Sunday, September 7, 2008

There's a bathroom on the right

photos: To quote Creedence, there's a bathroom on the right: toilet, shower, washing machine, clothes-drying rack (sorry about the underwear). Also my kitchen and living room.

I’ve grown to really like my apartment. Sadly, I won’t have it too much longer. Mrs. Kim told me that the landlord isn’t renewing the school’s lease in February, so I’ll have to move then. She also said she’ll have George show me a nicer apartment this week, and that I can move there right away if I like and she’ll give this apartment to a newly arriving teacher. She may be offering me the option because I’m such a great teacher, or because I’ll have seniority. My speculation may be moot, however, since she told me she’s doing it because I’m older.

To digress, I’m in the living room as I write this, and Shrek 2 is playing over my shoulder. Shows in English are broadcast with Korean subtitles, except kids’ shows, which are dubbed. I can’t tell if Shrek has a Scottish accent, but they found somebody who sounds exactly like Eddie Murphy to be Donkey. Come to think of it, his delivery in English has a certain Korean quality to it…

It’s Sunday morning, it’s my one day off, and I’ll be going in to the school in a bit. (Yes, I’m precisely that pathetic.) I want to pick up the books for the classes I’ll be teaching tomorrow, check my email, post a couple of entries to the blog (if you’re not reading this, I didn’t, so please disregard this posting), and have some lunch with a few of the teachers. If Hee-duk wants me to fill in for one of the few Sunday classes, I’ll know to never ever ever stop in on my day off again.

After that, I’m going to do something. I don’t know what yet; Curtis, the young teacher who’s leaving soon, gave me a Daegu guidebook in English, and the maps are useless, but it’s giving me ideas. If I can find my way there, I may go to one of the mountain parks just outside town for a hike; or back to the Gukchae-bosang Memorial Park (the place in the picture with the elaborate pavilion, which is the National Debt Repayment Monument), where on weekends at 3:00 they have the Ringing Ceremony of the Dalgubeol Grand Bell; or Woobang Tower Land, a theme park with a 650-foot-high tower from which, if I so choose, I can perform a feet-first bungee jump. (I suspect that I might not so choose.)

Maybe I’ll go back and stroll around downtown, and maybe even go see Mamma Mia. I hear it’s roughly as exhilarating as a 650-foot bungee jump.

At some point soon, I’m going to hop on the subway in Samduk, a block from the LIKE school there, and get off at the Manchon stop (which is somewhere within a long walk of my apartment, but nobody seems able to tell me exactly where), and get hopelessly lost trying to find my way home. I want to check out the subway and find out if it will ever be of any use to me. If I can get a handheld GPS, or a cell phone that has that function, the whole city will open up to me. It's amazing how freeing it is to know you won't get lost in a country where you're illiterate and can't talk to much of anyone.

Next weekend is Korean Thanksgiving, so I’ll have three days off rather than the usual one. I don’t know exactly what Koreans do on Thanksgiving, beyond traveling to see family and giving gifts. (E-Mart has a whole Hickory Farms kind of section for Thanksgiving, which is why many of the women attendants are wearing traditional costumes.) I know that the Samsung Lions, the local baseball team, are playing at home all weekend and I plan to go with Ray to a game. Not many Americans watch baseball on Thanksgiving, after all.

I’m really happy in Korea. The Kims expect complete cooperation from their teachers, such as filling in at a moment’s notice (in Manchon or Samduk) if they’re missing a teacher, and the day can be long, but they’re generous. The worst part is the endless proofreading of kids’ papers, which is incredibly tedious. But I like all the teachers, there’s a kind of family atmosphere at work, I love walking to and from school, and I discover something new every five minutes. And I don’t have lung cancer (see earlier post), so that’s cool too.

Shilleh hamnidah (excuse me), my friends, I have to go.

Hey, send me email, huh? Peace to my peeps.

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