’s a really bad type of sick, really sore chest, coughing not pleasant.  On the one occassion when I stopped being so stubborn and went to the hospital, which is not hospital but the Korean way of saying doctor, the doc in his infinite wisdom tells me that I’m so sick because I am African and am not used to the cold. Shame I really burst his bubble when I told him I’d lived in England for 6 years!

Karaoke buses
* ‘No strange and memorable things in Korea’ page would be complete without the famous karaoke buses.  Yes karaoke on a bus.  We had a school trip to the coast at the end of the first semester. We had some gorgeous sea-food for lunch and most of the teachers, including the vice principal, got absolutely wasted on soju (yucky vodka like drink) and beer.  So on the way back the vice-principal fires up the karaoke. 
Granted this is not my first school, karaoke experience, when I first arrived we all went out for dinner and to my shock and amazement we ended up all dancing and singing karaoke together, so random.
But back to the bus, imagine this bus, like big coach size one hurlting down the highway at stupid km/h with a bunch of very intoxicated people singing karaoke at the top of their voices.  Of course I had to take part, Korea culture-there is no graciously decline.  In the absence of inspiration a song was chosen for me, ‘It’s raining men’ Just when I thought it couldn’t get any more bizarre, the vice principal puts a bright orange bandana on his head and starts to dance with the canteen lady in the aisle.  It’s just one of those moments when you realise you are really so far from home, but glad to be too.

Frozen fish and defrosting techniques
*Right so you get these trucks that ride around with loudspeakers selling stuff-food products mostly-not fun early in the morning! Anyway so today there was this guy selling fish, frozen fish to a bunch of people in my hood.  So ’cause the fish is frozen it’s all stuck together right? So how does he get it apart? It’s worse than you think, he was banging it in the street.  Like literally in the middle of the street.  Only in Korea.

Government connections
* Cara, and I went hiking once and were approached by a guy who was trying to recruit us to work at his private school.  We can’t with our visas and I wouldn’t cause I make enough money and don’t want to get deported. He was so funny and such a bad sales man. He asked if we are Christians and then tells us he is too and works with the children because it’s good and pure work. They are all poor kids and he provides their schooling for free, but will obviously pay us. 
When we said sorry we can’t work with him cause of the whole deportation thing, he says oh we wouldn’t get deported for working illegally, only if we did drugs or committed a crime, lol.  He has a brother that works in the Blue house (like white house in the US) anyway so we are not to worry.
Then he tries to compare this situation with the whole immigration situation with the Mexicans in the States. It was so random.
We also had an oldish lady come up to us and give us some biscuits and chocolate.  Later that day we were sitting on a bench downtown just chatting and this random dude walks up to us and says “You US army?” we said no and he just walks off.