Bring Your Toothbrush

The weirdest part of my workday is brushing my teeth in the office with a bunch of other teachers.  As soon as we return from lunch, my office-mates and I bust out the toothbrushes, gather around a big sink in the back of the office, and scrub our fangs.  I managed to score cool points with a couple of the teachers because I brought my toothbrush on the first day, which they did not expect from a westerner.

It’s already been a week and I still can’t get used to the idea of personal hygiene being a public thing.  You can’t see it in the picture above, but there are rolls of toilet paper sitting on the window sill.  They don’t keep toilet paper in the bathroom, so you might as well announce it to the world when you grab a roll and head for the hallway.  Not cool, Korea.

Despite the awkwardness of brushing teeth in public, I definitely like brushing my teeth in the middle of the day.  Kimchi breath can do some serious damage.  I try not to talk to anyone immediately after lunch for that reason.  I contend that Korean food puts Italian food to shame in terms of breath destruction.  I think I would have had a free pass if I did walk around with bad breath, though.  I heard from one of the other teachers that her coteacher thought westerners don’t brush their teeth.

I guess my fresh breath and I need to get back to work.  I was given two new textbooks today and told that I will be teaching a “special class” from 5-8pm on Mondays and Tuesdays, which means two 13-hour days each week.  I don’t know what “special class” means, and nobody was able to tell me the age group of my students, so I better be prepared for anything.

Until next time.


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