Oh dear god make the heatwave stop. ‘Winter in coming’ and I’ve never been more excited. I know it snows a shit-tonne here, in Gokseong in particular, but I’ll take my chances. I’m a winter baby. I was born smack bang in the middle of winter – which for New Zealand isn’t really saying much – and it is my happy place. Or just a different season with a different thing to complain about. Maybe I’m just bored of the weather conversations. You know how weather is such a go-to conversation? Especially in schizo NZ? Well when you’re attempting a multitude of basic, broken conversations with Koreans, weather is a hot topic. Not even sorry about the pun. The funny thing is, it always comes back to New Zealand weather. I thought I’d gotten away from that conversation; but ALAS. My go-to now is actually earthquakes. I tell them that we have many earthquakes and this is often followed by a gasp and then a long silence. Maybe it’s because they don’t believe me. Who knows.
So I’m at day three. It’s 2pm and I’m EXHAUSTED. I was aware that kids drain your energy, but I miss only being aware of this in theory. Theory is my safety blanket. My cocoon of denial. My fortress of solitude from…stuff and things.
They’re cute though. Hella cute. Except Grade 5. They’re little monsters that will constantly challenge my will to be here/live for the next year. Luckily I haven’t actually really taught yet. over the last couple of days I’ve seen every one of my classes, but I’ve basically just introduced myself and then spent the rest of the lesson answering their questions. ‘Can you eat Kiwi’s?’ ‘Do you like babies?’ ‘Do you like Justin Bieber?’ ‘Who is your favourite Super Junior member?’ ‘Do you think I’m a boy or a girl?’
I figure my co-teacher woud want to jump in at some point and start teaching the lesson, but she just kind of lets it run through till the end of the lesson. First week back after summer vacation I guess. These kids are restless as all hell, and are melting in their chairs. I applaud them for even staying awake to be honest. God knows I’m struggling.
One of the grade 6 girls actually came to me after class and wrote me a list of songs by Beast to listen to. I’d made it known that I was familiar with K-pop, and welcomed the idea of the kids helping me delve further into it. It’s honestly not my cup of tea in the slightest, but like I said, I’m’a immerse myself in the culture goddammit.
Tomorrow I go to Go-Dal elementary, which by the way everyone seems to describe it, it’s some tiny school in the mountains out yonder. Who knows. A fellow teacher will drive me there tomorrow, so I won’t have to deal with the TWO buses I have to take till next week. Friday is some chef school in Gokseong. A high school. Which I was NOT prepared for. I was prepared to teach one elementary. Not two elementary schools and a High school cooking class. Um WHUT. But I’ll roll with it. Nothing I’m doing is familiar, or expected and just about everything is confusing as hell, so if I am to survive here, I have to take it as it comes. I think that’s the whole point of it all really. Isn’t it? I mean, in some ways I’m kind of like a child again. There is very little I can do on my own here. I’m so incredibly dependant on the people around me to accomplish even the tinyest tasks here; things that frankly, took me a long enough time to figure out back home. Banking, getting a phone, catching a bus, asking for rubbish bags, paying bills, ordering a coffee; ALL are mammoth tasks. But they’re kind of welcome challenges you know? Okay, so sometimes they’re just plain humiliating, but I can’t wait to go back home and be excited about my mad skilliz regarding buying rubbish bags. I’m going to feel SO accomplished. SO powerful. It’s all such a humbling experience really. Everytime I feel uncomfortable, I basically just tell myself; ‘Just take it. You wanted this. So suck it up woman.’ My inner monologue has become somewhat fierce. And frankly, a little bit scary. (Can I call my inner monologue a bitch, is that okay?)
Oh wow. My co-teacher is playing some ‘interesting’ english music right now. We finished all our classes by lunch time, which basically leaves me with 5 hours to do…something. I haven’t figured that part out yet. 5 hours to piss around on Facebook, update my blog and just, sweat and be sticky I guess. When I get into actual teaching I guess I’ll use it more productively.