The boys were beyond epic today. I don't know what got into them. Yesterday was a drag because none of us were happy to be back from vacation, but today the kiboon in the school was amazing. They were cracking me up at every turn, not the least source of which being a new game the third graders have come up with that seems to be based on being as creepy as possible, and suggesting that I punch the principal in the face for making them do seven class. Some of them explained to me what eye drops are for, which I allowed to go on for a while before pointing out that, even though I can't speak Korean that well, we do actually have eye drops in the US.
Had a few slipups with Korean in front of the first graders, who are as of yet unaware of how much I can speak and understand. The first came when one was complaining in Korean that he couldn't see the board, and I moved out of the way. The second wasn't so much a slipup, as it was encountering a very flustered low level student who became mortified when I was attempting to help him complete the assignment. He turned beet red and froze up entirely, so I just quietly whispered the question to him in Korean to bring down the level of tension. Of course, as soon as my back was turned, he told the rest of the class what had happened. And then I slipped with a sort of, "What's going on over there?" muttering under my breath, which led to the entire class haranguing me to speak Korean. When I refused, they came at me with the ol' "This is Korea" argument. I explained that if they see me outside of school, I'll speak to them in Korean. Inside, however, we speak English. Just then the bell rang, and they quickly justified their demands with the fact that English class was officially over. No-go, charlies. Sorry.
Walking home in this gorgeous weather, and it was one of those days where the mood is so good that they're crowding around in bunches to chat, and hanging out of bus windows by the dozen to wave as they pass by. If only they could be so lovely all of the time.
Stopped to buy ddeok on my way home, where the woman inside asked me if I eat "our country's" food well. It still always makes me grin a bit when they call it "our country" directly to me. I wonder if they even stop to think about it.
Walked over to check out the new coffee shop which just popped up out of nowhere in the dong a couple of weeks ago. It's quite small, but has just about all you could desire (other than a smoking room, but there is one small table on the sidewalk outside -- unfortunately positioned directly beside a bus stop, which leads to a bit too much extended curious gawking, if you just so happen to be a foreigner sitting there). The guy behind the counter descended into a complete panic when I first walked in, as he looked behind him and realized the entire menu was written in Korean, with not a spot of English in sight. I quickly reassured him that it was fine, I could read Korean, before he just up and fled the scene (which he looked tempted to do for a moment).
Then home to take a nice hot shower to relax the muscles and clear out a bit of a cold that's been working on me the last week or so. Hot cup of coffee now, and some veggie udong and mandoo on my mind (and in the fridge). A good book to finish.
Can I really leave this place in a year? On days like this one, I just don't know. Starting over from scratch is a big endeavor, but that doesn't really put me off. It's more of what I might be missing. But that's a two-sided coin, isn't it?