But in Korea, the word agnostic is as alien as gadzooks or antidisestablishmentarianism. And here's why: Korea is one of the only countries in the world to "self-evangelise"i.e.: to convert itself to Christianity without outside help. And now that they've done it they're hellbent on getting everyone else to do the same.
So what does this mean in the real world? Well, there are hordes of Ajummas and Ajussis in the subways and streets handing out free packs of tissues to foreigners with directions and a little map to the nearest church. Not so different from home, I hear you cry. And you'd be right-many was the time in Newcastle where I would be stopped by Mormons. The only problem is that these guys are far, FAR more determined to get you to sign up, and exploit the fact that you probably don't know enough Korea to tell them to go away in a respectful manner. They will follow you through the subway, through the streets and occasionally to your building.
And it hasn't stopped since I moved to my new town. Last week, I was accosted 3 times by Koreans with a very impressive grasp of English who deduced that I worked in a hagwon and proceeded to tell me how evil and sinful the Korean education system is. Normally, I'd agree-the amount of pressure put on my students is epic-but the fact they were using this as a springboard for their own ideas, and not as a cause in itself, was what turned me off. Not to mention the irony that it is the self-same system which allows them to be bilingual; an impressive talent in anyone's book. I eventually gave them my old phone number and caught the bus.
This week at work I have been bouncing between schools to cover other classes in my break periods. Meaning I'm working my classes, and 40% of another teacher's (the other 60% is covered by her campus-frankly I don't know how they manage), whilst trying to juggle phone calls to my students. This makes me a saaaaaaaad panda.