I’ve started using my ipod again. This is a big deal. So just play along. Pretend this is HUGE news. Pretend you care. Please. Because, since I’ve left NZ, I’ve had a really hard time listening to music. It’s a nostalgia thing. Even happy music makes me miss…something. And here’s the kicker; I PAY for music now. Yeah. I know. Look at me being good at society. What can I say. I just couldn’t bring myself to let Lorde miss out on $17.99. She has to save up for that 6th form ball after all. Oh oh oh, and I IRONED something the other day. As in, for reasons other than to ‘make shit dry faster.’ Times they are a’changing for me here.
I’ve been kept pretty busy lately. Ironing and paying for music no-less. But I’ve done other stuff too. Really. I’ve managed to have a tonne of fun, but I’ve also had a LOT of frustrations to reign in. Mostly to do with communication. It’s not even the language barrier that’s a struggle – that’s surprisingly doable if you’re prepared to flail plenty – but it’s all the last minute information that I get. I thought I’d read enough blogs prior to my arrival to be prepared for this, but that’s not really possible. A surprise class, a surprise cancellation, a surprise field trip, a surprise dinner, a surprise parent-teacher conference, a surprise curriculum that you were expected to have written and filled out last week, but are only just hearing about it as you are being told off for not having done it, and my favourite; when my co-teacher decides to surprise me at the beginning of class by telling me that I’m going to teach the lesson and then leaves the room as I stand there confused and unprepared for any such lesson. And the best thing of course, is on top of my own frustration is my co-teacher’s frustration in me.
For the most part, she really seems to like me. She asks about my life. She likes to ask me for music and movie recommendations. She loves to go outside and take photos with me. Actually, she loves to go outside and have me take photos of her. Dammit if Koreans don’t love selfies. But then there are times where she has no time for the extra work that I seem to come with. The package I come in seems to involve a lot of paperwork. And I can’t help it. Neither can she. So we just push through it and exchange headaches.
And next week I have an open-class. In which I submit a lesson plan, teach it, film it, then go over the footage a week later with seven other teachers across the county so they can critique me. As you could imagine, I’m utterly ECSTATIC about this prospect.
So. I’ve come across a bit of of a lull in the job front. But that’s okay. I’ve become a ‘live for the weekend’ kind of human. I think we just refer to these as ‘humans.’ Last weekend involved another 20-odd NET teachers rioting in Mokpo. Okay, so maybe not rioting, but we certainly brought the Norae-bang house down. We were obviously so charming that we got ourselves some free drinks from the manager of a bar, and made social with ACTUAL Koreans. After some appalling dance-offs in a club, we retired to a not-so-quaint Love-Motel that played porn on a 50″ flat-screen. Vivid. Oh so vivid. Damn you Samsung and your quality products.
I also had a pretty eventful teacher’s dinner last week. Possibly the booziest, most ruckus dinner yet. It was in Gwangju (the big ol’ smoke), and I remember falling asleep in the car on the way there, and waking up to the sweet sound of Me and My Bobby McGee on the radio. Oh god it was a nice moment. You have to understand that I’m currently being slowly beaten to death with K-pop, so in that moment, hearing Janis was complete utter heaven on earth. The rest of the night was less…peaceful.
To keep it short-ish, there was much soju and Hite involved. Shot after shot after shot. Faces got redder. Brows got sweatier. The room got louder. Everyone got friendlier. One of the older teachers, who I honestly don’t recognise from school, has decided that her son and I would make beautiful babies. She’d like me to go visit him should I venture to Japan during the winter break. Two of the male teachers, one 48, one 55; decided to compete for my attention. ‘Who is the most handsome?’ ‘Who do you think has the most money?’ They like to sing ‘beautiful Olivia’ to me at school, so this was no real surprise. They’re both actually very sweet guys. ‘Not him,’ they would say, pointing at each other; ‘he is a dangerous man.’ Oh my. The three of us had a photo taken together in front of a triceratops skeleton at last weeks field trip, and I so badly wish I had it so I could show you these goons.
So it was a ruckus evening. It was a sashimi restaurant too, so no such luck with carbs to soak any of it up. The school receptionist who seems to have taken a liking to me, told me I was a ‘good friend.’ I was pretty touched, especially considering our conversations are a complete hit and miss language wise. I really wish I could understand these folk, because I don’t think I’ll ever truly get to know who they are. On the other hand, it may be to their advantage not knowing quite what I’m saying. Nobody needs that much sarcasm in their lives. Hell, I don’t even think I know what I’m saying most of the time. Thanks to all the broken English that comes out of my mouth these days, I think I’m finally getting to the point. Probably the complete opposite to my six years at university.
So where am I at right now?
I’m looking forward to the weekend. I’m looking forward to being with new friends, watching hundreds of lanterns fill the night sky, doing things I’ve never done in a yet another place I’ve never been. That’s where I’m at.