Living in Wonju South Korea, These Many Long Years

Living in Wonju South Korea, These Many Long Years: Version 2.0!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Left Handed

Ms. In, you are quite meticulous with your handwriting.  I watch you write; you write so carefully.

Silence.

Ms. In?

Pause.

Actually Mr. Waeg, the reason why I write so carefully is that I actually was born left handed.  When I was in kindergarten, I noticed that all the kids wrote with their right hands.  The scissors were right handed, the way the tables were designed, everything.  I lived in a right handed world.  It was one morning when I was first learning my letters that I decided to become right handed: my elbow kept bumping into the girl next to me angering her; it wasn't the first time this kind of thing happened.  So I decided to be like Pinnochio and cut the strings that fettered me: I would learn to be right handed.

It was painful.  Trying to do everything with my right hand was extremely difficult.  Even simple tasks like trying to eat with chopsticks would see me break out into a sweat, leaving me exhausted afterwards.  But I had to do it, I had to overcome my disability.  And I did.  But even now I still write slower than most people, in fact many things take me more time, but at least I'm normal.

Silence.

Ms. In, wouldn't the real fetter be the one in your mind which prevents you from being left handed?

A harsh look is cast across the room, but nothing more is said.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Vary!

Today at work one of the interns came up to ask me a grammar question:

"Mr. Waeg, could you help me? I'm trying to understand the difference between vary in, vary with, and vary among. Could you explain it please?"

My initial reaction was to say no: it was lunch, and I was busy thinking about how to put together the girls' Halloween costumes; after lunch I had a pile of TPS reports to burn through. But I did a stoopid and actually thought about it, only to realize that I had no idea how to explain when to use each.

I mumbled through some half-assed explanation, gave some correct examples, but truly felt stumped, then like crap for being unable to explain it. I used to be an Englishee teacher after all, and due to my holding this job I should be able to explain the technicalities of even the most arcane grammar.

When I got home, I shared the story with June. She simply laughed and said "well, why can't you explain it? You're a waeg who used to be an English teacher, you should know."

I reminded myself of the mental note I made years ago to not talk about work stuff with June, in fact to just generally avoid talking to her about most things at all. Then I talked with the girls more about their Halloween costumes, helped the eldest sort out some of the settings on the electronic keyboard, and opened a bottle of Daepo.

It's almost done.

Time for a second.