Korean school in Korea
As some of you may know, I am attempting to learn Korean in Korea.
I thought my program would be filled with students like me, American-Born Koreans wholly incapable of putting Korean sentences together without looking like a fool. Nonetheless, I’ve realized the program is quite diverse as there are a ton of Japanese/Chinese/Other Asian people, as well as the rare few from other nations. I’ve broken down some of the different people I’ve come across.
1) Studious Japanese Girl
This girl will kick your ass if you are in a class with her. Don’t let the cute demeanor, Hello Kitty pencil case or deferential nature fool you; this girl probably speaks Korean better than my aunt in Seoul. When she smiles, says an impeccable “Anyonghasaeyo” and gives you the peace sign, run, don’t walk, and beg to be put in a different class. She will bow and apologize to the teacher for coming in two minutes early.
Note-taking is hurried but impeccably neat, bad jokes by the teacher are politely giggled at (one hand covering mouth, other hand covering skirt), and rote memorization of data is done at a pace that rivals your latest PC computer. She is the praying mantis of exchange students, except after she eats you up in reading, writing and speaking she’ll bow dutifully and say “arigato goizaimasu” to you as you lay there stunned and defeated. There are no atheists in a classroom with the SJG. She is an unstoppable force of academic might and is probably the reason why you lazily watch football on a crystal clear Sony, cruise comfortably in a Honda Accord and why you have sudden subliminal urges to to obey Lord Hirohito and destroy Westerners.
2) The WTF are you wearing.
(I know he’s Korean……)
Usually from Japan/China, this guy has pants that are tighter than those of your girlfriend. His hair is a different style everyday and always has a streak of coloring. Most of this guys time is spent either borrowing his friends mirror or in the bathroom making sure every strand of hair is is perfectly in place. Wearing of non-flamboyant shirts seem impossible as some combination of swooping V-necks, tight pink, jean shirts are in place. Belt buckle is extremely ostentatious and this man can accessorize better than your Hannah Montana-watching adolescent girl.
Girls are even more confusing. Glasses larger than the face, black and white striped shirt, yellow colored beret, jean miniskirt over green colored stockings, pink boots. Next day, more ill-matching attire and accessories, which makes even Lady Gaga cry WTF. This phenomena can only be explained if you were to tell me her daily attire is randomly chosen by Andrea Bocelli at a Salvation Army outlet. Rule of thumb seems to be, if it matches, don’t wear it together.
3) Freakin’ White guy
(Forgive me, I know the pic shows a Japanese flag)
Most are from the US. No real reason for them to be here. I see around 50 white dudes and 2 white girls. If the businesses they worked for really needed their employees to learn Korean, I am sure they don’t need only their male employees to learn the language. For this, I am highly suspicious of their motives. Most of them when asked why they are here give your token, “I enjoy Korean culture and cuisine” and smile. This is of course a lie, for he could kill two dogs, i mean, birds with one stone by eating bosintang.
Realistically, his presence is a natural response to the economic phenomena known as “Supply and Demand”. Korea provides an endless supply of Korean women that he demands. Thus his countenance rivals that of an unneutered bulldog at the Westminster Dog Show and is essentially walking around with a sign that says, “I have U.S. citizenship”. Korean aptitude is surprisingly strong for a “gringo” though not at all surprising once your realize this gentleman was also a chairmen of his respective school’s KSA.
4) American-born Korean tough guy
(I have no idea who this guy is, poor dude)
If any of you live in an area that has more than a few Koreans, you know who I am talking about as they have probably picked fights with your parents, baby sister or wheelchair-bound grandmother. For those who don’t know, the only way I can describe it is if you took the personalities of the guys on the Jersey Shore and put them in the bodies of skinny Korean kids who are trying too hard. Smoking cigarettes and saying the word “Fuck” seems to be their form of sustenance as only this can seem to explain why both are done with such frequency and conviction. For some, Korea seems to be their last outlet for redemption. Living in America for all their life seems not to be a sufficient condition for them to learn proper English. Thus they are in desperate search for job qualifications other than demeaning women and picking fights with people. Others, are here chilling out and looking for a party every night hoping that this program is actually the “Loveboat” their friends (who attended in the past) told them about. This second variety though is rare this time around, as most come during the summer after the semester is over at school. Korean aptitude is usually poor and nonfunctional except in a setting when ordering drinks or asking a girl for her number.