Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The bad side of things

Turns out Korea is not all fun and games. I guess I had a bad day. I woke up this morning and first thing I saw was a jumbo-size cockroach, making its way under the bed. What a fabulous way to wake up, especially after getting three hours of sleep due to constant mosquito biting (due to our screens being torn and not repaired after we asked upon arrival). This apartment is old and nasty and horrible, and even though we complained and asked for changes we did not get much. So we've been roughing it for now seven months, but the cockroach sighting this morning was a bit too much. I mean, it was the size of my palm. I researched the critter, and found out that in order to get rid of them, the whole building (and not just our apartment) must be treated.

Should not be a problem, our school is one is the ritziest schools in Seoul: the school is so modern, and undergoes renovations and new additions every week. Our classrooms are quite posh, colorful and equipped with the latest Samsung digital equipment... a far cry from the good old blackboards of my youth. The school is replenished every week with new beds of flowers, or new prayer patios (yes, really. whatever that means). We even get our own exterminator who comes once a month to spray the school. The school is so focused on the outside appearances, probably to please the parents who pay a small fortune to give their overachieving kids a first-class education.Still, the foreign teachers live in the ugliest and unsanitary apartments hidden behind the school.

After putting up with it for several months, Aaron and I thought the school would at least be understanding of the bug problem and take care of it. After a very unpleasant conversation with the school dean and our supervisor as a translator, some yelling and anger (mostly from the dean's part), nothing was solved. Or, shall I say, it was solved the same way all our problems with the school were solved: we have to suck it up. We expressed our anger about the school having so much money for everything else but our apartments, and insisted on the fact that we were not asking for any luxuries.... just something quite basic and vital to our health and well-being. But no, apparently cockroaches are "normal" in Korea, and some yelling parts of the dean's speech were definitely not translated. From what I could catch he said something about hating us, and how ungrateful we were, and how spoiled we are. It was quite awful, and no solution was provided. For now all we can do is buy some kind of repellent, but the problem is still there. And it's not so much about the cockroaches per se anymore, it's about the lack of communication and understanding we have with the school, about how much they don't care about their employees' happiness and comfort.

I promise I'll post pictures of this luxury mansion when I leave in four months, for some reason I can't bring myself to do it now. End of my rant, I'm heading to the gym for some winding down!


seasonal lust said...

its seems like there is a basic culture clashing that seems to be common among Americans and most asians. I'm pretty aware of this since my parents are old school asians in their values and I am more american in that sense. The idea of the basic human right to a clean place to live in doesn't really seem to register with the dean. as asian's we arent raised to believe in entitlement and rights, but rather with the idea that everything bestowed upon us is a privilege that must be earned, which is honorable and all but i can't live by that paradigm. it's sort of hard to understand, but if I were to look at the dean like he was my father or mother, I would sort of understand his grip and why he can't grasp the concept of why you are asking what you are asking, but then again i also totally feel you on what you are going through. I would not be able to sleep with a roach in the same room, let alone mosquitoes. hopefully your situation improves!

WendyB said...

Argh! I hate cockroaches so much.

♥ fashion chalet said...

You are so very sweet. And I thank you equally as much for the lovely support. :)

PS: Bugs scare me! You're not the only one. I had to call my Mom to come over once, just to throw away a dead one. I can't even pick up a dead one. HIDES IN SHAME. lol.....

xo/ fashion chalet