In Korea I work for a nice little Christian English school. Korean children go to an average of three schools a day. (American kids are F*CKED!) They may go to a traditional school first, then an English specialty school, followed by a math focused school, etc. They be GRINDIN! You are considered a bad Korean child if you are in bed before midnight because once you get home from school you then have to study! We are a school that specializes in English language and culture. It was so funny when the kids first saw me they asked, "Teacher African?" One of the directors quickly and with a lil tude responded, "Teacher is American NOT African!" She told me that I must clarify because the kids are used to seeing Africans and not "Black Americans." So now I am the "Brown American." One little girl said, "I want to go to America where sun is HOT so I can get brown like Teacher! She is sooo pretty." That made me smile and I tried to explain the best way I could, through our language barrier, that this was not a tan.
On another occasion I caught myself slipping into ghetto girl mode when a student did something right:
Me: That's Right! GO Boo!
Other little girl: Yeah Pookie!
Me: LMAO Where did you learn that?!
She answered me in Korean and I did not understand but I was DYING!
My employers are very protective and like to force feed me all the time. They get pissed when I don't finish my food so I am now eating everything even when I am not hungry. In addition Best Bup and I ventured to Seoul this weekend and one of my co-workers was insistant on taking us to the train station and wanted us to call when we got there so she knew we were safe. She wanted all the details of our trip! I told her we would be FINE! So sweet.
So as I previously stated I seriously underestimated the language barrier in Korea. Trying to explain to a cab driver where you live with charades is quite difficult, even if you have the address written down in Korean. But I did notice a few things about Korea:
1) Korean men are fascinated by Black women. They staaaaare! Then they come over and straight FLIRT! I think we have an international reputation for being overtly sexual or something because the response we have gotten from Korean men has been somewhat shocking. We stay friendly but often have to check them! This evening was interesting because we went to eat and were invited to join a party of 3 Korean men at another table. Needless to say it was interesting because they knew little English and we know little Korean. But they managed to ask if we had boyfriends and for our phone numbers. I found out one of the men we were dining with has a son that goes to the school I work in. I was quickly sworn to secrecy about our encounter in the restaurant. We had a nice FREE meal though!
2) Koreans are HUSTLAS! Any way they can make a dime, particularly off Americans, they are on the prowl. And if you waste their time and ask questions and do not buy they get PISSED! I told one vendor I would come back and he snapped, "NO! You buy NOW!" I left anyway and he scowled at me as I walked up the street away from his store.
3) Koreans say EXACTLY what they are thinking. One gentleman told my homegirl that she looked like Elvis Presley's daughter. (Mind you she looks NOTHING like Priscilla Presley!) I was weak. I also was hit with the hotness as soon as we arrived. In the aiport our escort looked at my passport and points to my first name and says, "This name Good!" He points to my last name and says the same. He then points at my middle name, which I HATE, and says, "This name not that good!" I was like word??? I don't like it either dude.
Bups in Korea
When we arrived in Seoul this weekend Best Bup and I finally saw people that look like us. I live around an hour outside of Seoul and I notice the closer you get to it the less people stare at you because they are used to seing your kind. The first Black woman I saw I wanted to hug and say HIIIII but instead we just exchanged a friendly smile. The network of Bups here are very tight and for the most part positive. They have nice events like poetry readings and fashion shows where we can meet and greet which is cool. However, I was DISTURBED at how many Black American women were givin us the MEANEST LOOKS! Like damn b*tch what did I do to you to make you look at me like that?! Aside from that I am looking forward to meeting and socializing with more international bups.
It took a lot for me to write this post and I barely scratched the surface of what has been going on here but once I get internet in the crib I will post more often. I am also still getting used to the time change. For now this International Bup is signing off....