Thursday, November 16, 2006

One of the biggest adjustments I've had to make here has just been accepting that when something strange happens, I will not understand what's going on or why. For example, last night my host father slept in the closet. I have no idea why he did this. It could not possibly have been comfortable. His usual sleeping space (the living room floor) was unoccupied, and my host mom had spread out his usual sleeping arrangement for him. He didn't even drink last night. This morning, as my host mom and I were eating breakfast, I pointed at the closet door (behind which, my host dad's heavy snoring was clearly audible) and asked, in Korean, "why there?" She just laughed at me and gave me a shove for trying to speak Korean.
This happens all the time. At school, instead of even attempting to explain things to me, most people grab me by the arm or shoulders and steer me over to where they want me to go. I either figure out what's going on as it starts to happen, or else I just float through cluelessly, trying not to make too much of a fool of myself. On Tuesday, I was led in this manner into the freezing cold auditorium, where all the 5th and 6th grade boys were chanting and doing something that looked kind of like ritualized threshing with fake farm tools made of braided rope as the 5th and 6th grade womenfolk (students and teachers) stood to the side and chanted something else (I'm sorry if that sentence didn't make sense. The scene in the auditorium didn't make sense either).
I was put in a corner with two older teachers and given a very lengthy, wordless demo (with a test at the end!) on how to clap my hands together. I then watched threshing and clapped for an hour and half. When I tried for an explanation of this random event, I was rewarded with shrugs and several cups of instant coffee.

1 comment:

will said...

your middle kingdom readers are being allowed to view your site by their gracious government for the first time in months!