Friday, June 30, 2006

Desperate housewives?

Friday night: home alone and by choice. I am just so exhausted, my weeks are not that hectic but they certainly aren't that easy either. Moreover, the food here is delicious and since I get off from work around 9pm, well I eat late and lot, so I don't sleep very well.

Housewives are nothing like those in the sitcom. Of course. Still, I would have thought that they have to be desperate to stay home in the 21st century, where women are now "liberated". But nop.

It's just a cultural thing and I've come to believe that it is, in a way, healthy. At least for the kids. Kids work so hard here, they need to have their mom whenever they're released from school obligations! Moroever, housewives enjoy life... they go out together, they can clean the house without being in a rush, they can go to museums in the afternoon, workout at the gym, do whatever they want. They have time to attend their kids' school meetings and the like.

Some of them are hilarious and do like to have a good time. One of my (housewives) student went to Japan last week-end and she said they put the kids in a room and they spent the night drinking and talking about old boyfriends and just laughing.

The only thing that bothers me is that men do all the "mandatory work". They have to get up early, work and bring money home. To me, this is reminiscnent to a partiarchal society. And it's slowly changing, but not surely.

A girl at work actually told me that she wants to be a good housewive. I was so surprised. And then another girls said that. And another. And Another. So I guess it's just the reality here. Still, I need to think more about this.

On another topic, I have started the golf lessons with Haeyong Choi, a Pro who's really amazing!

I'm still not perfectly good at teaching kids, but I really love them! They are so cute and smart! I used to just stare at children and be amazed by how wonderful life can be. I was (and still am) clumsy with them, because I am more used to dealing with grownups and talking about growup stuff. Repeating "This is a B A L L" is totally new for me. But I really love it!

You'll find out that kids in Korea spend an awful lot of time at school. They go to regular school, then take the bus that'll drop them off at the hogwan - where they sometimes stay as late at 10pm! It's incredible. And one Saturday/2 they have school.

There are so many things that I would like to explain, but I have a hard time sorting out the relevant/irrelevant stuff.

Ok, let me try to use little headings.

English Language Schools (Hogwans)
There are many many hogwans in South Korea... and thousands in Seoul. If you have browsed the web, you've probably read about really bad stuff happening to people. Sometimes they underpay you, sometimes they ask you to do crazy stuff like wash the bathrooms, sometimes they force you to work unpaid hours, etc. It can be hell.

I was lucky enough to find the one i'm working at. Thanks Marcus!!

The owner is socially awkward but he cares about his business so he has no choice but to treat teachers well (well, better than in other hogwans!). Everything is being taken care of (housing, alien card, bank account, picking you up at the airport, etc.) - he even organizes tours and, every week, we can give money and our grocery list to a guy, who then delivers it to our place. Really nice.

But the thing about Korea in general is that it is very bali bali - that is, rush rush. Everything gets done, but it's always last minute. So, as you may recall from previous posts, that is exactly how I started here in Seoul. I got off the plane on Thursday night and started working the next day.

My trainning? They basically told me "You'll figure it out soon enough. It took me three months to fully understand how it works here". This is definitely something that I DON'T like. The admin staff is very elitist and some of them are so incompetent that they try to make you feel bad just so you don't notice all the stuff they forgot to tell you about. If you do something wrong, they won't miss the chance of throwing it in your face, even though you had no idea because nobody had told you. But when you do something right, when parents or even children praise you, they don't say a damn word. Sorry folks, but I really believe in positive reinforcement. It creates a good work atmosphere - and at my school, there's very palpable tension on that level.

Korean Food!
Oh man, this food is both healthy and delicious. Usually you have a whole bunch of sidedishes - garlic in bean paste, salad leaves, chopped green onions, gratted vegetables, etc.
And soup. Always soup. You can actually have a soup for a meal - one that I like in particular is very spicy, made with vegetables, tofu, you add in rice and an egg that cooks in the soup. MiiiiiiiiiiAaaaaaaaaam!!!!

