A Canadian writer teaches English and finds out what it's like to be a foreigner.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Nature Calls

I could write a book on Korean kids and dung. But it would just be a thousand questions without an answer to the proverbial WTF?

Literature and collectibles abound (I bought a Dongchimee pencil case at the Dalki store in the COEX) and furthermore, there seems to be a generally-accepted sound affect for evacuation.

Joseph spelled it for me as "buzizic" (buh-je-jic).

That is the dung sound. It was sadly not an isolated case of one boy's madness and class-clownism.

Now I know.

My file is growing.

On another, eventually-related note, Korean kids tend to be very patriotic. Even very young ones have an opinion on the fierce territorial debate between Korea and Japan on the Liancourt Rocks in the East Sea/Sea of Japan, known as Dokodo or Takeshima respectively.

I've been asked numerous times by the children if I think "Dokodo" is Korea's or not. When I respond that I don't care, they are shocked.

I explain my traveler's neutrality to the best of my ability, amounting mostly to "it's none of my business, I'm not Korean or Japanese."

Many other historical sites in Korea are so old and culturally instilled that the kids are shocked that I don't know about them.

"Teacher! You know Mount somethingsomething???"



"I've never heard of it."

Joseph, 13 and so more nationalistic, seemed almost angry that I didn't know about this random, but reputedly amazing Korean mountain.

"Why you don't know?" he challenged me.

"I'm a guest in this country Joseph, I'm not a citizen. Your history isn't mine."


"Do you know about Gros Morne?" I said tossing some Atlantic Canadian landmarks at him.


"Bras D'or?"


"Sable Island?"



There was a beat of silence as if the set-up had been intentional.


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