Friday, April 19, 2013

A Giant Toughness

As it turns out, spirit animals are not a foreign concept to Korea. Talking with MoonSung (again, that's not her name but my native american nickname for her) I found out that it is commonly believed that there are two kinds of women: fox women and bear women.

Fox women are what we would call two-faced: they smile and agree with whatever you say to your face, but as soon as your back is turned, they act and speak according to what they really believe. Fox women are difficult to trust, but they are also more harmonious, usually more pleasing, and in Korea, they are preferred because of those traits.

Bear women, on the other hand, say what they think and don't bother with an official face. They cannot hide their heart if they have an opinion, but barrel forward. Blunt and honest, bear women won't surprise or betray you, but they make for a contentious working atmosphere.

MoonSung and I are both bears, but as an American, my bear-spirit is a strength. For MoonSung, as a Korean office worker, it is considered a fault (at least by her, overly critical high-achiever that she is) and one she wishes desperately to remedy.

That day at work, her bear personality had caused her to save the bacon of those who work in her department at the cost to her own reputation with her boss and her boss' boss.

"But you stood up for your people!" I objected. "You saved them from having to do someone else's work; you stood up for justice!" [I am young. I am naive. I am so American.]
"They don't have power. My boss has power. And he is a fox. I can't trust anyone at work."

A frustrating situation. I like MoonSung because she is a bear - I hate the foxes in Korea - but it does make her life in Korea much more frustrating.

Maybe this is why I took exception to this heart-warming paragraph from one of my boys in composition.

"Sometimes people said I was looked like black pig. Of course I understand about that. Cause I'm fat now. But in my opinion, there something huge animal inside of me. It can hug for lonely people and can be a pillar for people to rest. Usually it is very mild but if someone attacked, it would be giant toughness. A bear . . . an enormous animal which has all harmonies and being inside me."

I apologize up front for not knowing his English name. I forgot to check today in class and only now spent five minute puzzling it out by the writing but, none of the boys in that class if fat. None of them are ugly (though several described themselves thus). None of them looks like a black pig at all.

Celine. My one girl to make the list; Celine is quiet and I absolutely love the idea behind her turtle spirit. Anyone who can convince me it's a positive thing to be a turtle inside deserves chocolate for breakfast lunch and dinner.


Jason. (Class clown. He can make me laugh simply because of how effortlessly he makes others laugh. It's skill.)

Jason made me wait until he was properly posed to take this shot. The thinker. I'm still thinking up a way to get him to do his work in class instead of zoning out.

Tom. (He's been fooling me, for sure. His writing, at least, doesn't seem very lazy or sheep-like.)

Tom, who I call Joe most of the time. He doesn't actually look like Joe at all; I just think he does.
I don't have a picture of El - he's in the theology department and so wasn't at M.T., so here is Jack, our Hamster.

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