Attacked in my own hallways.

Good lord, what a day. I walked out on my beloved 313. I don't know what got into me. I think I was a little high-strung and overly-whatever because it was my last class with them ever. They were being huge pains in the ass about doing the work they needed to do for the activity and it just really disappointed me. I understand that tomorrow is graduation and they're only in school in body at this point, but you'd think they could be bothered to pick up on the fact that I was getting frustrated.

They didn't. And when it came time for them to move tables and they were grumbling and making me tug them around by their sleeves, I just lost it. I just stopped what I was doing and walked back up to the front of the classroom. I began gathering my papers and putting on my coat. A full round of, "I'm sorry Teacher!"s had started at that point, but there were five minutes left, and I didn't feel like being the adult in the room at that particular moment. I just told them, good luck at high school, and walked out.

It's usual for the Korean teachers to punish the older students with a kind of emotional blackmail. Coteacher will often inform me that she's pretending to be angry and hurt by her students, so that I can assist by informing them of this, by stopping by the classroom and saying, "What did you do to 박샘? She's really upset...." They're hurt and affected by this, more than any other punishment.

When I passed their classroom after lunch, they all ran to the doorway, but instead of stopping to make idle conversation as I usually do, I just kept walking.

On a lighter note, I walked out into the hall this afternoon and what appeared to be two men in street clothes saw me from way down the hall, and one began tugging the other by the sleeve, shouting, "빨리해!" They came charging toward me and cornered me up against the wall, as I backed up in what can really only be described as shock and fear.

"누... 누구세요?"

"엇! 한국말!"

"We are before students this school!"

"Um... okay. Can I help you?"

"He want talking with you because he go abroad."

The one who had been tugged down the hall was doing all the talking, while the tugger just stood there grinning like a maniac, tugging on his hair and covering his face with his hands.

"How many years ago did you go to this school?"

"Oh! Today he graduate the high school!"

"Oh... congratulations."

The tugger shoved the tuggee: "야! Thank you! 말해!"

"Thank you..."

"So... you will go abroad?" Addressing the tugger.

Tuggee: "Before I middle school one year Malaysia."

"Oh... really?"


"Good grief... bye."

My students, who had been standing around watching this whole exchange, were smiling smugly for the duration. The boys may have been older and on their way to university, but my boys are like, so much more suave when it comes to talking to the foreigner. They couldn't resist strolling right up and casually exchanging a bit of conversation in English, with the older boys still watching from just down the hall. How cool they are.

I always make a point of telling my boys not to bum rush foreigners, particularly foreign women, on the street in large groups -- "It's scary." I know they don't mean for it to be scary, but it is. At this point, I'm pretty much used to the groups of high school boys coming at me out of nowhere, but it's still intimidating to be suddenly crowded around by a large group of male strangers, even after you understand that their intentions are not malicious. Plus, it's just uncouth behavior. My boys know that. And I think, after getting to know me, they would never dare. At least I hope.

Tomorrow night, after graduation, I'm out with JH Unni -- late. I won't have work on Friday so I don't have to worry about it. I am, however, hesitant to make a reappearance back on the Bupyeong bar scene. I've only been out there once since I've been back, with Willie, and we left at 10 before any of the regulars on the scene arrived. I don't really feel like doing that anymore. But I suppose JH Unni is worth it, and this is my last chance to see her before 설날.

Then it's off to Busan with Willie to observe what happens when an entire apartment building full of foreign teachers finish their yearly contracts at the exact same time, and have the last holiday weekend to celebrate before leaving the country. I, personally, am a little bit afraid. But it'll be nice to be surrounded primarily by foreigners for a couple of days. Before it's back here, back to this... work and the same ol', same ol' -- no native speakers for days on end.

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