I lost track of the number of kids I’ve made cry so far, but I think the number is up around 10. I’m writing this in my office and I hear the distinct cough-hiccup combination of a weepy small person being herded into the office. That one wasn’t my fault! Success.
Since my arrival nearly four weeks ago (!!!) four new teachers have arrived, which has lessened considerably the workload of those first two weeks. DGEV is a revolving door in that sense, teachers in and out all the time. It’s the nature of the job, but it does pose some problems in terms of making lasting friendships.
But that’s depressing to think about, and I have cheerful news: Last week I found my way around by myself, TWICE. TWICE, you guys. Without once having to use my Korean phrases! All three of them! I can say:
Thank you (Kam-sa-ham-ni-da) and
Give me water (Mul-ju-sa-oh) and
AS YOU SEE I AM MAKING MUCH LINGUISTIC PROGRESS. One evening I walked from the shuttle stop to Home Plus (Korean version of Wal-Mart) and from Home Plus to the dollar store (really it’s the 1000 ₩ store, and not everything in there is 1000 ₩, so it also goes by “stuff store”) and to the return shuttle stop ON TIME and ALONE. I felt like Prince Henry (the Navigator, not any of the other ones) except without the ocean and in a different hemisphere, also, I am a woman and a commoner. Other than that though WE’RE PRACTICALLY TWINS.
My expedition Sunday fed the delusion because I found my way to a coffeeshop by a park to meet one of the other teachers with only a very vague idea of where the park was, let alone the coffeeshop. Downtown Daegu has about a trillion coffeeshops, you guys. Big chains, little indie places, mid-size, unpretentious, super-pretentious–anything you could possibly dream of or imagine (Except that I haven’t found one yet that plays good music. The Korean idea of coffeehouse music is Ke$ha. and Fergie. Depressing.). Which is all well and good until you’re trying to locate a specific one that you only know is near the (giant) park and has a vaguely Italian-sounding name. But find it I did–triumphantly, and with zero backtracking. I swell with pride just remembering it.
It’s a good feeling to know, at least a little, where you are and how to get from there to someplace else. (Though it would behoove me to increase, and soon, my oh-so-exhaustive arsenal of Korean phrases.)