Read 8698 times

  • Mr C
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1738

    • October 17, 2012, 03:00:40 pm
    • Seoul
Re: This is starting to drive me CRAZY
« Reply #20 on: June 12, 2015, 12:28:06 am »
If you don't want to share your food with them, don't eat it in the staff room or in front of them. Sneak away somewhere and eat it there. Problem solved.

OP said they've been eating it privately at their desk.  What is this, high school?  Should OP go hide in a bathroom stall at lunch time?  :rolleyes:

Do you see Koreans ever eating anything 'privately' at their desk?

...yes? All the time?

I think everyone must live in a different Korea from  everyone else.
I'm in the same Korea.  All the Koreans I know have boundaries, even if they are set a bit closer than the ones I'm used to back home. I've, granted, only been at two schools here, for a total of seven years, but in my experience people don't go pilfering others' stuff.

Y'know, generally speaking.  Back home, someone kept stealing my Budget Gourmet dinners from the faculty room fridge.  Until a couple of nasty notes put a stop to it. 

There's a recent Dear Prudence on slate.com in which the company CEO got videotaped stealing lunches.  Prudie's advice was to start carrying a lunchbox and keep it in the desk.  So it's not necessarily an easy issue to solve when it happens.

Just know, OP, that this is not some kind of "Well, Korean VPs get to do this" sort of situation, or a "Korean people always expect to share their personal things" situation, it's an aberration.  Not sure what you can do about it, other than hover protectively over your lunch or scarf it down before she can amble by with her grubby fingers outstretched.


  • krissyboo75
  • Expert Waygook

    • 638

    • September 27, 2011, 01:01:39 pm
    • Gyeongsanbuk-do, South Korea
    more
Re: This is starting to drive me CRAZY
« Reply #21 on: June 12, 2015, 08:08:49 am »
Quote from: krissyboo75
So my VP is a very kind lady most of the time. But sometimes I find her a little manipulative.  She clearly wants me to know she is the boss.
She is, isn't she?

Quote from: krissyboo75
I get that this is a sharing culture. And if I were eating with the teachers I probably wouldn't mind sharing my snacks with others. But I don't. I sit at my desk and mind my own business. I'm trying to put myself on a healthier diet, and I pack myself just the right amount of food to last me until I go home. And then along she comes and will go "ooh nuts!" and help herself. She takes it, doesn't ask.
First you say you "get" the culture, and then you show you don't.

Quote from: krissyboo75
Should I mention something? Should I let it slide?
Lump it or leave it.
Of course she has power over me. But I already know that. So why must she throw me these little reminders all the time. Unnecessary. Not to mention, it doesn't mean she can steal my food.

Actually I've been here for quite a while and I DO understand it. Does that mean I should always share every piece of food I bring into the building? I think not. Lots of teachers eat on their own. She doesn't steal snacks from them. 


  • Jet0716
  • Veteran

    • 130

    • March 29, 2014, 07:58:25 am
    • WI, USA (Hopefully Jinju soon)
Re: This is starting to drive me CRAZY
« Reply #22 on: June 12, 2015, 08:51:12 am »
Yha, it can be a little annoying to always feel like you should share. . . I happen to be at a pretty big school too (somewhere around 40 teachers in the teacher room) so if i even want to bring anything to the school for one of all of my 6 coteachers i feel like i have to do it in secret or mass produce.  Some things that may help are 1 - always holding it.  keep it in one of your hands while your eating so its not enticing people and 2 - put your mouth on it.  I do this by pouring it into my mouth.  This keeps my hands clean and get my saliva all up on it. 
Good luck and try to think of it as a compliment?


  • krissyboo75
  • Expert Waygook

    • 638

    • September 27, 2011, 01:01:39 pm
    • Gyeongsanbuk-do, South Korea
    more
Re: This is starting to drive me CRAZY
« Reply #23 on: June 12, 2015, 11:33:31 am »
Yha, it can be a little annoying to always feel like you should share. . . I happen to be at a pretty big school too (somewhere around 40 teachers in the teacher room) so if i even want to bring anything to the school for one of all of my 6 coteachers i feel like i have to do it in secret or mass produce.  Some things that may help are 1 - always holding it.  keep it in one of your hands while your eating so its not enticing people and 2 - put your mouth on it.  I do this by pouring it into my mouth.  This keeps my hands clean and get my saliva all up on it. 
Good luck and try to think of it as a compliment?

