Some days, Korea is horrible. I feel isolated and alienated and I can't hold a conversation at normal speed. I have to travel two and a half hours to buy cheese and further if I want a decent curry. My apartment is mouldy, my back hurts from skiing this weekend, I'm a well-paid parrot some of the time, I can't buy clothes here and I get stared at. Today wasn't one of those days.
I slept in and I was going to be late. While walking to school I couldn't manage to flag down any of the cabs that went past, so when I turned up at 8:50 it was amazing to realise that my first class wasn't for another hour and I had some extra time to plan it (read: look at the internet.)
I taught third graders today. Students I've never taught before, who grinned at me, gasped when I said I was from New-Jea-lan-duh and cheered when I said I love pizza. The lesson included an animated video where a bug FARTED on a small child and made her fall over. At lunch time, one of the homeroom teachers told me that they returned from English class saying 'Hi! Hello! Goodbye! My name is Anna!' over and over again.
My coteacher and I had lunch and a coffee and a girly chat like the ones I miss about home (we talked about BOYS! I can't talk to Tom about BOYS!) She redirected one of my parcels and we discussed Christchurch and she shared some cool stories about her kids.
I left school and bought some strawberries from the ajosshis on the street corner, both of them greeted me with a loud 'annyeong haseyo!' and gave me a discount. I went to the optometrist to collect some new glasses that I bought for my Dad, and the optometrist gave me a HUGE grin when I walked in. While I waited, he took my own glasses off my face and cleaned them for me. He knows I'm posting the new ones home so he gave me two of those cloth-wipey-things, the second one is emblazoned with images of the 50,000 won bill. Before he folded it up he pointed at it and said 'Korea!'
I went to the supermarket and bought some milk, then stopped at my favourite sock shop to stock up before my next shipment home. The owner of the store invited me in from the cold, made me a coffee, and in her very broken English, and my very patchy Korean we chatted for 15 minutes about how freezing it is outside, and my students and her adorable socks and I left just feeling so happy. Every kid I passed on the way back to the apartment was grinned at by a ginger waygook maniac and I came home to a new book from BookMooch.com and a late late Christmas present from my sister (thanks, Cara!).
I bitch and moan a lot about my life here, it feels good to let off some steam but honestly? I love it here. Korea, today you do not suck.