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문어 is like Octopus only more delicious!

February 22, 2011

I’ve gained something of a reputation in my school for being an octopus lover.  This probably started in my first few days here when students and teachers were very curious about my new Korean diet.  They were convinced that all Korean food was too spicy for me so, I must be basically starving at the lack of Western food in our area. I eventually communicated to everyone that I did, in fact, love Korean food BUT I don’t eat octopus. *GASPS*

I don’t feel like I need to point out all the reasons why I don’t like octopus to my family members as I know they feel the same way. However,  I do feel like I have a special connection with the animal that goes beyond my dislike of its taste amd texture. My art thesis for my Studio Art minor in college was on the octopus…you spend enough time carefully defining the complex lines of such a strange animal and you get attached. At least I did.

Anyway, soon my love of the octopus became something of a classroom joke. Whenever food was mentioned in a lesson or even outside of class students would tell me rather sternly that “Octopus is not pet, teacher. It is food. It is delicious.”  In the next month or so I managed to find an octopus puppet and that was just too much. Suddenly, what turned into my “contempt” for octopus food was a punchline for anything.

Scenario 1: Kristin teacher is walking down the hallway. Students shout hello and Kristin asks “Hey, how are you?”. Student replies “Teacher, do you eat octopus?” “No” “IT IS SO DELICIOUS” Students run away giggling.

Scenario 2: Kristin sits at her desk doing whatever. Students approach and stand behind her eerily quietly until she turns around. “Hey, what’s up guys?” “Teacher, octopus is not friend!” Students go back to class.

Scenario 3: Kristin has the octopus puppet on her desk and is doing whatever. Student appears from nowhere “TEACHER why you have octopus doll?!” Kristin is a little frightened and replies quietly “…Because it’s cute and I -” “IT IS NOT CUTE” Student laughs maniacally and runs away.

Twice a week, I am treated to those scenarios which always end in laughter but are still a little off putting.

All that was to get to an octopus related story that happened today. My Vice Principal asked me and some other staf to lunch and I accepted. As always, I asked about the menu …only to be taken aback when he mentioned octopus. Oh boy. I didn’t really care about it being octopus soup or stew, these are served at lunch once a week. Going out for octopus tends to refer to a giant boiling pot of stew and a live octopus or two being pushed in…then clinging to the sides of the pot, then managing to almost escape, then staring sadly at me as it boils alive. So, I politely declined.

It would seem that I do deserve all the trouble I get for trying to protect my beloved octopi. I have no problem eating most other animals but something about the octopus’ intelligence and strangeness endears me to it.

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