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Rude and Crude

When shopping for shoes on Saturday, K and I encoutered the most horrible lady I've ever met.

After saying our 'anyongasseyo', as politely and most accurately as we could, she just grunted.

I pointed to the bottom of a shoe, which had the shoe size I wanted, and she sort of just grunted again.

Moments like these make me want to scream 'DO YOU WANT ME TO SPEND MONEY HERE OR NO?'

But I was calm. I figured it was simply a culture miscommunication and so, I patiently waited for her to undo the plastic bag (no shoe boxes here) that had the pair of shoes I wanted.

I slipped on the shoe, which was most comfortable and actually had an open back that I thought would be easy and comfortable for teaching.

(Note: It seems many Koreans buy these types of shoes. I finally realised that the number of times they have to remove them to sit down in restaurants or going into homes, what's the point of laces and backs of shoes?)

K and I assessed the shoes a few more times and I realised that my North American feet would not be so warm in the shoes that act like sandals.

'Kam-samneeda' I said and smiled. And then I unleased the dragon. Dragon lady, that is.

The old woman started tsking and grunting and saying 'ga ga ga' , waving her hand at me like I was a dog.

We stood there stunned. I made a decision to contort my facial expression into the most disgusted I've ever been able to and to simply STAND THERE.

Stand there and let her bear witness to the fact that I thought she was crazy. That for once I was GLAD I didn't know what she was saying. That she could go ahead and say 'ga ga ga' all day and I still wasn't moving, or changing my expression.

I held my ground for a few minutes and decided that what I really wanted was to buy shoes and that I wasn't going to give my service to someone who was treating me like a canine.

We left a bit shell shocked, wondering what on earth we had done. Why was it that this woman was so offended? Why did she hate us so?

My Korean friends said she was just being rude. But it had to be more than that. I've never seen someone that angry.

Over the past four months we have been treated (mostly) with nothing but kindness, nothing but people who are so grateful that we are willing to teach their children our mother tongue.

Perhaps being foreign isn't always a good thing.


Anonymous said…
sounds like when i tried to buy a cell phone and was told that because i was foreign i wasn't allowed to have one... no, being foreign isn't always good...
Bill said…
I, like, so totally found your blog.

Anonymous said…
hey. I hope you had a nice night. B&G was pretty slow, but fun...I need your email address again so I can write you during these long days of not seeing you. Haha...


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