- Kimchi: marinated cabbage, spicy
- Kalbi: BBQ meat, amazing! If you have enough money, go to a fancy restaurant where they cook it right in front of you. Really cool!!
- Sushi: Japanese food, but very popular in Korea. It's just amazing to have fresh sushi with fishes that you have never eaten before (raw octopus?!!)
- Kimchi Chiggae : big soup full of kimchi and pork, spicy, so good!

By the way, anyone who likes fish will be in paradise in Korea! A picture is worth a thousand words, and any I could never decribes those weird creatures...

At a market near Mok-Dong, Seoul

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Sunday, June 18, 2006

Awfully sick and catching up...

Hum... June 18th. I really can't keep a blog up-to-date! But so many things have been going on, you'll understand I am sure. Let me break it down for y'all.

May 31st - Don't party the night before you leave!!
So last night I was packing and taking care of last minute business in my parents' (empty) house, when all of a sudden I saw my big bro walking in my room! Probably the best surprise ever!! We ended up spending the entire night out on the balcony, drinking and talking. That night, I probably got max. 4hrs sleep.

The next morning we left early for Montreal to pick up my visa and then he dropped me off at the airport hotel - my parents thought it would allow me to rest before a looong trip. Also, they kinda felt guilty to be in Europe while I was leaving for a year.

But hey, classy hotel room at the Hilton, restaurant and pool, leaving the next day for a year in South Korea... was I really going to read a book and go to bed early? I actually wish I had!

Friends came over, we partied a lot and went to bed way too late. The next morning I was totally exhausted and my plane was leaving at 10am. So I left, being a total bitch to my best friend because that's what I do when i'm tired. Sorry babe, I love ya!
2hours layover in NYC, then I boarded the big 2 storeys Korean Air plane that would fly me to Seoul exactly 14 hours later.

For those of you who wonder if it was loooooong and interminable, I say not really. It's definitely not like being on mother earth's solid ground, but you gota manage your time a little. Plus every passenger has its own screen on the front seat so you can watch movies, play games, watch the news, listen to music, etc. You read, talk to your neighbour (chances are he is Korean and he'll initiate the conversation and answer all your question). Anyway, flight was definitely ok (although my legs were killing me). But I was tired.

Landed at Incheon airport and the school's "handyman" picked me up. His English isn't that good so I did not get much explanation about the coming year (my place, the school, job, Seoul, etc.) I felt a little lost because of the 13 hours (ahead from Quebec) jetlag. But as for the place itself, Incheon airport is like any American airport and the roads are the same, so are the buildings. The only differences are people's physical appearance and, of course, the fact that everything's written in Korean.

Even if it was now 7pm and that I had to teach the next morning, he first took me to the school. I met almost everyone and they let me call home to reassure the family (through my sista, who was of course still sleeping at 6am QC time). Then, we headed towards Sinjeongnegeori, about 10 mins from the school.

First impressions? Well I definitely was exhausted so things sort of seemed surreal, like in a movie. Seoul is crowded, filled with skyscrapers and every building has tons of ad posters on it. There are countless vendors on the streets (food, clothes, hats, umbrellas, jewellery, cell phones, etc.) and I thought to myself "this city is definitely alive and sleepless" (which is actually true!)

My studio is in a really cool neighbourhood, full of small shops, markets, bars, millions of alleys. But let's face it - this place is really old and awfully dirty. A male teacher had been living at my place and he left the place without cleaning or even throwing away his stuff. Moreover, the view from my window looks out on a wall. Charming. I immediately went to bed.

June 2nd – First day at my Hogwan (Korean Language School)
I was not aware of this, but my first day would turn out to be a typical day in South Korea – very bali bali, that is rush rush.

First of all, I was supposed to meet my immediate supervisor at 12:00; he showed up at 1:00 and I was teaching at 2:00. The training was the worst ever: “ok so you have books, it’s pretty self-explanatory. Don’t worry, the first days you’ll be lost but you’ll figure it out.” So basically, I had to face a class full of students and use my brain for deduction.

