Dispatch: Hello. I'm alive.

I feel like I owe something to this place.

The same old story, as of late. It's not a lack of things to report, but rather an excess of things to report leading to absolutely no time at all to report them. A few quick notes, as it's nearly half past midnight, and I've got to be up for that thing they call work in a matter of hours.

1. Korean class.

It's in Korean. All of it. I have no idea what about this course is supposed to be beginner. That having been said, although my speaking abilities are basically non-existent, this has made me realize how decent my listening abilities really have become. I am usually a step behind in understanding exactly what's going on at any given moment, but I'm trailing not too far behind and I catch nearly all of it, in the end. If you'd told me that I would be taking a course in Korean using the L2 exclusively and actually learning a week ago, I would have laughed in your face. It's fair enough, at this point, to say that my Korean ability is pulling up fast to match the English ability of my average student. And I have a feeling the next 8 weeks are going to see a hell of a lot of growth.

And I don't have to even mention what it's done for my understanding of my students, to be in an L2 only learning environment. That's really self-explanatory. And I absolutely see the benefits, now, whereas I had serious doubts that L2 only instruction were at all (or especially significantly) effective before.

This week it's time to movie, movie, as finals have finished and the boys are in no way, shape, form or fashion interested in learning a damn thing. Yesterday I was determined to keep up the facade with actual lesson and activities, but was so exhausted by the end of it, that I caved in and showed movies only today. The boys have taken advantage of the time, to my somewhat poorly disguised delight, to move to a back corner with me and chat for about 45 minutes. Suddenly there are all these questions they don't have time to ask during class, when we're focused on finishing their exercises. They're new favorite schtick is:

"Teacher have boyfriend?"


"I can't believe it!"

Waaahahahaha. So funny.

Teacher learn Korean? Teacher family far away? Teacher hobby what? Teacher tattoo what meaning? Teacher like Korean food? Teacher go to beach? Teacher stay Korea? Teacher want marry? Teacher happy? Teacher happy Korea?

Today they took great delight in helping me practice the dialogue I had to memorize for my class tonight. It was an ecstatic role reversal for them, and they repeated each word for me slowly and with great patience, until I could pronounce it all perfectly, even taking the time to give me little grammar lessons in between. As we practiced, little audiences formed. They giggled with joy to hear their teacher speaking Korean. Kuiyeopda. There's nothing at all malicious in their tittering -- they have a genuine, gentle reaction to the cuteness of it. Most of the time, I'm intimidating and speaking in a language they have to struggle to keep up with. To hear my funny little accent makes me more human to them. And they all think Sim will end up on "Misuda" some day.

I'm also pleased to say that I've made quite a good instant friend from the class. I've met her a couple of times before, because we live near each other and our co-teachers are good friends. Last week when I went to the movies, two of my students were there with two of her (female) students. We ride the bus and train home together, and tonight we stopped for dinner in Bupyeong and ended up staying for a couple of hours, just talking about all of the things we can't really talk about with other foreigners or Koreans. Or men. She's an instant fit, and I'm grateful for her already.

2. Other stuff.

Well. Some shit got cleared up last weekend, and I realized that things are always better when they're out in the open. Of course, I prefer it this way when it involves other people's feelings. Sometimes it's not such a bad thing to make my own known, either. And I'll be doing a lot more of that from now on. Remembering to be myself, no matter what the cost, and trust that people will always take that version for the better. I'm hanging on, this time.

And. Some other, other stuff. Keeping it on the downlow, taking it all in stride. It's a pressured situation, but that doesn't mean we have to act like there's pressure, right? Life leads where it leads. One foot in front of the other. Time will make everything evident, and everything will turn out as it should.

Hi. I'm vague. But this is a public forum, after all. Let's just say, I've been well taken care of since Mike's departure.

Tomorrow night is dinner with my mothers' class. They're lovely. And so excited about English, for no other reason than that they want to open their worlds a little wider, be friendly and welcoming to foreigners. After that, the lovely C is set to come to my place to fix a little problem I'm having with my photo files from the market this weekend. But I might redirect that little venture to a nice chat at the coffee shop instead. That kid... he's mad to please and to help wherever he can. But I want him to know that he's appreciated just for being him, and not for what he can do to make life easier for me. I've been a terrible person to him as of late, given my recently hectic schedule, and have cancelled on him literally three times in one week. I don't want the next time I see him to be him going out of his way to do me this favor. He may be more comfortable with that, but I definitely am not. I told him this weekend, he make take great joy in being Oppa, but I don't need or want an oppa. He is chingoo.

I believe the sentence, "Over my dead body will I ever call you 'Oppa'" came out of my mouth at one point. I am Noona. I don't have Oppa. Which led to a challenge to a game of darts, the wager being who would be Dong-saeng. The little shit somehow pulled ahead by a measly few points right at the end. I told him he would be Oppa for this week, but come next weekend, he's on for a rematch. And then I'll take my rightful place as Noona.

Isn't it much better to talk about these things?

God. It's one am. I better at least try to force myself to sleep. Further dispatches to come. Stay on the edge of your seats, kiddos.


willie said...

I despise that word! I cringe whenever i hear the word Oppa, probably because i have to hear it about 20 times a day as it's screeched out in the most whiney, high pitched voice by all the women in my office when they're on their cell phones. Why can't we all just call each other by our names? Hell i'm even down with referring to people by their physical characteristics. At least then its somewhat amusing.

You should really come out next weekend for Kelly's B-Day in itaewon! It'll be a blast and really when was the last time you had a night that made you feel dirty complete with prostitutes and the gays? You could even bring your posse with you! What better way to introduce them to Western debauchery than homo hill? It'd be like a cultural field trip

I'm no Picasso said...

I'll definitely be joining you guys at Homo Hill next weekend. Don't know about bringing the posse. They might cry. But I'll ask around and see if anyone's interested in expanding their horizons. I'll even help them shop for appropriate bandanas ahead of time.

I need a little taste of the West, including the gay. You know i love the hangook saram, but man do I ever miss the gay....

willie said...

HAHA! awesome it should be a jolly good time