South Korea ~ Suwon – 2014
I have just endured a very, very, weird work situation. Loved the kids for the most part, and was blessed with some pretty special workmates – my bosses though…hmmm…how do I put this in a clear, but dignified manner? How about this for size…they were absolutely fucking mental.
Okay, example one your honor…I stumbled across this on my boss’ wife’s desk…a couple of days before she had asked me if I would consider staying another year, I had said no due to the fact that the 9:20-18:30 workday leaves me exhausted (insomnia is a bastard – I blame my addiction to coffee…and choosing watching South Park episodes over sleeping).
The day after discovering this, she came up to me and proceeded to rub my shoulders, while cooing “staaaaay, just staaaaaaaaay…” I suppose that must have been in the first couple of chapters– physical contact and a soothing tone will get you your own way. It was still a firm no. She ought to have studied that text more closely I guess!
This was all a little odd, but funny enough for me to simply shrug off – unfortunately, this wasn’t to be the last of it.
On a rather normal day I was called down to the office, out of my morning kindergarten class…which is unheard of…largely because usually teaching works best when the teacher is actually in the classroom. Anyway, I was pulled out without any explanation and made my way meekly down the stairs. Upon arrival I was told to sit down in the conference room and await Mrs…okay, we’ll call her Mrs. Satan (just to avoid a lawsuit)…so yeah, I did as instructed and waited for Mrs. Satan to arrive. When she did I knew straight away I was in trouble. For what though? Argh, it was school all over again…sitting there getting in trouble for something I probably didn’t do, but was too shy and embarrassed to mention that I hadn’t actually committed any crime. Like in primary school when I was playing kung-fu fighters with my friend Jonny, and he mistook one of my “KAPOW HIYAAA!” screams as me saying a swear word…despite it being completely false I eventually just admitted to it so I could go and eat…I was hungry, and earlier I had spotted a rare chocolate bar in my packed lunch box. I mean I doubt Mrs. Satan will want to play that game…she’s kind of anti-fun…but you know…there are similarities between the two situations.
Sorry, yes…so she was standing up. I was sitting down. And suddenly she started screaming at me (in Korean)…I felt everything from my neck up flush with a fiery red nervousness…I tried nodding…the old trick from school…but that didn’t work, instead it appeared to incense her further…I tried paying closer attention to what she was saying, perhaps I could use my limited knowledge of the Korean language to pick out the main themes of this one way presentation…
This is basically what I picked up…or the way it all sounded to me anyway…
And so it went…on, and on, and on…I attempted to interject from time to time – and was met with a swift “HADGIIII-MAAA!” (which means something like “stop doing that!”), so that was her plan – to simply scream at me in a language I don’t understand, and if I ever try to reply; she’d just tell me to shut the fuck up.
Eventually she got frustrated…probably because I started unintentionally grinning, due to a huge nervousness/embarrassment overload…same thing usually happened in school…they didn’t like it then either. She called in one of the receptionists in order to translate her abrasive little speech she had just squealed into my ear. Turns out she was majorly pissed off, which granted wasn’t much of a surprise. It was then explained to me that she had been getting a lot of phone calls from agents asking for references…this I knew…in fact I had received an email from one, saying that my boss was “very unpleasant on the phone”…now I was more aware of what she had meant by that.
The translation continued, with Mrs. Satan storming back in the room every now and again, barking intermittently. I was told that Mrs. Satan was very annoyed, as she likes me a lot and wants me to stay…apparently “the Moms” (as they are known), feel the same way…so much so that they all got together and said that they would follow me to my next school – out of some kind of hap-hazard desperate snap decision, she had assured the Moms that I would be staying…and to ignore me and their children, no matter how many times they hear otherwise. This didn’t last for long (FUCKING DURRRRRRR! LIKE REALLY?!?! COME ON?!?!) and now they were even more irritated. They wanted to know which school I was going to, and when.
That is obviously mental, and clearly completely her own stupid fault…but listen, it gets worse…
She was now demanding that I move out of this city, never to return. She promised she would do everything in her power to keep me out…she would point blank REFUSE to give me a positive reference if the school was in the same city…if I decided upon another city, then yeah sure – she would give me the glowing reference she felt I truly deserve. This was to counteract the Moms who would be a lot less likely to up sticks and move simply to keep the same English teacher for their children. Smart plan…but devious…actually, straight up fucking evil.
I sat there and shook my head in disbelief. This was crazy. I wasn’t sure what to do…so I simply stood up and walked out, I still had a class to teach after all.
The next day she was all smiles. That wasn’t particularly surprising…she called me to her desk and handed me a small pink bag…something one of the children’s mothers had given her moments before…“Uhh…present…for your Mother…” she looked up at me with her eyes twinkling, as if butter wouldn’t melt – I said thank you and headed back to my seat. Later that day her husband called me into his office, and apologised on behalf of his wife…which I thought was pretty unusual…”please – please – don’t be angry…please, please…”
I wasn’t particularly angry actually, I was tired…exhausted of their mental shit…hoping and wishing that some honesty and decency may prevail for fucking once. Fat chance. Things just died down as per usual, there just tends to be an absolutely insane off the richter scale level eruption and then nothing…then another…then nothing…repeat, repeat, repeat -BOOOOM – bullet to the brain.
In my last week they tried a new tactic, which was faux-genuine niceness. They both approached me at once, flanking me from either side, handed me a doughnut (hats off to them for that one) and told me that they would miss me…that I was great…and that all of the children, mothers, and staff would miss me too…which was lovely, sure…but it made for a very, very awkward dialogue.
“My son loves you. He will miss you so much.”
“Aww, that’s nice – I will miss him too! I just need a position with less hours…I feel tired all of the time you see..”
“But I love you, we both love you. We all love you here.”
“Aww, that is very nice…but as I say…I just want a job with less hours next year – I need to focus on other things…and you know…I am a little tired as I sa-”
“The mothers are not happy – they all want you to stay, they will be very disappointed.”
“I know, I know…I have insomnia, I need more sleep, that’s basically -”
“We will offer you more money.”
“It’s not that, it really is just that -”
“But my son loves you. He will miss you so much.”
AAAAAAARRRRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! It went on and on, and on; but I am getting annoyed once again just reliving it all, actually that may have something to do with the fact that I am in a crowded coffee shop and a child has been screaming “MUMMMYYYYYYYYY” over and over and over, right in my ear hole, for the past twenty minutes – whatever the reason please forgive me for cutting it a little short.
So yes, the day I hopped and skipped away from that place was a very happy one…well, bittersweet I suppose, I mean some of the people there, especially the children – will be missed for sure. After all, it is they who made the experience such a positive one…filled with funny tales, anecdotes, and memories, some of which I have shared with you on this site…Mrs. Satan however, well she can just straight up go to hell – I guess it would suit her anyways.
There was one last funny tale to be had though, and here it is – before I left my boss told me that he wasn’t really feeling education anymore, he said it wasn’t such a great business to be in…certainly not profitable anyway. He was looking to switch it up a bit, and is now looking at selling up and instead getting into a whole different field. This is going to sound more mad than Mrs. Satan, but I swear it is true! Apparently they are looking at investing in horses. Canadian horses. Race horses, for racing…but once they are older and of no more use – you can make them into skin care treatments…for the face…I wished him all the luck in the world, he said he was off to Japan soon, to inspect the Canadian horses…that he would be selling from Korea…for racing…and skin cream…
Alright, that’s enough I reckon!
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