Things I DON’T Like About Korea

When I was in high school, we had to read, “The Great Gatsby,” as I’m sure everyone reading this had to. I will never forget my English teacher telling us how smart it was that F. Scott Fitzgerald set the big fight between Tom and Gatsby during the summer. He made us picture the setting: a hot, muggy, humid hotel room on a hot, muggy, humid day. Two people with obvious tension between them,  stuck in this small, hot room together- something was about to pop off. That’s what heat does to you. It wasn’t until these past few weeks living in the WORST heat I’ve ever experienced that I really appreciated just how brilliant of a move Fitzgerald made. I never noticed how much heat can affect you, your attitude, and your outlook on life. I recently taught my co-teacher the phrase “hot as balls” because it is the best way for me to describe the weather in Korea. The humidity is killer here. I stayed in Korea for my vacation and thought I would spend time exploring the cool places here BUT I mostly spent it in my room, AC and Netflix on BLAST. It was way too hot to enjoy anything. Every morning I would wake up DETERMINED to have a good day, only to find myself SWEATING through my clothes, hair stuck to the back of my neck, and the sun searing my eyes shut. The humidity made it feel like you were walking in honey and no matter how much I tried to convince myself to have a good time, it was just too hot to be anything but miserable. Plus, I wear a fall wardrobe year round. I don’t change my outfits based on season, really, so I’m sure that adds to the problem.

Last week, I wrote about all of the great things about Korea- I left some off now that I look back over it- so this week I wanted to write about the things I don’t like…

  1. Humidity– This one is only bad for..let’s see.. oh yeah- THE WHOLE SUMMER -__- At first, I thought people were exaggerating about how bad the humidity is. Chicago gets humid, so it’s not like I’ve never experienced it before, but this is on another level. If some gypsy woman were to grant me an all expense paid trip to Thailand, I would have a few questions BUT one of the main ones would be, “When?” and if she said anytime during the summer, I would flat out refuse. Even if she said I could paddle board with Orlando Bloom.

2. Red Bean Paste– Honestly, the real silent killer. Red beans and red bean paste are so popular in Korea. It’s basically their equivalent to chocolate…only…it’s beans. Red beans taste exactly like BEANS so I have no idea who the effffff decided they were appropriate for desserts! The worst thing about them is that SOMETIMES you think it’s chocolate. Imagine thinking you’re about to bite into a chocolate filled pastry ONLY to taste frijoles! It’s the worst and they use it in so many of their desserts! Just beans on top of and in ice cream, cake, etc.

3. NO Sandwiches– Korea has sandwiches…but not really. You can’t buy actual, real deli meat unless you wanna pay up the butt for it and even then, it’s all pork, etc. You can’t go to any restaurant and just grab a sandwich to go. I never realized how essential sandwiches are to my diet. Having to pack a lunch was kinda weird at first because I actually had to cook part of my lunch, when normally I could just grab Jimmy John’s or something. I tell you what- I would do some TERRIBLE things for a Jimmy John’s sandwich.

4. Staring– Relentless. STARING. There is NO shame in a Korean’s stare game. They will literally try to burn a hole into your soul. They don’t look away. They are statues. Now I just stare right back,but it barely does anything.

5. Anxiety– Korean people have anxiety.Except, there’s no medication for it. It’s a way of life. It is in the air here and they breathe it in and it binds with their red blood cells and then becomes a part of their tissues. That’s real science there, folks. Sometimes I just watch them panicking about NOTHING and I can see them physically crumbling. It’s disheartening, but I don’t know if they’ll ever be able to truly break away from this.

6. Timing– I’m not sure if it’s because I’m a foreigner, but Koreans are so last minute with everything. I’ve mentioned several examples in my other posts, but it’s just so relevant to your life here and such an inconvenience. I would not be surprised if they were like, “Hey today is the naked parade. Be there in 3 minutes, naked.” And then you would have to show up and just walk in the parade! They give no notice for anything at work and it’s always such a pain!

