Who’s who?

Busan (Fall & Winter), 2020~2021

Roommates

House Owner [Korean]: just a few years older than me; she also runs a cafe with her boyfriend and has offered to grind the four pound bag of whole beans I bought from Costco; she introduced me to her college friends once I believe with the intention of cutting down one of the more obnoxious ones which is my specialty

Freshman [Korean]: House Owner’s cousin; she will live here for the full four years of uni; whenever we hang out she writes about it in her diary; she squeals and does a happy dance whenever something good happens; my coffee gets two thumbs up from her

Brazilian: a twenty-six year old guy with the biggest puppy dog eyes you’ve ever seen; he is in fact a puppy; he works in China but has been unable to return after coming to Korea on vacation to see his girlfriend and the borders closed; he finally made it back to China in December 2020; we are WeChat friends now

Male Korean: he once told me he hates all Chinese and thinks Korea is too socialist and since then my opinion of him has been struggling to grow; he talks loudly in English as if that will disguise his poor grammar; he can for some reason really pull off wigs, much to my envy; he was kicked out for (un?)intentionally trying to poison the dog

Russian: he replaced Male Korean as the obligatory weird roommate; he’s a psychologist with somehow very little EQ and a small personal space bubble; his socks are themed after children’s shows; I honestly can’t tell most days if he’s being awkwardly polite or poorly making advances on me

Spring Semester, 2020

Teachers

C [Grades 4 & 5] the new “S”; main co-teacher and handler; she has a master’s and studied in the UK; she is graciously acting as my mentor teacher for my teaching program

E [Grades 3 & 6] previously the homeroom teacher of the terrible 6-3; she studied in the same city where I worked the job of which we do not speak

Fall Semester, 2019

Teachers

S [Grades 4 & 6] main co-teacher and handler; she is very petite but does not like to be reminded of the fact; unbeknownst to me at the time she helped hoist my luggage up the stairs with stomach staples; next semester she hopes to be a homeroom teacher

H [Grades 3 & 5] co-teacher; she was out for most of fall semester on maternity leave and will take a gap year in 2020; she speaks English well and enjoys quizzing me in Korean

G [Grades 3 & 5] substitute co-teacher for H while she was on maternity leave; she lived in the USA for nearly two decades; she gave me many gifts and compliments and we spent a lot of time talking about students and the school

Male music teacher: one of the non-English subject teachers; his first plane trip was 2019 and he once asked me if foreigners eat only bread for dinner

Guitar teacher: part-time guitar teacher and after-school teacher; he rotates schools throughout the week so we are able to eat lunch together in the teacher’s lounge maybe once a week; TBD if he will return for 2020 but I hope he does so I can continue to embarrass him (update: he never returned and I never saw him again)

Head teacher: leader of all the teachers; she has a wavy perm and a friendly, masculine-type energy that makes her easy to get along with

VP: the school vice principal; a quirky man who keeps a weightlifting set in his cubicle and also practices unicycling in the school gym

Principal: a sharply dressed older woman; she tends to pass information indirectly

Students

Grade 6

Heejoo: she rarely said a word in English class but once chatted with me about iKon and guitars outside of Guitar Teacher’s classroom; she was happy to try to talk with me after class

“Wooseok is my boyfriend” Girl: friend of Heejoo that always kept me up to date with her idol of the week

Seonghwa: she didn’t go on the school field trip and instead spent a day playing off-brand monopoly with me and S

Grade 5

Strong Girl: leader of the grade 5 trio including Tank Boy and Weak Boy, Weak Boy gave her this nickname; she is a chaotic neutral and seems to antagonize female students; she is one of the tallest fifth graders and she only wears volleyball tracksuits

Weak Boy: he excitedly gave himself this nickname; G told me he is a very good boy and he is; he always helps his friends and lets Strong Girl play with the baby hairs on his neck

Tank Boy: other teachers said he was no good but I have to disagree as no matter the situation, he always stops to say “Hi, Teacher!”; Tank Boy loves to tell me about his life even if he struggles to make a sentence in English but his effort is pure

“Handsome”/”Give me candy” Girl/Jeongyeon: she and Strong Girl do not get along; I gave her these nicknames because she always asks me for candy even though I’ve never done so before and once before she purposely called me “handsome” knowing its a term used mostly for men; she once helped me make ramen at GS25

Geoni: a very clever and small boy that won school repretantive and has a laugh bigger than his body

Gym Friend: this boy lived in America for five years and speaks fluently, however, he is not the most motivated in class; I once heard “hello” at the gym and came face to face with him at 7AM

Grade 4

Seungkwan Jr: a very helpful and studious boy who favors, well, Seungkwan from Seventeen

Sweeper Friend: a bunny toothed boy who once helped clean the classroom while telling me all about ddeokbokki; he’s a handful in class

American Girl: her mom is American and we often run into each other in the neighborhood; she is famed for her artistic skills

Clever Girl: she wears glasses and has straight bangs and is entirely too clever for her age

“Am I Pretty” Girl: on my first day with grade 4 she asked me who was the prettiest in class so I pointed to a boy in the front row; she dyes her hair and is very interested in English; she and Clever Girl are friends

Baby J: with rosy cheeks, permed hair, and chipper spirit he really seems like a character from an American Christmas storybook; he shares the same name as my good friend J, hence “Baby J” (the two look nothing alike)

Grade 3

Nick Jr: he is a little slow in English class but his intermittent blinks, ticks, and oval face remind me so much of my middle brother Nick

Jaekyung: she is entirely too self-aware for a third grader; she once wrote me a long note in Korean thanking me for carefully watching over the class and helping her in English