Aaaaanddd the countdown to vacation has officially begun! Two months until F-R-E-E-D-O-M! I seriously understand why teachers get 3 months off for vacation, and although I only get about 8 days off, I am already constantly checking and re-checking my calendar so I know EXACTLY when I can bust out the, “It’s summer and I don’t know you,” to my kids when I see them on the street.
Today’s post is a little more about what my actual work life is like…specifically, my office mate. At my main school, I have an office away from my co-teachers (praise him) and I share it with the gym teacher and another man known as a “career teacher.” Basically what Korean people call a substitute teacher. I will call him Mr. Kay for the purpose of this blog, especially because he will be mentioned a bunch more times. To start off with, Mr. Kay is socially awkward. None of the other teachers speak to him UNLESS they have a question that requires a “yes” or “no” answer because he RAMBLES on like no other. He doesn’t take social (or facial) cues. All the teachers tell me to avoid him and to never ask him anything. Even if you are on fire and Mr. Kay is is the Keeper of all of the water on Earth, you are supposed to just let yourself burn alive. I had no problem with him…for the first hour of my first day, that is until he asked me to translate a lecture on opera. Yes, opera. Mr. Kay dreams of being an opera singer (even though he will become Vice Principal of an elementary school next semester…Korea) Besides that, he is so curious about the States and until I came along, he had no one to ask his MILLION AND ONE questions to. These questions include, “Do you have a gun?” “Do you feel ‘free’ here in Korea?” (If you don’t know what he means by “free” then you’re too young to be reading this…he means sex -___-) and to top it all off, he is a huge homophobe. One of those people that ACTUALLY pretended to gag when I told him I had gay friends… If that wasn’t enough, he speaks theeeee sloooooooowest Engliiiiiiiiiiiiiish possssiibleee <<< if that was painful to read, then just imagine listening to it. He’s also an UM-UH guy, meaning every other word he says is “UM” or “UH.” Here’s what a typical conversation between us is like:
*Mr. Kay walks in and sits down at his desk. He then proceeds to bob his head back and forth, peering in and out of my cubicle and trying to get my attention*
*Me without taking my eyes off of my computer* “Hey how’s it going, Mr. Kay?”
*nods head for about a minute* “Uhhhhhhhh…..today, ummmm…I will….um…play golf. I like ummmmmmm…….golf.”
“I have never heard of golf and have no interest in hearing anymore about it.”
“Oh really?! Umm…me too! I uhhhh love golf…it is ummm…uhhh….”
Now, I am not making fun of someone for speaking English slowly. His English is actually really good, but his personality, I believe, affects his speech. He speaks Korean the exact same way -____-. Also, he is one of those guys that once he gets comfortable with you, he’s COMFORTABLE. For example, asking me if I felt “free” in Korea. He said he was surprised by what he saw in the English teachers he’s met because he always thought American women were “free.” I told him that we are, just not with gross, Korean guys with tiny wieners. Boy was he shocked to hear that! I didn’t actually say that, but I could feel some resentment from him and I believe it is because in college, he tried to get with foreign women and they just were NOT having it! From my depiction alone, I’m guessing many of you are already bored by him AND don’t want to sleep with him. OH, he is also very into mansplaining. If you don’t know what that is, it’s when a man condescendingly explains something to you. He does this nonstop, even when I am talking about AMERICA- THE COUNTRY I ACTUALLY LIVE IN! I can’t even count the number of times he starts off a conversation with, “In America, you all do blah blah blah..” and then continues to try and explain things to me, even if I’ve corrected him about what he thought.
I do blame myself for ever engaging him in the first place. You try to be nice and not alienate your co-workers on the first day in a new country…but I should have known better when he asked me to play tennis…
Mr. Kay asked me about playing sports and I BRIEFLY mentioned that I played tennis in high school… 6 years ago! Later that day, he asked me to play tennis. I laughed and said, “Sure, I’d love to play in the summer.” He just laughed, got up and handed me a tennis racket. Then he walked out of the room, holding his own racket and I guess I just had to follow. We headed to the gym and that’s when the longest hour of my life started. He wanted us to have a singles match in the gym. Do you understand how small a tennis ball is and how BIG a gym is? This thing was flying ALL OVER THE PLACE. Mr. Kay conveniently positioned himself against the front of the gym, giving me the side that had the stage, the bleachers, various nooks and crannies, and some type of wormhole that would suck up the tennis ball and only return it once I had jogged all the way over to Mr. Kay’s side to get a new ball and back. MIND YOU when I came to Korea, the schools were still freezing, so my attire consisted of a long peacoat, dressy pants, socks and slippers and NO SPORTS BRA. My forearm was my sports bra that day. I was playing tennis with one hand, drowning in layers of clothes and sweat, meanwhile Mr. Kay was dressed and ready for Wimbledon, and from the way he was playing, he really thought he was there! He was going at the ball like he found it trying to break into his car! AND he stopped our game several times to give me pointers. He had become somewhat of a pro since he started taking lessons a WEEK ago. After an hour of me basically being his tennis ball caddy, I faked a heart attack and played dead. Well, I highly considered it. Instead, he got called to a meeting and it was over.
I really could start a blog just based off of my experiences with this man, but for now, this will have to do. Thanks for reading and if you think I am not giving Mr. Kay enough of a chance and maybe he is just nervous and trying too hard, then I invite you to keep these feelings deep inside of yourself and if you ever meet him, I wish you both the best.