Yesterday I had a handful of nuts that I was munching on and she took it straight out of my hand. Didn't seem to matter if it was in package/container or not.  But yeah. lol 


  • krissyboo75
  • Expert Waygook

    • 638

    • September 27, 2011, 01:01:39 pm
    • Gyeongsanbuk-do, South Korea
    more
Re: This is starting to drive me CRAZY
« Reply #24 on: June 12, 2015, 12:06:45 pm »
If you don't want to share your food with them, don't eat it in the staff room or in front of them. Sneak away somewhere and eat it there. Problem solved.

OP said they've been eating it privately at their desk.  What is this, high school?  Should OP go hide in a bathroom stall at lunch time?  :rolleyes:

Do you see Koreans ever eating anything 'privately' at their desk?

...yes? All the time?

I think everyone must live in a different Korea from  everyone else.
I'm in the same Korea.  All the Koreans I know have boundaries, even if they are set a bit closer than the ones I'm used to back home. I've, granted, only been at two schools here, for a total of seven years, but in my experience people don't go pilfering others' stuff.

Y'know, generally speaking.  Back home, someone kept stealing my Budget Gourmet dinners from the faculty room fridge.  Until a couple of nasty notes put a stop to it. 

There's a recent Dear Prudence on slate.com in which the company CEO got videotaped stealing lunches.  Prudie's advice was to start carrying a lunchbox and keep it in the desk.  So it's not necessarily an easy issue to solve when it happens.

Just know, OP, that this is not some kind of "Well, Korean VPs get to do this" sort of situation, or a "Korean people always expect to share their personal things" situation, it's an aberration.  Not sure what you can do about it, other than hover protectively over your lunch or scarf it down before she can amble by with her grubby fingers outstretched.

This is my second school as well. At my previous school had the luxury of having my own little office where nobody said boo to me, and that was for 3 years. SO nice after X amount of teaching high school boys. When I first moved to this school I only shared an office with 5 other teachers. 2 of them who were my co teachers. One of them who, most days, also ate her own lunch in our office and kept to herself. The problem with the VP started here. She would come in and start chatting with my co teacher while snacking away on what ever I had on the desk..but not my co teachers...  NOW I'm in the main teachers office. And none of the other teachers seem to care. Once in a while a student will pop up behind me and ill here "Teachaa I'm hungry" *opens mouth* but at least they ask...


  • Jet0716
  • Veteran

    • 130

    • March 29, 2014, 07:58:25 am
    • WI, USA (Hopefully Jinju soon)
Re: This is starting to drive me CRAZY
« Reply #25 on: June 15, 2015, 02:39:49 pm »
Yha, it can be a little annoying to always feel like you should share. . . I happen to be at a pretty big school too (somewhere around 40 teachers in the teacher room) so if i even want to bring anything to the school for one of all of my 6 coteachers i feel like i have to do it in secret or mass produce.  Some things that may help are 1 - always holding it.  keep it in one of your hands while your eating so its not enticing people and 2 - put your mouth on it.  I do this by pouring it into my mouth.  This keeps my hands clean and get my saliva all up on it. 
Good luck and try to think of it as a compliment?

Yesterday I had a handful of nuts that I was munching on and she took it straight out of my hand. Didn't seem to matter if it was in package/container or not.  But yeah. lol

Bahahahahaha!  Thats pretty ridiculous man.  I dont know what to think.  Hmmmmm, maybe try bringing something specific for her some time?  It might help get some easy kindness points.  WHo knows, to her maybe thats like saying hi?  Or shes a total dick.


  • krissyboo75
  • Expert Waygook

    • 638

    • September 27, 2011, 01:01:39 pm
    • Gyeongsanbuk-do, South Korea
    more
Re: This is starting to drive me CRAZY
« Reply #26 on: June 15, 2015, 03:15:55 pm »
I think I'm just gonna bring less shareable snacks. Like an apple or something that's not in pieces.  If she takes a bite I swear to god Imma raise hell.   :evil:


  • VanIslander
  • Moderator LVL 1

    • 1502

    • June 02, 2011, 10:12:19 am
    • Seogwipo, Jeju Island
    more
Re: This is starting to drive me CRAZY
« Reply #27 on: June 15, 2015, 08:27:29 pm »
Just because OP gets (i.e. understands) the culture doesn't mean she has to conform to it.
Rage against the machine, by all means, if it makes you feel better.

I personally gave up trying to change people a long time ago. Tolerate it, adapt yourself or exit the situation.


