Where the boys are.

Damn it. Stop taking naps, Lee-juh.

I can't help it. It's this cold weather. All I wanna do, when I get home from that freezing cold office, is crawl under the covers. I did manage to make it to the shops tonight before I did. I caved in and finally bought white undershirts, which is a huge mistake considering I spill coffee on myself approximately fourteen times a day. Black isn't just cool, my friends -- it's klutz-proof.

I also bought stuff to make doenjang jjigae, but now my stomach's a mess and looking at the ingredients is making me ill -- I'll have to wait until tomorrow. I also fucked the mushrooms by putting them in to soak (supposed to be for thirty minutes to an hour) and falling asleep, and now they're the size of saucers.

Mike and I are praying we both get sent home early tomorrow so we can have a half-day of playing hooky in Seoul. I miss that, from school and from having a joke of a job. Working back at the center in New York, I knew my schedule well enough to not feel guilty about calling in "sick" if I didn't have any students on the books. And sometimes, even when I did, I had most of their phone numbers anyway -- I'd just ring them up, tell them to meet me at a coffee shop in Union Square and not mention the fact that they had seen me to my boss. I don't know what the hell stopped me from just quitting that awful job and doing privates in New York.

Oh yeah. I remember now. I was too nervous about asking people to actually pay for my teaching.

Anyway, I'm too afraid to try it these days. I've got more than fair suspicions that a coteacher would turn up ringing my doorbell and insisting we visit the hospital if I called in sick. But I miss my irregular work schedule, how it gave me time during the mornings to get out into the city when it wasn't too crowded -- drink coffee in nearly empty cafes, see movies in nearly empty theaters. That's a luxury you don't get much when you live in a city, but it can do wonders for clearing your head.

I guess it's the price I pay for being a proper person, these days. A regular nine-to-fiver. That cubicle is going to fucking drive me mad, though. I cannot cannot cannot WAIT for classes to start again, so I can end my days filthy from grimy little hands and exhausted from chasing young bodies with entirely too much energy around the room.

That hour when the boys are in in the mornings continues to be my fuel for the rest of the day.

Today, a student decided to greet me with, "Annyeong!"

I looked up at him over my glasses from my computer screen. "Excuse me? Would you like to try that again?"

"Oh! Annyeonghaseyo!" Deep bow.

Cue the other teachers laughing hysterically.

Yeah. I know it's funny. Me and my students, my little buddies. Whatever. I can't help it. I've got no real authority -- I know it and they know it. And, to be honest, I don't really want any either. "Annyeong" doesn't actually bother me, and anyway I think the kid saw my Korean work spread all over my desk and was either being a smartass or just trying to speak where I could understand. And my guess is actually the latter, given the character of this particular student, who's actually really sweet.

A lot of the boys are being really sweet these days, actually. Don't know what's gotten into them -- had time to forget how boring my classes are, I guess. They go all shy when I greet them out in the neighborhood, turn red with big smiles and bury their faces in each other's necks. But I've also started to recognize a lot more of them when they're in their street clothes, and greet them first now instead of only greeting those who scream "HI!" in my face first. So maybe I'm just working with a different demographic. Of course, it makes me beam with joy. My coteachers have told me I'm very well-liked among the first graders, but I guess it's easy to forget that when the only ones you hear from are the little shits who have no shame and get up in your face.

I'm absolutely shameless when it comes to a complete and total greed for student approval, though. I care way more about what those boys think of me than I do about my coworkers.

Meh. I miss them. Give me two weeks back in the trenches and I'll be moaning about how I'm longing for a desk day. But for now, well. The grass is always greener.

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