1.4 Spring 2020 (COVID Archives)

April 17

My Korean has improved to the point where I can argue with the 7-11 cashier about 1+1 sales.

(It was not actually an argument. I grabbed two granola bars in a 1+1 deal and they didn’t ring up that way so she came out from behind the counter to investigate and it turns out the sign was in the wrong spot.)

And yet my Korean is still bad enough to make crucial mistakes like accidentally convincing the barista I’m a stalker.

This morning the local barista and I were happy to see each other again and she asked if I lived around here. I told her no, I live in a different area. But then my mouth said this:

“But I work here so when I want to drink coffee I come here.”

She looked at me. “That’s strange.”

I didn’t realize until after I left the shop, cold brew latte in hand, that I had said “live” instead of work. Now I need to get another coffee next week and tell her my mistake lest she think I’m creepy.

The rest of the morning I spent finishing Korean homework, booking the hell out of my two online tutors, and closing out part 3 of my online teaching course.

Breakfast of champions.

But then, to close out this absurd week, something happened that made me so angry.

En route to the resource room I passed by male music teacher and bowed briefly in hello. Remember, he’s the one who had never ridden a plane til this year and also asked me if foreigners eat only bread.

After passing each other he called me by the previous teacher’s name and then said “oh!”.

To be fair, the previous teacher and I do have similar names and even my students make that mistake every once in awhile. That can be forgiven.

But then I turned around and he stood there looking at me.

“아직 잊어버렸어요?” You already forgot [my name]? I asked politely but without honorifics because he doesn’t deserve it.

He still stood there, hands in his pockets, expectant grin on his face, waiting for my answer. I told him my name in disbelief and he had the nerve to say, “Aha, Abi! So, how have you been?” in casual language because he’s been impolite from the start.

(Recall that while he technically has the right to speak to me informally because he’s older than me–his daughters are in college and I have so many questions–his method of doing so once earned derision from G privately: “I don’t like the way he talks to you.”)

I just responded “good” and walked into the resource room.

My god.

I have eaten lunch next to that man every day for an entire semester. I have ridden in has car several times, and I have had tea with him and the other subject teachers in his classroom on at least five separate occasions. He knew my name then because he used it often to call on me informally and then condescendingly ask my opinions on things in extremely basic Korean or scold me for zoning out at lunch (you know, where everyone was speaking Korean and I couldn’t understand anything).

The security guards manage to remember my name and we don’t even work together!

He’s just so rude in the very subtle way that one can be while using Korean and I resent his behavior. Luckily I’ll never have to see him again after this semester! Smell you later!

I went to S’s classroom twice to see if she ever got time off to have dinner with me but each time she was on the phone or recording material for online classes. I’m neither surprised nor disappointed; I’ll just ask her next week if she wants to do a post birthday dinner catch up.

It’s my birthday eve so I busted my butt at the gym and ate a double burger from No Brand Burger. I’m full and very tired and may sleep early so I have the energy for my big day tomorrow: meet my friend and her new baby for a picnic while walking along a cherry blossom trail, eat bbq dinner with my Busan friend.

Yesterday I stopped by the local bakery and at the girl’s best seller suggestion, went with the sweet potato cake. When in Rome, right?

Peekaboo. Pray I don’t drop this en route to my friends house tomorrow.

Now there’s nothing left to do but relax.

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