Tag Archives: writing

Well-Cared For Kids

I take it back.

I take it all back.

I think the universe is punishing me for ever having dared give up on this whole writing dream of mine. These children are awful. At any given moment at my job, there is the spittle of a student who has just the worst damn lisp in history all over me. On Wednesdays, we eat lunch with the kids and I can see the spit flying from his lips to my salad.

When he’s not spitting he’s screaming, either in outrage or excitement. Either way, it’s blistering to my eardrums.

I hear their voices ringing in my ears on the weekends, these awful children. They have a chant: “My mommy said that jajjangmyeon is not a delicious.” (Jajjangmyeon is korean chinese food, it’s noodles in black bean sauce–MSG loaded and actually quite delicious, but that’s not the point). In the dead of night, when all is silent and I’m drifting off to sleep, their shrill voices float by my ears. “My mommy said that jajjangmyeon is not a delicious. My. MOMMY. SAID. THAT. JAJJANGMYEON. IS NOT A DELICIOUS. YEAH YEAH YEAH.” It’s haunting.

When they’re not spitting on me, screaming at me, or chanting the chants that will imprint my soul and haunt my very being after school has finished, they’re fucking bickering.

Good gawd, I never realized how annoying bickering is. All day it’s TEACHERRR! and I DON’T LIKE JASON! and DON’T DO THAT PLEASE. All. Damn. Day. I remember fighting with my brother when I was a kid, and I remember how angry my mother used to get. I never got it back then, but damned if I don’t get it now–it’s the worst thing ever to be stuck in a room with: the sound, the sight, and the general feel of it all fucking SUCKS. It’s so draining.

Then there are the emotional issues. X student is friends with Y student, but he’s actually really competitive with Y student so can you manage X student’s emotions so he doesn’t feel bad? (uhh…?). T student wants to be friends with X and Y student and is jealous that X and Y students play so well together but actually T student is the screaming spitter, but still can you make sure they all play together? (uhh….?). Q student is actually cool as hell but the only girl so she’s gonna demand all your attention simply because you’re two girls lost among the madness so can you give your full attention to her whilst managing the three boys? (uhh…?). Ah, and finally, Y student is an overworked six year old who after this will go to piano, art and taekwondo; he’s moody and exhausted because of his grueling schedule, and he’s also a bit of a compulsive liar, so can you get a ton of work done while he’s constantly interrupting you with his swinging moods of extreme silliness and pissed offedness from thinking about his schedule? (uh…sure?).

I only have four students, not 20, so it’s not a lot to complain about really.

But the universe sure showed me for ever thinking of giving up writing.

Still, I can’t help but think, when I see these extremely cute little kids in their burberry coats, with their expensive lessons to which they’re being shuffled back and forth, that they’re so well cared for. And I’d like to have a couple of those well cared for kids for myself one day. Not the brats through.

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.

Friends

I think I have a knack for unhappiness, like how people have a knack for drowning unless they swim, float or tread water. For me to be happy, I must constantly tread the sea of “new” and “positive” experiences–if I stop for a second, or if the tide breaks, or if one tiny thing happens that interrupts this flow of outer-stimulated “happiness,” I begin to drown.

This past year has been different than the last. Last year I had a school that I hated (in some areas) with a boss who was mean to me. But I had a lot of friends, a huge apartment, enough money, and eventually a boyfriend (whom I still have at least. So one outta 4 ain’t bad I guess).

This year is different. I don’t hate my job (who could hate working part time?), but I have a small apartment and, I’m starting to realize, very few actual “friends” (at least in Korea).

I don’t know if spending so much time alone has made me too rigid, or if working in an office with constant gossiping and social politics has made me too self-conscious (I suspect both), but one thing I have felt, over and over this year, is that I mean very little to most of the “friends” I had last year.

In any case, this year is much different than last year, and I find myself spending much more time in my own company than in anyone else’s. This ought to be great–it’s kind of what I wanted, more time alone, more time to write. But I guess I wasn’t prepared to get it on the price of feeling rejected and blown off, and I mostly dread my own company and hate being alone.

Or maybe it’s all in my head. I’m about six months into my new year-long contract, and without constant new experiences as distractions–and I do mean constant, did I mention that I just came back from Bali Monday?–and a constant barrage of people telling me I’m wanted, I’m a good person, I’m loved and needed–and I do mean constant–the six-month blues is at hand, letting me know that I have to spend another half-year on the other side of the world from everything that’s comfortable.

I watched Eat Pray Love last night (because Bali) and there was a quote that was something to the effect of she believes that if a person is willing to leave their comfort zone, seek answers, and believe that everything along the way is working toward their good, they will be rewarded for it.

I guess the first time I watched that movie, I accepted that sentiment as gospel. This time, however, I just thought it was awfully “neat” that she left her hubs with no warning, took off, and got True Love and Enlightenment in a year flat.

My life has been much more messy than that, and I suppose it will continue to be. I suspect the lives of others are messier than that too, and I am increasingly upset by how dishonest things related to the universal human experience (things like heartbreak, loneliness, pain, joy, travel, budgeting, etc.) are portrayed in entertainment. Everything is too neat on TV, and even when it’s messy, it’s still too neat.

