Yesterday after lunch, the first graders captured me and pulled me down the hallway, shouting, "Come on! Come on!" They also said some things in Korean and laughed and squealed like little children who have something disturbing to show you. I was led down the stairs and around the back of the building. Finally, I recognized a Korean word. Dong. Poop. Oh dear.
They all shouted my name, telling me to look at what they'd found. The pointed to some stones on the ground. One kid lifted one of the stones and the others squealed and laughed louder. A bunch of students pointed to their butts. Look, Shannon! Poo! Smelly! Ahahahah! Of course, all that was in Korean, but I don't need confirmation to know what they were telling me.
I'm not afraid of seeing poo. I raised a dog from early puppyhood, and I usually ended up being the first to find and clean up every mess that occurred. Still, my imagination went a little wild and I started wondering a few things as the kids ran around me. Why were they so excited about this particular amount of poo? Why was it more special than the poo I saw out by my bus stop? Surely, they walked past that without making a fuss. Was this poo, by any chance, human poo? It was possible. Why were rocks covering it? Was that to prevent others from stepping in it while they played back there? Possibly. Still....
Last night, I had dinner at the daycare teacher's house. I got to meet her husband and baby boy. As her husband picked me up from my home, we chatted in English. At school earlier that day, the daycare teacher told me that the health teacher (one of the teachers I regularly have dinners with.. you know, those "secret" dinners) would be coming over too. So as the husband and I were driving along, I expected us to stop by the health teacher's house. Instead, we drove over to the down town area and stopped outside a hospital. The husband said she was in there visiting her boyfriend. Boyfriend? Who? Oh, maybe... but does he mean boyfriend, or BOY friend? What happened? So, we waited for her to come out. Instead of one person, two people came out. It was the previous 4th grade teacher that I'd suspected. He was wearing a jacket over hospital clothes. When we were all in the car, they told me he'd been in a car accident, and he'd been in the hospital for back strain pain.
Ok. Now, if not for this dinner, I have a very strong feeling that I would never have found out that he'd been in an accident, or in the hospital. Sure, nothing was super serious. He was able to come join us for dinner, after all. Yet, I feel like the lack of info I get from my Korean FRIENDS extends beyond the school grounds. I settled for being unusually talkative and asking him questions about the accident. It had happened on Monday. Today was Wednesday. Hmm.
Dinner was great. Samgyeopsal at home is awesome. The daycare teacher's son was very hesitant to interact with me at first (I look very different, after all), but by the end of the night, he had successfully given me an apple slice and one of his toys. I also made friends with the husband. He proposed that I join his family for traveling trips whenever there was free time. He said I must be lonely (even though I expressed having several foreign and Korean friends). He said I should be more of a people-person. Honestly, why are all my Korean friends telling me to be more talkative? It's called being quiet and shy. It's a personality type. Despite that, I DO talk to people. I have somehow managed to make tons of friends here in Korea, despite not appearing to be a "people-person". But, Mr., I'll take your advice. You, like all the other Korean friends I've made, seem to know me better than I know myself.
He is the typical caring Korean, who wants to know what you eat for breakfast (if it doesn't sound as filling as a Korean breakfast, you fail); how many friends you have; and how you spend your time outside of work. The daycare teacher and her husband are very nice people. I wish I'd met them earlier, because I truly felt more alone earlier in the year than I do now. Now, I've gained many friends, especially Korean friends. There's much less time to interact with them all, but I hope that our friendships won't die when I leave Korea.
'Til next time,