Crash-landed in the South Korean city of “Incheon.” Aka, Seoul’s little brother. Stranded here–ship will not be repaired until March, 2015. We also need fuel but the only liquid in abundance in this area is something called “soju.” I will take an educational position in a local school to kill the time until the ship is operational.
Observations from my first two days in the trenches:
-Unclear if the constant haze in the sky is fog or smog drifting over from the Chinese mainland. I’m erring on the side of smog, so if I’m diagnosed with lung cancer within the next decade despite not being a smoker, I won’t be surprised. Live fast, die young, eat your kimchi.
-There’s a farm near me that smells like manure. That should tip you off to how rural my area is. My neighborhood is in the boonies up in the north of the city.
-Said neighborhood is very old and 100% Korean. Very few English signs, no Western establishments. It’s like visiting an alien planet. There is a bar across the street, however, called “Enter Beer,” which I assume I’ll be doing a fair amount of after my Thursdays, which will include 5 back-to-classes.
-Very modern school, considering the area. They don’t turn on the heaters in here though, so sitting bundled up in the office and laughing to myself is the only way to stay warm. School lunch is actually pretty good. Hoping to learn enough Korean to engage in teacher gossip sessions.
-Students absolutely lose their minds when I walk by. They scream and kamikaze jump onto me from benches, latch onto my arms and legs, and ask me to sign autographs. This is the celebrity phase, folks. It’s cool for a week, and then you’ll start to hate it. It was like this in China, and it’s like this most places in the Far East. On the plus side, these crowds of lil’ Korean nuggets make it easy to get in a good bicep workout on the way to class. Grab a third grader by the collar, preferably one in each hand. Do 3 sets of 8 reps, drink a protein shake.
-I have three co-teachers, all female, none single. Too bad.
-Loooots of desk warming so far. I’ve caught up on the news (they still haven’t found that Malaysian Airlines flight), fired off a few braggy Facebook posts to make people at home feel jealous, and have started studying some Hangul, the local dialect. Apparently next week I’ll be doing nothing but observing classes and making lesson plans. Actual teaching to commence in April.
-Haven’t gotten wi-fi set up in my apartment yet. There is a random spot on the sidewalk a quarter mile away that inexplicably has wi-fi, despite there being no buildings nearby. I prowl the dirty streets at night with my hood up, looking for a closer wi-fi hotspot. The locals see the big-nosed giant (fun fact about your dear friend Freddy, he’s 6 foot 7) approaching and take shelter, shutting their blinds and locking their doors.
-Said apartment is a four minute walk from school and it’s small, clean, and–OH SHIT, as I write this, I’m pretty sure I forgot to lock the door this morning.
-And of course, the real reason I came here: Writing time. There is lots of it. New city, new life, more time to work on what I really want to do. So, things are good. More info later.
End Log Entry
Captain Colton, out