Sometimes life has a way of throwing tidbits at you to make you laugh, to make you realise that you aren't invincible and to make you realise that being so serious all the time isn't actually a good thing.
Recently, I've had a few random incidents happening here in Korea that have made me smile or made me look at myself and how I accept the things life throws at me. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I have recounting them:
First off, about weeks ago, there was a huge open day in my school and as a result everyone was cleaning madly and they were clearing out the cupboards, sweeping the halls and generally making the school look super pretty. Well, I stayed behind about ten minutes to give a good whack at my room. I sweep it at the end of everyday but somehow it's always filthy - and the kids wear slippers! Well, I walked downstairs, pulling on my jacket and rearranging my bags to more convenient locations than hanging off my arm. I went to the cupboard where my shoes have sat for 2.5 years. They weren't there. I checked all cupboards. Two different teachers checked all the cupboards. I'm not going to lie. I was getting really frustrated and I just wanted to cry. I only own one pair of runners and I was going to Everland on the Saturday. I just knew I'd need them for the weekend.
Twenty minutes later we found them: in the trash room. The person who cleared out the cupboard thought that they were abandoned children's shoes. And yes, my feet are that small. What did this random moment teach me: Remind my feet to grow? No, not really! Instead I switched the place I keep my shoes and so far they've been safe. Although that idea definitely has it's merits!
I went to Homeplus recently and ran into 4 different students from my two different schools. The boys were too shy to say much more than "hello" but the girls came up giggling and giving me high-fives and calling their parents over to say hi. This reminded me just how cute my kids are and how just because someone is very good at English in the classroom they might not have the confidence to use it outside that "safe" environment. It's kind of like me and the Korean language. However, the boy who is excellent at English in class was really chuffed when I told his Mom. He kept looking at me and grinning.
I stayed late two Fridays ago at my far away school. Just ten minutes as we were picking out games to buy for our students. I should have been just in time for the bus but I wasn't and I waited over 20 minutes for the next bus. When I got to Daepyeongri it was 5.15 and I thought to myself "perfect! I'll be able to get the 5.20 bus". But I was wrong. The 5.20 bus no longer exists. And I was meeting my friend at 6.00 in Jochiwon. I was sadly delayed until 6.40 - 1 hour and ten minutes to get home. I was so annoyed the whole bus journey but when I got out and met my friend everything turned around for me. I learnt two lessons: staying late at my second school is not ideal So leave on time. Number two, even when you are having a bad day a great friend can make all the difference just by being there. So thanks, M.
I rarely wear earrings to work so when I do my students usually make comments about them and tell me how "beautiful" I am. It's a great ego boost but recently when I wore them to school they felt a little heavy on my ears so I took them off and left them on my desk. Two of my little third grade girls came to see me as usual after lunch and noticed the earrings. They wanted me to put them on, so I did. It was hilarious. Everytime I poked my ear to get the spoke of the earring through they would squeal and cover their eyes. I was laughing so much at their reaction it took a good 2-3 minutes to even put them on.
So the same little girls from the above story always visit me and they also take "remedial English" for lack of a better term with me. They struggle at English and have a hard time with phonics so we have class once a week to work on that. They usually come early and stay late after class and they even taken to visiting me on the other days I am at that school. They've decided that we are best friends. They made this for me yesterday:
Also, yesterday, one of the same little girls, Yeonju is just the sweetest. She is also full of fun. She came in chanting all the things that I say to them everyday when we have English. It made me giggle as I heard her little voice take on the cadence of my own:
The counting and the clapping along with the drrrinnng of the bell is how I get their attention when they are too loud or when we are changing activities. Shark and Fish is one of the 3rd Graders favourite games.
So you might think I'm mad to enjoy these moments as much as I do and that I use them for reflection but they are a great part of my life. They are what keeps me going on a daily basis and they are what makes it hard to stick to my decision to NOT renew next year.
The title of this song was taken from Mumford and Son's "Lover of the light"