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Author Topic: Do you avoid eating lunch with your co-workers.  (Read 9540 times)

Offline Horus

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Do you avoid eating lunch with your co-workers.
« on: May 10, 2016, 02:29:21 PM »
At every school I've worked at I've tried to eat lunch alone or at the table with younger students. The reason is that I'm totally grossed out by Korean table manners. I just can't get passed it, so I try to sit away from the teachers eating at the same time. I know it's not very good in terms of relations, but I simply can't enjoy my lunch surrounded by people slurping, smacking, and having yell conversations with their mouths' full. Christ, sometimes I can hear them eat from two tables away.

Am I alone in avoiding eating with co-workers? I really want to enjoy my lunch. Unfortunately, that's simply not possible in the presence of certain teachers. The men, of course, are the worst offenders. There are a couple of female teachers who aren't bad, but if I sit with them I know that within minutes the offenders show up and then it's me trying to speed eat to get away from the table before they really get started.

So annoying!

And these are people who go on and on about "culture". :rolleyes:
« Last Edit: May 10, 2016, 02:32:28 PM by Horus »

Offline sixtieshappy

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Re: Do you avoid eating lunch with your co-workers.
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2016, 02:41:16 PM »
In my experience the students don't behave any better.  It would be absolutely impossible for me to get out of sitting at the teacher table.  The thought never even crossed my mind.

Offline AlivePoet

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Re: Do you avoid eating lunch with your co-workers.
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2016, 02:47:03 PM »
There are probably a number of things that your co-teachers/co-workers/Koreans find annoying about you, too. Seems a bit petty to isolate yourself over something like this, in my opinion.

But you are just one person, thankfully they won't make judgments about foreigners based solely on your actions. Oh, wait......

Offline Horus

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Re: Do you avoid eating lunch with your co-workers.
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2016, 02:47:09 PM »
In my experience the students don't behave any better.  It would be absolutely impossible for me to get out of sitting at the teacher table.  The thought never even crossed my mind.

At least you can tell the kids in a fun way to tone it down, it's a bit more problematic with co-workers. The best are to eat with the youngest kids. Even if they have bad manners it's not a gross as a fully grown adult with similarly nasty manners.

Offline DMZabductee

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Re: Do you avoid eating lunch with your co-workers.
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2016, 02:47:43 PM »


Am I alone in avoiding eating with co-workers?


Nice turn of phrase here  :laugh:

And yes I don't eat in the cafeteria with the teachers at lunch most of the time. Not really cause of the table manners, but more because I just enjoy the peace and quiet as well as bringing my own lunch.

Offline Albaloo

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Re: Do you avoid eating lunch with your co-workers.
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2016, 02:49:07 PM »
I honestly don't even look up while I'm eating my lunch because I'm too worried someone might see me drop that chicken wing with my chopsticks, or notice the red kimchi stain I just acquired on my white shirt. Just take a corner seat at the end of the table so you'll only be surrounded by a few people. Don't look up from your tray or make eye contact until the end, or only if someone is about to sit by you. Wear ear plugs? I guess after living abroad for so long you learn to block out certain sounds, or maybe I'm just really good at daydreaming and ignoring my surroundings, but I can't really imagine NOT eating with the other teachers. Maybe start going to lunch super early or super late to avoid as many people as possible? If it's really that bad, just bring your own food and eat at your desk lol.

Offline DMZabductee

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Re: Do you avoid eating lunch with your co-workers.
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2016, 02:54:34 PM »
There are probably a number of things that your co-teachers/co-workers/Koreans find annoying about you, too. Seems a bit petty to isolate yourself over something like this, in my opinion.

But you are just one person, thankfully they won't make judgments about foreigners based solely on your actions. Oh, wait......

I agree isolating yourself could be seen negatively, especially if you hope to re-sign, but really, I don't care if Koreans develop some weird pre-conceived notion about foreigners because I enjoy a quiet lunch. At this point, I'm over feeling responsible for the global perception of foreigners in Korea.

