June 10

The morning started off with a free comedy routine: stern security guard and the Yakult yogurt lady were arguing in increasingly loud voices outside the school gate about where she could park her motorized yogurt cart. Stern security gaurd is near retirement but called her ajumma and yelled at her with honorific language. Mrs. Yakult argued right back with an addition of loud huffs and scoffs.

Yakult is the name of the yogurt and the game. Image source.

The office lady happened upon the same scene and as we breezed pass, I told her it was like a movie.

She then asked if I was sick since I was out yesterday.

“No, I went to the hospital and had a biopsy.” At the hospital they said “biopsy” with Korean pronunciation so I assumed it was a loan word.

Not a very common one, because she didn’t know what I meant.

“Uh. Cancer? Test?” I tried in English. These are the days I wished I knew more medical terms in Korean, even if yesterday I was affronted that every nurse and doctor at the international hospital asked if they could just speak in Korean. Uh, no. I didn’t take the subway an hour at of my way for you to be afraid of English now.

The office lady repeated the words as if she were getting a taste for them and concluded that she would look them up once she got to her computer. I have a feeling she’ll be a bit shocked at what she finds.

(Koreans have a different view of going to the hospital; unlike Americans, the Korean hospital is a place you can go for anything and not worry about leaving bankrupt. Foot hurts? Hospital. Cold? Hospital. Hungover and want an IV? Hospital.)

The hospital visit was for a funky mole and while the dermatologist said it was fine, I opted for a biopsy just in case. Three stitches later I realized the after care sheet said I had to go to a hospital to get them removed. My plan is to roll the dice and ten days from now walk into the nearest hospital and bumble along with Google translate. I’m sure I will regret saying this later but how hard can it be?

I made it to our steamy classroom with iced latte in hand; Barista Violet and I had also talked about the hot weather early this morning. She told me last week she gets hot easily and as the sole worker in the morning, I assumed the thankfully blasting AC was her doing.

I set down my bag and felt surprise: all the classroom windows that are student eye height had been covered with printer paper in my absence.

Why? I assume C didn’t like the little gremlins peeking at her when they walked by to wash their hands.

I only saw two of the three former fourth grade classes because one homeroom teacher didn’t want to wait until sixth period where they were scheduled. Disappointing, I only saw my last group of babies in the hall coming back from P.E. The class I had instead was an extremely apathetic and soul sucking former grade 5 group.

I did not spot Weak Boy in any of the classes. Did he transfer? I bet Strong Girl misses him. E warned me about 6-2 being difficult because the emotionally unstable student along with Tank Boy are members of that class. I still don’t understand why teachers say Tank Boy is such a problem; G never did either.

The VVIP award goes to a boy in 6-3 who I remember struggling but blossoming under G’s tutelage last year. He asked E in Korean how I dealt with COVID and if it was difficult for me.

I could have hugged him. Since the beginning of the year he’s the only person in this entire school, including the principal, vice principal, office staff, coworkers, and co-teachers who has asked if I’m okay. What a good boy.

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