June 12

It has been a challenging afternoon not for any concrete reason in particular but just this endlessness. Few to no classes— kids will now only come to school one day a week according to Seoul directives; no travel; continued closure or severe monitoring of social places. The usual.

My teaching course module took three times longer than it should have because I just couldn’t seem to focus on the screen and after lunch when the final paper was submitted I printed out Pusheen coloring pages and took a mental break with a few crayons.

This morning I looked out at the road from my perspective in the coffee shop and was seized by sadness. Barista Violet, the neighborhood maze, my second home the gym. In two months, I’ll no longer have this.

I don’t know what I’ll have instead, either.

Word in the forums is Gyeongnam will only hire teachers who are already in Korea. This has yet to be confirmed: Gyeongnam, cutting it a little close aren’t we?

But even if true, I can surmise that this doesn’t allow for me to take off a few months to visit family. The entire purpose of hiring those already in Korea is to avoid the quarantine and paperwork hassle. Leaving and coming back is about the same hassle as not being in the country.

So I haven’t bought a plane ticket yet. I’ve never waited so long to do so and it’s starting to give me hives.

My friend Jenn who taught in China before she left on vacation, borders closed, and she lost her job told me that after the age of COVID there’s no such thing as a five year plan. She is currently staying with her parents in Canada and updating me with chipmunk footage from her back porch.

We are both victims of the COVID limbo, on opposite sides of the coin, and agree there’s not much to do but let things play out.

When I think about possibly going home for fall, I’m excited and then devastated: six months of vacation, six months of catching up with family and friends, six months to clear out my lungs and get a tan, but also a six month delay on plans, six months in my home country without my own place and a scramble for insurance, six months bouncing from my childhood bedroom to friend’s houses in a country with few COVID directives, and six months of growing back into my American size.

All I can do is wait, watch crack videos of my favorite Chinese drama, and pester my friends into eating dinner with me. The reroute? Well, it’s still loading.

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