I mean, I get it in part. It hurts to read or watch something that portrays heartbreak honestly. Something that doesn’t glaze over it and make it syrupy and cute and funny. But that’s no excuse. Because heartbreak hurts, and it hurts for longer than two episodes. When you really love someone, or when you think you really love someone, does it ever go away?

How about when your friends find other friends and leave you behind? How does that feel? Is it ever even shown? And is your heart not allowed to break for the loss of these people whom you did love and did not think would reject you? And how about in your country, incidences of mass violence, or the economy, or feeling like you are a target, that you will never be allowed to have a good life? When does that stop hurting? In two episodes? Three? How much time before we move on because it’s boring and we need something slapstick to cover it?

This life is not easy and it’s not neat, but who will write this story now, in these days? I don’t think I can–it’ll take too long, and I’m too impatient, sadly. And I can’t get away from writing characters who are autobiographical, or essays, which are too direct, too unimaginative, and too damn boring.

Some things I don’t understand

I have been labeled “smart” my entire life, and without getting into the details of why I think that “smart” is not a very accurate label for what people are seeking to describe when they call a child smart (sharp, bright, curious, attentive, perceptive, precocious are all better labels in my opinion), I have pretty much accepted myself as a “smart” person (at least in the sense that I can memorize and regurgitate information in a manner that gets me As–and some B+s, to my chagrin).

Still, over time and my interactions with people, I have noticed that there are some things about simply functioning in the real world that my brain just does not cognitively process. I truly do not understand:

1. Mail.

I don’t get it. I don’t get why there’s so much of it. I don’t get why they send it every day. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with it when I get it. I don’t know where to put it. I can’t keep the fact that it exists as something valid and important in my mind long enough to open it but if I do open it and it is actually valid and important and not a tree-killing coupon book then I still immediately forget it exists while at the same time putting it somewhere in my apartment where it manages to multiply on its own.

Yet I’ve been to other people’s homes and they almost never seem to be overrun with mail. Why is this? How do people handle mail?

2. The accumulation of stuff in general.

This pretty much harkens back to the mail thing. Listen. My whole apartment complex, which is like 16 units, are all one bedroom, and I’ve been in two of my neighbors’ places. Their apartments, which are all similar to mine in size and layout, possess a very reasonable space-to-stuff ratio.

Then there’s my place, which is just crammed with stuff. I don’t get it. How do people manage to not have all this stuff? Even stuff like clothes….I have probably literally one zillion pieces of clothing. I give away bags of it like every couple of months yet I always have one zillion items of clothing. Where does it come from? How do I make it so that I don’t have it?

3. How anything in my possession eventually gets destroyed

People keep things for years. This is a fact. And yet, anything in my possession begins to immediately undergo a process of destruction. This also seems to be a fact. Pieces of my lap top fall off regularly. I wish I were making this up. It’s expensive and weird and unnerving. I don’t know how to not destroy stuff.

It sucks.

4. How to both answer texts and interact with the people in the room

Seriously. My brain does not know how to do this. If I am texting you back, I am alone. That’s a fact. Because I don’t know how to both answer texts and converse with real people in real time. I cannot hold those two thoughts in my mind; I will not answer the text. Because if I do, then I will totally disconnect from the people in the room. It’s so weird. I’ve been around other people as they both used their phones and interacted with me. It seems seamless. Sometimes I don’t even notice they’re using their phones. I can’t split my attention like that. I just can’t.

So anyway, those are some things I just don’t know how to cognitively process.

Good night.

Soon I’ll have to start lying about my age

Yesterday as I was getting my feast on at my practicum’s Thanksgiving Potluck, the topic of ages came up. I was about knee deep in turkey, the Saudi Arabian national dish and some kind of Japanese pork pancake thing (ah-MAZE), but I still tuned in to the conversation.

One woman, who looks super young, asked how old another teacher was. When they said the teacher’s age, she mumbled, “Damnit. Everyone’s younger than me.”

When two other teachers revealed themselves to be 26, I piped in, saying that I’m 26 too.

One of the teachers goes “Really? I thought you were younger than that.”

Thinking about how that comment made me feel still gives me chills. It was so generous. 

I can’t quite remember when it began to happen, but I’m getting to the point where I’m not being ID’d for things anymore. On the one hand, it’s useful (because sometimes my ID is in my other purse). On the other, it’s like……..”so what are you trying to say?”

Which, I said all of that to say,

I don’t like being 26.

Seriously.

My mind doesn’t know where to put it. People are still like “oh, you’re still so young,” but I’m starting to feel the pressure of time. Not that I ever didn’t feel it, bit there was a time when I could tell myself “it’s not a big deal. I’m still really young.”

Now, though, I mean……I’m still young……but I’m not really young enough to use youth as an excuse. And I feel like I’m at the age where I really need to start establishing what type of life I want for myself and moving toward that life in a tangible way. 

I’ve been doing a lot of Self searching lately because I’m coming to the end of my degree and I’m kind of at a fork in the road in terms of paths, and I’ve got to choose which path to take. I’m pretty sure I’ve made my decision. It’s been hard because at 26 I’m starting to feel like I’m running out of time to find myself and wanderlust and then come back and start my life. 