Offline AlivePoet

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Re: Do you avoid eating lunch with your co-workers.
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2016, 03:01:56 PM »
There are probably a number of things that your co-teachers/co-workers/Koreans find annoying about you, too. Seems a bit petty to isolate yourself over something like this, in my opinion.

But you are just one person, thankfully they won't make judgments about foreigners based solely on your actions. Oh, wait......

I agree isolating yourself could be seen negatively, especially if you hope to re-sign, but really, I don't care if Koreans develop some weird pre-conceived notion about foreigners because I enjoy a quiet lunch. At this point, I'm over feeling responsible for the global perception of foreigners in Korea.

Yeah, as am I. When I typed that it was more wishful thinking than anything else (that that wouldn't happen). But I don't really care either.

Offline Loki88

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Re: Do you avoid eating lunch with your co-workers.
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2016, 03:32:22 PM »
I just didn't go for the last 3 months of the last school year. Now I sit in the corner, eat like a starving man and get out before most people even arrive.

Offline Diekatkomweer

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Re: Do you avoid eating lunch with your co-workers.
« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2016, 03:39:11 PM »
Blow your nose at the table, apparently a lot of Koreans hate it. I also actually hate it

Zealot_Hill

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Re: Do you avoid eating lunch with your co-workers.
« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2016, 03:56:49 PM »
I honestly don't even look up while I'm eating my lunch because I'm too worried someone might see me drop that chicken wing with my chopsticks, or notice the red kimchi stain I just acquired on my white shirt. Just take a corner seat at the end of the table so you'll only be surrounded by a few people. Don't look up from your tray or make eye contact until the end, or only if someone is about to sit by you. Wear ear plugs? I guess after living abroad for so long you learn to block out certain sounds, or maybe I'm just really good at daydreaming and ignoring my surroundings, but I can't really imagine NOT eating with the other teachers. Maybe start going to lunch super early or super late to avoid as many people as possible? If it's really that bad, just bring your own food and eat at your desk lol.

Pretty much this. I'll never be the one to start a conversation at the table unless it's with one of the teachers I know well. I like to eat in silence, I'm much more friendly in the teacher's room than at the lunch table.

Online MayorHaggar

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Re: Do you avoid eating lunch with your co-workers.
« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2016, 04:35:50 PM »
The other day I was at a hotel channel-surfing on Korean TV and there was some show with that famous black guy and Sam Hammington...they were sitting around in a public park at night (as per) with two Korean guys, eating a delivery of fried chicken and ramen...

Cue the black guy and Hammington joining in and doing the whole rolling eyes and yelling and open-mouth smacking and "URRGGGH UH UH UH UH AAAAAAAAAAAHHH MASHGETA" thing that Koreans do on TV when eating.

Offline Chinguetti

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Re: Do you avoid eating lunch with your co-workers.
« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2016, 04:46:24 PM »
I ate in my office at my old school, but it was because this was an all-boys middle school with primarily male teachers, and they all watched and stared at me while I ate (I also ate at a table alone while the other teachers congregated together... not my choice, they directed me there). Didn't make for a comfortable eating experience. I didn't even know I had the option of eating in my office until my coteacher noticed how weird everyone was being and made the suggestion himself, which was treated as acceptable at first because about a third of the other teachers did the same thing (after about halfway through the school year, though, some of the male teachers tried to guilt me into eating in the cafeteria again, but my coteacher put a stop to it. He was more weirded-out by their behavior than I was, lmao -- he was like, "Why dafuq do you care? Why haven't you ever ragged on the other teachers who don't eat in the cafeteria if it matters so much? Why only her?").