Because of oh sweet jetlag, I hadn’t slept that well and therefore was exhausted. Well, I taught for 6hrs straight (if you don’t count the 5min breaks). The kids were adorable, but the little ones were so excited!

I taught ASWE (7 years olds), Let’s Go 6 (12 years old), Let’s Go 4 (10 years old) and American Shining Stars (13-14 years old). Because it was the first day, it was hard to get an objective analysis of the Korean educational system, I did figure it out a little later…

After work, my fellow colleagues invited me out for drinks. We went to “Loss Time” and had Guinness. I love that beer, but come on, we’re in Korea!!! What the heck, where’s the Korean booze?!

I was so tired, I left about an hour later thinking that I’d sleep until the next day. I know, I know. But not without witnessing the most amazing scene: traffic lights were down and a policeman came to handle the traffic. All of a sudden, an old lady came out of a car and started to hit him! What did the policeman do? NOTHING!! Yup, this is typical Confucian society, where the elderly are ranked higher in the social hierarchy than policemen. I’ll tell you more about this, it’s startling.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that women stare A LOT at me, rubbing their face and smiling, as to say “beautiful skin!”. An old lady actually grabbed my butt on the bus today!

June 3rd – Cleaning, shopping at Carrefour, recycling… I don’t speak Korean!!
As it turns out, I did not sleep well. Yup, Jetlag. I cleaned up my place and it was so dirty that I had to browse the web to find out where I could buy some paint to at least cover up the dirt in my cupboards. After all, putting clean plates and glasses on brown spots might turn out to be quite disgusting.

Ironically, I came across the French department store Carrefour! Located near the Olympic stadium, I thought this would be the a good occasion to become familiar with the subways system and to discover another part of the city.

Naturally, I got lost. I should mention here that Koreans work hard during the week and almost everyone looks forward to the week-end to go out with their family/friends and take advantage of the city life. So it was crowded. I had never seen so many people.

While I was staring at my guide, trying to figure out which side of the ramp would take me to final destination, a Korean man stopped to ask me if I needed help. One thing you should know about Koreans: they are always willing to you out. Proof? The man came all the way with me because I had about 3 transfers and he said he had time. To be fair, he had been living and working in Switzerland for a couple of years but that kind of situation happened again many times so…

Carrefour: how to not get lost.
First of all, make sure you list everything you need and that you write it in Korean too, just in case. Very few people speak English, and most clerks will keep talking to you in Korean even though you don’t understand a single word. They’ll just keep going because they assume that you’ll understand somehow. I probably spent 2 hours in there, totally lost.

There were Korean women at the entrance of each aisle, trying to get you to go into their section. And the meat/seafood section had been turned into what looked like a huge street market, with vendors shouting their specials and inviting costumers to taste their food.

As for food itself, you can find pretty much anything there – Occidental groceries, and of course Oriental food. There also are exotic fruits, but they are quite expensive; grapes cost 12 000 Won (approximately CAN16$).

June 4th – Ketchup on my boxers
Sunday was pretty much like Saturday; I cleaned my studio. Wearing nothing but boxers and a t-shirt, I suddenly realized that a woman was going through the garbage bag I had left on my doorstep. Of course, she explained what she was doing, but it was all in Korean so I did not understand a single word.

After a while, I realized that she was sorting out my trash. Then she pointed at my bare feet, probably wanting me to put something on to follow her down the stairs. So I did and ended up on the street, emptying ketchup and chilli sauce bottles in what looked like a compost bin. I was so impressed! Go Seoul, the future belongs to those who care for the environment! Then she showed me the recycling bag (hanging from a fence) and when I tried to help her out she waved her hand as if to mean “Ok White girl, I’ll take care of this. You go back to cleaning the dirty hole of yours!”

South Korea’s population is around 42 million people. Seoul’s about 10 million. That’s not even the most populous city in the world and yet they understood the disastrous consequences that would arise should they not recycle. If you don’t sort out your garbage it’s illegal. I wish things would be like that back home.

