I am a vegetarian. I have been for most of my life. Well, I should say that I have been a pescetarian for most of my life. Normally, it’s not something I think about. I don’t eat meat. Big deal.
In Korea however, it is positively freakish. Every day at lunch I am subjected to pitying glances.
“Poor Carrie-teacher,” my co-workers say, shaking their heads. “How sad that you can’t enjoy this delicious blood sausage or these fabulous fried entrails.”
I appreciate their concern but it’s not necessary. I don’t miss meat. I barely remember what it tastes like.
Being a veggie does mean that occasionally I have weird things for lunch. Last week for example, I had quail eggs and kimchi for lunch because even the rice had meat in it.
I keep granola bars in my desk. 😀
I have avoided mentioning it to my students. I don’t want to be chased by an angry parent because their child has suddenly decided to stop eating meat!
And so I was astonished today when nearly every Grade 6 I met asked me about being vegetarian. (I teach 372 Grade 6s by the way…)
“Why, Carrie-teacher,” they would demand, sounding horrified. “WHY?”
This was usually followed by:
“Why no meat but you so big?”
Charming little hellions.
Eventually I enlisted the help of a co-T to help solve the mystery.
It turned out that in their health class today, there had been a section in their textbook on vegetarians. One of the questions was “Why would someone choose to be a vegetarian?” The health teacher didn’t know. She simply couldn’t comprehend why anyone would voluntarily choose to not eat meat. And so she told them to ask me.
In a strange way, it did fit into our lesson… We were learning “I want to…/ I don’t want to…” My students kept saying “I want to eat meat but Carrie-teacher does not want to eat meat.” And then they would laugh hysterically.
I’m not sure why my dietary habits were side-splittingly funny but since they were using the target language, I didn’t mind being the butt of the joke. 😀