This morning, I opened a bank account–all by myself, in a foreign language! I only understood about half of what went on, but I walked out with a check card and a bank statement saying I have 40,000won in my account (to pay my first cell-phone bill–hooray for having a phone again!).
It’s amazing where smiling and nodding will get you in this country. Like when you’re opening a bank account. (Or talking to your vice-principal. I smiled and nodded my way out the door, and have no idea what we talked about! But he was smiling, too, along with the principal, so I think I impressed them somehow with opening my own account? Regardless.)
Back to the bank. While the woman helping me was off doing things, a mosquito kept dive-bombing me. So I tried to kill it. Then I got a funny look from another teller. She was probably thinking, Sheesh, Westerners. Too bad the only words the woman helping her knows is, “check card,” “PIN number,” and “screen name.” I bet that girl has her fingers crossed. And now she’s clapping randomly in the air. What is her problem? Crazy blonde girl. And now she’s smiling. I’m going to answer the phone and ignore her.
It probably didn’t help that I tried to push open the “pull” door on the way out. When “pull” was written in English.
But I did successfully hand her documents and receive them with two hands!! Two points for me!
And I managed to say “Thank you” in Korean! That’s my go-to phrase. My co-teacher told me, “I think you know that very well!” after I said it the millionth time.
So I have a bank account, and I just got my cell-phone delivered. There’s a button you push and it opens! My co-teachers laughed when I got excited–my reaction was along the lines of, “OOOHHhhhhh!!!!!” And next week I’ll get internet in my apartment, and BREATHE EASIER. Well, I’ll breathe easier when I get my first paycheck and am not so scared of running out of cash. But one thing at a time!
This week has been CRAZY. I’ve stayed at the school until 7 or 7:30 the last two nights, and again tonight, for English plays! Wednesday was 3rd (9th) grade, yesterday was 2nd, and tonight is 1st. I was a judge for 3rd and 2nd, but tonight I can just enjoy the plays. Each grade is separated into 10 classes (the class moves around as a unit–so class 8 goes to art, math, science, etc. all together), so each class has 8 students make a play to compete. They are RIDICULOUS. The very first play had a murder in it, and they had a blood bag explode! My kids are the coolest.
They also have a shooting range in their school. That’s right. Don’t mess with Gwan-Gyo Girls.
Culture Tidbit: #5
Koreans are very emotional. Point one: their world cup fervor. The entire country flooded the streets–even my non-sport-loving co-teacher! Point two: they cry very easily. With the plays my kids are doing, many losing classes had a few criers in their midst. Also, the winning teams cried. And the girls who won best actress cried. It’s all very sentimental, right?
Cultural Tidbit #6
Koreans are always late! It’s WONDERFUL!!
For example: the bell rings, and a few seconds later, teachers will start to leave their desks in the office and head to class. So today, when I rushed in from the bank just in time for class, it was cool that I was literally right on time–I was kind of early for them! And this afternoon, I was trying to figure out my cell phone, so I was a minute or so late to class, but it was all good–I still beat my co-teacher there!
What a wonderful country.