Sunday, September 9, 2012
A New Semester
Start of the new semester means only one thing - more staff dinners and lots of soju. I knew there would be changes at school, my main co-teacher taking off to have a baby being one of them, but I did realize there were a few other teachers that were also leaving. One of the teachers that sat kiddy corner to met in the office was offered a promotion to VP at another school, I found this out the day before he left as we all gathered for dinner. I hadn't really talked to him much but he would always greet me with a warm smile and friendly "안녕하세요" (hello) when I walked in the door every morning. Of course, after a few soju's at dinner he expressed to me (with help from my co-teacher) how much he wished we could talk more and that he's sorry he doesn't know more English. I was near speechless trying to convey to him that he made me feel welcome no matter how many words we shared. During dinner one of my co-teachers asked me if i'd be joining for 노래방 (karaoke) after dinner. To be honest I barely wanted to join for dinner so I was not to excited about the prospect of signing and drinking afterwards. My new co-teacher and I had plans to escape (which a few others had already done) but one of the other women said to wait, that she would drive us. We were getting ready to leave but upon entering the parking lot were met by most of the male staff who pointed to the 노래방(conveniently located right next door - there would be no escape).
We sat awkwardly for a little while as everyone gathered, but soon made another plan of escape. As we were leaving the PE teacher spotted me, literally barricaded my way out the door and said 'no, Stephanie you stay and sing - here sit with the chief (guess that's my principals new nick name). I should also note that he let my co-teacher casually walk away, leaving me to fend for myself. Back into the singing room we went, but thankfully by now there was a larger crowd and beer - a necessity for me to karaeoke. The principal insisted I sing "my song" yellow submarine, which I now regret introducing him to on our first 노래방 outing. I gave in and did so, but only after joining Mr. Gang (the biology teacher) in his favorite John Denver - Country Roads Take Me Home. Admittedly I was now having fun and glad they forced me to stay, even if it was against my will at the time. It still amazes me how much English everyone magically knows after a few drinks. There were math teachers I've never talked to before telling me how they want to drink with me more often, and how much they like me. And of course the PE teacher's English ability came back, even though he kept saying "I can't speak English" to this I reply - bullshit. I thought I was in the clear, but silly me what was I thinking. The PE teacher asked me to sing his favorite song, and upon asking what it was he pulled out his phone and showed me Josh Groban - You raise me up. Are you F-ing kidding me?! No, no he was not - I gave in and sang, but only under the condition that he would join me (I also made sure to hold the mic well below my mouth). Not too much longer and it was suddenly time for me to leave (I guess I didn't have a choice in this matter - the only other female, and my ride was leaving so it was time for me to go as well). The night turned out much better than I had expected, lots of drinks, signing, dancing, laughter and love from my staff. I guess it's my own fault for showing my ability to drink at our teachers field trip - I don't think i'll be seeing another sober night out with them. Oh well - at least they'll be talking to me?
Not only were there changes being made me with staff but I've noticed a few new things around school. Here's an obvious one - the plants grew! haha but seriously they got HUGE. There were also some murals added to the stairwells and common areas of each floor. I'm assuming students did these and they are beyond impressive. Oh and another obvious change is the weather, although I was told September would still be hot, it's been what I consider to be perfect weather. The mornings are cool enough that you could wear a sweater but warming up throughout the day. I decided to start getting up early with the sun and go for a morning run - if nothing else I get to start my day with perfect weather, a beautiful sight and lots of funny stares from the old men and women as I run through their farms.