Six Month Anniversary!

It’s September 9th, here in the ROK (Republic of Korea), which means it’s my sixth month anniversary. I don’t actually have any plans for tonight, really. Probably just go study Korean in Yawoori and come home.  I’ve got a weekend with so many activities planned, though, so it’s okay. First of all, my friend Yuna is getting married, so I’m definitely going to that. I’ll make sure to take a ton of pictures and let you guys see what they’re like.  Also, later Saturday I’ll be meeting up with someone from home! I found out about a month ago through a Facebook event invitation for someone’s going away party that they were coming to teach in Korea. We weren’t super close friends or anything, but we drank together a couple times and had some English classes together, so it’ll definitely be cool to see someone from home. Together, we’ll be going back to Hongdae. I’m meeting a Korean friend there, then we’re meeting up with some people to go to a bar a friend from Cheonan is DJing at. So many activities.

Anyway, my posts have been few and far between lately, for which I apologize. Hapkido is taking up a lot of my time. It’s not just the hour of class, but having to get ready an hour before because we have to drive around and pick up a couple people, then wait around for everyone else to come, etc… I generally get picked up around 7:45 PM, and class usually starts at 8:30 PM or so. I generally don’t get home until 10 PM. If I get off work at 5:30 PM three days a week, sometimes my other Internetting (necessary Facebook time, reading other blogs, studying some Korean, downloading movies/TV shows etc…) sometimes doesn’t leave enough time for a post. Tuesday I get off t 3 PM and 3:30 PM Thursday, but I try to leave this rare free time during the weekend open to social interaction with the people I seem to see so little of anymore.

This week has been a vast improvement over the last. We got all the books and classes (for the most part) figured out, so I can actually just get into a normal teaching rhythm and feel productive. The only real hitch has been one of my new students. When I first started teaching her over summer break, she seemed to be one of the students, definitely one of the brightest. Unfortunately, lately her attitude has turned to shit.  Whenever I tell her to do something, she just asks me “Why” in Korean with an absolutely rude tone that tells me she just doesn’t want to do what I say. Unfortunately, I don’t know how to say “Because I’m the goddamn teacher and I say so is why” so I will insist a couple times, and if she doesn’t comply, kick her out. Today, she just got up and walked out of the room without asking permission. I didn’t even see it. I just turned around and she was gone. So I locked her out. She came back a minute or two later and I just told her to sit down on the bench outside. “Why?” Ugh.

Also, I pretty much make her cry every day I see her. I let her back in after everyone was done with the book work, and I was asking people for answers then writing them on the board. I told her to write the answers as we went over them, and she was extremely reluctant. Honestly, I didn’t even get very stern with her. I’d just look at her sitting there with her head on the desk not doing anything and say “Emily, write number blah blah blah” and she started crying halfway through the page. I let her cry it out for awhile while we finished the page, then came back to her and just sat/crouched by her and kept pressing until she finished it. What a kid.

The only other work thing is that I’ve started turning my phone off once I leave school on my early days. The past 2-3 weeks, it seems like at least once, if not twice a week, I would leave work and get called back to cover a class for a Korean teacher because she had so much other work to do. Sure enough, Tuesday, once I turned my phone back on, I had two missed calls, and Dave told me she tried to get him to cover for her, too, with a really lame bullshit reason. He had to go back to his other school, though, so he couldn’t stay. I’m not disputing that she probably does have work to do. I’m just sick of leaving work and being called back. I’m not a goddamn doctor on call. If you need to do something, you better ask me before I leave, otherwise I’m not helping. Once I leave work is my time. At first, I had a much more forgiving attitude about it, but the fact is that when Mr. Lee makes similar requests of her to do something after work or on the weekend, her response is “No, that’s my free time. I don’t want to.” Well, guess what, that door goes both ways.

The weather lately has been pretty strange. It’s rained every day for at least 2-3 weeks. Not necessarily super hard or all day, but at least some every day. Even the Koreans think it’s weird. The rainy season (which was unusually dry this year in Cheonan) ended about a month ago. Koreans tell me this year is weird in general. Winter lasted much longer with more snow than usual, summer was hotter and more humid than usual, and now the summer rains have come a month late. Crazy shit.

The hapkido is going really well. I’ve already seen marked improvement. First of all, I’m not pouring sweat by the time we’re done stretching. The first week, even just the stretching would really be hard for me. Now I can get through it without much problem. Also, last night, I actually got my forehead to touch my knee without bending my knee at all. Last night was just stretching, push-ups, ab exercises, some kicks and tumbling. The master just showed me how to do some rolls and let me work on them by myself while he worked with the black belts. That’s the thing about tumbling/falling down. It’s pretty easy to learn on your own. At the very least, you know when you’re doing something wrong because it fucking hurts.

At the end of class, he was joking around and saying that even though I was a white belt I was doing it perfectly and gave a couple of the black belts a hard time because they didn’t do as well with it. I know at least one of the girl’s black belts is in taekwondo, and from what I gather, they don’t really teach how to fall down gracefully, so it’s just as new to her as it is to me. I don’t know what the other black belt’s problem is. I think she’s just afraid she might herself. Shit, though. For me, fall down? No problem. Got it.


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