At the same time, though, the route that I chose to wanderlust is in teaching English and, full disclosure (now this stays just between you and me), teaching English to support my travel lifestyle is not my Ultimate Dream.

My Ultimate Dream is and has always been to write. Plain and simple. It was my Ultimate Dream when I was 5; it was my Ultimate Dream when I was 15; it was my Ultimate Dream when I was 25; and it’s my Ultimate Dream now.

I want it so bad I’m afraid to pursue it because I’m afraid to fail at it. So I keep pursuing…not it. Teaching English….adjacent to it…but not it. I’m starting to understand more and more the importance of believing in yourself when it comes to your dreams because at the end of the day you are the one making the choices. And you’ve got to believe in yourself enough to make the choices that will allow you to build toward your Ultimate Dream. And that is terrifying, because if you fail at the one thing that your heart has been telling you to do since you can remember….well then what?

I guess you go teach English overseas. 

 

There’s Always Something New to Add to Your Resume

my businesscard rough

resume

I read on one of those career websites that just because you don’t happen to have yet landed a paying gig doesn’t mean you’re unemployed. It said you should treat yourself as a “job search manager” and make yourself get up at 9 a.m. to actively work on your job situation for the majority of your day (except for an hour lunch).

Me?

I’m not looking for a job, I’m looking to break into my career. And since I’m working for myself, I can bestow any fancy title I feel like. So dig this:

Senior Career Coordinator.

Duties: Manage Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media outlets to promote the brand of BryoneyH Industries as one of precision, technical expertise, insight and humor.
Facilitate personal development by applying best practices for spending time–striking a balance between educating BryoneyH on industry trends and personal interest, creating best habits, and networking with other industry professionals through involvement and leadership in journalism/social media networking groups.
Meeting and exceeding sales quotas set by BryoneyH Industries of application call backs and interviews; creating and drawing upon resources to further expectations set by BryoneyH Industries.
Meet with BryoneyH of BryoneyH Industries throughout career coordination and personal development process to ensure that career goals align with application process.

So you see? There’s always something new to add to your resume.

I wonder what an employer would think if I actually put that up there.

College vs the Interwebz: Smackdown 2.0

Permit me a mixed metaphor, if you will. A thought that has been kind of lapping at the edges of my consciousness is beginning to…crash into my mind with the force of a tidal wave. (I was going to say is beginning to take shape, but I’m sorry: under no circumstances is a mixed metaphor permissible. If you’re mixing your metaphors, maybe you should consider whether or not what you’re trying to say makes sense. Or just hire me and I’ll make it make sense 😛 )

But anyway, mixed metaphor diatribes and asides aside, I’ve been really starting to understand that, like it or not, I’m an entrepreneur.
I’ll tell you why this is such a big deal to me: I’m lazy. Like, not actually lazy, but lazy in that “I’m an artist just let me work on my art” way. All I want to do is write. I’ll reiterate that, put it in writing even. All I want to do is write. That’s it. All day every day. Just write. And sometimes, when I’m not writing, I want to read everything, and when I feel like it, critique the writing of others.

All I want to do is write, but I am a brand. And for the field I fervently want to pursue, this is especially relevant because I have to convince people that they want to read what I’m writing.
And let me pause here to clear up a misnomer that has been bothering me for a while, and to allow for anyone who is tired of reading this long post or wondering what this has to do with college, a PICTURE BREAK!!!!

OK. Now that we’re back and well-rested, let’s address this concept that “people don’t read.” To me, this is an incomplete sentence. It’s missing a direct object. Let’s revise. People don’t read books. People read. Even self-proclaimed non-readers stay on the Interwebz for hours perusing design blogs or car forums or video game cheat discussion boards or whatever. I challenge you to find a time when more people read than right here right now. I lose hours of my day on twitter (@bryoneyh)n persuing article after article that people I’m following post.

People read.

And we live in such a time that anyone can become an expert on any topic that captivates their interest. I wonder how long the institution of higher education will be able to survive with its ever-increasing financial burden and failure to provide the actual usable job skills and experience employers are demanding against a resource that is free, unlimited and allows me to create my own job experience. This blog, for example, is free, but it’s teaching and providing me experience with photoediting, SEO, HTML, CSS, Web 2.0, ROI, Marketing, Networking, Social Media, etc.
Don’t get me wrong: I loved college. I loved everything about it, especially my classes. I am a nerd. I take great pride in the fact that I can produce a technically-sound article that is readable and makes sense in about 30 minutes. I love the fact that people, after talking to me for a few minutes, usually end up talking about how they need to read more. But I also know that there are so many people who go to college not for the love of learning but for that piece of paper that says they’re hirable. And how will the institution stand up against a resource like the Interwebz, where all those people can learn about and create real-world experience for themselves, for free (or at least not $30,000)?

…which brings me back to entrepreneurship. Like what I did there? Took ya in a full circle.

Oh, and guess what? I spelled entrepreneurship right first try without spell check. Yea. I be spellin stuff sometimes.

I’M OUT!