10.28.2009

I'm cold and 형.

Oh my God I'm so cold.

It's always like this. Although I've lived in a climate that has actual winters for seven years now, the first couple of months of the weather changing are still almost unbearable for me. I'm freezing everywhere I go, no matter what I wear, at all hours of the day. Making myself get out from under the blankets in the morning is a Herculean task, as is making myself stay out from under the blankets once I get home in the evening. And it doesn't really help that I'm almost 40 kilos lighter than I was this time last year.

According to weather.com, it's only 64 degrees. But I am fucking dying. The only time I'm not cold is when I'm teaching.

It's making life particularly difficult at the moment, because I absolutely have to get down to Homeplus and do some proper shopping. Muuuh. Is it too early to start wearing gloves?

Ah. The boys have been so great this week. I finally finished my after school classes today, and I'm reconsidering the decision not to do another session, just because working with them has been really great this time around. Seeing the same boys everyday is just plain nice -- I know all their names, and (I know this is ultimately not a good thing, but) they just communicate with me freely in both Korean and English now. They love that when it comes time to demonstrate a dialogue or activity in our regular English classes, I call out their names and ask them for their answers in front of everyone.

I also got to star in two more movies today. They haven't gotten around to trying to make me speak Korean on film yet, thank God. I love watching them be creative -- I can't remember me or anyone I knew being that smart at that age.

On the flip side of things, after lunch today class 313 had pulled up a 소녀시대 video on the big screen in the classroom and were freeze framing it at the exact moment 태연 thrust out her chest over and over again. They can't be geniuses all the time.

I've gotten into a habit of harassing one of Coteacher's students -- we'll call him 형, because that's what all the other boys call him, given that he's two years older. He's fucking massive and scary looking, if I do say so myself. He's the student who has somehow managed to give himself a tattoo. His background is shitty, to say the least -- earlier in the year his father came into the teachers' office drop-dead drunk and reeking of 소주, toting a huge tree branch he meant to beat 형 with. 형 is coming to school these days in body only -- he sits at his desk and sleeps and snarls and swings on any student who approaches. He makes the other boys extremely nervous.

So, of course, I have to stir the pot. I've given him the nickname Sunshine, much to the amusement of the other boys, who gather around in a clan everyday when I come in to wake him up. "Wake up Sunshine!"

He's the only student I speak Korean to openly and regularly. Coteacher calls him into the office sometimes to have little co-meetings with me, because she believes he'll be able to connect to me more easily than anyone else at the school. She's told him a bit about my own background (what little she knows) and always makes me show him my Korean study books -- "See? The weoneomin started from 'ahnyeonghaseyo' and look what she can do now! Everyday she faces more challenges than you. She is here without a family, but she is strong and she endures."

He mostly didn't respond to me at all, for a long time, until one day I followed Coteacher in when she was trying to wake him up to eat. He swatted her hand away, and some sort of ghetto protective instinct in me took over. I grabbed him by the neck and pulled him up. "Hey! You listen to your teacher when she's talking to you! You are still a student...." Since then, he sits up when he hears my English and feels my hand on the back of his neck. He mutters his Korean so I can almost never understand him, but he always speaks in the honorific conjugation, which is too out-of-place to not find funny.

God. I wish I spoke more Korean. Everybody in that school building is afraid of this kid. But I know he's just a kid, and he's being a baby at that. Coteacher translates for me sometimes, and he knows that my opinion is that life is hard, and not fair, but you have two choices -- you can succeed or you can fail. Nobody is going to do this kid any favors by coddling him -- it's gone too far for that. His situation is too hard. He's going to have to man up if he wants to make something of himself. It's not right that he has to be a man at his age, but that's the way things are. He should have a mother at home to push him out of bed in the morning, to nag him into doing his homework. But he doesn't. So he's going to have to be responsible for himself.

I told him before, through Coteacher, you think these teachers are always nagging you, but what do they care anyway? It's not their life -- it's your life. When you push against them, you push against yourself. When you think you're punishing them, you're really only punishing yourself.

Poor 형.

5 comments:

likethenina said...

It's cold, indeed. But gloves would better to be worn little bit later.

Winter is yet to come.

Thanks for you boost, anyway. :D

Tuttle said...

Uh, you've lost 40 kg in the last year? How did you manage that, and can you bottle it for me, please?

I'm no Picasso said...

Wan -- I know! But already I'm sleeping with two blankets and the ondol on.

And it was really good to hear a bit from you, man.

Tuttle -- I have no idea. Like, literally. I don't work out or anything like that. Must be the diet, and the chasing teenage boys around all day.

Willie said...

Did you ever make it to the doctor for your ass shot? dont be an asshole and get yourself some drugs! life is a lot better on meds.

and i really want to see you say "You boys want some candy???" in person

I'm no Picasso said...

I don't need an ass shot! I just have a cold. No fever. I keep checking. Anyway, I'm already on the tamiflu or whatever it is, from when I was home.

Also, I'm fairly certain that the chances of you getting to witness me saying that exact thing at some point this weekend are pretty high.