I really hate being on the outside looking in. I wish I could communicate with the people around me.
Yesterday and last night was a ridiculous amount of fun. The school had a festival, so in the morning, the students moved around to different stations, and the afternoon was a talent show (all 1800 students took the subway–glad I wasn’t in charge of that!), and then all the teachers went to dinner–mmm more food! I ate it the wrong way, but then So Jung helped me out, and I almost got it. My chopstick skills still need a bit of fine-tuning!
Anyways. THE DAY:
It started with some water-powered rockets…
They turned the gym into an art display, which I absolutely LOVED.
For everything else, I cut to the front of lines…oops. I got a free manicure and hand massage out of it! They had high school students from a local tech high school come in, and they were so nervous to have me sit in front of them! My co-teacher told me one of the boys kept looking at me, so I told her he was too young–forgetting that these kids probably know semi-conversational English. He responded with saying he was 19–which is 18 in non-Korean years. Beautiful.
And So Jung and I arm-wrestled one of the gym teachers.
The English club students made a Halloween room, complete with blood-covered-floors. I won lots of chocolate. Mmmm.
And I made one of these funky things for my room. The balls are water-filled to feed the plant, and I think after a few months if you soak them in water they regenerate? We’ll see! Anyways, they feel like eyeballs!
In the afternoon, we went to a community center for what was basically a talent show. Lots of singing, dancing, a piano player, some belly dancing, and rapping. Some parts were entertaining, and with others I was just proud that these girls are my students!
I was part of the finale–I played in a teachers’ band with 7 other teachers, and it was great.
And around this point I started laughing hysterically:
So overall, a beautiful Friday.
My frustration set in because all I do is sit around and smile. Most teachers know a few words in English, and can understand a decent amount, but for the most part, I just stand there and look pretty. And smile, and nod, and smile. Everyone thinks I’m very welcoming and approachable, so that’s the good part!
I feel so awkward, too, when we go out for dinners with more than just English teachers–such as last night–and the teachers who sit with me feel like they have to speak English. Then I just feel bad because they can’t speak Korean with everyone around them, AND I’m frustrated because I can’t talk to the people around me.
The students joked that I was the star and So Jung was my manager/translator. Which was basically true! I would have been lost without her, and she took the pictures of our stellar performance.
There was a really cool moment for me during the performances. During the belly dancing, the music was Arabic, so I knew none of us could understand it! I was clapping along with the woman next to me–who was the drummer in our band–and I felt exactly on the same page as everyone else. None of us could understand the words, but we could all enjoy the music. I felt like a part of the school for the first time.
I want more of that.
So I’m trying to learn Korean, which is a 3-year process at best. Very different. Very very.
If any of you want to learn a language, check out Livemocha. And if you use that link right thurrr, and 3 people join, we all get a free Travel Crash Course. Which you can use when you visit me, right? Right! Here’s the link again in case you missed it :).