Elwood 5566

October 2002. (Korean Accounts 2)

Posted in Diary notes, Korean Accounts 2, Teaching by 노강호 on October 22, 2002

I had tonsillitis which kept me in bed for three days. I’ve never had tonsillitis before and it was pretty unpleasant. On the first evening I thought I was going to die – I was just freezing cold and couldn’t stop shivering. The next day I managed to go to the doctors – a friend of Mr Joe, who is an ear, nose and throat specialist. I went to him knowing he would contact Joe and tell him I was ill. I’ve taught the doctor’s son and daughter on many occasions. I love the Korean medical system as which doctor you go to depends on your ailment. There are cardiologists, neurologists, urologists etc all over the town. There must be fifty doctors within easy walking distance of my house. Anyway, Dr Um () had all the equipment for examining your throat and it more resembled a dentists than a doctors. He poked things onto my tonsils and sprayed stuff on them and I got a penicillin injection straight away. I then went back the next day for another one and within a few days the infection had cleared up.

On the Saturday I went with U Chun, Ga-in and U-no to a big clothes market in the city centre. It was massive as Daegu is a major textiles centre. There was everything and at quite good prices and quality. We ate lunch in a pulgogi restaurant and then I went back home to teach some private classes.  

I only have an hour of kindergarten a day but I absolutely hate them. I have five children aged 4 – Buddy, Betty, Anna, David and Jenny. Anna is a real macho little girl and I really like her and David is quite cute but the other girls are shut down and psychologically damaged – like so many Korean girls. Da Hae is still at the school, is still dribbling and still can’t really speak any English. I just go into the class, sit in my chair and call the kids to me, I have no interest or enthusiasm, I am not enthusiastic and I’m sure Sunny, the Korean teacher, thinks I’m a frigging moron. Sometimes the work for them is way too difficult. Today I had to read them a story and Buddy got really confused because the word ‘jet’ was used instead of airplane. I asked the Korean teacher to explain the confusion to him but she said we can’t speak Korean to them. If she hadn’t been there I would have explained in Korean but they really hate you talking any English in a class even if the kids don’t understand or are totally confused.  

I have been doing Taekwondo but have to train in the mornings at 7 0’clock. The place is always busy. I have found a relatively quiet place and this morning I saw a praying mantis up close. Ji-won’s final exams are looming and he is stressed out. Whoever heard of a stressed out 18 year old but he actually has a bad stomach due to it. David told me that twice a year Korean school kids are given envelopes to shit in and they have to take a sample of their crap to school so it can be tested. This week we had to celebrate Halloween which was funny as I moaned constantly about it being an example of American Imperialism. It seems all the kindergartens in Song-So were doing the same thing.  

I’ve eaten in a pogo restaurant several times. Pogo (복어) is puffer which can be poisonous and for which the chefs have to have a special licence.


No further entries were made whilst in Korea. My timetable became so hectic that I had time for little else. The stress was quite crushing and I am surprised the journey to Korea did not make me ill. My bout of tonsillitis strained relationships between Mr Joe and I. During my five day illness, he never bothered to see how I was and nobody was sent to check on me. Indeed, he made several phone calls to my landlord to ask when I was coming to work. When I eventually went back to Di Dim Dol, he ‘ordered’ me back to work. ‘Ordered,’ was the actual word he used. I ended up having the most enormous row with him at the end of which I resigned.

My resignation didn’t really affect my trip and I resigned from the school in late December but remained on until Matt visited me in January. I actually returned to the UK the same day as Matt. If I remember rightly, Matt stayed with me in my apartment for 10 days. I seem to remember we left Korea on Sol () which is New Year’s Day. No further diary entries were made until 2006.

©Amongst Other Things – 努江虎노강호 2012 Creative Commons Licence.

Written Nov 2002


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