Archive for the ‘Awkward’ Category

Smoked Eel and Scandalous Gossip

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

Yesterday I had my final English teacher 회식 (hweishik – dinner meeting). There were seventeen of us, fifteen Korean English teachers, the principal, and myself. We met at a restaurant and grilled delicious slices of eel while we chatted. I sat next to the principal, who had actually left his principal training in Chungcheongbukdo to come to my final dinner. We talked together as the other English teachers ogled (as they don’t normally hear me speak in Korean), and I told the principal that the faculty had tried very hard to make me feel at home at CPHS, and it was difficult for me to leave. He also expressed regret that I was leaving.

Fast forward to halfway through the meal. Due to the smoke from the eel and the poor circulation in the room, it looks like I’m constantly crying. An English teacher makes a joke about how the smoke is attracted to beauty, as the only teachers affected by it were the female teachers. The female teachers and I spent the next few minutes pretending to cry about how I was leaving.

Later on in the meal after one of my coworkers had yelled out that I was SO Korean for being able to answer simple questions in Korean, and how I should just stay in Korea forever, the principal looked at me and asked very directly  “Are there no handsome men in Korea?” I stuttered and stammered for a bit, and answered hesitantly “있어요 (there are).” All of the men chortled as the same coworker (Mr. K) loudly proclaimed “You should date one! How about Mr. C? He’s young and single! He’s the only single one! He’s very handsome, yes?”

Now apart from being super awkward, it is true. He is the only single teacher, and he’s not unattractive. The thing is, I’m actually dating someone right now – a Korean guy, not that the nationality matters to me – but there was no way I was telling my entire English faculty this. Only two of the teachers know that he exists, and only one (my rockstar co-teacher) has met him. So, I was stuck between the rock of telling all of the teachers that Mr. C was indeed attractive, and the hard place of telling them that I was dating a Korean guy, like they had recommended. I chose an awkward middle ground and made a noncommittal sound that vaguely sounded like I was agreeing


After a moment’s hesitation, probably due to my weird intelligible response, Mr. K continues.

“You can have a case like Rockstar Co-teacher!”

“What do you mean?”

“She is married to an American! You are American! You can marry a Korean guy!”

“… hahaha. eurghhhhhh.”

Thankfully after that they started ragging on someone else.

The Awkward Hallway

Monday, May 7th, 2012

Yesterday after school I was exhausted, went on a youtubing spree, and ended up watching all of season one of “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl” which is absolutely hysterical, and the “Awkward Hallway” episode got me thinking about my own awkward hallway. Which is to say, all the hallways at my school where I might run into people.

When you meet people, even in passing you should 인사 (insa: greet) them and bow. Not like, a colonial-style hand-in-the-front-and-knees-bent-like-a-fop-type bow, nor is it a complete 90 degree plank (well, unless it’s a more formal occassion than a happenstance hallway meeting), but nodding your head and a little bit of movement at your waist is generally fine.

You see, what makes this so awkward is that I’m the youngest teacher at my school, which means that I should greet people first when I see them. Now, this isn’t always the case, and some teachers will preemptively greet me (probably out of pity), but for the rest it’s like an awkward game of bowing chicken. 

When do I bow?-Where do I put my eyes?-We’re the only people in this hallway, is it rude to not make eye contact?-Is it rude to MAKE eye contact?-Oh god it’s like I’m staring her down.-Look away LOOK AWAY.-Oh no, now that teacher probably thinks that I’m being rude and not acknowleding her presence.-Look back.-Smile.-What an idiot she can’t see you smile from here.-Stop smiling.-Oh wait, you can see her mouth so she can see yours, so she just saw you stop smiling and look awkward.-Okay okay okay I’m just going to do it.


I should’ve waited, we’ve still got like half this hallway to go.-When I pass her do I bow again?-What on earth is the etiquitte for hallway bowing?- Oop here we go, aaaaand we’re passing.


Why did I do that?-Why did I say anything?-That was so awkward.-THAT WAS SO AWKWARD.-Well, at least I’m done-Oh.-Here comes another teacher.

AND repeat.


Thursday, October 6th, 2011

So I should be packing because tomorrow I’m leaving straight from school to go to the Busan film festival (heck yes) buuut I hate packing so here goes.


Today a group of students who were all a full head taller than me apparently did not see me because I am too short and ran into me. Literally. I couldn’t dodge because they were taking up the whole hallway. I swear, sometimes I feel like I’m playing chicken in the hallways, especially with the boys who walk in packs.

Also today we had bibimbap for lunch (which is my FAVORITE) and I ate it with great gusto. So much gusto in fact, that when I got back to the office my co-teacher picked a piece of rice out of my hair -_-. No wonder the teacher sitting across the lunch table from me kept staring. The sad thing is, this is not the first time this has happened (though it is the first time this has happened at Changpyeong… to the best of my knowledge).

Final thought for the day – I had my first club class in awhile (due to cancellations) today. To break the ice we played a game called King Kong where you write the name of a famous person/character (dead, alive, or fictional) on a piece of paper then swap papers and then tape someone else’s piece to your forehead. You then have to guess, using yes or no questions who your person is (Am I alive? Am I dead? Am I an entertainer? etc) and if the answer is no your turn is over. Well, many Korean people have trouble spelling famous people’s names because they only know how it’s spelled in the Korean alphabet. Keeping that in mind, one of my students spelled the name of her famous person wrong, which caused a girl to have the word “Poo” taped to her forehead for thirty minutes. Didn’t have the heart to correct her after the girl put it on her head because frankly I didn’t notice, and I didn’t want to have to explain what “Poo” meant as opposed to “Pooh.”