Mashed potatoes, Christmas cake, Kang Dong Won and... excuse me, what?

Oh god. I've just made myself sick by realizing that the number one food I was going to miss on Christmas was my grandma's mashed potatoes, which is one of the only things my domestically disinclined brain can handle helping out with, and that I can totally make mashed potatoes just like hers in a snap with stuff I can easily get in Korea, and then doing it, and then eating way too much of it way too fast.

My stomach hurts. Dairy overkill is a bad idea after you've been on a Korean diet for over a year. Ask any foreigner -- they'll tell you.

So what the hell, then? What's with the being so jazzed about Christmas? I don't know. I'm infamous for hating just about everything about the holiday. But I think that's just because in the States it's so goddamn in your face. Everywhere you go for an entire month, all you see is Christmas. All you hear is Christmas. It's just too much. In Korea, it's easy to forget the holiday even exists for the most part. Maybe I just needed Christmas to back the hell up for me to enjoy it.

Look. I even bought a fucking Christmas cake:

The students make the holiday a lot more enjoyable as well. Well. The students just make everything more enjoyable. Except trying to take a nap in the teacher's room on your off period. Obviously, family is nice around the holidays, but there's something different about getting Christmas cards from your kids or having them all line up with their cute little faces to tell you, "Merry Christmas Teachuh!" How are you supposed to stay grumpy about that?

Here's something I can be grumpy about, though. (Oh, come on. You knew that was coming.)

Part of why I'm so hyped about the holiday is that I get to spend Christmas Even NOT going to work at 8 in the morning to sit in a chair and whine at Coteacher about how bored I am for 9 hours, but instead I get to take my time moseying over to the local cinema at 10 in the morning to join the students for a morning screening of 전우치, which the boyfriend crew have assured me I will enjoy even if I don't have a clue what the hell is going on, because 강동원 is apparently "very handome man". Let's see, shall we?

Hm. Not exactly my type. He's got weirdo alien eyes and he's far too clean cut and pretty. In short, boring. Nothing special. Wait....

Okay. That's a little better. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: with Korean guys, sometimes the hair makes or breaks it.

Anyway. That Avatar nonsense apparently goes on for three hours, which the boyfriend crew found out about and immediately advised me against. Smart boys. I'd rather sit through an hour and a half of trying to understand Korean than three hours of just about anything else.

The point is, I was supposed to be able to sleep in tomorrow. That is until my ride to work this morning from the teacher who is the mother of the two girls I teach on Tuesdays (for FREE ... for free... privates are illegal and I don't do things that are illegal while I'm in the ROK).

This woman just irritates me. There's no solid reason for it other than just about everyone I've ever met with her personality type has irritated me as well. She's finicky. Extremely finicky. Sitting with her at lunch makes me want to jam a chopstick in my eye because she picks and fusses and takes tiny little bites that she appears to chew exactly 34 times before swallowing. Her desk is directly across from mine and all day I'm irritated by her arranging and rearranging the four things that are on her desk with screeching exactitude. And when she speaks English I want to kill myself, because she'll take twenty minutes to say absolutely nothing, because she'll shift back and forth from one tense to another half a million times out loud, while tilting her head this way and that and sucking on her teeth, trying to decide which one is right before reaching the end of her sentence and her (ultimately boring) point.

She's a church person as well. And I don't mean like, a person who goes to church. A Church Person. You all know what I'm talking about. The kind that repeatedly asks you every goddamn Monday if you went to church this weekend when every previous goddamn Monday you've already told her you don't go to church.

She also has no idea that I have any function in life other than to teach Koreans English. That's part of why conversation with her makes me want to die. She goes about it clearly as English Conversation Practice Time, instead of just fucking talking to me like another human being. When I told her I was going to start doing volunteer work at the center, she gasped with totally unnecessary horror and said, "What about teaching my kids?!" Jesus, lady. Your husband is loaded. If it came down to it, I think you could manage to find an actual private tutor for your little darlings so that I could spend a few hours a week teaching kids who can't even afford new shoes, let alone hagwon. She's clearly got the love of Christ in her.

If her kids weren't so brilliant, I'd do whatever I had to to not have to speak to her ever again. This morning when I climbed into the car, she asked me (eventually) if I would be going to see the movie tomorrow. I answered yes, and she immediately responded with one of her terrible, horror-filled gasps. "Oh no!"


"My kids make you Christmas cards!!!!"


"Tomorrow I cannot bring to you at the theater. How will I give?!"


"But. I think you have classes! You should stay and teach classes!"

"I already took care of that. The principal said I could cancel my classes so I could go...."

"But how will I give you the cards?!"

"I don't... what?"

She spent the remainder of the drive contemplating how to deal with this calamity. Far be it from me to suggest she, I dunno, give the damn things to me on Monday.

Toward the end of the day, she leaned over the cubicle divider between our desks -- my favorite part of any day is when she leans over the cubicle divider between our desks. Because I always know there's something golden coming. Today was no exception.

"Tomorrow... what time you will go to the theater?"

"I have to be there at 10, so I was just going to leave around 9:30..."

"Oh good! You will still be at home!"

".... Still be at home when?"

"Tomorrow I will stop near your house to give my kid's Christmas cards."

".... At 7:45?"


"At 7:45. You want me to come outside and walk down the hill to meet you on the street to get the Christmas cards?"

"Yes. I will see you tomorrow."

And with that, she sat back down at her desk and started to fidget around with nothing.

Are you fucking kidding me?

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to finally start watching IRIS. Now boys, you wanna talk about "very handsome man"? Hello.


Kel said...

omg, how do you get yourself into these situations??

anyway I totally agree about Christmas! although I miss my family in a major way, and I've always been a huge Christmas person, I enjoy Christmas itself more when I'm away. I love not being constantly bombarded with it like I am when I'm in the states. It really does make it more enjoyable in a really simple way.

Merry Christmas! Happy New Year!
See ya in 2010 ^_^

KayJay said...

Merry Christmas, and we miss you on Dave's... :(

I'm no Picasso said...

Kel -- I have no idea. But she did come by (20 minutes late) this morning and the gifts she brought from the girls are beautiful. So I'm back to not being grumpy about it.

I really hope you enjoy the Philippines. Count me super jealous. Merry Christmas!

KayJay -- haha thank you. I miss some of you there on Dave's. I wonder how permanent my ban is...

Merry Christmas!