Monday, August 30, 2010

Ajumma Hair

An ajumma (아줌마) is a Korean woman of a certain age. Your stereotypical ajumma is a ~feisty~ older woman with aggressively permed hair, purple pants and other questionable sartorial choices, a giant sun visor and a willingness to elbow you in the sternum to get in front of you in line. I read an awesome (and sadly no longer online) article awhile back about an ajumma living in Chicago. Her dry-cleaners was robbed and the old woman chased the robber down, caught him and held him until the police arrived. This didn't surprise me at all since, true story, I was once choked by an ajumma on the subway. I know better than to mess with an ajumma.

Anyway, a few weeks ago I got my hair cut and my hair went from being wavy to genuinely curly. This was right after summer break started, so this week was the first time most of my students have seen me since I got my hair cut. You can imagine how thrilled I was when my first class of 5th graders walked into the classroom today and one boy shouted, "Hey Teacher! You ajumma perm!"

"No!" I told him. "It's not a perm. I have curly hair. Natural."

"Right," the kid, who has no concept of non-permed curly hair, said. "You perm, very good."

This scene was repeated in every single 5th grade class. *facepalm*

Speaking of my 5th graders, one of my 5-2 boys has started addressing me as you girl. As in "Hey you girl, come here." I let it slide the first time, but the second time I corrected him.

"Who am I?" I asked. "Not girl."

"Right Teacher," he said. "Sorry. Hey you woman, come here."

... I cannot fault that logic.

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