February 12

Happy New Year!

Yesterday Japan Aunt caught me coming in and invited me to breakfast today. I set my alarm and with difficulty woke up before 10am to prepared rice cake soup and savory pancakes.

She had hoped to treat The Not Rock as well but he was nowhere to be found.

Note: later, that would turn out to be for the best.

We talked for an hour and half in Korean and I understood at least half of what was going on. She told me about her 25 year old son: he has always been bad at school but loves to earn money. He went to Canada for a year to study abroad but dropped out two months in and worked odd jobs for the rest of the year. Now he works at an app company and moonlights as a bartender with a girlfriend 7 years his senior (we love to see it).

She got teary eyed giving advice and I knew she was really talking about her own son and what she wished he would say: “Say sorry, and thank you. Say you’re happy now. Things get better in time.”

Since it’s the new year of the ox I suppose I should also officially announce I got a job! I’ll be working at an elementary school in a small city not too far from Busan. (But far enough to make travel back a headache.)

The placement isn’t as country as I’d hoped for initially but I like to think the universe is putting me where I need to go. And hopefully the camaraderie I felt with the interviewer softened her to putting me with a nice school.

The city itself is nestled between the ocean and a ring of mountains so even though the population is high, the feel is country (and Seoul and Busan people are quick to point out it’s rural because any city under 1 million is basically a field in their eyes).

I’m excited to move, I’ve already used my superior Korean sleuthing skills to find a realtor video of the exact apartment the school is renting, and House Owner even offered to drive me and my things over when it comes time to move. The importance of cultivating good relationships, y’all!

I’ll be close enough to stay engaged with the friendly expat community here as well as House Owner and Freshman. In fact, their family is from the city I’m moving to.

I’ve really started to consider buying a car so I can attend Korean class at least monthly with my current teacher and go to Costco. These hamburger patties aren’t going to buy themselves!

Since I’ve had a busy week I had to reschedule Korean class to today’s New Year. On Fridays my teacher is at a location near the national university and what a nice area! I tried again not to feel jealous of a college campus.

I miss going to school.

I’m glad I get to attend her classes in person and we have a great time— I keep her up to date with all the strange happenings (what you read in this blog, actually) and we laughed about my inability to pronounce Colorado and diamond in Korean. (They are simply the same word pronounced with a Korean accent.)

Every week I feel I’m making progress and I’m going to miss our weekly sessions after I move. If I have a car I might be able to attend at least monthly, but of course I’ll need to find a local teacher if I’m going to really aim for fluency this coming year!

It’s the year of the ox so let’s grab this bull by the horns!

A very topical New Years greeting from the government: please maintain social distancing, gatherings of 5 people or more are prohibited

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