Friday, August 27, 2004

Koreans, women in particular, are obsessed with mirrors. And I mean obsessed. Everywhere you go you can see them looking in their little compact mirrors. They fix their makeup, the pick at their skin, they adjust stray hairs, the purse their lips and they do it for 5-10 minutes at a time. If they don't have a mirror nearby (which appears to be a rare crisis) they will whip out their cellphones and take pictures of themselves and then fix whatever minute flaw they detect and take another picture until they look perfect. It happens in school, walking down the street, in the movie theatre (some of the mirrors have little lights on them...the fact that if you need a light for your mirror, nobody can actually see your face seems irrelevant) and everywhere in between. Just an observation.

Today our school had a mini-crisis. The taxman was rumoured to be making the rounds of the hagwons (Korean for private english schools) and was headed towards Ding Ding Dang. Before Brian and I knew what was happening, we were hiding folders, throwing out papers, and scratching out words in our private diaries. It was hilarious. Apparently we have more classes than we are allowed and so there are a number of secret classes that technically don't exist (I teach about 3 or 4 secret classes). We had to remove all evidence of the classes - that meant schedules, folders and kids. If the taxman shows up while classes are in session the kids are told to run outside. I'm not kidding. I told the teachers not to worry about my class schedule, that it had been tucked away safely in my bookbag. Not good enough, they said. Apparently the gustapo taxmen are legally entitled to search our personal property. I offered to eat my schedule and for a few seconds I think they were actually considering it as an option. Yeesh. At any rate, the taxman never showed and everything will be back to normal tomorrow. It kind of makes me want to call in a "tax threat" every once and awhile to keep things interesting at work.

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