Tag Archives: epik

Find something you love and…

2 hours ago, it was 11 something and I was excited about getting nine hours of sleep. I feel like my body needs it. My schedule has picked up a LOT lately, which is great, because I’m definitely still paying for Bali.

But now it’s 1:17 a.m. in Korea, and I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I’m just not that tired after all.

I should be. I woke up early, worked out for an hour, worked a full day, and then did an hour class after that. On the way home, finally, I was thinking about how not tired I am, and how I regret having picked up dinner and depriving myself from the pleasure of cooking for myself.

See, the thing is that even though my days are long, I don’t hate them. And even though I spend my time working, really actually working, not deskwarming but actually interacting with students for 8-9 hours a day, I often find myself feeling energized.

I think I really do love being a teacher. They say find something you love and never work a day in your life, right? I don’t know. This doesn’t really feel like work. I mean, it’s a place I have to go every day, but like you can’t be too serious once you’re there. I laugh, like genuinely laugh, like caught-off-guard LOL because it was actually funny laugh like once an hour. Because these kids are crazy and hilarious. My kindies have gotten into the habit of sniffing me, and so they regularly get up from their seats to grab my arm and take deep inhalations from their little diaphragms. Then they proclaim to me that I smell “a lot good and a little bad.” It’s completely absurd. But it’s really funny.

And I never know where the day’s going to take me. I have two boys that I work with, and even though we have a textbook, a lot of times we stray from the curriculum. One day they broke down for me the politics behind the two-party system in Korea, and the attitudes of the older and younger generations toward Korea’s leaders. The next, they wanted to hear and tell ghost stories, then they ran out to one kid’s mom because they were scared, because they’re only 10 Korean age (which makes them 9).

In contrast to this, I have the fact that I had six solid months free and didn’t write a damn word. I write, but I feel tired afterward. I do it, but I power through it. I think about the environment I would have as a writer. I could work at a newspaper/magazine and be surrounded by sardonic, cynical, world-weary, oh so clever adults. Or I could work at home by my damn self and descend into madness in the dreary and silence of my own mind.

I honestly don’t think this writing thing is for me, not to make a career of. I feel like I made a choice a long time ago that I didn’t want to live in my head. That it was actually really important for me as a stable and happy person to get the hell out of my head. Looking back, that was probably the day I gave up writing as a potential career, realistically. Because where else would I reside, really, but in my head as a writer?

And here I have teaching. And it’s fresh, and new. And i’m up and standing and moving and laughing and sometimes being stern but other times chasing little children around a play gym. And i’m not being read and revered by millions, but I’m teaching a handful of kids how to think critically and express themselves and damnit, that’s fulfilling and satisfying as hell.

I really like what I do right now.

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Lost

I wish life were like it is in The Alchemist, where an old king blesses you and tells you to follow the omens, and then they appear.

But it isn’t like that, is it?

Too often, I have found myself in this life searching, questioning, praying, begging, asking, with silence as the only response.

And today I am lost in a foreign country, and I am asking myself once again what I’m doing out where. What am I doing with my life? I had an amazing job offer in the U.S. that I passed up for this dream, this dream of living abroad that is turned out to be nothing but cracks.

I mean sure,

it’s been amazing on the weekends. I’ve met some of the most wonderful people, people whom I would have sought out in the States and people whom I wouldn’t have.

And sure,

it’s definitely boosted my confidence–I am more sure in my ability to get myself home in nearly every situation even if there are language barriers–something that is not to be taken lightly,

but every Monday to Friday I deal with the fact that I made the mistake of trusting a company that was supposed to be trustworthy,

only instead of being trustworthy they stuck me in a job situation where my contract is completely ignored,

and their only advice is deal with it.

And I probably could, except on top of that I have no mentorship, no guidance, only the comfort of being completely ignored–on a good day.

It’s crushing.

What am I doing with my life?

Can I really exist in this environment, where nobody is on my side, for a year?

Am I spoiled? Is this my entitlement showing, that I need someone to be on my side in order to thrive and be happy? 

Should I really be able to make my peace with my contract being ignored and having no one on my side and just live that way for a year?

I can’t decide whether it’s better to quit and not waste my precious moments on this earth in a position that is miserable–

or stick it out and experience whatever growth is on the other side of this barbed-wire rainbow.

If this were The Alchemist, I’d have two stones, and I could reach in my pocket and pull one out and one would be yes and one would be no.

If this were The Alchemist, a man would come up a hill exhausted and I’d get the idea to sell tea from crystal glasses,

then a memory of an old king’s encouragement would tell me to stay on the path to my personal legend–

my dream.

