3.2 Summer 2021

  • 3.2 Summer 2021

    August 25, Andong

    The aftermath of a getaway trip to Andong: the tendons in the top of my feet hurt. Did the mannequins at the museum curse me? Even though Andong is just an hour away from Gyeongju, the vibe could not be more different. Andong feels like a secret buried in the mountains, and many of the historical sites are tucked in valleys or next to cliffs– cliffs! I didn’t know Korea had cliffs. Andong looks different than any part of mainland Korea I’ve seen so far. The river that runs all the way through town cuts an impressive edge, so much so that I had to research if it was manmade.…

  • 3.2 Summer 2021

    August 19, Musings

    A friend deftly pointed out that I have traded relationships for agency, albeit limited, when I switched schools. I am free to plan how I like, although unfortunately I have to ask Jack and Helen every week for a schedule since they seem reluctant to give me information all at once. Towards the end of this semester Jack leaned over to me after Helen had exclaimed surprise in Korean of how far along in the book he was. “We’re ahead so we can use the last four weeks for review,” he told me. There is no “we” in this mistake, Jack, you were the one who told me what chapter…

  • 3.2 Summer 2021

    August 16, Fresh Air

    I drove to meet some friends for archery, all the while wanting to turn around to crawl back into bed and bemoan my stupidity at eating the fried chicken for lunch that gave me tummy troubles the night prior. “You know this will make you feel better. Meeting people when you’re in a funk always makes you feel better. Just go.” I did have to use my emergency Starbucks napkins in the dingy archery range toilet paper-less bathroom while I waited for the two public transit users to arrive. It was… good. As my rational brain promised. The older archery lady asked me to translate her instructions to the other…

  • 3.2 Summer 2021

    August 15, A Whiff of Fall

    My friend and I took a lovely one night stay in Gyeongju, the original center of the Silla Kingdom. Gyeongju looked like the Korea I had always seen in tourist guidebooks but had never experienced: rice paddies, fields of tombs like mosquito bites, things that were old, things that were new but built in the traditional style. It was especially nice since my school made a little mistake. One of Jack’s camp kids ended up positive with COVID and as a result, Helen texted me the following Monday, my vacation day, to wait and see if I would also need to be tested. Fine. I stayed home all day waiting…

  • 3.2 Summer 2021,  Thoughts & Drabbles

    Jack of all trades, master of none

    My desires are pulling me in a hundred directions and my body is paying the price. I want to be an expert. In what, I can’t say. But I desperately am craving money, power, and recognition. I grew up being told I would change the world, and now I feel that prophecy hang around my neck like a chain that gets tighter every year I don’t accomplish the impossible. I was supposed to be living a life that made people gasp in awe and run hot with envy. There is a constant thread of “not good enough not good enough” that runs in the back of my head. Should I…

  • 3.2 Summer 2021

    August 1, Vaccine

    Every miscommunication, foreigner on TV, student fight pushes me harder to learn Korean where I then hit a wall. How long must one muck around in the bogs of intermediate? It feels endless, this not-knowing. I tried out yet another new tutor on the recommendation of another teacher in the group chat. Lesson: don’t take advice from beginner learners. This tutor was kind but talked in the slow, stilted way teachers talk to low lever learners. I listen to native Koreans every day and it didn’t sit well in my ears. “You use the beginner grammar well but the intermediate grammar awkwardly.” I felt my confidence fall. Intermediate is a…

  • 3.2 Summer 2021

    July 31, End of Camp

    And just like that summer camp is over. I was excited to start because this would be my first in-person camp. As you know, Covid canceled or mangled the ones planned in Seoul. Remember phone camp? What a week. What I hadn’t expected was the demographics of students, though I should have: I surmised that five were there for English interest, five were there because their parents wanted them to practice English, and the other ten were there because parents wanted them out of the house for a few hours. There were some Harry Potter obsessed fifth graders, a trio of boys I had to split up because the rest…

  • 3.2 Summer 2021

    And Suddenly

    Well. Speak of the devil. In another Korean surprise, the aforementioned pothole that has been in existence since I moved here five months ago has been, all at once, fixed. Do you think Changwon public works reads this blog? Life is give and take, though: a pothole did quite literally appear at school this week, so perhaps the saying is not so figurative after all. When Korea closes a pothole, it opens another somewhere else. Or something like that.

  • 3.2 Summer 2021

    July 23, Summer Begins

    I woke up after a bizarre series of dreams and was soothed by my return to brain jumbled madness after a season of atypical, boring, dreamless sleep. The first day of summer had started smoothly with exclamations from the daycare teachers that I had arrived. I prepared for camp, and then hesitantly agreed to lunch with Jack. “One more person will come.” He added. I asked who. “He’s the oldest man in this school.” I was surprised by this identifier; maybe he meant longest employed man, but it’s hard to tell with Jack. I remembered the ill-fated lunch with the admin staff back in Seoul and then decided whatever, I…