June 5th – Housewives, kids, soju, karaoke… things that don’t go together!!
Here’s what I’ve learned so far about Korean society:

- The number of housewives (stay at home mothers) is incredibly high
- Housewives go to hogwans to kill time and practice whatever English they have learned in school back when they were kids
- No need to have a rich husband to be a housewife, but those who can afford hogwan lessons usually are married to doctors and other big shots
- Kids go to school all the time! After regular school they take a bus to their hogwan where they have grammar and conversation classes. I personally finish teaching at 8pm, but there are classes up until 10pm!
- If kids don’t go to hogwans, they have few friends because there are no kids at the playground… they’re all in school
- Kids have school one Saturday out of two!This is probably why many women are housewives; the kids are so busy that they need to find food and comfort when coming home.This is also why there are so many people out in the streets during the week-end; they need a break!
- Today’s Korean children are really good in English

I also heard that Koreans are crazy about nature. Seoul has many small mountains and there are so many people during the week-end that chances are you will actually be stuck in a line up!!
Teaching housewives was fun. They talk a lot and you can chose whatever subject you like. They are very open-minded to so any topic is good – from North Korea, to abortion, polygamy, junk food, etc. Housewives also love to give you tips about places to go and living in Korea. Strangely though, they did not understand why I wanted to go to traditional Markets; “Departments stores are so much cheaper and you find everything in there!” Seems like another cultural spirit will soon be lost to Americanism…

My ASWE class was much better today and I realized how cute they all are! As for the others, they are both cute and quiet – which is more enjoyable!!

After work we went out for drinks. Good Korean beer with fried shrimps, oh yeah! I had a great time, everyone is so interesting. It hit me though that every table has a button to call up the waitress; hence no need to wave or yell, and she in turn cannot ignore you. I find it a little offensive because it kinda seems like a slave service, but it definitely is useful!

When everybody got drunk enough, we moved to another place: Karaoke bar! Oh, you have to see this! It’s not like in America; here, you have private rooms and you just have fun singing with your friends! Awesome. The only problem is that people kept offering me Soju shot and, as I would find out, these give you the WORST hangovers ever.

I took a cab with a guy and his girlfriend, returned to my dear neighbourhood, got sick, and thanked God that the next day turned out to be a national holiday!

June 6th
Slept all day. A guy came to deliver those huge 18L water bottles, he must have been scared to death when he saw my unfriendly face as I opened the door.

Koreans all have those machines that cool water. A bottle is about 5 000 won (CAN6$). But their genius has not limits!! The first tab gives you cold water, the second HOT water!! How great is that!?

June 7th – Kimbap will make you feel much better
I felt terribly tired and sick this morning. And yet, it was another day at work and I had to show up. The 6 hours straight of teaching never seemed so long. I went on the roof many times to have a smoke – beautiful view by the way. In fact, women are not really allowed to smoke in the streets. I actually did once and an older lady slapped the back of my head. Men are allowed to do so though.

Anyway, that’s when my throat started to hurt like hell. Swallowing became painful.

After work a colleague took me out for Kimbap (Korean style sushi, sooooo good!) but my throat hurt like hell and I couldn’t finish my meal. I sense that tomorrow will be worst.

June 8th – Being sick in Korea, day I
I was supposed to go to immigration today in order to apply for my alien card. Haha, yeah right.

I woke up with the worst cold symptoms ever. I couldn’t even swallow and my head hurt like hell. I emailed my boss to let him know that I wasn’t feeling good at all, and I went back to bed. Spent the entire day just crying myself to sleep so I wouldn’t feel the pain. I couldn’t eat, just drank tons of water.

A teacher dropped by, probably to check if this was all true. He didn’t insist.

At night Mr. Kwon (Korean male in his forties, really sweet but very serious too, in charge of the teachers’ wellbeing) stopped by to see how I was feeling. He offered to take me to the hospital, but I knew that my body just needs time.

