This week was a rough one in Korea. I was sick. A sore throat feels much worse when your job requires you to talk all day. A job that also requires you to raise your voice to talk over the loud, steady hum of your students. Then the kids seemed to decide to make my life miserable. My fourth grade class on Tuesday just decided to stop listening to me. They ignored my lesson while the head English teacher watched carelessly on the side. In my eyes, this almost encouraged their behavior. I felt helpless.
Then the stares, unsmiling faces, and rushing culture just started to get to me. I was well on my way to hating Korea with a passion. I have heard that this can be quite natural. Foreigners here start asking themselves why they are here in the first place. They start comparing Korea to home. This attitude can be very dangerous, and flat out ruin your experience. Lindsay remained strong, while I became a complaining, angry jerk.
Then Korea shined. Just like that, overnight. Thursday my second graders sang the Beatles song “I will” to me. They are practicing it for a school festival.
Love you forever and forever
Love you with all my heart
Love you whenever we’re together
Love you when we’re apart.
It was just what I needed that morning. Twelve cute Korean kids singing that they loved me in broken accents.
Then that night we went out to dinner with some friends. Behind us sat a rowdy party of both Korean men and women in their fifties. Soon we became a small part of their party. I will let the video tell you all.
After that we went to a nearby guitar bar where the band broke into John Denver’s “Country Road.” You know it.
Country roads, take me home
To the place I belong West Virginia, mountain momma
Take me home, country roads
A little later the next thing I knew I am holding hands with a drunk Korean man swaying back and forth to another song. We embraced after and he told me he loved me. In any other part of the world this might have been weird, but given my state this week, it was exactly what I needed.
So today I was back to loving Korea, and today was a lot more fun. To top it off one of our students ran after us after school to give us a couple of nectarines. It was like they could hear me complaining.
Enjoy the video.