Thursday, 7 August 2008

I've heard it all now

Ever since coming to Korea in 2005 I've heard my name mispronounced and misspelled countless times. It hasn't really bothered me much, after all what's in a name eh and not one I chose myself.

Gavin, or 가빈 in Korean is sometimes a little difficult for locals. The B and V sounds are very similar so for many people my name is pronounced GaBin. This I can take. My current school even booked my plane ticket as Gabin. No big deal, just a simple correction needed, right? During my time here I've also been called Kevin, Kavin, Kelvin, Garvin and Gevin (bizarrely by a former co-worker). My Costco card even reads Cavin. Students also seem to take particular delight in calling me Galbi teacher (a popular local rib-based barbecue dish found in countless places), which I pretend makes me furious, but as I said - It doesn't bother me at all. I'm sure there are others too, but I cannot recall them right now.

At my school our names are written on small card on the wall of the desks where we sit, so people can easily find who they're looking for and also spell and hopefully say our co-workers names correctly. Who cares if someone makes a mistake once or twice? My Korean is awful and I know it, so I don't think I am any 'better' than the people I work with and am surrounded by, far from it. Anyway...

Today we got a new Korean teacher and we were introduced.
Newbie "My name is (I can't remember it)"
Smiling, I say "I'm Gavin"
She said "Garden?"
Stunned, I say "No, Gavin"
New face again "Garden, really?!"
Again I say, now slowly, loudly and clearly irritated "Gavin"
Once more "Garden, hmmm difficult!"

It's possible that I will never speak to this person ever again.

1 comment:

Alexis Anderson Lee said...

Oh, Super-Garden teacher, you're phenomenal. For real.

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