7. Nothing to Do– I find Korea to be boring. Now, this could be because my city- Daegu- isn’t exactly a hub of energy, but I find it true everywhere. Maybe if I was a hiker or really, really into the outdoors, it would be different. Other than climbing mountains and eating, there is nothing exciting here. This could also be because I love big cities and find the energy to be entertainment enough, but there are plenty of weekends spent here wishing there was more to do!

8. Movies– Korea doesn’t get too many of the same movies we get back home. You’re really only guaranteed to see superhero movies. Other than that, it’s pretty hit or miss.

9. Internet & TV Monitoring– Korea monitors internet and what you see on TV. I will never forget watching TV and seeing that a cigarette was blurred out. I thought the person was smoking a dick, but no, it was just a regular ol’ cigarette. As for the internet, any/all porn is blocked. You’re probably thinking, “Um…TMI,” but porn is a VERY broad term here. This even includes kissing! Sometimes I’ll try to catch up on my reality TV shows and if there’s even a whiff of a kiss, the ENTIRE website will be blocked. Even YouTube is heavily monitored!

10. Trash System– Recycling and trash separation are very important here, which sounds amazing, but I’m a lazy American person. They have special red bins that collect food waste, and then you have to separate EVERYTHING else. I tried this for maybe a month? But then I was needing way too many garbage bags. Now I just throw everything away in the same bag and so far, so good.

11. Stress- I mentioned that people here are very anxious, which also makes them unnecessarily stressed. Koreans get SO stressed over nothing. When my co-teachers are lesson planning for THIRD GRADE, you would think they were in charge of writing the speech to end violence and hunger worldwide. They get so stressed about what to do and whether the kids will like it, meanwhile I’m like open YouTube and call it a day  -_-.

12. Collective Mindset– In Korea, the individual is nowhere near as important as the collective group. This sounds beautiful, but it actually sucks ass. People here also get stressed about going out alone and can’t handle being alone in any situation! When my co-teachers find out that I travel, eat, and see movies alone, they get all wide-eyed and start covering their mouths like I just showed them a third nipple. They always ask, “Why? Don’t you have a friend?” And I always ask them, “What if I want to do something they don’t want to do and vice versa?” and they pretty much tell me to compromise. Um…what? Compromise what I want to do in the ONE lifetime I have here? I think not… Eating lunch is especially confusing for them. Like most humans, I don’t enjoy spending EVERY minute at work with my co-workers. Sometimes I choose to have lunch in the office alone and they always stare at each other uneasily as if I’m gonna start going through their purses the second they leave the room! This also means that they rarely stick up for themselves. They just take abuse from their superiors and peers and let it manifest into stress and anxiety.

13. Lack of Creativity- I can’t tell you how many times my co-teachers have shot something down because they don’t think the students will learn from it. Anytime coloring or art is suggested, they basically roll their eyes. Even the kids have trouble when given free reign. Everyone here wants specific instructions. They don’t know how to be creative. This is even evident in Korean styles and trends.They all believe they’re being creative and unique BUT they look the same. I always think of Meryl Streep’s monologue from “The Devil Wears Prada” when she says the whole bit about Andy’s sweater being chosen for her.

14. Personal Space– Forget about it. You could be standing with your back against a wall and turn around only to see that someone somehow wedged themselves in there! It’s insane. People are basically standing on top of you in lines, shouldering the fuck out of you in the streets, and standing crotch to face on subways.

15. Spitting– It’s like they’re all auditioning for “Titanic” and they’re reading from the “spit like a man” scene -_-.  If you hold a seashell up to your ear in Korea, you can hear someone hawking a loogie. Spitting is just part of life here and they spit any/everywhere.

16. Sneezing– Lord. Help me. People here should be in the Olympics for sneezing because they would win gold EVERY TIME. Korean people sneeze out in the open- no dabbing, no hand over the mouth. They are totally open and honest with their sneezing.

17. Cats– They’re everywhere and they’re gross.

18. Pork– Pork is a flavor here in Korea. Even if something has “no meat” they don’t consider pork to be meat, just extra flavoring. Sometimes, even the beef has pork in it! I have definitely loosened up my “no pork” stance since moving here. I won’t full out eat a piece of pork, but I’ve stopped asking if it’s in everything I eat.

