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Shauna Teacher Gets Schooled: Summer Inferno Edition

14 Jul

So it’s been about 3 months since I’ve started my all-Korean tennis lessons and I’m still at it *pats self on back*. Korean summers are notoriously humid, and according to my boss today was one of the hottest days yet this summer (it looks like it was about 30 °C with about 80% humidity,which to be fair is not is not unheard of back home) In order to compensate for the inferno in which I would be practicing, I showed up in this:

In lieu of an actual photo of me in my tennis gear I felt this would suffice as she is clearly a fair representation of both my physique and talent

However, my Korean classmates, many of whom are at least 15-20 years my senior and far more skilled, showed but in an outfit looking something like this (I really wanted to take a picture of my class and post it here, but whenever I take candid pictures of people I feel obnoxious and so was too shy to do so):

Fine they don’t show up in a du rag, but they honestly have this du rag-like contraption that velcros onto their cap that I couldn’t find a picture of, so the sporty du rag had to suffice.  

One would think that my choice is clearly the more comfortable attire for playing tennis in a heart only found in 5-alarm fires, but alas this is how I looked by the end of class…….

Me at the end of class (no I did not transform into a man-note the sweat drenched clothing, not the discrepancy in gender)

……while my Korean counterparts looked dry and invigorated. Really really, one man actually pointed it out and started to make fun of me (harumph!).  The only logical conclusion that can be drawn here is that Koreans are magical. Or at least their sweat glands are (or that I have a glandular disorder…).



Hail to the Chief!

19 Apr

Today I went to lunch with my all Korean tennis club. We went for sushi, which is a far cry from what I would find at my regular sushi haunt back in Toronto. The main attraction was what I would describe as a bibimbap, sans the egg and with raw fishing in lieu of beef, and was absolutely delicious!  The side dish, raw sea squirt,  was mildly less appetizing. Though I ate it with ease during the meal, my opinion quickly soured after catching the live thing outside of the dining establishment. Looked something like this:

Honestly the ones hanging out smirking at me (fine they have no faces but I swear I caught a smirk!) in the foggy tank outside of the restaurant were even more revolting looking- kinda like they fell off this guy:

However, the most entertaining part of the meal was when I somehow got elected “Chief”(basically someone to relay information from the coach to the other members and to organize get-togethers) of our all Korean speaking tennis club . I of course understood this to be a hilarious joke and was rolling around on the floor with laughter, but quickly realized that after  several rounds of applause that they were being dead serious(that and the look of annoyance that came over my bosses face as she knew that she would obviously be doing the bulk of the work for me). Apparently this is all part of the coach’s master plan for me to learn Korean, I somehow feel his plan may backfire….

Anyways, it’s been nearly two months since my teaching premier, so I feel it appropriate to show you some of my students.

Cutest personality ever! Beyond those times when he swings from blouse collars…..

Is thinking of turning to Dr.Phil for help with her high-five addiction:

Couldn’t tell from this picture but the kid on the left is the sweetest ever

Just won a rock-paper-scissors! battle-the resolution to all classroom disputes

I know you’re not supposed to pick favourites, but if I would this may be him. I told my boss this and she replied, “Really, but he’s always dirty!” . Sounds like my kinda kid….

“Shauna Teacher I am happy and I am sad and I am so-so and I am great and I am okay and I am tired and I am ummmmmmmm” *confused face*

You can bet I had to confiscate that

Cutie. ‘Nough said

Getting the kindergardeners to work this intently is a Christmas miracle. And the kid on the right has THE BEST hair – the future star of a Korean drama

Popular Korean delicacy

Thats right, I work them to the bone

And I’ll leave off with this one(no wonder I’m always sick)


Shauna Teacher Gets Schooled

5 Apr

Having meaning to master tennis for the better part of the past ten years, I was very excited to learn that my boss had kindly signed me up for free beginner lessons being offered by the city.  Despite the fact that I was to be the only foreigner in the class, I felt my Swedish heritage, the same that led the great Björn Borg to Wimbleton victory, would provide me with natural talent that would overcome any language barriers.

Alas, much to my surprise(and yours especially), my genetic theorem has proven to be flawed, as my first lesson quickly turned into waygookin (essentially korean for foreigner) comedy hour.  If my swings were not followed by the resounding laughter of my peers(I feel it was less of a snicker and more and more out of endearment “oh look at that foreign giant go… resilient!” ), they were  followed by corrections being shouted at me in Korean by my coach who was clearly getting increasingly exasperated as the lesson progressed. I feel that the Korean language has an innate gentle sternness, thus being on the receiving end of any harsh words spoken in this tongue is less than relaxing, especially coming from an older male; it almost has the same effect as gravely disappointing a parent.  My only saving grace was during stretches where I out stretched the lot of them.(what, so your racket can actually make contact with the ball? Ha! Well I can touch my toes…BAM)

Nonetheless, despite my first lesson being filled with embarrassment(which is par for the course really), I purchased new tennis shoes after work today and will be attending lessons every weekday for the next year. And who knows, once my Korean improves perhaps I will find that what was once believed to be angry criticisims are infact words of encouragement and gratitude such as, “Ooooo! Great height on that swing! The ball flew beautifully over that fence” , “How do get your shots to always to veer left? I admire your consistency.” or, “Wow, thank you so much- your wild wide shots have gotten me into the best shape of my life”.