Wednesday, November 27, 2013

coming home

A lot has happened in the past twelve months. A lot of things are different now. I used to only wear plain white socks. Now I prefer pretty socks. Stripes, polka dots, a nice Aztec pattern. I used to think that downloading movies and television shows is wrong. And I still do. ;) Thanks to Arrested Development I used to only know one word of the Korean language. Now, I know like 15. Since monsoon season, I pretty much always have an umbrella on my person. Rain, sleet, snow. Bring it. I used to drop my sushi when I would eat with chopsticks. And not to toot my own horn, but I am pretty proficient at eating with two sticks. Don’t even need a fork. Skin care is oddly a bigger part of my life. I used to be scared of large crowds. Now large crowds are scared of me. But the best thing about this year is that I have this whole new place and all these new people in my life. Some things about this year have been hard. I won’t stand here (I’m actually sitting, but that’s not a thing people say) and tell you that leaving everything you’ve ever known to jump into a career that you’ve never done before is a walk in the park. But it was worth every struggle. It was worth every night I missed home, every hard day at work, every day I would have given all of my arms for a sonic drink. I didn’t get to be a part of a lot of things that happened at home. I think every friend I’ve ever had growing up got married or had a baby this year. And that part is sad. As soon as someone invents instantaneous travel I am gonna be all over that junk. But this year has been so good. I’ve spent more time alone this year than I think I ever have. And as scary as it is for it to just be me and my thoughts, I’ve seen so much and learned so much. I learned about myself, about God, a little more about being Jesus to ALL people, not just the people who already love and accept you. About being independent and being able to ask for help at the same time. Oh gosh, and I still have so much learning to do. And y’all, there were days when work was just down right frustrating and I just wanted to tell some people that they didn’t know what they were doing and go home. But I didn’t. I couldn’t. That would have been stupid. And at the end of all this being at the bottom of the totem pole, I really think (I hope) I’m a better employee. And if you ask some of my old bosses (and my mother) they might tell you I have a slight problem with authority and I might roll my eyes sometimes if I think you’re crazy. Hopefully, I roll my eyes less now.

It’s currently Wednesday night for me. I have two days left at the academy and I fly out on Sunday. 4 more days. All you people at home, I’m so ready to see your pretty faces and hug you for an uncomfortable amount of time. And I do not doubt my decision to pursue pastry school or move to Chicago. I’m just a little bit sad right now. When I say little bit I mean lot a bit. I’ll never see these students again. My friends here, maybe I’ll see them again. But some of these people, who have been a significant part of me, may never cross my path again. I don’t think I’ll ever out grow this itch for adventure and new places. But I also don’t think I’ll ever out grow the struggle it is for me when an adventure is finished.

But right now I need to go clean out my Frigidaire.
So, to my people in Korea, you’ve made me better. I miss you already. Thank you for tolerating me.
To Mississippi, you are my home, and I am ready to see you.

Also, if anyone would like to bring a squash casserole and a sonic root beer to the airport, I will promise you my first born.

See you soon! xoxo

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

My washer broke.

Last week I had a couple days off. I don't get many vacation days and I always tell myself I'm going to have these grand adventures in the city. However, what usually happens is that I sleep late, watch an entire season of some ridiculous tv series and do my laundry. That's exactly what happened last week. The only time I left my apartment last Wednesday was to walk downstairs to the storage room where my washing machine is. Typically for a foreign teacher whose school provides housing, the apartment is furnished with a washer. But I don't have a washer in house, so my sweet landlords allow me to use an extra one they keep in the storage room. It's not convenient, but it gets the job done and I'm thankful to not have had to buy one. Dryers are not a household appliance in this part of the world, so you hang your clothes to dry. Sometimes it's annoying that you can't just throw your jeans in the dryer and run off to work. But you get really resourceful with heated floors and hair dryers. So, with all that said, last week while I was enjoying not grading papers and not having children ask me about my boyfriend who lives on the farm, (Not because he's a farmer, which would be perfectly acceptable. But because he's a pig. Yeah, my kind and uplighting children like to say my boyfriend is a pig. And not like a slob. Like an animal. Like an oink oink pig. They make the sound and everything. I hate them.) I decided to wash a load of clothes. I set out thinking it would be a normal, mundane task. I'd been using this washer for almost a year. I had memorized which buttons to press (because naturally, on a Korean washer the words will be in Hangul) to choose the right setting. No big deal, the internet is very handy. Anyway, so my clothes are washing and I set a timer on my phone for when they'd be finished and ran back up to the apartment to piddle around. And then about an hour later my timer went off and I happily bounced down the stairs to grab my clean clothes. But what I found was a washer full of water. Eh, no need to panic yet. So I turn it off. Press the spin cycle button. Nothing. I repeat this process about 37 times. I unplug it. I plug it back in. Surely this thing can just be reset. It's fine. Well it wasn't fine. I even googled "how to use a Korean washer" just to double check I'd done everything correctly. I try to start the wash over again. Nothing happens. It just makes this weird churning noise. So I do the only thing I have left to do. I go knock on my landlord's door. My landlord is overly excited I'm in his doorway. And I'm just distressed.
"Washer! Storage room! Broken! Help!"
"Okay, okay okay. I look. But Joyce, me no engineer."
So we walk down together. He does the same thing I did. Then he looks at me says,
"I can't fix. I tell my wife. We come see you."
Alright, so he and his wife show up my door about 9 o'clock. They have already been to reexamine the broken washer and they report back to me that it cannot be fixed. So my landlords are going to take my sopping wet clothes out of my washer, take them upstairs to their apartment and rewash them for me and replace my washer the next day. Now doesn't that just sound great? Free laundry service. And she returned it my door. I didn't even have to go get it.
 Okay, on the other side of the situation, I'm not sure why it was so petrifying. Having a sweet 50 year old Korean lady landlord wash my underwear was just not in the plans. She didn't even let me help her. I reached my hand in the broken washer to ring out the water and she slapped my hand away! She said, "No, no! I do! I ajumma, you know?!"
I do know. I'm sorry. You're right. I'm wrong.

So, the moral of this story is: If you super sweet and helpful Korean landlord ever has to wash your underwear, just keep your head up and say kamsahamnida. This can be survived. At least she didn't make any jokes about how big they are. My students definitely would have done that. "Teacher so big! hahahaha!" I hate them.