19. SUGAR– Yet again, LORD. Everything in Korea is sweet. SWEET. ANY sort of pizza sauce, pizza snack, red sauce, burrito- anything. Everything is really sweet. If I were to order dirt, it would either have sugar added or come with a side of mayonnaise. Burritos are filled with coleslaw and mayo. I would give anything for some salt and vinegar chips- ANYTHING!

20. Random man–  Every Monday or Tuesday, a random Korean man comes into my office and has to use my computer. I have NO idea what he’s doing. Sometimes he’s on here for 5 minutes, other times it’s up to 15 minutes. Sounds like nothing BUT it so annoying. I think he’s just checking his bank statement to be honest. I have to stop everything I’m doing, leave, and stand in the hallway or walk around until he’s finished.

21. Buses– Anytime I ride the buses in Korea, I get headaches and awful motion sickness. I actually had to get patches and pills JUST for the bus! The bus drivers here are psychos and stop and go, weave, cut, and everything else in traffic! They come to these HARD stops, where you get jerked all the way to the right or left of where you’re standing. ALSO you have to use the back door to get out. That’s so annoying, especially if you’re carrying a ton of groceries and sit at the front and then have to walk to the back just to get off!

22. Clothes Shopping– Ugh. First off, all of the shirts here literally come up to your throat! Also, it’s rare if you’re allowed to try on clothes. If you are, you definitely CANNOT try on shirts half the time! Only pants, for some reason. It’s the worst! Unless you go to H&M or some other international brand, you’re S.O.L.

23. BANKING– You already know about this one, but just for good measure- KOREAN BANKING IS THE DUMBEST THING THAT HAS EVER EXISTED. IT IS ALMOST AS BAD AS HITLER. I DON’T UNDERSTAND HOW IT’S AN ACTUAL THING. *smoothes hair back into place and takes a seat*

24. Nosiness– Koreans are extremely nosy. Not only do they stare at you, they also want to know what you’re reading, what apps you’re using, what you’re looking at, etc.

25. Being Helpful…but not really– The best way to explain this one is to recount a tale of trying to find a bus terminal to leave Daegu and travel somewhere else. A friend and I were trying to leave for the weekend, but were told to go to the wrong bus terminal. When someone told us where the RIGHT terminal was, we were running low on time and decided to take a cab. The cab drivers kept looking at our paper and trying to tell us something. Finally, someone spoke English and told us that they were trying to tell us that the tickets for our bus were probably sold out already…WE ALREADY HAD THE TICKETS THOUGH! They were basically giving us the most useless information and making us even more late because they were trying to be helpful. This happens all the time. Show them an address and ask how to get somewhere and they’re trying to tell you it’ll be closed on Christmas….

26. Cab Drivers– WHY. Cab drivers in Korea are so sheisty.  They will try and take you all over town to run the meter and you really can’t do anything about it. Also, they can and usually will refuse to drive you places. On the same trip I was talking about earlier, we tried to take a cab to the new bus terminal and the drivers REFUSED to take us because it was “too close.” It was a good 10-15 minute walk from where we were!

27. Getting The Check– In Korea, you get the check RIGHT after you order. They just place it on the table and if you want anything else, they have to get you a new one. They also get anxious if you order something else! It’s like an unspoken rule that if they already gave you the check, just try and do without anything else!

28. Soap– In bathrooms, they use bars of soap or soap on a weird hook that looks like you’re jerking it off when you wanna wash your hands. This is if the bathrooms even have soap!

29. Toilet Paper– Toilet paper is NOT a priority in Korea. It is totally normal for there to be no toilet paper and if there is, the dispenser is located outside of the stall! You just have to take what you think you’ll need and pray you have good judgement. My school hasn’t had toilet paper since the week after I got here. They say there’s no budget for that. I really wanna see the budget for the schools here! No toilet paper, soap, OR A/C?! WTF are they using it for?!

