Monday, April 09, 2007

Baby Love

There is a reason why we don't brain people with our laptops even when we want to. In Korea it is the contradictory nature of everything that goes on here that keeps me from hitting people. I know that anything could change at a moments notice and there is nothing to be done about it. You just keep doing. I walk to work this morning and notice that it is finally spring, the air is finally a bit clearer and free of heavy yellow dust, my lungs are breathing without any major problems and it seems like life is good.

I walk into the office this morning and spot crazy teacher lady who wanted to take me out to lunch a few weeks ago. While we had fought, while she had driven me into my classroom to be alone, I had mostly gotten over it. You have to come to a point where you accept that fact that in Korea people are going to stare at you. I'm not Korean and that in and of itself is an endless oddity. I also don't fault her for her comments on how I'm not thin. Fact of the matter is that happens to everyone here. Culturally it is one of the things that everyone will tell everyone else about.

I had a Korean friend visiting from New York last year. She was hanging out with a Korean friend in the bar and the friend is telling her about how fat she is and how she will never find a man until she lost weight. This provided us with endless amusement since she was staying with me most of the time she was here. She's a lovely girl. She's also an American size one. So, as you might conclude, when it comes to Korean philosophy on body types, everyone is too fat. And my size one Korean friend? She had trouble finding clothes here to fit her. It's just the way Korea is, you learn to accept it.

As it were I was walking around the office this morning doing my daily rounds and compulsory bows to the various teacher, head teachers, and people in charge, and since I made eye contact unexpectedly with crazy teacher lady I bowed politely to her as well. I went to the back office, drank my water, took my vitamins, made my coffee and prepared for the rush upstairs. As I walked out of the main building and headed out to my little corner of the universe, MP3 player blaring in my ear, I hear behind me "Sun-sang-nim, Sara Sun-sang-nim." I turn and it is crazy teacher lady, wielding a red box with a red bow.

"For you," she says in perfect English. I smile and thank her and look at this long red box with a bow and wonder what in the hell I've gotten today. The box says "Baby Love". I look at the box and shake the box and wonder what the hell as I walk up the stairs to my class. I mean, you do have to wonder what is in a red box with a bow that says "Baby Love".

I get up to my room and get a chance to sit down and contemplate the box further. When I finally open it what do I find inside? Chocolate.

Welcome to Korea.

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