E asked me to make a few videos for the online curriculum and I excitedly flexed my video editing muscles. Deep in the midst of centering a screenshot C told me she would be working half days since she had to attend a ten day teacher training she had voluntarily signed up for a month ago and has since regretted. Before leaving she gave me a gift:
“I went to Jeju last weekend. This is for you.”
She deposited a cute set of Jeju themed sticky notes into my open palms.
“Thank you so much!”
C is good peeps.
Later I noticed something strange in the design: the tiny “I love Jeju” lettering looked more like “I love Jesus”.
More research is required but given the amount of Christian cults here, this is likely intentional and also hilarious.
The shenanigans were not over.
I ran into the only students I ever see during these pandemic times: Jeongyeon (“give me candy”), Monster Girl, and a new addition of back hugging grade four girl, all with an ice cream in hand.
I’m happy to see her with them, I think she needs a more mature influence. Although she was wearing a face full of makeup which I commented on.
“Teacher!” Jeongyeon shouted in English.
I’m so glad some things don’t change: Jeongyeon insisted on candy and back hugger insisted on holding my hand as her two seniors dominated the conversation.
Jeongyeon said she wanted to come back to school and asked if I went to Itaewon (a hot item due to a new virus breakout), Monster Girl asked about my Korean age, and the three of them told me about a dead mouse.
“Oh, we saw it a little while ago.”
I think their lives are about as boring as mine.
We caught up some more about the new teacher and that one time I saw her American classmate at the gym.
“Only once?” She cackled. “That’s why he’s fat.”
“Ya…” I scolded her but not too harshly; she’s not small and Danny’s not a bad kid, but he is her arch nemesis and once made her cry over typical fifth grade group project dynamics so I’ll leave the drama to them.
“Where are you going?”
“To the park.”
“Karaoke?” I asked, confused. Park and karaoke sound similar in Korean.
Jeongyeon ended the conversation as she usually does by suddenly saying GOODBYE. And of course she asked for candy.
“Listen, when you come back to school I’ll give you some.”
“No! All three of you.”
They were appeased. The fourth grader finally let go of my hand (this sounds like I bore it when in fact I love it) and the trio walked off towards the park.
The chat put a pep in my step and I entered the gym where my Botoxed underarms held up amazingly in what has been my best decision to date. This will NOT be a stinky summer, thank you very much.
Last night marked another lesson with my Hong Kong tutor who actually fell over laughing at my impression of a Korean girlfriend.
“You are so funny and pretty that you must go on one of these Korean reality shows.”
“I don’t think my Korean is good enough.. even though that’s my dream!”
“No it’s fine now! You can do it! You just need connections. Maybe if you go to an acting school…”
It is my wildest dream to be on the show 아는 형님 which is on Netflix as “Men On A Mission”. They only have celebrity guests but ah, I can dream! At the very least I could be an audience member or even janitor, I don’t mind.
I texted my other tutor who lives in Busan to ask her advice for what locations to put on my Gyeongnam application. She sent me paragraphs of suggestions and info about the region and I realized I have some great people in my corner.
With that knowledge secured I reached back out to the recruiter to get started: I’ll need reference letters in Korean, the hard signed copies on official letterhead. I haven’t yet taught with E or C so that’s a bit weird to ask, H is out on childcare leave for a year, and G is at a different school.
I’ll likely ask S and G; G wants to grab lunch one day so it shouldn’t be too difficult and S is at the school so I can swing by any day.
Between the application, teaching course, Korean classes, and video editing, I have to say it feels nice for things to move along!