30. Shop Attendants– “Get off my dick,” I think to myself EVERY TIME I am shopping. Shop attendants here stand RIGHT next to you as you shop. Even if an uncomfortable amount of time has passed, they will still be standing there. You can’t really “look” in shops here. It’s the least helpful thing in the world. They don’t even speak English half the time (not their fault of course) but they’ll still sit there talking to me in Korean until I just get frustrated and leave!

31. Getting cut– Getting cut in lines here is so normal and so annoying. I could literally be pressed against the counter at the front of the line and waiting to order and someone will just cut in or shout their order out loud. Even if you’re watching a public performance and obviously standing in a good spot, these people have no qualms about shoving in front of you and pushing you into a shitty position.

32. Cheapo Portions– I know that I’m coming from the States and our portions are just out of control, but it is totally normal to get a McFlurry that is half empty or a cup of ice cream where you can literally see the bottom of the cup! They are the worst! I WANNA EAT MORE. Just fill it up until it’s spilling over the side and let me deal with the repercussions!

33. STOPLIGHTS– AGH! You know how when you’re waiting to cross the street, your body can kind of tell when it’s time to go? Your mind kind of judges the time and knows how much waiting time is enough. HERE stoplights can be up to 5 FULL MINUTES. Every car has a chance to turn and then some. It is insane how long they are!

34. Going Out Alone– I mentioned that Koreans hate going out alone, but actually going out alone can also suck! Almost every restaurant caters to pairs and groups. Some places you can’t even go eat alone because food is priced for two and it’s expensive. Movie ticket stubs are printed on one ticket so you can’t go into a movie without both people going in together. Nothing here is meant for only one person. That’s why restaurants are so expensive here sometimes. A bucket of chicken is almost $20 and there is no single, divorced dad portion here!

35. Watching TV– UGH. Besides shitty Netflix, it’s really hard to watch TV shows here. Even using a VPN and having subscriptions to certain outlets. It’s one of the toughest things about being out here!

36. Hand-Washing– Don’t expect it from everyone! I have been in the bathroom and heard fellow teachers AND students just leave, without even so much as a glance towards the sink. It is really common to not wash your hands here. BARF.

37. Passive Aggressive– You already knew about this one, but again, just for good measure. I almost wish they would just be confrontational and tell me what they want to say. SPIT IT OUT! Remember that scene in “The First Wives Club” when Diane Keaton beat the shit out of her therapist with that styrofoam, Q-tip looking thing, but the therapist was just happy she was at least reacting? I WISH! I would actually be happy if one of them just said, “Let’s fight about it, bitch.”

38. Soda- Coke and Pepsi taste like garbage. Definitely not the same here.

39. Menus- If you go to a restaurant with a group of 600 people, restaurants will only give you one menu. This ties into the “everything being tailored for pairs or groups,” but in Korea, if you go to a restaurant, you will only get one menu per table. It’s annoying and I always ask for more menus and they’re always taken back the request.

40. Fruit- Honestly, forget about fruit in Korea. It is ridiculously expensive, mostly because you have to buy a whole big bunch at one time. It’s not like back home where you can just buy what you will eat. When I finally break down and get fruit, half of it usually goes to waste because it’s just me trying to eat it. All foreigners get excited when there’s free fruit because it’s actually a treat here  -_-.

I promise I am about two minutes from starting a topless revolt and releasing these people from the ties that bind them! I’m working on a good war cry, but till then…Of course, there are also things I am leaving off of this list, but I think 40 is good for now. I also want to add that lots of the things I’m griping about are cultural and I know I CHOSE to live here. But  then I remember that I can and will complain about anything I want to in life and no one can stop me! MUAH HA HA!!!! Thanks for reading yet another blog, I really do appreciate it!

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Things I Like About Korea

My FaceBook name though <<<< It is FINALLY summer VACATION! In the spirit of celebration, I’ve decided to dedicate this post to things I ACTUALLY like about Korea! The weird thing about this list is that some of these things are also the reasons I don’t like Korea… These are in no particular order. Literally, as I think of them, I am writing them. Get over it.

