Cultural Tidbits: #4

My A.C. is defunct.  How is this cultural?  Because if I was a 50-year-old man with a good job,  it would have been fixed about 30 minutes after it stopped working properly.

If I had a friend who was a 50-year-old man with a good job, same story!  I could ask him to call my landlord, and it would be done.  But as my friends here are 20-something females, this is a problem.

Korea is very hierarchical.  It’s a bit crazy.  If someone enters the room who is of a higher rank than you, you must bow and greet them with a respectful “Anyanghaseo” (vs. the informal “anyang”).  Depending on where you fall, you may be able to get away with a head-nod.  I head-nod to my other teachers, but bow a little more for the vice-principal and principal.

On that note, the principal is somewhat of a god-figure.  Mine is a female, which I think is rare.  But regardless, when she is around, all eyes are on her.  I get the feeling some of my co-teachers are a bit scared of her, as well.  At lunch one day, she and the vice-principal–a man–came and sat down, but a few seats away from me and one of my co-teachers.  My co-teacher got very nervous, and we finished up and left after about 30 seconds.

Francesca told me how her teachers full-out bow when the principal enters the room, and Ryan was at a going-away-dinner for his vice-principal and shocked the other teachers when he actually spoke to him.

I get bowed to at least 100 times a day though, just in the halls by students I pass.  That will be a weird transition on the flip side, when I return to the U.S.!

So, my A.C.  I slept on the floor last night since heat rises–it helped a little.  Thankfully, it was very cool this morning, so I opened my windows.  I can’t keep them open all night because I’m only on the 2nd floor, and I know the crime-rate in Korea is basically non-existent, but I still wouldn’t feel very safe.  Thankfully, the school has said they will pay for it because I just got here.


I speak too fast.  Obviously.  I feel like I’m speaking slowly, but I still get blank stares from some of my students.  I think this will be the most challenging part of my job!


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