As someone in the comments pointed out, it has indeed been a while since I've updated. I'd like to say, no drama, all good. And it is, now. But we've had some things go on.
First of all, as just a little followup on T-shirt-gate, when the principal required us all to put on our school t-shirts for a group photo on the last day of the semester (which New HT didn't tell me about, so even if I had kept the t-shirt... it would have been at home), the people in charge of the t-shirts put their skulls together and somehow, in the face of having to explain to the principal why I didn't have one, managed to produce a medium. Amazing, that. So I put on the t-shirt and took the photo and everyone was happy. I even got an apology off of one of the offending parties involved for not listening to my size the first time around. Of course, none of this would have ever happened if New HT had taken down my t-shirt order herself, as she had apparently been asked to do, in which case the teachers in charge of the issue would have never been having that conversation with me in the first place. But there you go.
Speaking of that, camps started last week and when I went into the office I had, as has become usual since New HT has been on the scene, no schedule, no student list, no idea who was even showing up the first day. I had asked her to send me the student list and schedule the week before, but there was a virus attached that made it impossible to open, on my new computer, and therefore impossible to print out. New computer, you ask? Yes. Interesting side note about the virus: The previous week, on or around the same day I received and opened the file for the first time, I came back from lunch to a completely crashed hard drive, which meant all of my lesson plans (including all of my camp plans) were gone forever.
So, at any rate, I set about getting all my shit together for the first day of camp and ran downstairs to the main office to bother some of my other co-teachers to see if they had the student lists for the camps for the respective grades (what I also didn't realize the previous week was that she had only sent one of the student lists -- there are two camps). They did. Lots of annoyed sighing was done about how New HT doesn't even have a homeroom class, so what is her fucking issue, etc. One of my co-teachers went off about how she should have had the lists and schedules printed and put in a file and handed them to me, that I shouldn't even be printing them off in the first place. I just laughed. It doesn't even phase me anymore. They printed the lists for me and I went back upstairs to send the kids a reminder message about camp start times.
Fifteen minutes before class was due to start, New HT started sending me messages on Kakao about how she needed the student list in order the call the students and tell them that camp was starting, because she had forgotten to let them know the dates and times. I had no sooner checked the message than the phone on my desk rang, with her frantically squeaking down the line. I told her the file had a virus, she had only sent me one list anyway, and that I had already taken care of it, but I needed to get off the phone because class was starting in a matter of minutes.
These are just the things that happened. I'm not rattled by them anymore. I take care of myself and do what I can not to let this woman get in my way. She's a waste of oxygen and everyone knows it, so why bother getting upset about it?
I taught my first week of camp. The kids had a great time. I had a great time. It was all good.
What was not good was coming home from work the Friday previous to realize my cat, Vera, was not in my apartment. My fourth floor apartment.
There's a tiny window in the back of the laundry room that doesn't have a screen. It's the only possible way in or out of my place. She fell (or jumped) out. And there was no sign of her anywhere.
I spent the entire week doing twice, thrice daily hour long searches of the entire neighborhood -- early in the morning before work, after work in the afternoon, in the wee hours of the morning when it's dark and quiet and cats tend to be out. I put up signs. I bothered the building ajeosshi in three different apartment complexes. I had countless conversations with curious and pitying neighbors. I probably got to know my neighbors better in that week than I have in the past five years living here, and to be fair, although it was a terrible experience all around, I've got some truly lovely neighbors. Even now, people who I don't even remember having spoken to are stopping me on the street to ask about my cat.
Who I am happy to report is currently lazing at my feet.
Around 12:30 am on Thursday night, after nearly a week of hot and sweaty desperate searching, I was woken out of a dead sleep by the sound of a cat. It was weird, because I don't even remember it clearly, and I'm not even really sure it happened -- that I didn't dream it. And although I was thinking the entire time, this is fucking ridiculous, I jumped out of bed, threw on some clothes and headed outside. I wandered around for about half an hour before realizing the lack of sleep over the past week had definitely gone to my head, and this was without a doubt the stupidest thing I could be doing at 1 am on a work night. I sat down on my stoop and did something I never, ever do anywhere near my home, because of students -- I lit a cigarette. And as I sat there, I was suddenly aware of a shape moving in the dark about two feet away. I looked down, and there she was staring up at me.
I sat my ass on that stoop until just past three am waving dried squid around frantically, watching that cat circle me and cry, never coming close enough for me to grab her. And then I thought, this is it. She's home. She knows I'm here. She'll be here tomorrow. She just needs time. She's scared.
Friday afternoon, as I walked up to my front door with arms full of groceries, her little head popped right out of the basement window directly below my building. A few more tries with the dried squid and she hopped right into my arms.
Some other things have been going on. My ma's been in the hospital back home with some serious issues. My paternal grandparents were found in a bad state when my grandmother had a stroke and my grandfather couldn't remember what day it was. It's a complicated situation, and a long, long story, but he's dying. Maybe two to four weeks. My maternal grandmother found out she needs a major surgery.
But this is life. And I feel my age more these days in how calmly I react to situations. You do what you need to do, you do what you can, and you find a way to live with the rest.
Busan's mom came to visit this weekend. It was a lovely weekend. And this week marks the start of vacation, which will mean a quick trip out to Kanghwado with a friend, followed by a trip down to Heuksando and Hongdo with B. A few days left over here and there to get the rest of the furniture stained, painted and put together in the new place, maybe a rooftop garden started, maybe some visits to Seoul Art Cinema, or Book City and Heyri Art Village. Writing some poems, submitting some poems, launching the lit arts mag.
And then four weeks until Chuseok, after which teaching becomes a thing that winds down and finishes.
This summer, this year have been the oddest kind of short and long all at once. I said in a previous post that I feel like my life has gathered some kind of serious momentum, and I only feel that more and more with each passing day. There's a lot to do. Too much to do to keep getting pissed off when New HT behaves like New HT has always behaved. It's time to start looking at the bigger picture -- saying goodbye to my kids, this job, this neighborhood, and this part of my life in style.