Well, right after my last post it started snowing like a mother. I don’t know what it is, but snow is one of the very few things that gets me feeling romantic. Not romantic in the Hey baby, you light my fire kind of way, but more like a child-like wonder kind of way. Just something about snow that makes me feel like a kid again. There’s really nothing quite like seeing the world in a blanket of white.
Also, right after I finished my last post, I went and got my bike from the shop. It was only 55,000 won, which is barely like $45 to get it fixed. Fuck yeah. So, I go in to get my bike, and a second guy is standing there and comments on how well I speak Korean. When I thanked him, he just kind of laughed and asked how long I’d been in Korea. Lots of people ask me how long I’ve been in Korea and seemed genuinely surprised. I suppose that based on my level of Korean they think I’d have been here much longer than just nine months. Anyway, as I’m driving away, I have to drive through these small neighborhood roads. The amount of traffic on main roads is more than enough to keep roads pretty clear of snow, but small roads are tricky. Where I started was pretty clear, but I could tell I was coming up to a snowy, icy section. So I slowed down naturally without braking and cautioned myself against making any sudden changes of direction. Didn’t matter. As soon as I hit the snowy patch I tossed myself off my bike.
I wasn’t going very fast, and I just basically fell over. Still pretty embarrassing. Fell right in front of somebody. I have a bruise on my hip, but other than that, I’m unscathed. A plastic piece broke off of my bike. That looks kind of retarded. I need to get some black electrical tape to fix it up. At least, at first glance, it wouldn’t be glaringly obvious that I broke something off my bike by falling. That’s a good way to make yourself look like a goddamn idiot.
Work today was all right. Nothing special. Some of the classes still don’t have books. That’s really annoying. Pretty hard to teach a class when the kids don’t have books. I had another class with a lot of new kids, so it was easy to waste 10-15 minutes just explaining how I run classes and do introduction/ice-breaker things. I saw Orange class today, and they won the month long class contest – the not speaking Korean thing – so Thursday we’ll be having a pizza party. Today, we didn’t even do anything in that class. At all. I absolutely hate the book. Half of the class was new students that didn’t have the book. The next time I see them, I’ll be doing a pizza party. After that is our vacation week, and I honestly hope that they’ll be on new books by that time.
Also, another happy surprise from today. One of my previous favorite students returned to the program. Yuri, the girl that lived in Jersey for two years, decided to come back. It’s pretty awesome. Yuri’s a cool kid. She’s in my last class of the day Tuesday and Thursday. Today, after class was over, she insisted that we leave together and she held my hand and everything. It sounds a little sappy, but it’s really heart-warming to me to have a kid that wants to hold hands and have a conversation. I think plenty of my students like me, but when class is over, they just want to run out of there and get away from school. I don’t blame them. I was always the same way. It’s even weirder to me, since before I came to Korea, I was not crazy about kids at all. For instance, on Christmas, I went to a Korean friend’s place for dinner and he has a three year old son. I spent a lot of time playing with the kid and just messing around. Even spent some time one on one with the kid while other people went outside to have a cigarette break. Before now, that would’ve been so awkward and uncomfortable for me. I just didn’t know how to act around kids or what they wanted or expected from me. I do want to teach older students, but I’ve learned to really appreciate smaller kids for being their own little version of real people.
There’s not really all that much more to say. I’m just dying to get to this weekend and have my vacation. I feel like the week is going to drag on and on.
Also, more and more people are disappearing. I meet new people all the time, but I recently went through my phone and deleted a lot of the people I just never hear from anymore. It’s not just people who don’t really want to hang out or keep in touch, but a lot of people have just left Korea. Not just foreigners either. There are so many Koreans that say they want to or are planning to leave Korea. Mostly just to study English, but I’ve also got Korean friends abroad right now that say they don’t want to come back to Korea. Korea seems like the place that everyone’s leaving sometimes. There aren’t that many people here that seem to see a future in Korea. For a lot of people it’s just a stepping stone or a year or two outside the real world back in America.