Housewives are nothing like those in the sitcom. Of course. Still, I would have thought that they have to be desperate to stay home in the 21st century, where women are now "liberated". But nop.
It's just a cultural thing and I've come to believe that it is, in a way, healthy. At least for the kids. Kids work so hard here, they need to have their mom whenever they're released from school obligations! Moroever, housewives enjoy life... they go out together, they can clean the house without being in a rush, they can go to museums in the afternoon, workout at the gym, do whatever they want. They have time to attend their kids' school meetings and the like.
Some of them are hilarious and do like to have a good time. One of my (housewives) student went to Japan last week-end and she said they put the kids in a room and they spent the night drinking and talking about old boyfriends and just laughing.
The only thing that bothers me is that men do all the "mandatory work". They have to get up early, work and bring money home. To me, this is reminiscnent to a partiarchal society. And it's slowly changing, but not surely.
A girl at work actually told me that she wants to be a good housewive. I was so surprised. And then another girls said that. And another. And Another. So I guess it's just the reality here. Still, I need to think more about this.
On another topic, I have started the golf lessons with Haeyong Choi, a Pro who's really amazing!
I'm still not perfectly good at teaching kids, but I really love them! They are so cute and smart! I used to just stare at children and be amazed by how wonderful life can be. I was (and still am) clumsy with them, because I am more used to dealing with grownups and talking about growup stuff. Repeating "This is a B A L L" is totally new for me. But I really love it!
You'll find out that kids in Korea spend an awful lot of time at school. They go to regular school, then take the bus that'll drop them off at the hogwan - where they sometimes stay as late at 10pm! It's incredible. And one Saturday/2 they have school.
There are so many things that I would like to explain, but I have a hard time sorting out the relevant/irrelevant stuff.
Ok, let me try to use little headings.
English Language Schools (Hogwans)
There are many many hogwans in South Korea... and thousands in Seoul. If you have browsed the web, you've probably read about really bad stuff happening to people. Sometimes they underpay you, sometimes they ask you to do crazy stuff like wash the bathrooms, sometimes they force you to work unpaid hours, etc. It can be hell.
I was lucky enough to find the one i'm working at. Thanks Marcus!!
The owner is socially awkward but he cares about his business so he has no choice but to treat teachers well (well, better than in other hogwans!). Everything is being taken care of (housing, alien card, bank account, picking you up at the airport, etc.) - he even organizes tours and, every week, we can give money and our grocery list to a guy, who then delivers it to our place. Really nice.
But the thing about Korea in general is that it is very bali bali - that is, rush rush. Everything gets done, but it's always last minute. So, as you may recall from previous posts, that is exactly how I started here in Seoul. I got off the plane on Thursday night and started working the next day.
My trainning? They basically told me "You'll figure it out soon enough. It took me three months to fully understand how it works here". This is definitely something that I DON'T like. The admin staff is very elitist and some of them are so incompetent that they try to make you feel bad just so you don't notice all the stuff they forgot to tell you about. If you do something wrong, they won't miss the chance of throwing it in your face, even though you had no idea because nobody had told you. But when you do something right, when parents or even children praise you, they don't say a damn word. Sorry folks, but I really believe in positive reinforcement. It creates a good work atmosphere - and at my school, there's very palpable tension on that level.
Oh man, this food is both healthy and delicious. Usually you have a whole bunch of sidedishes - garlic in bean paste, salad leaves, chopped green onions, gratted vegetables, etc.
And soup. Always soup. You can actually have a soup for a meal - one that I like in particular is very spicy, made with vegetables, tofu, you add in rice and an egg that cooks in the soup. MiiiiiiiiiiAaaaaaaaaam!!!!
- Kimchi: marinated cabbage, spicy
- Kalbi: BBQ meat, amazing! If you have enough money, go to a fancy restaurant where they cook it right in front of you. Really cool!!
- Sushi: Japanese food, but very popular in Korea. It's just amazing to have fresh sushi with fishes that you have never eaten before (raw octopus?!!)
- Kimchi Chiggae : big soup full of kimchi and pork, spicy, so good!
By the way, anyone who likes fish will be in paradise in Korea! A picture is worth a thousand words, and any I could never decribes those weird creatures...
At a market near Mok-Dong, Seoul