Do you come from a land down under?

Thursday, April 15th

6:45 am The sun greets me. Good morning, Korea. It’s hard to believe I slept for 10 hours. Already, I need a nap.

7:00 am ET phones home. Parents figured out the webcam. Jake and Uncle Billy make a special appearance before the free wi-fi I’m bumming prematurely ends our conversation. (Sorry, mom and dad)

7:30 am Shower…with hot water. Small-but-important-victory #1

9:00 am First day of school. I will teach four, 40 minute classes on Thursdays- all 6th grade. Today, I observe.

10:20 am Today’s lesson: What is your favorite season? My favorite season is _____ because _______. One kid says he likes the spring because it brings yellow dust. Now that’s my kind of humor. I like him already.

11:15 am Grace tries to fix my hair. Again.

12:05 pm Lunch time: rice, dumpling soup, squid and vegetables in a spicy red sauce, chicken bits, and…. kimchi. At last, I meet the make or break you food item all Koreans swear by. It’s not as bad as the rumors but it’s certainly not something I could ever see myself craving. Verdict? Stomach-able… with a smiling face. Small-but-important-victory #2.

12:18 pm It’s vaguely explained to me that my Korean age is 25. Somehow, I’ve magically aged two years. I’m still getting used to that number. At least the grey hairs are more appropriate.

1:00 pm Done with all classes for the day. Proceed to waste four hours of time catching up on email, Google chat, reading the latest news on Lady Gaga, and planning games to accompany next week’s lessons until our 5 pm release.

4:45 pm The head teacher invites all of the English teachers out for dinner (Grace, Julia, and myself). Grace and Julia want Western food. They ask me if I like Australian food. I say I’ll eat anything. They decide on Outback Steakhouse. I try to explain that Outback is actually an American restaurant. I feel like I just told a small kid that there’s no Santa Clause. Some things are better left unsaid.

5:53 pm Arrive at Outback. The head teacher has invited her 23 year old daughter (Korean age—probably a young 21 to the rest of the world) so that she could practice English with me. She introduces herself as Sunny but asks for help in choosing a new English name. Apparently Sunny and Sally are common over here. I begin my quest to name a Korean after my friends listing Ali, Courtney, Jennie, Mary…. Instead, she mulls over Claire. Sorry guys.

6:11 pm Outback Korean-style. Mushroom soup, fried shrimp, mango chicken salad, fruity sodas, grilled chicken and ribs, Cajun pasta, raspberry butter… Communal style, a lot of reaching but Western utensils- a welcomed reprieve from Korean chopsticks.

6:50 pm Part ways after our “Australian” cuisine. Julia gives me a ride home. I have yet to venture outside of my apartment- to- school – and home- again route.

7:15 pm I try really hard to stay awake and perhaps figure out a way to watch LOST overseas.The lure of sleep draws me under my covers. I rest my eyes for a moment, still in my work clothes. Six hours later, I wake up to turn off the lights. I am exhausted.

Korean phrase count: +3. ahn-nyung-hee-ka-say-yo (goodbye), ma-she-ta (delicious), yep-pu-dah (pretty)

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April 17, 2010. Uncategorized.

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