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Like a Grade 7 Dance

A word to my early 20 self - you would not have survived here. Consdering you spent much of your time hanging out with boys or D's boys, you would find it now very difficult to adjust.

Koreans have a long standing custom, which I've been told stems from Confuscious, being that men and women rarely socialise together in public.

This is changing - we went out partying with Big A on his last night here - and there was a mixture of people - but looking back, the men sat at one end of the table, the women at the other.

This past weekend we had our kindergarten kids camp - which turned out to be one of the funnest weekends we've had here yet. Saturday evening was a BBQ - a Korean BBQ is essentially what we call a pig roast and let me tell you, that pig was good. Sorry if he was on his way to market but maybe he just should have stayed home.

All of our kindergartens are grouped into classes named after fruit. Peach, Orange, Cherry, etc. All the parents of each class, sit together.

It was with great amazement we foreign teachers watched as the parents pulled out mats to sit on, drinks to consume and additional traditional Korean food for the rest of the people sitting in their group. There was live squid, cockles and mussels (oh yes a live a live oh), various types of kimchee and all sorts of other wonderful dishes that I have not yet learned the names for.

We were invited to sit with our students parents. At my 'picnic spot' there were individual take out trays of a full meal: rice, breaded chicken, kimchee, seaweed soup. There were even options!! And they gave me the 'not so hot' option since I'm foreign.

What impressed me most was after dinner, without any real announcements, the men gathered in a circle to drink beer and the women gathered in a circle to eat fruit.

It didn't feel strange at all. And it was lovely.

They have so much respect for tradition. Yet they are willing to change it up a bit - one of the wives scoffed beer for us fruit-eaters. So it felt more like a sleep over. A slumber party. And I really liked it.

We talked about their kids - thanks to a Korean teacher who sat with us to help translate - and, as they always ask, what I thought of Korea and did I like the food. Tip: ALWAYS say something positive, no matter what you think. Koreans view criticism kinda like making fun of family. They can do it, but if some else says your momma's so don't take to kindly to it.

There goes the bell for class: Later: the rest of the evenings as a foreigner with the dads.


Anonymous said…
Hey A. Sending novel to you in care package. May be fiction but based on fact and tradion especially as they relate to gender relations. Hope you enjoy. luv ms

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