Don’t get your hopes up – there are no actual photos in this post. I’ve been lazy about taking pictures, so a collection of verbal imagery will have to do. I want to paint a verbal collage, like little mental snapshots ( / sound bites?) from my daily life.
So without further ado, here is what you might see or hear at any given moment in my day.
- A small army of kids in uniform walking to their respective schools in the morning – all ages, from kindergarten through high school senior
- Cherry blossoms lining the path to my school, petals floating down everywhere like pink and white confetti
- The little shoe cubbies in the school entrance, where I switch out my street shoes for comfy sandals or moccasins
- Students in the hallways between classes – running, shouting, hugging each other, hitting each other, holding hands (in Korea, it’s normal for same-sex friends to hold hands and show physical affection in other ways, like putting their arms around each other or hugging – even for the boys)
- The word “Teacher” – officially the sweetest music to my ears now (“Hi Teacher!” “Teacher, pretty!” “Teacher, come!”)
- A wild stampede of kids pushing food carts into their classrooms at lunchtime (at my main school, the kids eat lunch in their classrooms with their homeroom teachers instead of in a cafeteria)
- Kids shouting “Maddy Teacher!” from the courtyard and waving gleefully at me as my co-teacher and I take our leisurely post-lunch stroll around the school grounds
- A chorus of soft “수고하셨습니다” as teachers leave the office for the day. “Sugohashutseumnida” literally means “you worked hard,” which might seem like a strange thing to say for Westerners, but it’s basically like thanking or commending each other for the hard work put in that day.
- Rounding the corner as I walk down the path leaving my school to reveal the city surrounded by mountains (the mountains are hidden until I make the turn, and it makes me happy every time they come into view)
- Bastille, Ingrid Michaelson, or Kina Grannis on my mp3 player for my 25 minute walk home (you know those albums that you could listen to over and over without ever getting sick of them?)
- 할모니 and 할아버지 (halmoni and halaboji, or grandmas and grandpas) selling herbs, fruits, or other trinkets on the sidewalk as I walk home
- Delighted cries of “Teacher! It’s our teacher!” when I run into kids on the way home (which is a frequent occurrence). I always stop to chat with them a little bit – it’s great to have the opportunity to get them used to more conversational English instead of the unnatural textbook dialogues they have to memorize.
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Okay, fine… here are a couple pics I took really quick with my phone on the way home from school.