HERE GOES!

  1. McDelivery– Do I have to explain this one? McFlurries right to your door! DOUBLE BIG MACS! But I definitely do the whole, “Hey guys, someone get the plates, the food’s here!” thing when I hear the delivery guy getting ready to ring the bell. ALSO the delivery guy always smiles when I open the door. It’s like he proved himself right when he saw an American open it…
  2. Service (Slow and steady, kinda one of the things that annoys me)- The service in Korea is slower than back home because they put time and effort into what they do. Even fast food here takes longer. It’s normal to wait for them to make your food “fresh” even at McDonald’s!
  3. Service (AGAIN) (It means something else here)- free shit! Koreans have what they call “service” which usually means giving you free stuff (food, drinks, etc) for waiting on an order or if you’re a regular customer..or even a new customer! It’s pretty sweet! I’m talking free dessert at restaurants, free slushies, etc.
  4. Coffee shops– there are at least 3 billion coffee shops in Korea. They are seriously EVERYWHERE. Korea is obsessed with coffee shops (which makes no sense because they’re coffee is SO weak…) and there are so many themes, specialties, etc. I love it!
  5. Cheap food– Okay, there is always some debate about this BUT you can get cheap street food, as well as, concession items at the movies. Their snacks and drinks are way cheaper than back home. Also, random foods are cheaper here. Iced coffee, smoothies, fresh fruit juices, etc. If you eat “Korean” you can probably eat pretty cheaply here.
  6. Street vendors– On my street, there is a whole outdoor market and it is run by individuals selling everything from fruits and veggies to clothes to fresh fish! It’s nice to be able to just buy what you want right then and there, without having to go to a big department store. And these people set up shop ANYWHERE. It’s not weird to walk down a random alley and see a woman with an assortment of greens spread out before her. Love it!
  7. Fish tanks– Walking around Korea is like being in a low LOW budget aquarium. There are tanks of fresh marine life all over the country. Outside of tiny grocery stores, restaurants, and random markets. The tanks are filled with squid, octopus, shrimp, etc. I love aquariums so maybe I’m too excited about this…
  8. Taking a “rest”–  When your co-workers want you to f*** off, they tell you to “take a rest.” Hearing this is music to every foreigner’s ears! They’re basically saying, “Hey we have no use for you, so go play at your desk while we pay you.” Pure bliss.
  9. Cups of chicken– Dakgangjeong. Literally cups of delicious fried chicken! I could live off of this snack. I already miss this piece of Korea and I’m still here! Koreans love fried chicken and they make some of the best I have ever tasted! Plus, these stands are usually posted up in subway stations, markets, random street corners- they’re like hookers…only you leave full, not empty. That’s a dirty joke that works on too many levels…
  10. Daiso– Daiso is kind of like if you mixed Target and Walmart and a dollar store, except everything is ridiculously cheap. It’s basically this chain of dollar stores from Japan that has everything your heart could ever desire. It’s definitely one of those places where you run in to grab a toothbrush and leave with a new puppy and some tupperware.
  11. Department stores– Korean department stores are amazing and I would definitely try to hide in one of them and camp out over night. They are really beautiful and HUGE and they have movie theatres and some brands from back home that hit you right in the feels! Also, JAMBA JUICE! I don’t even like Jamba Juice that much, but seeing it brought half a tear to my eye.
  12. Beauty products/services- Beauty and image are so popular out here that it’s basically a science. There is a beauty product/ service for everything out here and 9 times out of 10, it’s going to work and it’s cheap! They have so many different eyeliners, lipsticks, mascaras, nail polishes, EVERYTHING/ANYTHING! I wish I knew what half of this stuff did so I could really get involved but it’s probably better for my bank account that I don’t…

  13. No Kardashians- Mentioning them is probably not helping the epidemic BUT there is just no mention of them anywhere! Unless I bring it up, Korean people largely have no idea who the Kardashians are and it is sooo refreshing!