June 9th – Being sick in Korea, day II
I have never felt like this before. Got fever, so bad that it hurts when I pee. Muscles are sore, headache, throat incredibly painful. I’m exhausted. I emailed my boss again (phone’s not working). As a result, the teacher showed up again and I almost killed him for waking me up. He didn’t insist and I went straight back to bed.

Being sick far away from home, in an unknown environment where you have no real friends is very scary and you feel incredibly lonely. You have no strength (or motivation) to do something creative with your time. As a result, you feel even downer.

And since I couldn’t eat (nausea, pain, plus I wasn’t hungry), I felt even weaker.

June 10th – Being sick in Korea, day III
I spent the entire day thinking to myself “let’s go out! Fresh air will do me good! Come on, get up!! Please!!” My body gently replied “no wayyyyyyyy!!” and I just stayed in bed the whole day. Although, thanks to That 70s show the day seemed a bit shorter.

June 11th – At last, a traditional Korean market!
Was this a mistake, I still wonder.

Today I felt really good. No more fever, the pain was bearable, so I decided to go out. My original plan was to walk to school so I could see how long it takes to get there. Half an hour. Then, I thought I could explore the surroundings, so I did.

I ended up in a traditional Korean market. You should have seen this!!! So many things, so many people, such a huge place! All my senses were solicited, it was beautiful and exhausting.

You could practically buy anything; seeds, rice, fish, meat, cell phones, cooked meals, dishes, chairs and desks, toys, etc. I had never seen so many different kinds of fishes, all dead and displayed on huge buckets of ice. Flies were hovering around pieces of meat. Sellers were yelling from everywhere!! Oh yeah, I was finally in a traditional market!

After a while I started walking towards my place. It took me about 2 hours and, to confirm my first impression regarding Koreans’ generosity, a lady came to me while I was starting at my plan to help me out. She seemed so happy to speak English!

I wasn’t really hungry so I didn’t eat again. Went straight to bed, starting to feel a little dizzy. There seemed to be something stuck in my throat. No, not again!!

June 12th – No such thing as being sick in Korea, really.
It felt like a sand storm had taken place in my throat. I couldn’t swallow but this time my tonsils weren’t swelling up. My voice was that of a frog.

I called Mr. Kwon and told him I needed to go to the hospital. Instead of offering to pick me up, he told me to meet him at the school. All right then.

I got to school and he asked me to wait for him. Then he came back and said that no one could sub for me so I had to teach the housewives. Ouuuuuh, never say this to a sick and exhausted woman… I locked myself in the bathroom and cried like a baby.

When the housewives saw me, the immediately realized that I wasn’t feeling good. One of them even offered me to go get me a cup of tea and another said we should not even have the class. Well, I’m professional so I taught the class, but it was really hard!!!

Afterwards, I went to see Mr. Kwon but the secretaries said he was in a meeting. They also told me that no one could sub for me and that I would have to teach in the afternoon. No way. I couldn’t control my emotions and, again, burst into tears. The VP called me into her office and talked to me. She said I should go to the hospital with Mr. Kwon but that I really had to go to class because they couldn’t let the kids alone. “You don’t have to speak, just sit there and we’ll tell them to study”. Did I have a choice?

The hospital was in fact a clinic. 15 minutes and I was back on the sidewalk, had seen the doctor and held prescription pills in my hand. Was the doctor good? Uh, not sure. She looked at my throat, asked me if I had fever, then spoke to Mr. Kwon for about 5 minutes straight and prescribed me 7 pills to take 3 times a day.

Since it wasn’t time for my 2:00 class yet, Mr. Kwon drove me home to take a shower and get some rest. I believe I collapsed on the sofa exactly 1 second after walking into my place.

And this is where the unbelievable happened. I don’t know how long I remained unconscious, but all of a sudden I heard two men talking, one of was Mr. Kwon and he asked if they could come in. The other one did not introduce himself, but I gathered from Mr. Kwon’s submissive attitude that the owner of the school was there, in person.

