Have you ever had a nightmare where you were late to your class and the teacher asked you to introduce yourself but you couldn’t and the whole class thought you were dumb? Don’t worry, I have now lived that for you.
After taking a late placement test, I was assigned to a lower level than expected (disappointing) whose class already started. By the time I found the bookstore and returned, I was two hours late and entered a classroom so small no one could miss me. I had the classic “oh no where do I sit” and ended up next to a surly Chinese teenager who would later have his phone taken away. The teacher asked me to introduce myself so I said my name. There was a long pause until the Laos girl next to me signaled that I should also add my nationality and age. I of course don’t know native counting* past three so had to hold up my fingers like a toddler. The class proceeded in Korean only (expected) using high formal tense (unexpected). Is this 1475? A hot mess.
Not to worry, though! Later I said hi to a very squishy toddler, went shopping at Daiso, learned and used the bus system, bought and carried across town a used clothing rack which I later struggled to get on the bus with, people watched from Gong Cha, and had fried chicken and beer. I’ll say that yesterday was… a learning day. And I’m so grateful that tomorrow is a holiday.
*Korea has two counting systems; a native system for age and things that goes to 99 and a Chinese based system for money and time that covers all numbers.