4 months. Some days have been quite pleasant. Other days have been rather caustic. I won’t lie to you. Sometimes I hate Korea. Sometimes I don’t want everybody staring at me. Sometimes I don’t want you, total stranger, to come interrupt my “me time” at the coffee shop because you need to interview the waygook for your school project. Sometimes I just want you to let me ride the subway in peace. I don’t come up to you and ask you why you’re here and how old you are, do I? Sometimes I just want to go to the market and buy all the foreign items and not have you burn holes through me with your eyes. I’m not here to offend anyone or turn anyone’s world upside down. I’m just here to buy Oreos. Sometimes I would like to complete simple daily tasks like going to the bank or the post office without those events having to turn into a game of charades. (I guess that last one’s my fault, but whateve.) And sometimes I want my job to be just a smidge less stressful…
BUT. Not every day is an “I hate Korea day.” There are many redeeming qualities to this country. For starters, the Tower Burger at KFC. Now you probably don’t know what that is because they aren’t sold in the US but they should be because they are magical. Allow me to explain to you. A delicious and tender zinger chicken filet, cheese, crispy lettuce, A HASH BROWN, creamy mayonnaise and spicy salsa all sandwiched between a lightly toasted sesame Kaiser bun. WHY HAVE WE NOT BEEN PUTTING HASH BROWNS ON OUR CHICKEN SANDWICHES?!? Somebody fix this in the next 8 months.
I won’t go into much depth about the artic winter and the frigid winds from Siberia that caused me to be a very sad and angry person from the months of December to…well, it’s still cold. But I will tell you that heated flooring is a brilliant thing. And it’s everywhere in this country. And I love it. It makes me feel fancy and luxurious.
I like that every now and then I get a small glimpse of my effort paying off. Let’s take one of yesterday’s classes for an example. I have this lovely middle school student named Jerry. Jerry is a trip. He never remembers his books and rarely does his homework, but he uses flattery to get his way. So we get along. He often tells me I am a god. Well, thank you, Jerry. I’ve been teaching Jerry for a little over four months now. EVERY single time Jerry has walked into the classroom he has greeted me by saying “Nice to meet you, teacher.” And every day I say, “Nice to SEE you, Jerry.” It had just become routine. I mean, after 4 months I didn’t really think he’d ever pick up on the difference. Well low and behold yesterday Jerry walks into the classroom and says, “Nice to see you, teacher.” I heart skipped a beat. I’m pretty sure I had a little spell of arrhythmia. I was beside myself. There was huge scene. I jumped up and down. I hugged him. I hollered. He said, “So I correct??” “You correct, Jerry! AHH!” I’m still living in the glory of that moment.
Somedays I am crazy homesick. And for those days I have Duck Dynasty episodes and french fries. Tower burgers and heated floors. I don’t really need anything else. I mean seriously, a hash brown on a sandwich. Let's just say they know my face at the KFC and they know what I'm going to order.