Wednesday, December 4, 2013

When in Korea, do as the Koreans do

Cover your yawns

Today I learned that it's polite to cover your mouth when you yawn in Korea.  Whoops.  Since I'm basically surrounded by elementary kids all the time, I hadn't noticed this during my first three months here.  (Kids aren't necessarily the best models of "correct" behavior!)  So now I know, and I'm trying to train myself to cover my mouth when I yawn.

Wear a muffler

I also learned that when your voice is raspy and you're fighting a cold, you should wear a big thick scarf all day (a muffler, actually).  I woke up with not much of a voice today (after getting my THIRD cold this fall/winter on Sunday and feeling absolutely terrible last night), but my co-teacher thankfully forbade me from talking during our classes today.

She asked me after our first class, "Why aren't you wearing a muffler?"
"Uhh, I'm not cold?" I said, not expecting to be asked that question.  She told me I should wear one to keep my neck warm in order to get better.  So during the ten-minute passing time I went and got my big, thick scarf and wrapped it around my neck even though I was not cold.  I don't want people to think I'm just asking to be sick!

Muff-what?

I was not surprised when this co-teacher used "muffler" with me because I learned the term last week when teaching my fourth graders.  It's one of their six clothing words this unit: coat, vest, T-shirt, sweater, belt, and muffler!  Apparently "muffler" is what they call a thick winter scarf.  "Scarf" is used for the light, silky accessory that women wear around their necks.  My co-teacher had no idea that for many English speakers, a "muffler" is a car part, nothing more.  I did a google images search for "muffler" to show her what I meant.


I'm off to early bed again.  Not 7:30 like last night, but 9:00 is still early -- even for me.  Good night!
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