From Wednesday: Update from the arctic front
Greetings, blog readers. I have returned to my station in the icy tundra. My fingers are stiff with cold but I think I’ll be able to crank out a blog post before I develop frostbite.
Actually, today it’s quite mild by comparison. The blast is still full force, but the temperature isn’t quite so chilling.
On Monday the bad kids came in to clean. I saw one of the girls taking her sweet time “sweeping the floor” around the Vice Principal’s desk while she took a good long snoopy look at his computer screen. (This is why I turn off my monitor every time I leave the office.)
Today a couple of 3rd grade girls are cleaning, and I must say they’re doing a much better job than any of the kids I’ve seen to date.
There is also potentially a parent-teacher meeting going on with two moms, the VP and another teacher in the office. Serious business.
From Thursday: Update from the introvert’s paradise (an empty office)
The nice thing about my main school is that, although it’s farther away which means walking for almost 30 minutes in stifling humidity and heat, I have the whole office to myself. So relaxing (though by 4:30 it gets a little mind-numbingly boring). Really, though, a quiet, air-conditioned room for 8 hours? Heavenly.
I was interrupted a few times today, though:
From 10 a.m. to 11:45 a.m., two 2nd grade girls came to my office for free talking time. They were in my summer camp and are really delightful kids. We talked about school, tests and stress, K-pop and music, Disney and movies, their elementary school experiences, and where they want to travel or study abroad.
Our chat was interrupted when a teacher from the main office came to get me – “Eat lunch together!” Oh, okay. So the girls were shooed out with confirmation that they’re welcome to come back tomorrow for more chatting, and I went with the music teacher, who explained “Eat together, 3 or 4 teachers.”
But when I arrived, the Vice Principal had a Strong Opinion and decided that the Korean language teacher and I should go eat lunch together (he speaks English fairly fluently) while she and the other two teachers ate elsewhere.
Sometimes the Vice Principal has Strong Opinions, and the other teachers are helpless in the face of it. If her opinion coincides with yours, it’s awesome because no one can argue with her (see: me having the 4th floor office to myself); if not, it’s too bad for you because no one can argue with her. You just go with the flow in these cases. She is one
scary strong lady.
So, the Korean language teacher, a middle-aged married man, drove us to a nearby restaurant and we ate lunch together. He was very kind. We could’ve used a third or fourth person as a social buffer (you know, when two people run out of things to say, a third or a fourth person can help with filling in the gaps), but by the end we had some nice conversations. He has lived and worked in many places in Korea, is a devoted Christian who is very involved with his church, and he majored in Korean, German, Theology, and English Literature (holy cow!).
And now here I am back at my desk, T minus 2 hours left in my deskwarming day, then the usual 30 minute Trek of Doom back home, during which I sweat like a pig and desperately wish for the minor relief of a tiny breath of wind. (One of the hardest things about summer in Daegu, other than the crazy humidity, is the fact that the air is so still. Breezy, hot, humid air is better than stale, hot, humid air, but breezes are few and far between here because we’re in a valley walled by mountains. On the plus side, it’s been cloudy and overcast more days than not, so at least I don’t have to bear the full, brutal force of the sun.)