Yesterday, I guess one of the staff members brought sandwiches to school. When I went to say hello to the principal, she shared some of her sandwich with me. Even though, I suspect she didn't like the sandwich, it still made my day. We hardly get to talk to each other, let alone share things. On an average day, I pop my head in and say hello (안녕하세요) to her first, then the vice principal, before making my way to my mentor teacher's classroom. At most, if she's in her office, she will smile and reply with a yes (네)... or sometimes 네, 안녕하세요 and quickly turn back to her work. This is as far as our daily interactions get, unless there's a special occasion and she's not completely surrounded by the higher-ranked staff. So yes, this moment felt special. She beckoned me in and offered me some of her sandwich (and even some juice... which I stupidly turned down. I don't even know why. ... Maybe I felt like I shouldn't take too much from her at one time, even if she was offering). She sat down with me at the couches beside her desk, and I told her they were delicious (in Korean). She seemed happy about that, and said some things in Korean which I can only guess were details about where she'd gotten the sandwiches from. I nodded as if I understood every word, telling myself I'd ask one of the other teachers about it later. She's a really pretty, nice, respectable lady, my principal. I truly wish I could get to know her more. It seems like one thing that will be a bit impossible while I'm here.
One of my 6th graders asked me about racism the other day. Really, I was supposed to be teaching, but students were coming and going in such an annoying fashion that all I could do was casually converse with the two students who were sitting down in front of me. One of them came up and asked me if I knew about... I couldn't understand his pronunciation. I asked him if he knew how to spell it. He nodded and wrote it down- rasism. I tried my best to explain it to him. I don't know how much he understood, or why he even asked me in the first place. What happened in life that such a word was in his head? I'm not sure if he was asking me about racism in general or specific situations. It's sometimes hard to ask students, "Why?" because they might not have enough vocabulary to answer. I told him to ask his teacher about it too if he was confused.
I think I told you about the coffee shop that was built near my home. I'm curious about how their business is going. Actually, I've only visited there once since it's opened. I still favor the coffee shop a bit further away (because it's cheaper, and they have hot chocolate). Still, this week I'd been walking past the store quite often. (Usually, I have to walk the other way down the street). I figured I should visit them once again. After grocery shopping, I dropped my things off at home, grabbed a book and walked over to the shop. It was empty at this time--
...I'm sorry, I've momentarily lost train of thought. A first grader just procured an imaginary laser sword, and sliced me up. Give me a moment to put myself back together....
-- Yes, there wasn't anyone in the shop at that time. I walked up to the counter and the lady quickly ran to get her son(?) who could speak English. Now, I tried to speak in Korean with her and her son before, but I guess they insist on him using his English skills. I didn't even get a chance to order before she rushed off to get him. I ordered some chamomile tea and a cookie, and told them I'd drink in the store. As the lady made my tea, the son asked if I liked chocolate. I said yes, then paused. Oh no, what if they put chocolate in my tea? I stopped him and asked him what he meant. He asked again, and I said yes hesitantly. Then he went to the freezer and pulled out a handful of bite-size chocolates, put them into a dish, and placed the dish on my tray. Free chocolates. I paid, thanked them, and went to sit down with my tray. About five mintues later, the lady came over with a plate of sliced toast (strips, like french toast strips, but this was just regular toast) and a small side of whipped cream decorated with chocolate syrup. Wow. Before me lay a dish of chocolates, a plate of toast with a sweet dip, a cookie, and a cup of tea. I thanked her and dug in.
'Til next time,
Special P.S. Thanks, Katie, for keeping up with these. I hope they don't all sound bad, or all good. I'll do my best to write about all my adventures, good or bad or in between! :)