So, I have officially been in South Korea for a long enough amount of time that certain things go without saying. One of those things is that the subway seats closest to the doors to the next cars are reserved for old people. So, when a large family of tourists sat down because those were the only open seats available, my friend Switzerland and I both flinched before debating whether or not we should give the tourists a short lesson in Korean culture. (We ultimately decided not to, because no one else seemed to mind at all).
On that note, I would also like to bring up the fact that I eat a lot in comparison to Korean. I mean, by teenage American standards, or just American standards in general, I do not eat that much. I am considered a moderate eater, but in Korea people stare when I eat. I suppose this might have something to do with the fact that I try to eat a little bit less when I am with Koreans, so I end up eating more when I return to my host lodging or when I go out with my volunteer friends.
In other news, after this week I have decided that my job is one of my least favorite things to do. My friends have more work to do, true. However, the work I get tasked with right now is stapling 50 paper packets together, moving chairs into an orchestra formation, or attempting to not decapitate myself while making a huge number of name tags with a paper cutter. I realize that this is an amazing opportunity, but I signed up to work with children, and walking with a group of 15 year old boys for one demonstration against smoking is not quite "working with children" (maybe "walking with adolescents" hahaha). So, this week I have been faced with a few rather disheartening realizations, which are as follows:
1) I really want to make a good friend. All the volunteers and I are friends, but I want to meet someone around my own age here in Korea so that I have someone to do things with and to help me practice speaking in Korean.. This task has proven to be rather difficult because everyone I work with is so much older than me, and the people my age are finishing up in high school. It is also difficult because everyone I speak to for more than three seconds breaks out their English skills. *sigh*
2) The stuffed Moomintroll I bought myself this week because I am suffering from hug- withdraws is not exactly doing the job. Koreans are not very touchy people, and I love hugs...
3) If the rest of my life is going to be in an office job, I will not be pleased, not one teensy weensy smidgeon.
4) Sarcasm still does not translate for Koreans.
Anyway, I have this Friday off from work and I will be going to see some museum presentation, since today is a national holiday to celebrate the Korean written language.
So, the only really important thing to report is that I started Korean classes this week with my fellow volunteers. It was wonderful to see the same teacher we had for orientation back again. She is an adorable woman and even though all we did was review, her help made me confident enough to attempt to talk about my day with my host family last night at dinner. My pronunciation is still pretty bad, but I have high hopes! The highlight of that expedition into the savanna that is foreign language was my introduction to the kids as ":Elena halmoni" because I like to go to bed early and when I stand up from my office chair at work my back protests.
Everyday Acts of Activism