The Black Barbie Chronicles: Confusion Time

The Case of Black Barbie Confusing the Hell out of the School Nurse.

       I have to provide a backstory before I tell the actual story. I was teaching in Korea my first time around in Daegu and I had befriended a few people. One of these people was the school nurse at my Korean school. This particular incident happened less than 24 hours after arriving at the school, so I guess I could blame it on jetlag, but I had already been in the country for a good 4 days, so….. Black Barbie Moments.

I love my time here at Sung Kwang Middle/High School. Everyone has made me feel welcomed, except for Mr. Kim; more on him later. After meeting up and having fun with my handler, Moon Yeoung Park (he’s a sweetie), I now have made friends with the school nurse, also Mrs. Kim. I swear sometimes I think this country just gave up and decided to use only 4 surnames and call it a day. Also, I think that this country is slowing causing me to lose the basic common sense I had before coming over here. I really wish I could blame this on jet lag, but no, I was very well rested. Anyway, this exchange happened after the nurse is giving me a tour of the school and introducing some of the staff to me. Below is the conversation that I’m sure had the poor woman wondering if all Americans are as ignorant as myself.

Nurse: This is so and so and so and so.

Me:     Oh. Who is he?

Nurse: That’s Mr. Kim. He’s the Korean teacher.

Me: Oh okay. What does he teach?

Nurse: He’s the Korean teacher.

Me:     Yes, I know, but what does he teach?

Nurse:    He’s the Korean teacher.

We did this little Abbot and Costello Who’s on First Bit, the Korean version for a full two minutes. Instead of being funny we were both deadly serious and could not understand why the other was not understanding the question and the answer. By this time the nurse has the most puzzled look on her face. She is looking at me like how in the hell did I manage to get on a plane by myself and make it to the country. She is having some serious doubts and I am sure she is trying to think if I’m sick, crazy, or stupid. Or worse, I’ve lost my mind here in Korea, thousands of miles from home.

By this time, I think it is the combination of her facial expressions and the back and forth we were having that it finally clicked with yours truly.


Nurse: Uh, yes. (She says very slowly). He teaches Korean.

Me: I get it now.

To this day I don’t think that the poor woman ever got over stupid responses and me. Ah well, another Black Barbie Moment. Tune in next week when I taught the kiddies some American values by way of a crappy Korean textbook.

F.M. Laster

“I never loved another person the way I loved myself”. – Mae West



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