Well, after a couple of weeks in the land of good beer, nachos, and racial diversity, I'm back in Korea. And exhausted. I got into Seoul Monday morning at 2am and spent a few hours sleeping at Gangnam bus station waiting for the 6:30 Sokcho bus. I shared a few cigarettes and laughs with the security guards and then hunkered down on the floor beside my luggage. I woke up at 5:30 to a Korean police officer poking me in the face, while smiling in a most welcoming manner. I had one of those great moments when you wake up and forget where you are, but this was the most startling one I ever had as I sat up, blurry eyed, to realize I was on the other side of the planet. I guess he woke me up because the bus station was now open, and they don't want people sleeping during business hours.
I was in Sokcho by around 11am, but had discussed with Justin (my supervisor) before I left Canada that I didn't want to work on Monday, so I had a day to recover. And a good thing, too.
Tuesday morning I came to my classroom to find a thirty to forty question evaluation sheet for each of my students, due on Friday. At 11 different classes of around 15 students each, that's a lot of evaluating. So I spent the last week rating each student from 1-7 on statements such as "Shows creativity and doesn't copy from existing material" and "Makes effort to pronounce new words" and the like. It was exhausting, it was mind-numbing, it was ridiculous. More ridiculous because looking at the names on each sheet, I only remembered who about half of them were. Korean names, to the ignorant Western eye, are quite difficult to attach a face to. For instance, in one class I have Eun-ji and Ji-Eun, sitting right beside each other. Dong-Hyeon, Hyeon-Dong, Kyeong-Mi, Min-Kyeong, you get the idea.
So that sucked, but it is really good to be back. It's funny, I was only here a month before I went back. But coming back, I definitely had that "good to be home" feeling. One of my plants is dead, but miraculously, my lavender survived. So, uh, then I played some football and watched porn and drank beer. Sorry, just needed to balance out that lavender sentence. (Miraculously?)
My students are almost all glad to have me back. The young ones especially, were really happy to see me. I told the class that I took pictures of that I showed the pictures to my mother, and they exploded. Literally, just exploded. Pieces of children everywhere. Alright, not quite, but it did take me a good couple of minutes to calm them down, apparently the idea of my mother seeing their picture was exciting. Who knew?
"The Sullen Class" as I've been calling them, is still sullen. A couple of them were glad to see me, but I asked Seung-eun (kind of a cross between Soong and Sung), a boy of about 13, if he was glad to have me back and this is how that went:
Joshua Teacher: Seung-eun?Seung-eun: (Sighs as if I'm interrupting him at something really important, he was examining the bottom of his shoe) Yes?
JT: Who was your teacher while I was away?
S-e: (blank stare)
JT: (slowly, with appropriate sign language) Whooo was yooouur teeeaaacher when IIIII was in Canada?
S-e: Oh, Oh, Uhhhhhhhhh Korean teacher.
JT: Did you like your Korean teacher?
S-e: (blank stare, goes back to working on his shoe)
JT: Seung-eun! (S.e. looks up) You had a Korean teacher while I was in Canada?
JT: Good korean teacher?
JT: Better than Joshua teacher?
S-e: What better?
JT: More good.
S-e: Oh. Yes.
JT: So you were happy with the Korean teacher?
JT: And now you have Joshua teacher back, you are sad?
JT: Awesome. Okay class, open your books to page...
So yeah, welcome back.
That's all for now, gonna go have a shower and enjoy the rainy day.