The last ten days have been a grind and I hate to admit it but a small part of me just wants this semester (non-semester) to be over so I can start over again in fall. Eating CU kimbap and cold noodles at my desk while losing hours of time to the internet is getting really old.
My routine was luckily shaken up today, for all of ten minutes, as all the teachers filed outside while the pesticide company sprayed classrooms. C accompanied me down and I talked her ear off. I heard male music teacher tell the other teachers my name; I think one of the newbies was asking about me and I laughed to myself that he was able to remember this time.
Both S and C have asked me questions about America that make it seem like Koreans think America a wonderland of gender equality and money.
S thought American families were more independent and didn’t visit each other. C was surprised to hear that marriage is ingrained in American girls from the cradle: When you get married… when you have a wedding… when you have kids…
“Ah, not so different from Korea then.”
I told her my parents encouraged majoring in engineering because it would be a challenging, solid, and well-paying career which is practical and sound advice (Although these days the pay is comfortable sure, but rich? Not by a long shot). I added that Southern US culture is similar to South Korea in terms of filial piety, marriage, and more conservative values.
She remarked, “Ah, that is why I must think of you as Korean.”
I think she was hungry for conversation, even if I did most of the talking, and we had an insightful chat about gender norms and child birth. Although she has a boyfriend she’s not interested in getting married nor in birthing children, even though her mom told her it will bring great happiness.
“My friends are all having babies now but I… don’t want to.” She admitted. To think that women are encouraged to sacrifice their bodies to the altar of status quo regardless of their personal desire or safety even now is concerning.
I imagine to C this is further cementing our bond and I’m glad; she also asked how and when she should help as my mentor for the teaching course. We love and support involved introverts!
After school it was my designated day to buy masks and now I can get three at a time. Hurray! I also asked for ear drops which the pharmacist unfortunately didn’t have, but he did want to make some conversation about my job which was both mildly shocking and delightful.
Since I am both teaching and receiving tutoring tonight, I went straight home and am honestly running on fumes. I’d like to take a leaf from C’s book and sleep at my desk like I caught her doing last week, but I know the moment I do is the moment the principal will sweep in. I think the jolly security guard can tell I’m in need of recharging but that will have to wait until Saturday.