A lot of my posts are related to my coteacher and other colleagues. There is a never-ending stream of stories about frustrating conversations with them. It might seem like my relationship with Mr. Kim is defined by our inability to effectively communicate, but that is far from the truth. Despite all my bitching and moaning about the language gap, I am fortunate to have a coteacher who works hard to make sure I have everything I need. I have no doubt that he takes his coteaching responsibilities seriously and cares about my welfare. Furthermore, he treats me like family.
Last Sunday, he invited me to join his family for lunch. This is a weekly tradition in the Kim household. Last Sunday was special because his oldest son was on leave (for the first time) from military training. He met me at the subway stop in his neighborhood (Daeshil) and walked me back to his apartment. I sat and talked to Mr. Kim and his sons for about an hour before we set out for a restaurant called 두부 (Dubu) Village. Dubu is the Korean version of what we call Tofu.
*Quick side note: As I typed the last paragraph, Mr. Kim was rubbing my stomach. I have no clue why. He’s talking to another teacher in Korean. At first he was pointing at me, obviously telling the teacher something about me. Then he stepped up his game and went straight for the tummy rub. Maybe he’s telling Ms. Jeon about how hairy I am – he likes to bring that up a lot. I don’t love that.
Lunch at Dubu Village was exceptional. We had a huge spread of kimchi, pork, fish, rice, vegetables, and spicy bean sprouts. The best part was when Mr. Kim ordered my favorite soup at the end of the meal – 된장찌개 (spicy soy bean soup). We sat for a while and talked – mainly through his oldest son, whose English skills were better than Mr. Kim’s.
Mr. Kim’s wife, who does not speak much English, didn’t spend a lot of time trying to talk to me. Instead, she just smiled and loaded my plate up with all of the foods she wanted me to try. At the end of the meal, she pulled a container of fruit from her purse and let me choose the first piece.
Though I didn’t think to pull my phone out and snap any pictures during the meal, I did get a quick photo of Mr. and Mrs. Kim this morning when we visited her office (while running errands).
I’m sure I will share many more stories about Mr. Kim and the other teachers at my school. I think it is important to clarify that, although I get frustrated often, it is not due to a lack of care or consideration on the part of my friends and colleagues. They all treat me well and seem to share a genuine concern for my well-being, even if I don’t do a good job of communicating it through my posts.
Until next time.