I rode the bus in a daze, both tired and confused. I was picked up at the bus station by the branch manager and a mostly non english speaking administrative member. We had a somewhat awkward car ride back to the school where they showed me around.
It turns out I will not be teaching either of the classes I trained for, but rather English Chip and another one which I’m still not sure about – it seems they also want me to take a look at April English, a totally different program for young kids and very basic speakers under the same company.
We went on a whirlwind tour of the school, where I was briefly introduced to half the staff. And very briefly watched Mike, whom I replaced, on CCTV. Then I had a late dinner with Mr. Yoon and Helen where I had some of the best 갈비탕 I’ve had in my life.
I walked in and felt somewhat okay. Mr Yoon gave me the tour, in his broken English – explaining to me the location of appliances, the washing machine, the in-apartment water heater/floor heater controls, the air-con. Somehow this made everything much more real.
Then there was the moment that he stepped outside and locked the door, and I was alone. I felt like a little kid playing dress-up – it didn’t seem possible that someone was going to hand me control of an apartment, and soon after a classroom. I felt scared, at spending my first night there…in my own place, ever. I felt angry, that I didn’t have phone or internet to call home, or call friends, and that I was so far away from all my friends and would not see them for weeks to come. I felt guilty, an impostor who was tricking a nice school and nice korean families out of money and time. I knew, at that time, that I would not last through the probationary period, and in my head I started to pack my bags.
I paced the rooms of the apartment, faster and faster. I turned on and off the lights, I looked in every drawer and cupboard – not out of genuine interest or curiosity, but for something to do instead of having a complete breakdown. To contract my negative thoughts, I forced myself to unpack every single item in my suitcase and find a place to put them. Finally, I put the suitcase itself away, on top of my large armor. I repeatedly promised myself that I would make it, that I would not go let myself go back – even though I didn’t fully believe that to be true.
In two days I am expected to get up in front of a classroom of strange kids and teach them something. It just feels…bizarre. I feel like I’m being thrown to the wolves of the adult world, and I don’t know how to cope with it all – though I guess few ever do. I mean, I have my own bedroom, living/dining room, kitchenette, washing machine, bathroom, and bills that will soon be coming.
Just two weeks ago I was laying on my bed fretting about not doing enough with my life, living comfortably off Debbie. I can always return to that, but for now I’m going to try living here, on my own, sleeping in my bed.
I had my first adventure with household management this morning. I had to play with the hot water control panel – one button heats the floors, one button heats the water, one button does both – but all functions are apparently set with a timer which I don’t yet know how to control.
Then I had to get to sleep, I lay there awake quite a while, though exhausted from the new experiences, my training and lagging jet lag – I was again to let tomorrow come, because that would mean I really had to start this project of mine. Instead of counting sheep, I tried to calculate in my head how many dollars/won and how many hours it would take to get home if I packed all my stuff and left that night, without looking back.
All things considered, though, I’m going to try and get used to my new surroundings. But first I’m going to try and find a PC 방 and Skype my mommy!!! (:^O)