Who found wheat bread in Korea? I found wheat bread in Korea.
I also got asked again today by someone who's known me for the entire duration of my time here if I eat bread or rice at home. Will the wonders of the foreigner's shopping cart never cease? Lord.
Willie and I have been hard at work, working up to planning our trip to Busan. Our co-teachers have been hard at work on it, as well, as is usually the case when they get any wind of the weoneomin traveling in country.
I'm still having some grumpy Korea time, readjusting back from my trip to the West. Today, making my way to the shops after work, I made a game out of mowing directly through the path of the people who aimlessly meandered into it while gawking at my face and cleverly remarking that, "There's a foreigner!" It's something we all deal with on a daily basis and, eventually, learn not to even notice. But on those hard days, it's just... honestly. I copped out and took a cab for the short 20 minute walk home, just to avoid it.
I always get grumpy during vacation time. I don't have enough on my plate to keep me busy, distracted and exhausted. I also don't have my students around to balance out the gawking, slack-jawed portion of the population.
I'm really being too hermited for my own good at the moment. I'm still not returning the majority of phone calls, and only grudgingly agreed to meet another foreigner for lunch on Sunday. I am, however, having dinner with the lovely Kel in Hongdae tomorrow night, which I am actually looking forward to (and I'm not just saying that because she'll read this eventually). Also busy with all kinds of communication/making plans with people in other parts of the world. My head just isn't here right now, and I don't think it'll be back until after the new year (that's the lunar new year, for you non-ROKers), when the new school year finally starts.
The good news is, me and the handsome PE teacher were doing a bilingual sussing of the school year's calendar in the office today, and it looks like I've got a significant increase in time off this year. Last year was brutal because a lot of public holidays fell on weekends, and Chuseok fell smack in the middle of what was already my home leave. This year, Chuseok is in September, which means an extra week off, and Buddah's birthday is spread out away from Children's Day. Also, I have the year's experience to know when days off are potentially coming, whereas last year was full of, "Oh Liz! By the way! No work tomorrow or the next day! Enjoy the time off at home fucking around because no one gave you enough notice to actually plan anything! We're all going to Jejudo! See you next week!"
In other news, the students have suddenly started appearing back out on the streets of the neighborhood. I can only assume they've spent literally every waking moment of the last month in PC bangs, every last one of them, and that's why I haven't seen them around. Apparently, they've also been spending a lot of time in hair salons. The things they come up with to do to their heads: "야! 머리 왜 그래?! What... did you do that yourself?!" While my third graders have all got a head start on their ridiculous high school hair, my second graders have continued to grow into their third grader bodies and now nearly all tower several inches over me, which is no meager task. I got a glimpse at our new little first graders with voices so squeaky like I haven't heard for nearly a year -- they're pocket-sized and wide-eyed at the sight of the foreign teacher. My old first graders have begun to strut around with the swagger of little men who will soon no longer be at the bottom of the totem pole. Their language has gotten decidedly more dirty over the break.
Speaking of that, when Jeongwon at the center busted out with a completely random and extremely loud "FUCK YOU!!" addressing Haecheol on Monday night, I shared with the boys my childhood punishment of soap in the mouth for 15 minutes. They'd never heard that one before, but seemed to like the idea of it, in theory and happening to someone else of course. It effectively put an end to the four letter nonsense, for that session at least. I might use it with my regular classes. That is, if I thought a bar of soap were to be found anywhere at all inside the school building.
La. That's enough drivel for tonight. Sorry, guys. I'm laying low these days and spending quiet evenings in reading and brooding. Not too much to report. I'm sure something awfully nonsensical will happen soon, though. Stay tuned.