But it’s not The Alchemist, and while I do know my dream (it’s to write) I feel so incredibly lost and insignificant that I’m paralyzed.

I feel more often than not that when I pray it’s only to look inside, because that’s the only place I’ve ever found any real answers,

and then sometimes I feel afraid to pray because in some situations there are no answers–there’s only dealing with it.

There are no answers about why I’m here. Why did I get stuck in this awful situation while everyone else I know is enjoying their schools and have only minor hiccups to deal with.

There are no answers about the other things going on, things I can’t blog about because they don’t only involve me.

Why am I here?

Why did I want to come here so bad?

Or do I really just need to shut a part of myself off Monday-Friday and tell myself that it’s only a year and it has no bearing on my real life anyway?

Because I’ve always been really bad at that,

and in a perfect world I’d love to be an amazing teacher.

To Boston, to Afghanistan, with Love

A little project we did in my English Club

 

http://blackgirlabroad.wordpress.com/2013/04/17/to-boston-to-afghanistan-with-love/

Do you eat chicken?

ImageWell, 

today was the big day. First day teaching. True to form, I stayed up until around midnight last night putting the perfecting touches on everything: edublog, video greeting for edublog, ppt, teaching philosophy, class policies, writing diagnostic, and desperate fb messages to all of my teacher friends/mentors for advice about icebreakers, etc.

In the end, I decided to go with the classic “3 Truths and one Lie” game for the first day. I don’t quite know my reasoning. At first I was going to do a writing diagnostic…but I don’t know. English class is supposed to be fun, and even though we will be writing (and I will be doing a diagnostic)….I just wanted the first day to be fun. 

So anyway, I went with the 3 truths and one lie thing,

and it was hilarious. I learned 3 things about my students: 1) they are hilarious. 2) they are not shy 3) they are surprisingly up on American Pop Songs (as exhibited by the LMFAO reference that, coincidentally, made me LMFAO). 

I am glad to know these three things about my students, because it will definitely influence my approach throughout the year, although I don’t think my co-teacher appreciated it because after those classes she became a lot more hands-on, telling me what I need to plan for them for tomorrow and Monday.

Oh well. I’ve had 26 years to come to terms with the fact that not everyone gets my humor.

Speaking of 26 years….

isn’t it awkward when someone guesses your age…and get it exactly right? Is that only me? It’s like damn, I really look my age?

I have been long-since warned about the Korean tendency to ask you seemingly personal questions as a way to get to know you (are you married, how old are you, etc.), but today was the first day anyone actually took a personal interest in me I guess. This teacher guy at my school asked me whether I was married (to which I replied no….mi-hon–single). Then he said some stuff in Korean, the Korean teachers giggled, and my co-teacher translated:

“He’s trying to guess your age.”

To which I replied brightly, “Oh, 26.”

She translated, and everyone had a good laugh. “That’s what he guessed,” she translated. “26 or 27.”

…da fuq?! Now you can look at me and see I’m in my late 20s? Oh,

not cool man.

Ouch.

Ouch.

Old though I may appear, I definitely felt like a freshman in high school today. I had the typical first-day-of-school round of mishaps: brand new pimples, missing the bus, tripping up the stairs, and even finding a hole in my tights. So the universe kind of got the inverse of what I want, which is to look like a high-schooler but conduct myself like a grown-ass woman, not the other way around.

And finally, to sum of my first day teaching, I leave you with this:

As a part of wrapping up my second class of the day, I asked students if they hand any questions for me.

Amid the shaking of the heads, one girl raises her hand.

I smile and tell her to ask away.

She smiles.

“Do you eat chicken?” she asks.

The class laughs. Again, I’m like….da fuq?

In my mind, I’m trying not to go there–there being stereotype threat, of course: Oh. Why you gotta ask the black girl do she like chicken? I’m trying to tell myself this is a whole ‘nother part of the world. Maybe she wants to know if Americans like chicken. Or maybe she just wants to know if Ms. Bri, the individual standing in front of her, likes chicken.

I’m thinking this while the class is laughing, so I put on my best smile and I reply, “Do you like chicken? Since I’ve been in Korea I’ve noticed a lot of chicken restaurants. So yes, I like chicken, but I think everyone does, don’t you?”

Meanwhile, my co-teacher asks her, “Do you ask every teacher that?” to which the girl replies “yes.” So I go, “oh, you’re taking a survey about which teachers like chicken or something?” to which the girl replies no.

Liar. It was just something she asked me. I’ve got my eye on you, you little so-and-so.