A few days ago, I met up with one of my co-workers. HJ teaches senior English, and she recently returned to Korea from a six-week summer practicum in Canada. She is very friendly and taught with a former Fulbright ETA at the middle school across from our school.
We met in front of the school and first went to have brunch near Chungbuk University. We had naengmyeon (냉면), which are buckwheat noodles in a cold broth, and happens to be one of my favorite warm-weather foods. The day was the perfect early-spring weather for naengmyeon. After our lunch, we walked to the university campus for an afternoon stroll and some coffee. Along our walk, we admired the blossoms that were just beginning to show, and we also came across several magpies.
The magpie struck up an interesting conversation between us. I told her that back in Colorado, in the spring there used to be a bunch of magpies that would hang around our back porch because they liked to eat the left over dry dog food... I also told her that in many Western cultures, often see the magpie as a negative symbol associated with gossip, trickery, secrets, and sadness. In fact, Christianity paints the magpie as "the Devil, dissipation, and vanity (Wisdom Portal)." Other negative associations include witchcraft, a sign of misfortune, and more. Many of these negative representations come out of Christian Europe, especially England:
In Britain... one seen flying or croaking around a house or sitting alone symbolizes that misfortune is present. Perhaps these associations stem from the fact that the magpie was the only bird that would not enter the Ark, preferring to stay outside. It is one of few birds that also has black and white plumage, a combination of the sacred or holy color (white) and of evil (black). (Druidry.com)
HJ then told me that in Korean folklore the magpie is a very positive symbol, denoting the arrival of a visitor or good news. I told her that I liked this association much better and that I hoped the magpie we saw would bring me some good news about the results from an interview with an international school in Seoul.
That magpie must have been a bringer of good news because today I have officially been offered and have accepted a secondary English Language Arts teaching position at that international school in Seoul. The news came after a month of waiting and worrying, so I'm very much relieved. Starting in August, I will be an ELA teacher. I couldn't be more excited, nervous, and happy!!
Thank you for the news, Mr. Magpie!! ^^
After completing my undergraduate studies, I accepted a chance to teach in Korea through the Fulbright Scholarship. Originally intending to stay just one year, it soon turned to three. I taught in Cheongju as an ETA from 2012 - 2015.