Saturday, November 19, 2011

Facing Fears and Receiving Bows

Aside from the rampant internet problems that continue to prevent me from being able to call my family, the past few days were full of milestones and memorable moments.  Yay Duck really got a workout this week!

On Thursday, I summoned all available courage and, feeling not unlike a Renaissance traveler facing the Ottoman Turks, went to a Chinese dentist for the first time.  I am privileged to work at a school that has its own dental office just down the hall from my classroom, and after suffering for quite a while from what I believed to be a cracked filling, I decided to take advantage of the free dental care provided to me as a teacher.  I really had no reason to be afraid, as I soon learned.  Our school dentist spent much of her life in Iowa, so she speaks excellent English.  Additionally, she is definitely the best dentist I have ever visited:  incredibly kind, soothing, and capable.  As it turned out, I had a cavity rather than a filling problem, and it was quite large owing to my inability to afford a dentist for the past three years (I had no insurance during that time).  Dr. Li numbed me quite nicely, drilled out the decay, and gave me a filling that is so well done that it cannot be distinguished from the actual tooth -- and she got it all done in time for me to go teach my freshman Ancient World History class!  Other than having one side of my face numb (my freshies were quite sympathetic), I was just fine!  At lunch, which came next, I unfortunately chomped up my lip pretty well owing to not being able to feel it, much to the amused sympathy of the friends I was eating with.

After school on Thursday, I had a wonderful evening with some very dear Chinese friends who had me over for dinner.  I particularly enjoyed playing several games of "poker" with one of my favorite little girls in the world (the daughter of a friend; I also teach English to this bubbly smartie as sort of a sideline activity).

On Friday, I had an only slightly less fear-inspiring moment than facing the dentist:  I faced a dictation test from my Chinese teacher.  Despite coming right on the heals of a vocabulary test (yes, dear Jackie gave me TWO tests in ONE day!), I managed to write all of the characters correctly . . . well, aside from messing up a bit on stroke order (I really didn't care -- I was too ecstatic about actually remembering how to write the characters).  Oh, and I also got 100% on my vocabulary test. ☺

Earlier in the day on Friday, I had one of those special "I really love my freshmen" moments (I have these frequently):  We had an assembly earlier in the day where one of our school counselors discussed cultural integration and cultural politeness with the students.  He finished by having some teachers and students show how to properly greet one another according to our different cultures here at the school (our student body is about 80% Korean, 20% assorted other cultures, and then our faculty is a mix of Chinese, Korean, American, Filipino, South African, Indian, Australian, Finish, Malaysian, etc.).  When I went into my classroom after lunch, a mob of my freshies were waiting for me at the front of the classroom.  They promptly bowed to me and said "Annyong haseyo" in eager, smiling unison.  How cute is that?

1 comment:

Clara Yi said...

Did you know that Dr. Li's daughter is a freshman too? :)
Oh, and I got people to say Annyeonghaseyo to you...ha! (but some people didn't do it because they were afraid of you! Isn't that the weirdest thing ever?)

"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"