  14. Chopsticks– I kinda hate forks now EXCEPT if I’m eating pasta! Even though pasta is kinda like eating noodles… Chopsticks are amazing and I barely even think about forks anymore.
  15. Public transportation- SO, SO good! I personally hate driving and love to be driven everywhere, so Korea is perfect for me. The buses definitely give me the worst motion sickness ever BUT they get you to wherever you need to go. The trains are great too! You don’t need a car out here, which is perfect because I can’t afford a driver- yet.

  16. You really feel like you’re in Asia– because you are BUT in those moments when it hits you, it’s really amazing. Sometimes you’re just walking along and BOOM you see an Asian-looking house and it’s cool because it’s real and not just some design. Also, seeing people bow and eat with chopsticks and seeing street vendors and all of the other stereotypical stuff!
  17. Nature (also one of the things I hate)- There are insects and trees and breezes and shit all over Korea and while I don’t thoroughly enjoy nature, it is nice to sometimes stumble upon a beautiful park or just see mountains in the distance. Korea loves nature and they really have some beautiful scenery out here.
  18. Two Weeks Notice“- one of my FAVE rom-coms and it’s on the Korean Netflix.
  19. Islands/Beaches- It’s kind of cool that you’re never really that far from an island or a beach here!

  20. Korean kindness– when they’re not staring or cutting you in line, Koreans are actually some of the kindest people I have ever met. There’s been multiple occasions where I am actually shocked at how kind they are and how concerned they are with your well-being
  21. Convenience stores– the food is actually edible and super cheap!
  22. Bowing– So much easier than actually waving or saying “Hi”
  23. Respectful kids– MOSTLY. Some of them are still little shits -_-
  24. Service button at restaurants- In Korea, most places have a button on the table that you just push when you want to call your server over. It’s nice because they come right away and it makes sense and no one is interrupting your meal to see if everything is okay, etc.

  25. No tipping- Korea has a non-tipping culture and I have to say, it is still hard for me to NOT tip! Just a few months ago, I made my living this way and it’s definitely hard to get out of the habit of tipping and WANTING to tip! But it is nice.

  26. Cheap cabs- In Daegu, cabs are super cheap. What would be considered a $10 ride back home is something like $3.50 here. I think they’re even cheaper than Uber, which is good because there is no Uber here!

  27. Slippers in school- My mom did not allow us to wear pajamas or slippers with socks in high school SO I’m definitely making up for lost time in Korea! The teachers all wear slippers while inside of the school and students change into different shoes. Basically, no outside shoes inside and no inside shoes outside. Seriously, people would rather walk around barefoot than wear their outside shoes inside of the school. It is so comfy to walk around in sandals at school. I highly recommend the U.S. adopting this style!

  28. Squid- Dried squid, grilled squid- it’s all good and Korea loves it and so do I! I get grilled squid at the movie theater instead of popcorn and I buy packs of fried squid from the supermarket, I love it!
  29. Free samples– I feel like Korea gives out more free samples than back home. But then again, I just love free samples in general. They give out food and beauty products. They give out samples in bakeries, restaurants, grocery stores. I love free shit and you do too and they love it to hand it out here so it’s all good!
  30. SOUTH AFRICANS– This one weirds me out when I talk about it BUT I thoroughly have a weird respect for South Africa and its inhabitants. Maybe it’s because I love “The Color of Friendship” or because I think it’s so fascinating that all of these people have amazing accents and come from Africa and they have tribes and are super blunt and honest BUT I just love hanging and talking to South African people and I never got the opportunity back home. I could just talk about and to them all day. Also, I’m dying to visit South Africa and they’re actually from there so it blows my mind.
  31. Public bathrooms– EVERYWHERE! I don’t think I really have what can legally be called a “bladder” because my body holds no liquids. If I take a sip of water, I just get up and walk right to the bathroom because I already have to go…Korea has public bathrooms EVERYWHERE! I love knowing that I don’t have to go and buy something to use the bathroom or make sure to NOT drink anything before I leave the house because there won’t be a bathroom around.
  32. Pharmacies- You can just walk in, tell them what’s wrong, and they’ll give you antibiotics FOR CHEAP!!!! It’s amazing!
  33. No cat-calling– Guys are creeps no matter where you are on this Earth BUT cat-calling in Korea is not really an issue. Lewd stares and gestures are still alive and well here, but it is such a relief to be able to walk around alone without feeling like someone is going to take advantage of the situation. It’s seriously one of THEE BEST feelings ever!

