Tuesday, August 31, 2010

"I wished for a yellow-haired teacher!"

Needless to say, I kind of stick out here. From the bit of exploring I've done in Daegu, I've yet to run into another foreigner. Seriously. There is apparently a large foreign/expat population in Daegu but where they are hiding is beyond me. Hopefully I will successfully meet some fellow EPIK English teachers this evening (read: if I can find my way to the meeting place). I received my contract and placement a bit later than many EPIK teachers, which means I missed the big 10-day she-bang orientation in Seoul where friendships were made, hearts broken, enemies forged, etc. I did not enjoy this luxury and instead (per my previous post) headed straight from Seoul to Daegu. My co-teacher, Jin, said yesterday in the car, "I am worried you are lonely," (because I know no one here). Though this would probably hold true in a week or so, I am so consumed with applying for my alien registration card (I AM AN ALIEN, What a win!), medical exams, opening bank accounts, buying furniture, and taking care of all the little things, that I don't have time for social interaction. Yeah, I know, I said that. Who knew?

My first day at school (Monday), I walked onto the DaeSung Elementary School campus and was met with gaping stares. Little girls and boys ran up to me eagerly "hello"-ing and "teacha"-ing me. As I was introduced to each new class of the day, I received the expected questions, "You have boyfriend?" "How old are you?" (which when I said 22 caused quited a stir, I still don't know why), and then the stranger questions like, "How tall are you?" and "You like kimchi?" During the lessons, I would consistently catch a child or two looking back at me, wondering what I was doing. I was probably writing in my journal/on facebook. We have these small whiteboard paddle boards for answering questions in class. One girl drew a smiley face on it and flashed it back to me. These kids are great, I think I am really going to enjoy it here.

However, the crowning achievement of my objectification occurred while waiting outside the DaeSung English Village (yeah, I teach in an English Village, more on that later) for my co-teacher to unlock the classroom. I was standing under a ceiling fan trying earnestly to cool down from 90-degree heat and horrible humidity (my hair is just never going to dry, I've come to terms with this) and was approached by a gaggle of 5th grade girls. "I wished for a yellow-haired teacher!" I smiled and said, "Well, now you've got one!" They all giggled and tried to ask me questions I couldn't understand, oggled at my yellow-hair, and one girl even commented on the unusual size of my chest. Shameless? I say honest.

Well, this yellow-haired teacher must return to reviewing the English textbooks for next week's lessons. It's quite a throw-back to my 7th grade Spanish class with the funky photos, outdated hairstyles, and really awkward songs. Up next: Lesson 10, I'm Stronger than You!

1 comment:

  1. Hey,

    I just stumbled on your blog and enjoyed reading several entries. Im headed to South Korea near Daegu, but with the US Army. I heard a lot of good things about Korea. I have a lot of questions and dont know what to expect, but Im looking to reading through your blog and at least getting an idea of what its like there. Hit me up on facebook under Chris Agbalog. I may have more questions the more I get into your blog :) Hope you have a great day!

    Chris Agbalog