Sunday, September 21, 2008

Up to Nothing

With hubby out of town, I've been working a lot of my maedeup (Korean knotting). The maedeup test is a few weeks away and I'm on the fence whether I will take it or not. I was told originally and many times that this was a government regulated test and I would be the first foreigner to ever take the test. The test is comprised of making a complicated maedeup piece. You have two hours to finish it halfway and are watched by three judges which are my teacher, the owner of the shop and her husband. It costs 350,000won ($350US) and they only accept cash. I was surprised at this because I've always paid for my classes with my debit card. Even if you don't pass the first time, you only have to pay once. But with our future in Korea uncertain, there is a possibility we will be back in the States when the next test comes which is in January 2009.
A month ago I had the opportunity to meet a maedeup master who was appointed by the Korean government. Only the government can issue you the title of master. I forgot to talk about my visit with her so I will do that soon. As we were talking, I mentioned that I was going to take the certification test for maedeup. She gave me a puzzled looked and asked me what I was talking about. I thought it was strange I needed to explain it to a maedeup master but I did. She told me that there was no such government certification.
I was shocked and felt totally betrayed. My Korean girlfriend talked to my teacher about it and found out that the certification was a community certification. The shop owner wants me to take the test because it will be good for her business having "certified" a foreigner. After talking it over with my husband, teacher and girlfriends, I had, at this point, decided to take the test.
I have also become pretty upset with the "private lessons" I am attending. It is fine when the owner isn't in the shop which is rare because when she is there, my teacher has no time to help or teach me. The owner keeps her constantly busy even to the point where they left for over an hour once leaving me in the shop alone. I spend three hours in the shop and average about 1/2 hour of my teacher's time. I had more time with her when I was taking class with 30 other students. I feel like I paid a lot of money for nothing. My teacher feels really bad about this but there is little she can do. I only have two more classes left which is good because I am fed up.
Hannah (my Korean girlfriend) stayed overnight the other night and she saw how stressed I've been. We talked a lot about it and how much time I've been spending on getting ready for the test. I've been averaging about 12 hour days on maedeup for the last two weeks. She is taking a quilting class at the same shop and is going to talk to the owner on Monday and lay it all out on the line. I told Hannah at this point in time, I don't think I will take the test. The cash payment is really shady to me and I don't feel like handing the owner 350,00won. Let's see what happens after Monday.


Helena said...

Oh my goodness. Yeah, I'd be upset too. That would have been very cool, if it really was a government test and you were the first foreigner to do it.

CreekHiker said...

If there is some agency (even a community one), they probably have to pass on the fee to them. Debit cards take a percentage out of that fee... hence the cash request.

I would demand a refund for the "private" lessons!

Becky said...

Helena: I was really looking forward to to also. Bummer!

Holly: I still don't understand. They charge a percentage if you use your debit/credit card for that reason. The private lessons are almost over, one more week. I was taken advantage of. Oh well.

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