Saturday, September 10, 2005

thirty-one teethies and other changes

Eating with thirty-one teeth is a strange experience. I find I'm very conscious of my wisdom tooth's absence. No "phantom limb" sensations, but a definite, bone-deep conviction that we've entered a new era-- l'Ere des Trente et une Dents. The ancien régime has passed; my mouth now harbors a prime number. In this, the next stage in my graveward progress, I shall prepare for the beyond by shedding superfluous body parts. (Given the lack of romance in my life, I won't be surprised to discover my dick quitting the premises sometime soon.)

Of course, physical change is a reality we deal with all the time, but special moments, like the moment your wisdom tooth is ripped bloodily out of your head, drive the fact of physical change home.

Today also marks my move upstairs from Room 202 to Room 302. I'll now be rooming with my fellow anglophones (two Brits and one Aussie), along with four Korean teachers of English (all of whom speak English quite well). To accommodate the extra people in both 202 and 302, everybody has had to change to smaller desks, but them's the breaks. Room 202 is sad to see me and my colleague "V" go; we were a great intercultural mix. Three teachers are taking our place, which means Room 202, which isn't very big, will be housing nine teachers.

One of the new Korean teachers, Ms. Kim, is already earning a reputation as a bitch. I won't be surprised to hear that a catfight's broken out in Room 202. One of the current teachers (also a Ms. Kim-- surprise) came in and ranted about how the new Ms. Kim pulled her aside and complained she was being ignored and disrespected.

If you've read the Harry Potter series and remember Dolores Umbridge, that should give you an idea of what this new teacher is like. She's physically massive; she smiles a lot and pretends to be cheerful, and to top it off she's a jumble of paranoia, insecurity, and, apparently, control-freakishness. She also speaks loudly and with a strange accent; I was convinced she was a Chinese woman who happened to speak scarily good Korean (wrong; she really is Korean).

I'm wondering how the new teacher will fare against Mrs. Lee, another of my officemates in Room 202. Mrs. Lee can be pretty catty herself. Speaking with her is great practice for my listening comprehension because she talks so damn fast, spewing long strings of rapidfire Korean like a monster shooting out ropes of snot. My supervisor came in the room once to talk to the Korean teachers. After the supervisor left, Mrs. Kim groused in superfast Korean, "What, nothing to do in the main office?" (Da-reun hallil-i eop-na?) Mrs. Lee can flay you twenty ways before you get a single syllable out. Oh, it's gonna be interesting. The new Ms. Kim is in for a surprise if she thinks she can push people around in that office.

[NB: Mrs. Lee is catty, yes, but I like her. Just wanted to make that clear.]

I'll miss the Korean teachers. Every day with them was a free Korean lesson, and they were quite pleasant to work with. My only complaint (lodged earlier, re: windows and A/C) was a minor one. Now that I'll be with "my own kind," I'm wondering how things will go. I think I get along with almost everyone in that office, but that "almost" is the problem. Won't get further into that right now. Maybe later.

Other changes include the weather. We're back to sopping humid, what with the Almighty wringing his sweaty underpants right over the peninsula. In typically Korean fashion, our summer simply refuses to fucking die. Can't wait for fall.

And tonight: a phone call from the parents, who tell me they're willing to pay for my plane ticket home. I may be spending December in Virginia after all. We'll see. There's a price to be paid, however: my mother wants me to emcee the Korean-American Wives' Club's Christmas party again. I did that in 2003 (see here) and it went fairly well. I suppose I could do it again, though I'm gonna have to make demands about better organization (got that, Mom? Dad?? I know you're reading this!).

More news as it crappens.


1 comment:

Jelly said...

Oh Kevin, I hope you're well. Go home for awhile in December if you can!! Blog from there about snow and Christmas trees and tinsel and make us all happy. Please. Ok?