Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Locked doors, mozzarella sticks, chopsticks, and tea: A glimpse of my daily life in Korea.

I walked to school around 2PM this afternoon, as I have been doing all week because of my camp schedule.  Given Korea's summers are not only hot, but also oppressively humid, by the time I get to the top of the hill my school is located on the only thing I can think about is the blast of cool air I'll feel as soon as I open the door to the air-conditioned teacher's room.

However, today there was just one problem.  As I shuffled into school and went to open the door to the teacher's room, the door wouldn't open.  Was it stuck from the humidity?  I pulled a little harder.  No luck.  It was locked.

As many times as I've opened that door this year, it's never been locked.  Ok, I thought.  I'll just go to the door on the other side.  This meant I had to go back outside and to the other side of the building--not the most thrilling idea at the time, but I didn't have any other choice, so out I went to try door number two.

I gave the door a pull and again. It didn't open.


With no other ideas, I just went straight to the room I'm teaching my English camp in.  I turned on the AC there and let my sweaty face dry, figuring that eventually someone would have to go to the teacher's room and since my camp room is essentially right next to the teacher's room I would hopefully be able to notice when they did.

I was right.  About 15 minutes later one of the ladies who works in the admin office came in and started saying something I couldn't understand in Korea.  I figured it meant she was telling me to come into the teacher's room, so I gathered my things and went to my desk.

So there I was.  Sitting at my desk, but there were no other teachers around.  This NEVER happens at my school because there are always classes, and the teachers are always at their desks swamped with work.

Where was everyone?! What was going on?! It was uncomfortably eerie being there by myself.

Then, about ten minutes later the same admin lady from before and the school nurse returned to the office. The next thing I knew I was being summoned over to the table in the middle of the room to eat something (this is a REALLY common occurrence in Korean teacher's rooms), but what was not so common was the food being served. Usually it's fruit, bread, or rice cakes, but not today.  I was given a pair of wooden chopsticks as per usual, but the food being served today was mozzarella sticks.

Seriously? Since when do they even have mozzarella sticks in Korea?! I have no idea, but out of the foods I've had to eat in the teacher's room, this is among the best.

At long last, some of the other teachers returned to the teacher's room, at which point they were also summoned over to eat some mozzarella sticks.

As if this day hadn't already been off to a random start, the same admin worker (who is so cute in case you can't already tell), brought my over a cup of tea.

Tea, mozzarella sticks, and chopsticks.

Only in Korea can you get that combination.

The start of my school day was so random and I had no idea what was going on.  However, the thing is, days like this are actually totally normal for me in Korea.  Even after being here for a year, I still find myself constantly thinking "what the hell is going on?"

This my friends, is what daily life in Korea is really like.

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