Cultural Musings · Korea · Teaching

First day of school…

I woke up feeling like crap… Runny nose, stuffy head, sore throat and it was my first day of school – yuck! I had to be at work at 1:30 even though my schedule said my first class wasn’t until 2:30 but I figured oh well, John must have something for me to do.

He didn’t… When I got to school all the Korean teachers were sitting around eating bulgogi pizza and chatting in Korean. Thankfully Ally took me to the drugstore to get some medicine. I had visions of walking into the local pharmacy and playing charades to communicate my symptoms. “2 words: 1st word (as she runs in place), 2nd word (as she points to her drippy nose).” No thanks. I didn’t know what to do but Ally and Kate, my two nice Korean co-workers, (yes I have a Kate and Ally at this school too, it’s like Campus Charter all over again) took care of me. This is what I ended up with:

I have no idea what it really is but from Ally’s broken English explanation, I have to take two “sunshine pills” in the morning, two more in the afternoon and take the two “moonlight” pills before bed. Easy enough – thanks Ally.

Cultural Musing of the day – Drug Stores here sell just that – drugs. There are no aisles of red cellophane-covered Valentine’s chocolates, no shelves of makeup and nail polish. Just medicine, ginseng extract and lip balm. You have to ask the pharmacist for something, everything is kept behind the counter. After hearing your symptoms he hands you what he thinks best suits your needs. Kind of has an old general store feel to it.

So school today was – BORING! I guess I shouldn’t complain but I like to stay busy. My first class was kindergarten and they were so cute. All the students at the school have American names and the kindergartners were: Tom, Jerry (yes, I know), Alice, Tony, and Rachel. We had a new student today too so since I saw a TV character theme I named him Joey, I thought Ross or Chandler would be too hard for him to say. We read a Monkey book, so I jumped around like a monkey a lot, making noises and scratching my armpits. The kids laughed and that’s the point. You never feel stupid in front of 6 year olds, no matter what you do. After the monkey interpretations we worked on body parts. A spirited rendition of “Head Shoulders Knees and Toes” rounded out the 50 min. class period. Since I am working 6 hours a day, I had to sit in the office and stare at the kids after my first class was over. John had me do numerous worthless tasks and at 7:30 I was out the door. It was fun overall, and tomorrow I have 4 classes, yay!

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