한국에 일하고 있어요

Translation: Working in Korea.


One thing I love about Korea is their consideration. For everything. Seriously, for a country (in)famous for its isolation (and believe me, spend any amount of time on a board about Seoul and you’ll get an earful), out where I’m at, they couldn’t be more considerate.

Earlier this week, my boss let the third teacher at our academy go. They won’t be hiring a replacement. Instead, I’ll be working a little overtime picking up the remainder of the departing teacher’s load. (I had taken over the lion’s share of his workload two weeks ago, leaving him with a grand total of six kids split over three classes. And he couldn’t handle it. Seriously.) But first, my boss wanted to make sure I’d be alright working seven hours a day. Seven. My average day in retail was longer than that; by a large margin. I laughed and told her of course, since I’m used to working eight hour days, minimum.

She asked again though, to make sure I’d be okay with my condition. My diabetes. She was worried about my health! I don’t think my last boss at Target even knew I was a diabetic, and we worked in the same department for around three years. There was it was inconsequential. Something for me to handle (out of sight, out of mind), and for them to ignore.


“But ShenaniTims,” you shout into my mind, “of course she’s worried about your health! She’s your sponsor in the country. If something happens to you, it could potentially make her look bad.” Yes, that’s true. And please quit screaming in my mind.

My rebuttal, however, is my Korean classes. Today, the church announced that next week we’d be going on a picnic. As they were asking around, trying to get a headcount, I came up. Would I be going? Of course, I wouldn’t miss it. Would I be okay, with my condition? Would the exercise be too much?

Now again, this is (one of) my Korean class(es). They owe me nothing. I’m taking up their time, and unlike all the other students there, I don’t attend the Sunday services I’m constantly being in invited to. Yet they still want me to come along, and be safe while doing so. Here, it’s not just my issue, it’s a communal issue.

Back at Target, a company that prides itself on its diversity, I once had to sit through an hour-long presentation on respecting others. Including taking into account any special conditions your co-workers (“Team Members” in Target talk) may have. Mind you, I’ve been a diabetic almost all my life. (Diagnosed as Type-1 at age four.)


So while they’ll telling us that we have to be mindful of others, I’m sitting in a meeting room full of ho-hos, chips, and whatever else it is fat American fucks eat. So I laughed, and they were shocked. Was I disagreeing with corporate? Is such a thing possible? I told them that it was a nice aentiment, but that anyone suffering from a disease has come to terms with it. And realized we live in your world; you don’t live in ours. I pointed out that there were no snacks I could eat there, if I was inclined to. And added that I didn’t want to see shitty “healthy” snacks next week; so that I could watch everyone suffer through carrot sticks while shooting me eye daggers. No thank you.

But here, they genuinely seem concerned with how I deal with it. It’s slightly jarring.

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