He asked how I was feeling, and got incredibly mad when he saw the conditions I was living in. Yes, even after all this cleaning up my place was still a hole. He quibbled at Kwon and told me that I would move out of this place as soon as possible. He didn’t want me to live in there another day.

I wish he’d told me I could stay in and sleep, but he repeated what the VP had said. He offered to give me a ride, so I took a quick shower and quickly got dressed. Down the alley of my crappy Sinjeongnegeori studio was a black tinted Cadillac, with Mr. Kwon opening the door for me. It felt just like in a movie.

The whole afternoon was terrible, I lost half of my voice and when it ended, I immediately took the bus back home. Only, I had no idea what would happen next.

Around 10pm, Mr. Kwon called me (phone was now working) and said he hadn’t found a new place for me to stay and that I would have to sleep in a hotel. I told him I was ok at my place and too exhausted to even get out of bed, but he insisted and said he’d call me back in a few minutes.

5 minutes later one of my supervisor called. Apparently some people were on their way to pick me up and take me to a hotel because the owner, the Cadillac guy, had threatened to fire them if I spent another night in this “dirt hole”. My supervisor begged me to go with Mr. Kwon, otherwise the guy would lose his job. What the heck?!

At 11pm, I was in a hotel. My voice was fading away. Kwon said he’d pick me up the next day at 2pm (of course, no sub available that day either). I didn’t sleep well although the place was pretty cool and typically Korean. I should have mentioned earlier that people must take off their shoes before entering a house, even theirs. When you go to classy places, they offer slippers to their costumers. So there were slippers in my room and I thought it was funny.

June 13th – Just… crazy day
The sand storm was definitely getting worst, there probably was a beach party in my throat or something. I couldn’t speak at all, no sound was coming out. I freaked out. Really. Kwon took me, again, to the clinic, where the doctor for another 5 minutes before she prescribed me other medication.

We then headed to school, where everyone told me not to speak even though I had to teach my 5:15pm – 7:30pm class. Are you kidding me?! How can you sit in front of kids for 2 hours and have them study and review and not use your voice?!
After the first break, I bumped into Cadillac man. He asked how I was feeling, and when he heard my (non existent) voice, told one of the staff guy to teach for me. He then took me to the new place Kwon had found for me. Oh la la! On the 15th floor, air conditioned, big studio, nice. He asked me if I like it, then he bought it.

It was night, I was really tired. He took me home to get my stuff and said I would stay at the hotel until I could move in the new apartment, about 6 days later. I couldn’t believe it. He dropped me off at this newly built hotel, really classy, with flat screen TV and king size bed… incredible.

That was after he’d taken me to Hyundai dept store to buy me fruits and cereals. He even bought me a bottle of wine and told me to drink half of it in order to sleep well. He stopped by a French bakery (French is very "in" here) to get me croissants and other pastries – I kept saying no, but he insisted. And when I thanked him, he said “Don’t thank me! Really!”

Yup, they have Paris Baguette in South Korea

All his generosity was starting to make me feel uncomfortable, but what could I do? Plus I was sick and tired and people kept pumping my energy by forcing me to teach, dragging me around Seoul , threatening to fire people if I didn’t do as told.

I slept like a baby.

June 14th – The frog still can’t call in sick
The irony here is that Cadillac man (funny nickname right) was doing all this so that I would be able to get some rest and get better as quick as possible. But he actually didn’t really help that much.

He called me at 8am – “I’m in the lobby, wanna go out for breakfast?” What could I possibly answer, but “uuuuh ok?”

He took me to a Korean restaurant, where I had tea and soup. Weird breakfast, but it actually was really good. And of course, nobody could sub for me so I had to teach housewives at 10am. Apparently, the week before, this new teacher had gotten really drunk and took a cab back home. But the cab driver had taken her to a hotel and raped (or tried to) her. She was in shock and had to quit - hence all the staff was already covering for her shifts.

