Friday, December 2, 2011

A Student's Can of Beer

Today one of my students had a giant plastic Hite beer (Korean Brand) sitting on his desk. At first I thought it was a pencil case because sometimes they can be a little out there, but it wasn’t. Just a giant plastic can of Hite… I couldn’t help but crack up upon first noticing it. I had walked into the room and he raised it as high as possible. Nobody, not even my co-teacher, thought anything of it.

Classroom etiquette in Korea is different than in the states. This was okay. Running is okay. Wrestling and hitting is okay (as long as no one gets hurt). Wearing an animal hat that covers ones entire face is okay. Telling the teacher she is ugly is okay (not to me, thank God).  Talking about dieing and killing people is okay. I’m not making any sort of assessment; I can’t say whether it’s good or bad. It’s just so different than what I'm accustomed to and there are moments I see or hear something and either a. laugh hysterically or b. think to myself, “Where on earth am I?” 

It reminded me of a time when Shannon and I were working in the summer camps at Garden Home. A camper’s mother accidently packed a beer instead of a coke in his lunch. This, of course, was hilarious, but something the mother was mortified about since even talking about beer around children in the U.S., especially in a place designated for children, is totally taboo.

Then again, when I lived in Oregon City, my brother and I used to walk to the nearby hospital gift shop just to buy bubble gum cigars, but didn't we all?  Hmmm…

Happy Friday in Korea :) 

1 comment: