When I first started teaching, I came home completely exhausted. As a self proclaimed introvert, being around so many people was incredibly draining. Coming home to my empty apartment was bliss.
But one way Korea has changed me is that it has increased my social stamina. Whereas before, I could barely make it through the day, now I can put in a full day at work, go straight to a fan signing, and spend the night in Seoul, without being like, “I should just go home” for no reason at all.
Which is good because my days have been long lately.
Not only am I working 6 days a week, each day is 9 hours long with no break. On MWF, Director added an extra class so I teach one class twice every day. On TTh I’m at school till 9 because of phone speaking.
I’m the only one in the office without a single break.
It means I don’t eat a proper meal for 9 hours. On the plus side, I’m losing weight. On the negative side, well, it can’t be healthy.
And yet, I have the social energy to go to a coffee shop after work and eat some food and write a blog post until it closes. This was UNTHINKABLE to me 4 months ago.
I’d say every day there’s a moment where I hate my life, and a moment where I love my life. So every day is just “so-so.” But then, without fail, I LOVE every weekend. So overall my time in Korea has been in the black.
This morning I hated my life when I had to be with 4-year-old Hulk, Tony, and Peter for 30 minutes. They are angels in front of Director and when she steps out, I ask Hulk to turn to the right page and looks me in the eyes and says “no.”
He then jumps around the classroom refusing to sit for even 30 seconds, talks to the other kids in Korean, and swears at me.
They make me doubt the idea that children are inherently innocent.
But it evens out. At the end of the day I have Helen and Liam, who are practically fluent. We read an article together about Barack Obama’s childhood (?) and we joke about which President is the most attractive and Liam tells a story about how he ran into a tree while playing dodgeball.
Sometimes the ups and downs will happen back to back. I have one class who are the 4 year olds all grown up. They speak English quite well, but choose to talk over me in Korean. The. Entire. Time. It’s funny because I can actually understand 75% of what they’re saying and every once in a while I’ll respond with a “that’s not very nice” or “yes you can do it Tommy” and they’re like
and I just smile coyly and move on.
Anyway, today I had this class twice because of extra class, and Jessica Teacher has them in between and they are terrified of her. So after the first class I asked her to scare them for me and she smiled and took me to the room. She then turned on her evil face and yelled at them and they stood straight with their hands behind their backs sweating and I heard my name a couple of times.
We walked out and when we rounded the corner she burst out laughing.
She told them that they had to write a letter of apology to me before the end of the night, even if they had to stay till 10 o’clock.
So I came back for extra class to these gems:
I forgive you all. Here are some Pepero sticks. Have a great day see you Thursday.
That’s just a day in my life. Each day brings surprises–both good and bad. It’s always memorable. And if I gain nothing else from this experience–
I’ve gained a few extroversion levels.