A wonderful surprise was waiting for me at school; a generous girl had offered to take my class. So Cadillac man drove me back to my hotel room, not without driving first to the North Korean border, which he wanted to show me.

I know this sounds completely surreal, but I have come to understand that this man is really rich and bored. Most of his friends have to work, he doesn’t. So he was sort of holding on to me. And as time passed by, I realized that he’s a sweet, hilarious and intelligent man. But of course, things always have to go the wrong way and so they did a few days later.

Meanwhile, I taught my afternoon classes with “a voice”… Cadillac man actually came to my first class, handing out stickers to my students and asking them to read out loud. Then he came back with one of the staff girl, who would speak for me for the rest of the day. This actually turned out to be even more exhausting because she isn’t a teacher and had no idea what to do. So I had to explain it to her, and then yell at my poor kids, who didn’t seem to want to participate in her class!! Oh those kids! So lovely, one of them even brought me a banana, and he sat on the corner of the table just to be close to me!!

I went back to my hotel and I spent another sleepless night, trying to forget about my pain while watching tv.

June 15th – Big shot and best Sushi ever
I finally fell asleep early in the morning. At 11am the phone rang; it was him again, inviting me to lunch. Again, how could I refuse? He was already in the lobby.

He took me to this huge building where his friend is the President CEO of a media company that owns TV and radio stations. A really amazing guy, perfectly bilingual and former reporter who has been all over the world. He showed me around, I even got a picture of me on a Quizz Show set right before it aired – show which we later watched on his cell phone during lunch!

We went for sushi in a Japanese restaurant… best experience ever!
First, sitting on the floor, but with holes to put your legs (hard to explain but it’s typically Japanese). The menu:
- Egg/mushroom sort of soup, delicious
- Seafood soup
- Two tiny broccolis in a creamy sauce
- Salad with sesame dressing
And then, the Sushi!! Oh how sweet, there even was octopus!
We finished with another soup and, of course, tea.

I had to teach at 5:15pm, my voice was getting better so this time it was less painful. The kids were just adorable!! As for my colleagues, they kept asking how I was feeling and were stunned by all that had been going on in the past couple of days.

June 16th – Thank God it’s Friday!
Kwon picked me up at 9am, but no housewife showed up. They probably thought I was still really sick. So I went back to my hotel.

For lunch I went to a Sushi bar, very special place; all the cooks yell “Welcome” in Japanese when you come in. Then you sit at a bar and plates pass in front of you. You just pick whatever you want and the color of the plate indicates the price. At the end of your meal the waiter simply adds them up. Really cool.

I went back to school to teach my afternoon classes, but the kids were just crazy. Probably the Friday factor, but still it was pretty hard on my voice. I’ll give more details about class content later on. For now, I am stressed out because I have parents coming to my classes next week to observe. But my colleagues said it’s nothing to worry about.

June 17th – Awkward situation
Our school accountant got getting married today. I couldn’t go because I had to go to my old place to pack. I’m moving in my new apartment in two days! It was a hard day because I was so tired and I didn’t want to pack all the stuff I had unpacked about a week earlier!!

Cadillac man said he’d take me out for dinner, so we did. And this is when I really realized that he likes me a lot. No, please God no. Why??

He was all dressed up and he took me to a fancy Korean restaurant. We had our private salon with garden view and we ate sitting on the floor. The food was exquisite and we really had a good time! But after dinner, while we were walking in the gardens, he admitted that he really likes me. I told him (and many times before I had) that I don’t think of him that way. But still, no one can help their feelings, right? Again, why did this happen?

On the way back he asked if would mind if he played golf for about half an hour. He had a big game the next day. So I said yes, even if it was 11pm. Actually, good move! He’s a great player by the way, and after a few shots he made me try. My first time, I love it and, what’s more, I’m really good at it!! He was so proud!!

When I got off his car, I knew something had changed. Like in the song "I can see clearly now!" He actually humiliated himself after that but someone advised me not to tell the story because no good could come out of it.

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