Life here seems really normal now. I’m used to seeing only Korean people all day every day…When I go back to America I’ll probably be like, “Woahh! Diversity! Holy Shit! What do I do with myself?!”. I’ve learned how to capture my students’ attention…just mention fried chicken or League of Legends and you will have them. Is it weird that my favorite class is, the one class the previous English teacher warned me about in an email? That class is full of trouble makers but I feel like they’re always the most excited to see me, so who cares!
Though I am learning Korean, I can only say and understand very simple things. I get excited when I hear words I recognize in a song or some conversation going on near me, like “Omg they just said today!” and “Ah they just said 27!!” I’ve gotten used to not knowing what is going on 40-60% of the time…Announcements over a loudspeaker at school or at a store: “ㅏㅓㅜ이ㅏㅓㅈ도ㅑㅕ롲뎌ㅑㄹ” Translation: ljhfblsdfhbljehfblwfe. A new sign posted on the front door of my apartment complex: ㄷ러ㅠㅈ더륮더ㅏㅠㄹ. Translation: ljhfbljhbefljhberljhfb. A memo posted on my door by my landlord…The old lady who tells me a very animated story while sitting next to me on the bus…The list goes on and on. (I have, by the way, figured out how to catch the bus in the morning without having to chase it!) Though not knowing what’s going on can be frustrating, sometimes it can be nice…I get to just kind of float around in my goofy foreigner bubble. When I get back to the U.S. I’m going to have to like…pay attention to things again! When caught in a sticky situation here, sometimes you can get away with playing the “dumb foreigner” card. “Ohhhh you have to pay to ride the bus…I will totally do that next time I promise!” There are things I miss about home…such as, really good Middle Eastern food in the Detroit area, and like being able to communicate with people in English. But there are many things I don’t miss…such as, not being able to afford health care. (You can go to not even just a Dr. but a specialist for $5-$20 here!) I’ve been here for a while and have fallen into a pretty normal routine, my days are no longer as crazy as they once were. That being said, weird things still happen. Like the other day, I was riding the bus and this middle-aged women behind me just kind of sighs and starts picking all the shed hairs off of my jacket like it’s her obligation. I didn’t really know what to do so I just laughed and said, “Kamsahamnida!”