A friend deftly pointed out that I have traded relationships for agency, albeit limited, when I switched schools. I am free to plan how I like, although unfortunately I have to ask Jack and Helen every week for a schedule since they seem reluctant to give me information all at once.
Towards the end of this semester Jack leaned over to me after Helen had exclaimed surprise in Korean of how far along in the book he was.
“We’re ahead so we can use the last four weeks for review,” he told me.
There is no “we” in this mistake, Jack, you were the one who told me what chapter to do every week! We also have T minus one week until the spring semester begins and I have no confirmation if classes will be on or offline, though to be fair that’s more of an Asia Time problem.
So while I have some agency in planning– those fourth graders WILL sing every class– I don’t have an S or C or H or G. I don’t need to be friends with my coworkers… but it would be nice.
As I sit in another week of contractually obligated desk warming during summer vacation, I try to remember it’s not all useless. I have A/C and internet access and with zero oversight, I can watch movies or study Korean or take my hour lunch on the other side of town.
Fall draws closer and I find myself falling into nostalgia. Was it really a year ago that I moved in with House Owner and Freshman? The crisp breeze, the slow and easy making of drip coffee in the morning, writing essays, studying at a cafe, sitting on the floor with my roommates until 2 in the morning chatting about anything. I miss those days.
Jinhae is nice in the sense that it’s small and is close to places I’d never think to visit, like all the small islands, which are much more accessible. But as fall begins, I find that I miss cafes and student life and more than one hamburger restaurant choice.
With the blink of an eye, fall semester is upon us. COVID keeps tearing down plans and thus I set up my house of cards with a shaky hand. Shall I stay? Shall I find a job in Busan? Shall I go back to school? Every time I go to place the last card on top, a stiff breeze knocks it all down and I have to start again.