Week 11, Thursday

G made 3-2 apologize for misbehaving on Tuesday when she stepped out of the room. They all voluntarily stayed after class to clean up. Cute.

I ran into some grade 6 girls on my way back to my desk. Heejoo was wearing a hand warmer on her head.

“Teacher! I am very sexy” she said as she modeled in her oversized hoodie and makeshift hat.

This week has been tough (sick, weather changes, extra rowdy students, navigating within a different culture) but I’m looking forward to teaching comparatives to grade 6 tomorrow. I made some notes in addition to the ones in the book regarding th pronunciation but scrapped them— I don’t think S or the twelve year olds care about my linguistic notes on θ and ð.

On the hardest of days, I can always count on the non-school interactions with my kids to make it better. Strong Girl and crew saw me through the sliver of the teacher cafeteria door and they all shouted HELLO ABIGAIL TEACHER.

And there’s a 100% chance I see students after I leave school. Today my sweeper friend and assorted grade 4 students were play wrestling in the road.

Sweeper stopped to say HELLO while a motorcycle man idled waiting for him to move (the streets are one way and there are no sidewalks). Handsome student was hanging out by the ddeokbokki stand nearby and stopped to talk with me mostly in Korean about her hot chocolate, favorite snacks, and speaking test next week.

Another grade 5 girl joined her to ask me for candy. I’ve never had candy or given them candy but it’s just our greeting now…. I suppose?

“Willy Wonka 발표를 잘 하면 미국의 candy 줄 거예요.” If you do a good job on your Willy Wonka presentation I’ll give you candy.

(Thanks for the Christmas candy mom, this is where it’s going).

Seeing the kiddos outside of school like my farewell crew always makes me happy. And now that it’s cold I amuse myself by putting their hoods up and pulling the strings tight. They’re at the age where they also think it’s funny.

And I want to mention something else—

I want to be honest with the easy and not so easy days. Because if I’m talking about it, it wasn’t so bad. The days and years I don’t talk about were the hardest.

Living somewhere and really trying, instead of just sticking to the expat bubble, can mean a lot of reward but also a lot of failures along the way. That’s okay! It’s okay to have great days and not so great days. It’s okay to feel annoyed at the old men who hork their spit or frustrated when you can’t say what you want or just need a day filled with cheese. Just keep pushing.

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