1. You think 10pm is a reasonable hour for a ten year old to come home from school.
2. You automatically answer ‘Why?’ in an annoying high pitched squeaky voice when someone asks your name.
3. You regularly complain about the lack of quality ajumma service in McDonalds.
4. You no longer casually text or notice something interesting in another cosmetic shop/realtor/mobile phone store when you spot another non-Korean in the crowd, you just blatantly ignore the person.
5. You find yourself staring at non-Koreans who obviously aren’t English teachers.
6. Dongshim references aren’t funny anymore.
7. You sneer at the quality of English material the person on the subway is suggestively angling in your direction.
8. You find yourself casually humming the theme tune to some beginner phonics book you taught three years ago.
9. When in your home country you can’t understand why you can’t buy booze in the local shop at 5am and then drink on their veranda outside.
10. You think that the new variety of Cass out this week really is ‘an improvement’.
11. You are not afraid of taking the bus.
12. You ride a scooter.
13. Twelve months in a hagwon is more than enough experience for every other teaching job in Korea.
14. You don’t drink soju … any more.
15. You have a faultless built in rubric for judging the quality of noraebang, Chuseok presents and countryside love motels.
16. All things considered, “electronic manic supersonic bionic energy” is a good song lyric.
17. You can distinguish the flavours in kimchi.
18. The material in your textbooks is inspiring.
19. Not without trying, you still can’t remember the point in your childhood when you proudly declared, ‘when I grow up, I want to teach English in South Korea!’
20. You love stationary shops.
21. Using the ‘team soap’ at the gym doesn’t bother you.
22. You’ve forgotten how to use an oven.
23. You’ve never learned Korean because everyone in your world speaks English anyway.
24. You just turn up for the buffet at your friend’s wedding.
25. You prefer red-bean to whipped cream.
26. You smile politely when someone talks about their job, and then ask for their favourite porn site to rapidly change the subject.
27. You get all excited when you sit in a car that isn’t a taxi/police car.
28. You refuse to associate yourself with newbies who talk about their job all the time, drink to much, can’t speak Kor…oh wait…
29. Forget friends and family, you go home once a year to buy new clothes.
30. The first year you spent teaching in Korea is still the best year.
31. You cover your face from the sun.
32. The magnetism of the English language section in the bookshop is unavoidable.
33. You didn’t notice that two of the last words in the last point were spelled wrong.
34. You had to check.
35. Stopping drinking really isn’t an option anymore.
36. You now complain about people who complain about complainers.
37. You don’t go to Hooker Hill any more … except for last weekend because it was someone’s birthday.
38. The infomercials on AFN are now quite informative.
39. After taking a shower, you dry your private parts in front of the mirror with a hairdryer for ten minutes.
40. K-Pop doesn’t bother you.
41. Being stared doesn’t bother you.
42. You know the ‘nice’ immigration officers.
43. You don’t roll on the floor laughing at t-shirt prints anymore.
44. Burger King will always be located opposite Geckos.
45. You have a sixth sense for spotting new imported products in Emart.
46. You don’t mind waiting to celebrate Paddy’s Day/July 4th/Canada Day etc. at the weekend.
47. You could write a better text book than the one you’ve been told to teach.
48. After this year you’re definitely moving to Japan.
49. You don’t know what TOEFL, TOEIC, TEPS or any other English test acronym, stand for.
50. You would probably get a lower score than most twelve year-old Korean kids in any of the above tests, but thank yourself daily that fortunately you’ll never have to!
by Conor O’Reilly
Idiot Proofing: These comments are observations not assertions. That means that they may not relate to you, and if they do well then I know that we probably have something in common. Isn’t that lovely?
Also, I know people will copy and paste and email this, don’t be afraid to include my name at the end of it. Most of it is original and inspired by real experiences. Share it around, get a few laughs and also a few moaners who can be torn apart.