Peculiar Presents

I was sitting at my desk today reflecting on the fact that living in Korea for another year is going to make blog writing a bit difficult.  So much of what seemed interesting and different last year has become totally normal.

For instance, I no longer wonder why the students who “clean” the staffroom mop and then sweep.  I don’t feel queasy when we have fish ovary spaghetti for lunch, nor do I even blink when the students punch each other in class.  I’ve stopped noticing the double, triple and quadruple parked cars in front of my apartment building and I’m no longer shocked when people just drop their drawers and pee in the Bamboo Forest.  It all seems so boring and normal now.  What, I wondered bleakly, was I going to write about this year?

And then I received two presents that gave me hope.

The first will be instantly recognizable to anyone who has taught in Korea.

All of my girls carry these combs.  This exact model of comb, nothing else will do.  I’m unclear what the pointy handle bit does but the fine teeth are apparently essential for optimum bang combing.

The girls will sit in class and comb their bangs over and over and over again.  They will comb their bangs for the entire 40 minute English class.  I’m constantly amazed their bangs don’t fall out.

My students each have at least 7 of these combs – one for each colour of the rainbow, and most girls have also added pink, brown, black, gray and white to their collection.  Why do they need so many combs?

My co-T and I were presented with combs of our own today.  I received the lovely yellow one pictured above while my co-T got hot pink.

“Thank you!” I said, smiling.  “But why are you giving me a comb?”

“Carrie-teacher, you have VERY crazy hair!”

“Oh.  Well, does Cho-teacher also have crazy hair? You gave her a comb too.”

“No!  Cho-teacher is VERY beautiful!”

Not beautiful enough apparently…

The other gift came as I was leaving school.  I noticed a group of students clustered around a woman holding a large bag.  They spotted me and came charging over.  Most of the boys seemed strangely reluctant to leave the woman’s side.

“Carrie-teacher!  Ha-roh! Ha-roh!  You like candy?  Berrrrrrrry dericious candy!”

Apparently the woman with the bag was handing out candy, but no one knew who she was.

“You don’t know who she is??” I asked, scandalized.  Clearly Korean students didn’t take Stranger Danger classes at school.

One kid thought she might be someone’s mother, while a few others suggested she might be from the church.  They seemed puzzled by my questions.  Who cared who she was?  She had candy!

The woman came over and gave me one of what she was handing out.  I was very reluctant to take it.  What would my mother say if she knew I was taking candy from a stranger? 😀

I’m not sure I want to try it.  It doesn’t look very delicious.  And the weird-looking kid in the picture – why is his nose running?

I think I’ll take the candy back to school next week and give it out as a prize in my after-school class.

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About Carrie K

Teacher, writer, traveller. Slightly neurotic. Overly talkative. Loving life. You can also follow me on Twitter: kimchigirl72
This entry was posted in Korea, Korean schools, Life, Teaching English, Travel, Uncategorized, Work and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Peculiar Presents

  1. megan says:

    The long handle is to separate sections of your hair. Useful to neaten or change your parting. It’s funny how north Americans say “bangs”, we call it a fringe.

    • Carrie K says:

      Hmm…. I’ve never seen them do anything but comb their bangs. I’ll have to watch more closely! 😀
      It is funny we say bangs eh? Fringe is definitely a better word.

  2. Starfruit says:

    So what .. are you staying .. for another year? I mean, I want you to because I certainly haven’t gotten my fill yet of brains and ears and fish ovary spaghetti ;-P

  3. oegukeen says:

    Yeah, I’ve seen those combs many times in Europe. Like Megan said, it is used to part hair on the top of your head and make sure the parting comes out a straight line.

    I asked Kimchi Man why the kid’s nose is running and he said it’s a character and the runny nose is supposed to reflect his stupidity.

    • Carrie K says:

      His stupidity? Hmmmm… I’m not sure that makes me want to eat the candy. What a strange marketing strategy. Thanks for the info Kimchi Man! 🙂

      • oegukeen says:

        Haha, you are right. I felt a bit uncomfortable calling a child stupid, even if he is only a cartoon character, but that’s how Kimchi Man put it. 🙂 I’ll let him know.

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