Yesterday I participated in a TRACK presentation at a school,
and it got closer to the message I wanted to deliver than previous attempts. I guess I’m sorting it out and figuring out how to speak to Koreans in a way they will listen. You’d think this wouldn’t be so hard, but it’s actually hard to pinpoint what will work. Because it’s hard to assault someone’s belief systems, and the adoption issue shakes the very core of what Koreans have been told to believe.
So it’s really all about having them come along with you on your journey so they can relate to it. You can’t hand them the end product and you can’t just give them a lot of statistics, and you can’t tell them how they should feel. It’s not ideal that they feel for you: it’s better that they feel with you. It’s a symbiotic thing: you have to realize that they are on a discovery process, and so you have to reenact your own discovery process. Why should they be asked to digest and handle something faster and better than you did? It’s also important that they know you respect their intelligence and ability to question their own beliefs! Which a lot of westerners here, adoptees especially, don’t. But that’s stupid, because really, a lot of the things we have to say about adoption and Korean society just make logical sense. And of course Koreans can be logical just like any person anywhere.
I think teaching into my 2nd year, where I have to write and design all my own lessons, is really helping me. I’m not bestowing this magic gift of my culture on them anymore. I’m not preaching a better way. I’m not trying to show how cool my culture is. I’m just being me and me is very different but in a good way. On frustrating days, I wish I was more of a character and more of the me I’d like to be. But most days, I’m just the same person my kids know.
I realize that the dark days always coincide with school being out or partially out, and these droughts of human contact always extend over a week in duration. And the summer vacation of three weeks very nearly made me lose my mind. So during these times I don’t see humans and I only connect with them digitally. So it’s a kind of a mad cyber cabin fever that happens to me. It’s like being exiled on an island with no hope of ever having another person to speak to. Because I really truly am deprived of any caring faces, (except the warm but going nowhere greetings of my students) and these “vacations” strip away even that.
It also doesn’t help that all my work is computer-driven. Pretty much all my school work is power point presentation, image research, and writing lessons and all my volunteer work is on computer, and I’m sure just the refresh rate of staring at a computer screen for the last 15 years solid, non-stop, ’round the clock has pretty much done a number on me as well.
So anyway, the weekend was a little rewarding. There’s lots of TRACK stuff going on this month and school is back in full swing tomorrow. There’s nothing I can do about having nobody to keep me company, and I hate how the work that is the most mind-numbing is how all my spare time is filled, but I’ll just try to keep busy, because the weight of work is better than being conscious of loneliness. I hope I can keep them mutually exclusive, which I can’t for long stretches. But maybe I can sustain 5 or 6 days. But I should start planning for January now, where I’ve got six weeks off, so I don’t crash again.