Because I’m new at the school, and I’m the only white guy they’ve seen at their school, every new class started with a brief Q&A session. I like it because it eats up teaching time, they like it because it eats up studying time. WIn-win, I say. Like I mentioned a few days ago, I got asked for my blood type, which I thought was weird, but here a few other questions that they like to ask.
They usually ask my age. The Korean aging system is different in that when a baby is born he’s 1, not 0, so I’m 23 in Korea. When I tell them this, they usually freak out a little. I figured out why that is today. In Korea, guys have conscription for 2 years, so they’d only come out of university at about 25. A group of high school girls accosted me on Friday and asked my age. When I told them, they got all excited and said they were 18. I think I got a wedding proposal in that exchange at some point. It’s just so hard to keep track of the girls who thinks I’m “handsome guy”, the ones who say “I love you”, the ones who propose and the one who want my phone number. Even I can hardly stand myself after reading that last sentence.
They like to ask for my height, which makes sense seeing how I’m about a foot taller than most of them. When I say 189cm, it causes a fair bit of commotion, typically with the hand-above-the-head gesture and general freaking out. Sometimes, I can get clapping out of it.
I’m often asked where I live. I’m not sure if they mean actual address, type of residence, or what, but I give them a sheepish smile, say I’m a foreigner and I don’t know where it is, just how to get there, and that it’s in Suwon. Sometimes they’ll even ask for my phone number. Since I don’t have one yet, it’s easy to get out of, but it makes me wonder about these kids’ intentions.
Lastly, they like to ask “if I have girlfriend”. I figured it’s easier for me to tell them I do, so I’ve created a pretend girlfriend for my kids. She lives in Canada, is about a foot or so shorter than me and is very pretty. One kid asked me to bring a picture of her. I’m not sure if she was calling me out on her, or if she’s genuinely curious. These kids are pretty hard to read sometimes. Thinking about it, the whole thing is pretty weird, but I think it saves me a whole lot of headaches with some of these girls. My co-teacher asked me if I really had a girlfriend at supper a few nights back; I told her no and why I say I do. I think she understood my reasoning. Then again, maybe she thought it was a dumb idea. Like I said, I find Koreans pretty hard to read.