Thirty-three is such a weird number to leave things off at BUT I’m happy I came up with that many things! Like I’ve said before, I thoroughly enjoy Korea and will definitely vacation here after I leave! This blog was set up mostly so that teachers who come here get a more accurate representation of what WORK is like. The country itself is pretty, pretty good!

Since this week’s post is about the things I like, I think you can put together what my next post will be about….

“The Fountain Runneth Over”

Believe it or not, I could write a new blog post every 5 minutes. That is how frequently something irksome happens at work. The latest event took place just three hours ago. Settle in, kids…

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As some of you may know from reading my blog or because you’ve been granted a special permit to contact me in person, teachers in Korea have to run camps during the summer and winter. Both of my schools are low-income, so they don’t have pizza parties or a buffet of snacks for the kids like other schools do. In one of my other posts, I broke down each of my co-teachers. This event takes place at my second school, with Chicken Little.

So, about a week ago, C.L. sits me down so we can go over camp stuff. She tells me how many students I’ll have, what the schedule is, etc. THEN she says, “Since we have no budget, students and teachers will go home after we finish the day.”

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I almost said, “Come again?” In Korea, there is NO such thing as “going home early.” You stay at your desk until you die, and then you hold your funeral there. We aren’t even really allowed to use sick days, so going home early? Forget about it! So when she said that, I just nodded my head. The following is the EXACT conversation that took place…

“Sobe, do you understand?”

“I think…we can leave for home after we’re done teaching?”

“Yes.”

“Okay, so when WE finish teaching, we can leave? At 12:20?”

“Yes, we can all go home. There is no budget for lunch or snacks, so we are done after our last class!”

“I’m so happy. I can’t believe it.”

“Yes this is rare BUT because we have no budget, it is okay!”

Fast-forward to today: August 1, 2016. The first day of camp goes by without a hitch. It’s Harry Potter themed so f*** yeah, the kids are excited. I’m excited. Everyone’s just LIVING their best life! The last class ends and a teacher (rando from school) comes up to me and says, “Sobe, you will go home now?” “Yes.” She smiled. I smiled.

I walk to my office. All of the lights are off in the school. There is no sound, all fans are off, and it’s so quiet and serene…That’s when I should have known…

I pack my bags and send my co-teacher a message saying that I’m leaving for the day, MAKING SURE it’s okay. No response. I wait around for 15 minutes and then decide to go. Now, I live 15 minutes away from this school and this is Korea SO it’s humid af! Basically walking through molasses. I get home. Take off all of the unnecessary clothing (really, isn’t it all unnecessary?) and just as I settle in to binge “The Hills”, I hear it. The alert tone from my Korean messaging app…

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And before even opening it I just…

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Remember, I messaged her BEFORE I left the school, asking if it was okay. So now, a good 40 minutes has passed!

“I don’t think so. I had lunch with other teachers at school. I hope you come to school as soon as possible.”

I’M ALREADY HOME. THE AIR IS ON. IT’S 205.5 DEGREES OUTSIDE. KIMCHI AIN’T ALL THAT!

I wanted to respond with ALL of that! Come back?! COME BACK?!

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Instead, I just said, “Okay, see ya in a bit!” and I made the trek back. The worst part is that when I got here, she said she THINKS I have to stay because some other teachers are here working and SHE didn’t want to go home. I mentioned (I think) that Chicken Little has intense anxiety, combined with nosiness. She’s actually eyeballing my screen right now as I’m typing this -___- . Luckily, I have two more days of camp with her and then I am free from this anxiety-ridden place for two weeks!

CAN’T WAIT.

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