Week 9, Thursday

Where do I even start?

Today was the talent show. Third grade class did their fan dance and I am so proud. I didn’t cry though so winning.

In the second half of the show I stood near the area where students lineup. I met some very outgoing second graders who shouted hello! I asked one in Korean, are you ready? And he became very shy. So cute. I gave them high-fives as they walked on. They’ll be my students next year.

I wished all the students good luck as they walked past me to the stage and before 4-2 went on stage, I chatted with them. My SEVENTEEN fanboy:

“You ugly!”

“Hey!”

“You beautiful.”

“Correct answer.”

He has braces and rubber bands and is still a very cute string bean. He tried to help arrange some cards that a student put out of order in class the other day.

I also saw the American mom and we chatted for a bit. She asked me how her daughter was doing and if she volunteered a lot. I said “well she doesn’t volunteer often but she does participate well. Class 4-1 is a bit quiet overall though. She’s an excellent drawer and everyone knows her for her artistic abilities. In class yesterday she was really competitive and understood the content well.” In the recent seat reassignment, she was sat next to Seungkwan Jr and they both groaned. I wonder, are they Frenemies? Future crush? I didn’t tell her mom this.

The sixth grade girls were very excited to see me and I wished them all luck. I saw my “cheerleaders“ and they were wearing… Mozart style marching band uniforms? Well, close enough I guess. During the performance one troublesome 6-3 student was too cool to participate and just waved his arms in the back of the dance number.

My special student in 3–1 did the most, dancing some moves and having a great time. Strong Girl and Weak Boy did a fantastic flag dance with their class.

I loved being a part of the crowd and seeing the parents and students outside of class. I took about 100 videos because I am a proud mom.

The talent show ended, class 6-1, S, and I helped put chairs away and then we went to lunch. Usually guitar teacher is at another school on Thursdays but since he attended the talent show, we got to eat lunch all together.

He asked how his guitar students did and I had to tell him that while grade 6 was amazing, grade three… Well they definitely sounded better in practice (Which I’ve heard every Monday for the last few months since the music room is next-door to my classroom).

Grade 3 did an excellent job with the song in rehearsal but two kids played the wrong major in the real talent show. Guitar teacher actually frequents five other schools including a high school which he said was quiet but interesting. We talked about hiking and I mimed the time I climbed up the bare rock face of Bukhansan and had to store my water bottle inside my shirt so I wouldn’t fall off the cliff. He laughed in surprise and when we all parted I said, see you next week! And I feel, maybe, friendship level unlocked?

After, S and I went to the local coffee shop and through our many order changes and S asking the barista if she could hurry since we had to catch the bus, I’m quite sure will never be able to go there again.

“Did you see her face?”

“Yes and she definitely hates us.”

All the teachers boarded a charter bus to the national Arboretum (we were late and everyone cooed at our coffee, the head teacher saying loudly in English “oh ICED AMERICANO I LIKE IT”).

We walked through the forest, looked at the leaves changing colors, and had a wonderful dinner of roasted duck and pumpkin. On our walk the male music teacher asked me every hundred feet “isn’t this great?”. Since great and delicious sound similar, he thought I had made a mistake earlier and was correcting me. But I hadn’t made a mistake; I was looking at some fish and I jokingly told him that they are delicious.

He quizzed me again at dinner (dude I got this) so later I asked him a question in fast colloquial English and when he didn’t understand I translated for him. Ha! Payback! I found out he’ll be riding a plane for the first time ever which explains… a lot.

The principal, a very sharply dressed older woman, came to our table to greet everyone and asked me in Korean if duck meat is okay. I told her yes it’s okay and it tastes delicious. One teacher remarked that I eat well especially compared to one previous teacher who couldn’t eat anything with spice or eat seafood (how did she live in Korea at all??). Being told you eat well is like peak Korean compliment.

The teachers insisted I take leftovers home so now I have a bag full of roast duck in pumpkin in my refrigerator.

On the night bus back, S and I had a lot of life conversations. She told me, “I think you are not common. Not like others.” We were looking through some of my photos and she said of an old Halloween outfit “wow that doesn’t look like you. You look so foreign there. These days to me you look almost Korean.”

I told her a bit about Atlanta and why I am so grateful to be included here even though I am visibly different and don’t share the language. She said “you feel 소속감. A sense of belonging.”

I feel like 100 other things happened today but I can’t do them justice, so I will just leave you with the two acorns S gave me.

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