The Unbearable Awkwardness of Being.

I am now apparently the official Marlboro spokesperson at HS middle school.

I was nervous today because I had a class with Coteacher and I was showing a movie again. I thought she would have something to say about it, but all she said after was, "How exciting!" To be fair, I think I worked a lot out of it, and got to teach the boys a bit about how American English differs from British English as well. These were second graders, of course, and my brightest class by far. With the first graders, it was:

"Okay guys. Do you know what 'mystery' means?"

Blank faces.

"Uh... do you know what 'love' means?"

Blink blink.

Fuck it. No coteacher = no translation = just shut up and hit 'play'.

The first graders are getting mighty chatty before and after class though, which makes me endlessly happy. I had another student from the Home Plus group confront me today. We held the entire class's rapt attention as he interrogated me about Oppa. Then there was a class discussion in Korean afterward, which ended with them all looking at me with satisfied little grins. Gossipy little gits.

Mr. C came back to the caf today, and even sat with us. I strategically positioned myself directly across from him. For some reason, the handsome PE teacher decided to sit with us as well, though he didn't address me or Mr. K or speak a word of English throughout. Apparently he lives in my apartments and told Mr. K that he told me this, although I don't recall him ever speaking a single word to me, other than when he told me (in Korean) that Mr. K wasn't in for the day when he broke his foot.

Who fucking knows.

Anyway, for some reason I got really nervous about trying to think of something to say to Mr. C. I know that his English level is much higher than he thinks, because of occasions early on when he was forced to talk to me alone. But every time I spoke to him today, he would look to Mr. K for translation. Mr. K would then either not translate what Mr. C said in response back to me, and Mr. C and I would be left staring helplessly at each other, or when he did translate, he would shift the conversation into rapid (more rapid) English and Mr. C would just look back down at his tray. It was kind of awful.

Then Mr. K decided to tell me in front of everyone that he had a dream about me last night and that he couldn't get back to sleep for three hours after he woke up from it. I really hope no one else understood that. It's not the first time he's said something horribly offensive to my overbearing preference for privacy in the lunchroom for any and all to hear -- a couple of weeks ago he informed that the night before he had written about me in his journal. I want to crawl under the table when he says things like that and do my utmost to immediately change the subject.

Anyway, when lunch ended, I followed Mr. C out to stand in the breezeway instead of waiting for Mr. K to finish his water (no water during meals here -- just a small glass chugged afterward). It was fucking bizarre. Mr. C just kind of looked at me for a minute and then slowly meandered off down the hallway without saying a word. Mr. K came out to find me standing there staring bewildered after Mr. C's departing profile. "What?"

"No. Nothing..."


Mr. C did perk up when I mentioned that I'm studying Korean, so I'm doing my best to believe it's just a language thing, and not that he's horribly offended by my presence or something. He asked Mr. K to ask me to say something to him in Korean. Mr. K translated this, but didn't translate my response, which was that I would be happy to speak Korean to Mr. C, but not in front of Mr. K because he will only laugh at me. Mr. C patiently waited for the translation, and when it wasn't forthcoming, it was back to tray staring.

I don't know. I'm no good at this taking initiative thing. And let's face it, kiddos -- my witty reportoire (if you can even call it that) is about the only thing I've got going for me in the first place. I guess the only thing to do is to hit the Korean books even harder.

Oh, and I have a coffee date with one of my adult students on Sunday. She's a painter. I knew from the moment she walked in for the first time last week that she was my cup of tea. A woman who loves art and who speaks a decent amount of English. Thank fuck for that.

It's a nice surprise after finding out that my favorite of all favorite students from New York, Jungmin (also a painter -- and a fucking brilliant one, at that), won't be able to afford a trip home this winter.

The brain appears to possess a special area which we might call
poetic memory and which records everything that charms or touches us, that makes our lives beautiful...

-- Milan Kundra

No comments: