This morning I saw ajummas cleaning cabbage in preparation for the quarterly kimchi making. It was really cold outside, and their rubber-gloved hands rinsing off cabbage heads must have been freezing. A pile of cabbage equivalent to a chord of wood lay stacked up against the house, waiting to be cleaned.
Supposedly the torrential rains this summer washed out much of Korea’s cabbage patches. Heads were going for about $10 U.S. a piece (from about $1.50) and the government decided to lower tariffs on Chinese produce in an effort to lower the prices. So I guess if you really want to hurt Korea, take away their cabbage. There was something about cabbage not being available until the end of November, but something must have broken, as evidenced by the ajummas having cabbage to process this morning.
I still have over 3 months left to my contract here, but five weeks of that is my vacation, a week is some sort of teacher prep for the following year, and the rest of that is basically a waste of everyone’s time. This week the 3rd graders are doing nothing but studying/cramming for the National University Entrance Exam, so I’ve got no classes with seniors all week and everyone has afternoon of the entrance exam off, and the following day is our school’s festival. And the following week my students will be taking their oral English examinations, so this week is mostly review. After that is a week of review in preparation for their Final exams, where I will be warming my seat, and the following week is the exams, where I will be warming my seat. I guess that’s a good time to work on TRACK stuff. After that school is pointless, because the finals are finished and there’s less than a month left until school closes for the winter. (Their long break is in the winter instead of the summer) Last year they would cry and moan if you tried to teach them anything, and they’d beg for movies and candy. Totally annoying, seeing young adults whine and beg like first graders. Anyway, I can’t believe it, but my 2nd year teaching in Korea is almost finished. Really. This is a decent gig, once you get used to it. I just wish there were resources for me nearby or that I had money, or better yet both.
Today I signed up for a meetup for people over 35. This kind of distinction is really important in Korea – I’da laughed if I’d seen something like that in Seattle. I’d previously joined a meetup group that never organized anything. So today I took it upon myself to organize something. God damn it. This is why I can never join anything – because I have to be the one to organize it. I can see history repeating itself. If this comes to fruition, then I must hand the baton to someone straight away. All the other interesting events, classes, etc. happen during the week and are in Seoul, so I can’t participate. :( They are also very pricey.
As much as this sucks, I’m just happy I have a job, after that last fiasco. In one month I may or may not be able to fly home on vacation. I’m hoping my trip home will soothe me. I’m hoping it won’t make coming back harder. It will be kind of like the college kid who comes home and their bedroom has been redecorated. Had to let the cabin in the woods go. Had to let all my belongings go. Both my children have moved since I left, I’ve never seen where they live, and they live in towns I’ve never lived in. Other people my age get more stable each year, and I get more unstable each year. If I were a man I’d take my end of year severance pay and Kerouack it across America. Before it disappears. Funny, that was the same dream I had when I was 16. Little Korean girl. Run away orphan. Hitch-hiking across America.