Thursday, June 23, 2011

WTF Wednesdays

An awesomely odd Engrish shirt I bought.
What is Engrish? Well, click this bad boy
to enlarge and see for yourself.
OK, I know its not actually Wednesday, but we like alliteration over here in these parts (meaning, me in my tiny one-room apartment).

I'm constantly thinking "wtf" to myself (meaning this and not this...just to clear up any confusion, though taekwondo is quite prevalent on this side of the globe) and desperately, I try to compile a list in my head of all the odd and interesting encounters I come across each day... I want to have a nice, juicy list of wtfs before I post up here, ya know? But my mind sucks when it comes to this. Sure, sing me a song and I'll sing it back to you after hearing it twice. Names? Faces? Check. It's in the bag. But this? Not so much. SO. I figured -- why not have a weekly segment? That sounds fun. Plus, I find that every other post I create bears the wft tag, so it's obviously a topic I know and love.

So here we go... I may find myself creating "WTF Saturdays" and "WTF Tuesdays" at times when there's just too much craziness going on, so I'm just throwin' that out there. Also, I feel that I must clarify -- when I say "WTF," I, by no means, consider any of these encounters to be negative (unless they just ARE). I don't think that Korea is really weird and I wanna make fun of it. 'Cause, hey, we all have cultural norms that are just really odd to outsiders. That's just how it is anywhere... Things are different and interesting for me, so I wanna tell people about it! And, to tell you the truth, if anything, I think Korea is much more fascinating than my homeland. I'm just saying. So, anyway, enough yapping about this new concept of mine. Here goes my first WTF Wednesday:

You know how Asians love their rice, right? (Stop lying, you KNOW you do.) I think I can shed a little light onto why, exactly, that is. Yes, you heard me right.

My wonderful mentor teacher and her sweet family.
They're basically my Korean family.
I had my open class yesterday. My principals and mentor teacher wanted me to have it in the gym. It was awkward. I'm not gonna lie. Most of my foreigner friends in my town were there, along with a bunch of other Korean teachers in the area and a handful of parents (about 30, in total). I got through it. I've never been the, "let's-give-a-speech-in-front-of-the-class-and-NOT-turn-beet-red" type. But like my dad said after I told him about it:  I always knew that you had it in you, even when you used to cup your hand over your mouth and whisper, "Tell grandma I want baby cereal." 

But that's not my Wednesday WTF, though it probably should be...

We'll cut to the chase. My mentor teacher invited me over for samgyeopsal and we had a nice meal together, with her husband and son. I never fail to come home with leftovers after dining with her. I love it. She's so generous! While eating, she asked me if I wanted to take home any rice, because she had plenty.
The delicious meal cooked by my teacher in less than an hour!
Koreans are legit when it comes to eating.

"Well, I don't have a rice cooker," I told her and immediately received a blank stare.

After a brief pause: "You DON'T?! How often do you eat rice then?"

"Ummm... at lunch everyday at school...?" I feebly responded.

I was, this time, met with a look of absolute shock. She translated to her husband what I said and the smile immediately melted off of his face. Melted. I didn't really know what to say next, so I just did what I normally do when this happens; I opened my mouth and just let whatever wanted to come out, come out. Luckily, it wasn't anything too awkward. 

"Koreans eat rice for every meal, right?" I asked, though I already knew the answer. She told me yes.
It was then that I asked the burning question on everyone's minds: "Why?" 
And the answer you've been dying to learn? 
"Well, I don't know. We just do." And there you have it.

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