  • grey
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1518

    • April 08, 2011, 04:47:11 am
    • USA
    more
Re: This is starting to drive me CRAZY
« Reply #28 on: June 15, 2015, 08:56:28 pm »
Accidentally cough on them.
Ko fills half his luggage with instant noodles for his international business travels, a lesson he learned after assuming on his first trip that three packages would suffice for six days. “Man, was I wrong. Since then, I always make sure I pack enough.”
-AP


  • outsider
  • Veteran

    • 225

    • July 03, 2014, 04:19:05 am
    • Bucheon
Re: This is starting to drive me CRAZY
« Reply #29 on: June 15, 2015, 10:59:27 pm »
This is a minor annoyance I have also had in Korea.  I watch what I eat, am picky and somewhat territorial about my lunch.  I dislike the forced sharing a little but what really gets under my skin is the comments and questions about what I choose to eat and why.  YES, I like Korean food.  YES, I like to eat a sandwich for lunch sometimes.  YES, I am eating a salad today.  PLEASE, just leave in peace to eat my lunch.

Its my problem so no sense getting upset about it.  When in Rome, as they say.  If I have no other way I plan ahead and bring a little extra to share.

These days I am working for company teaching business english in the morning and an ASP in the afternoon.  I have found a park bench that I often eat at.  At second asp school I eat in my classroom before the students arrive. 

I guess my opinion is, do what you gotta do to get your peace an quiet.  But, please understand Koreas special and unique sharing culture ;)


  • tamjen
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1180

    • June 19, 2013, 08:08:14 am
Re: This is starting to drive me CRAZY
« Reply #30 on: June 16, 2015, 07:56:15 am »
I understand the OP's frustration. I believe it stems from a "one-way" street mentality that, in my experience, many Koreans have about their country and the foreigners who are here working.

We apply for teaching jobs here and those who are are successful get offered jobs and come. We are, as foreigners, expected to adapt to Korean culture to a certain extent and I think most of us do to a greater or lesser degree.

As we are "guests" in this country and for the very large part, nice people who try hard to do a good job, would it be too much to ask for our Korean co-workers to try and understand and/or accommodate some of our culture into their lives?

You know, be just a tad globally aware.

The VP could easily have asked for some of the OP's food, mentioning that sharing is part of the Korean way. To me and from my cultural perspective, it's the polite thing to do.

If I were in their position, and a Canadian was coming to teach at my school, I'd spend 10 minutes on the internet and try to learn a few things about Canadians and the way their cultural world spins with regard to social norms.

I don't think that's asking too much.
Hail Caesar


  • outsider
  • Veteran

    • 225

    • July 03, 2014, 04:19:05 am
    • Bucheon
Re: This is starting to drive me CRAZY
« Reply #31 on: June 16, 2015, 11:54:49 am »
I understand the OP's frustration. I believe it stems from a "one-way" street mentality that, in my experience, many Koreans have about their country and the foreigners who are here working.

We apply for teaching jobs here and those who are are successful get offered jobs and come. We are, as foreigners, expected to adapt to Korean culture to a certain extent and I think most of us do to a greater or lesser degree.

As we are "guests" in this country and for the very large part, nice people who try hard to do a good job, would it be too much to ask for our Korean co-workers to try and understand and/or accommodate some of our culture into their lives?

You know, be just a tad globally aware.

The VP could easily have asked for some of the OP's food, mentioning that sharing is part of the Korean way. To me and from my cultural perspective, it's the polite thing to do.

If I were in their position, and a Canadian was coming to teach at my school, I'd spend 10 minutes on the internet and try to learn a few things about Canadians and the way their cultural world spins with regard to social norms.

I don't think that's asking too much.

what a wonderful country this would be.   Unfortunately most Korean's have next to no understanding of the world outside of Korea and even less interest in learning unless theyve spent serious time overseas (and even then there will always be certain things...)  Luckily though, for the Koreans that is perfectly acceptable here in Korea! 

Unfortunately for us, it is our responsibility to adapt to Korean culture. 


  • 외계인
  • Expert Waygook

    • 599

    • August 27, 2013, 07:32:33 am
    • Seoul
    more
Re: This is starting to drive me CRAZY
« Reply #32 on: June 16, 2015, 02:14:24 pm »
It's pretty common that if you bring food you want to consume at school/ in a communal setting in Korea, you offer to share it. Even if my co-teachers bring like two pieces of bread from Paris Baguette, they will cut them up and offer to share them with the ten teachers in the staff room. That's just how it is in Korea. It's not the VP power tripping, it's just different cultural expectations. You think she is rude for taking it, the rest of the Korean staff probably think you are rude for not offering to share it with them.

If you don't want to share your food with them, don't eat it in the staff room or in front of them. Sneak away somewhere and eat it there. Problem solved.

I bring my breakfast to work every morning and it at my desk. I understand Korean culture of food sharing. But, I am an adult, not a coward--and I'm pretty sure they understand it is my breakfast anyway--those that might even notice. So I hardly see the need to hide and eat my food in shame.

I already pay for terrible office snacks that I don't even use. If I bring in something to share that is entirely up to me. But, I am certainly not obligated to.