I eat with the teachers at my current school because it's the social thing to do here, no one watches me, and my coteachers actually sit with me. And I haven't really noticed any nasty behaviors. Could be that they're not so bad at my school, but noises don't really gross me out, either, so maybe I'm just not noticing.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2016, 06:03:35 PM by Chinguetti »

Offline chupacaubrey

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Re: Do you avoid eating lunch with your co-workers.
« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2016, 05:15:39 PM »
I guess I'm lucky because I'm either able to tune out the, uh, differences, or I can put more value in the no nonsense lunch style. Sit down, eat your food, maybe exchange some pleasantries if someone is trying to be polite, but mostly keep your head down until it's time to slush your leftovers into that big ole cauldron of trash.

Luckily I've graduated from being told that something is too spicy for me. I take that as a win overall. Plus, I figure it'd be way too much trouble to somehow try to eat lunch alone, anyway. Life.


Offline gagevt

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Re: Do you avoid eating lunch with your co-workers.
« Reply #14 on: May 10, 2016, 05:25:52 PM »
At my current elementary school, I've always eaten in the cafeteria with the other teachers and students. I haven't noticed any terrible table manners from anyone so far. I eat with my current co-teacher, and sometimes my former co-teacher (now PE teacher) if his schedule allows it. Both guys are good guys, and sometimes we talk a lot and sometimes not so much. I also enjoy eating near the students, because they always wave and greet me, and I just enjoy seeing (most of) them in general.
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Offline Pecan

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Re: Do you avoid eating lunch with your co-workers.
« Reply #15 on: May 10, 2016, 07:53:42 PM »
Are cafeterias, called "canteens" in British English?

I've never heard the term used outside the military.

Offline maximmm

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Re: Do you avoid eating lunch with your co-workers.
« Reply #16 on: May 10, 2016, 08:43:48 PM »
It all depends on what kind of people they are or if they speak English at all. 
I enjoy a chat over lunch with a person I get along with.  Otherwise, I just eat and ignore all that surrounds me.

Offline stan rogers

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Re: Do you avoid eating lunch with your co-workers.
« Reply #17 on: May 10, 2016, 09:04:25 PM »
It all depends on what kind of people they are or if they speak English at all. 
I enjoy a chat over lunch with a person I get along with.  Otherwise, I just eat and ignore all that surrounds me.

I think it's pathetic you refuse to eat with a person because they can't speak English. I am not going to name call but such a statement tells me a lot about you.

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Re: Do you avoid eating lunch with your co-workers.
« Reply #18 on: May 10, 2016, 09:04:49 PM »
Am I the only one here that finds school lunch a bit awkward for the LACK of conversation or sounds other than the scraping of spoons from the bottom of the soup impression? I might feel more comfortable sitting at my desk, but I think showing your face makes a difference and people do take notice. I go to all the huishiks for the same reason. The other NET at my school (Yes, we have more than one NET. We once had three.) uses dietary restrictions as a catchall reason to avoid all potentially awkwark/boring social situations (read: all situations involving coworkers) and naturally he comes off as anti-social to everyone. Take your pick; it's a tradeoff. I feel like NETs are here not just to teach English but to also be cultural ambassadors to some extent and should grin and bear these situations as much as possible.

Offline stan rogers

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Re: Do you avoid eating lunch with your co-workers.
« Reply #19 on: May 10, 2016, 09:08:46 PM »
Am I the only one here that finds school lunch a bit awkward for the LACK of conversation or sounds other than the scraping of spoons from the bottom of the soup impression? I might feel more comfortable sitting at my desk, but I think showing your face makes a difference and people do take notice. I go to all the huishiks for the same reason. The other NET at my school (Yes, we have more than one NET. We once had three.) uses dietary restrictions as a catchall reason to avoid all potentially awkwark/boring social situations (read: all situations involving coworkers) and naturally he comes off as anti-social to everyone. Take your pick; it's a tradeoff. I feel like NETs are here not just to teach English but to also be cultural ambassadors to some extent and should grin and bear these situations as much as possible.

Sounds like the mind of a North Korean having his/her first meal outside of paradise.