121125140055A week in Korea feels like so much longer.  To account for this I have fashioned the coarse and common theory that we measure the wonderfully relative concept of time by experience, of which my life has been full.  Comparatively, I have written little.

And so, for a start, idioms are wonderful.  Wonderful and easy and nonsensical and not really part of my life anymore. Rather typically, I have come to live up a hill and in front of a mountain in the quiet part of this ‘small city’ working at a public school with no other Westerners. Earlier this evening I spoke to an Australian at a bus stop in the centre of Yangsan, the first native English speaker I’ve been in physical contact with this week passed.  I crammed colloquial patter into our bus ride conversation like a bank robber with a swag bag and a safe.

My co-teacher and his wife are as kind as can be.  Yesterday they gave me a bag of persimmons (a sweet orange fruit, the forbidden love child of a melon and a pear) and today a big bag of oranges and a sweet cake made from rice.  They are anxious I know the best places to shop, and have offered me Korean cooking lessons.

In the city centre high-rise tower blocks and neon shop signs reign supreme, but round my neighbourhood there are big flowers painted on the wall and the colour scheme is more pale green and deep red and cream, with shop signs like forgotten manuscripts and houses built like you might expect from a small country sandwiched between China and Japan.

What else? The girls I teach are lovely, a normal bunch of 16 year olds in many ways – maybe more giggly and more tired than Western teenagers, and keen on me for the simple fact that I am foreign.  And I feel foreign, I really do.  In school I am like a novelty pet mascot, spinning on my wheelie chair in my very own ‘foreign teacher classroom’ or enthusiastically greeting the gangs of students who chorus hello whenever they see me.

Since being here, when running through memories in my head, I sometimes get confused between dreams and reality.  Both are so strange and vivid these days.  This afternoon consisted of very literal poo sticks at my medical exam and melodic accompaniment from the lampposts along the river, as I walked home from school.  I liked the lampposts.