Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Blue House Boys
Probably the coolest job I had in Korea was working for the President. Two times a week, along with an armed guard, I had to pass through 3 security check points and turn over my cell phone, keys and ID card so that I could enter the gates of Chunghwadae. I taught directly across from where the President resided. Once inside the grounds the routine walk to the building where I taugh became exactly that, a routine. There was nothing particularly special about it -- except one day when I got to pass by the President (who was in the distance I should add).
For the most part it was just another part-time job. I didn't treat it any different or put any more (or less) effort into it. I prepared my lesson, taught the students that came to class and sometimes if I was lucky I would get a glimpse into what kind of job they (the bodyguards I taught) really had. Other times my boss would ask me to go over legal documents with him and write letters to other head of states. I certainly wasn't qualified to be doing that (but neither was he). The most memorable experience I had was meeting and sitting beside the Director of Security (the big boss) while we watched and critiqued G20 security seminars. It was only until later when I saw him being whisked away by his own team of body guards, who led him to his own vehicle with driver, that I realized how important he truly was. Huh? The presidents body guards need body guards?
I remember one day since it was raining, I took at taxi to the main gate instead of walking. The taxi driver didn't believe me that I wanted to go Chunghwadae. Just take to me Chunghwadae I pleaded. He thought I was interested in taking a tour around the grounds so it wasn't until I showed him the name cards of some of the students that he quickly turned around. His next question was 'how much do you get paid?' AH! That little bugger (I never did tell him btw).
This job was amazing while it lasted. I was sad to have left Korean when things (work wise) were really working for me - haha. I was lucky to have had that opportunity. I got to see two very different sides of Korea because of that job -- the rich and powerful vs. the poor and powerless. I had guards hand me their name cards telling me that if I was in any trouble I wouldn't have to worry. But in all honesty, it was quite humbling to return back home at the end of the day, kick off my high-heel shoes, and snuggle up beside my Korean mom and hold her hand while we slept together on the same floor mat. If they only knew.
While looking at G20 summit photos on the internet, Sung Hyun paused at this photo and asked if I knew these men.
AHHHHHHHHH! Yes I know these men. Together we've talked about everything from their dating life, to being married, to the difficulties in their job and life in Korea in general. We've laughed together and have even shared a beer or .............. well one too many beers. RIGHT DONATA?
Actually the man in the glasses was always bugging me to set me up with one of my friends. So ladies any takers?
Photo credit to this site.