They say that you have a honeymoon period with places you travel to, often followed by a trough in your opinion of life in that end of the universe. I am pleased to report that there can be a second honeymoon. I am pleased to report that over our farewell lunch for the teachers who are changing schools, while I was pondering my own thoughts amidst the Korean conversation around me, I thought, ‘it’s been worth it.’ A thought I don’t think is attributable to weak Korean beer alone.
As I walked out of the new apartment building, I ran into a gaggle of some of my favorite kids and walked to school with them, reminding me that I have favorite kids. As I walked through the hall, I was genuinely pleased to say hello to everyone, and it was hard not to be genuinely pleased by their apparent enthusiasm to see me. Over lunch they asked that I give a small speech–English is ok–and the mouthy teacher, who I refer to as the mouthy teacher because he is always talking and always with a tone of strong opinionation, said “Korean language!” in Korean, and I said “I can’t!” in my best approximation of Korean exasperation, which recieved a round of laughter. I said that while sometimes being at our school is very stressful for me, everyone here made made me feel good and want to come to school. A sentiment that I hope translated well through my soon-to-be-ex-coteacher. As I said it, I realized, despite how exasperated I have sometimes seemed by everyone’s inexplicable like for me, how much that inexplicable like for me was indispensible to getting through my days. And when my coteacher said, outside of the soon-to-be-ex-gym teacher’s apartment: “I am sorry if I was not able to help you much during the last semester,” I genuinely forgave him.
I don’t know what’s come over me.
I gave everyone rubber spirit bracelets in Steelers colors and my coteacher said “You are a heroine.” The principle then told the mouthy teacher that he had to speak to me in Korean which somehow lead to him saying something about his wife and us doing a “love shot” of soju.
Life is nothing if not unanticipatable. I just don’t understand how it can be acceptable to get so drunk before three in the afternoon.