Well I haven’t updated this in about a month. Or two.
Tomorrow is my 100th day living in Korea! It’s pretty crazy to image that I’ve been here for over 4 months. It’s actually scary, because assuming that I stay here for the whole 365 days that my visa will permit, I’m a third of the way done with my exchange. And I don’t want that to be true.
I have good days and bad days. On my bad days, I’m just a mix of emotions. One second I’ve got a stitch in my side from laughing over something that isn’t even that funny, and the next I want to punch anyone who talks to me. Because it requires effort, and because I realize that when I try to explain what is going through my head, I sound like a toddler. Some people are harder to understand than others, strangely. My history teacher comes up to me in class all the time, pointing out something about the US and Korea to me and I just sit and smile and nod and hope that he goes back up to the board and doesn’t ask me any questions so that I don’t have to admit that I don’t understand what he’s saying to me. Everyone says I speak Korean well, so I feel like I can’t admit when I don’t understand what they’re saying. On my bad days I really resent the expectations people have of me because I speak a little Korean. But on my good days I understand that those expectations are going to push me to better myself.
I live for my good days. I’m starting to piece together that my good days seem to be the ones where I keep myself so busy that I barely have time to change into my pajamas before falling into bed. School here gives me plenty of opportunities for those days- I don’t take any after school classes, but this week for two days I stayed after until 9:30 at night working on some schoolwork for my art classes. Which, honestly, are the only classes I even vaguely try in. I do the math in science because it reassures me that I haven’t forgotten everything I learned in chemistry, but once my teacher starts explaining things I tune out and start doodling on the worksheets. Ah the life of an exchange student.
I still haven’t been enrolled in Korean classes, and I’m starting to doubt that they will ever happen.
For about a month I’ve been playing it pretty low-key. I haven’t hung out with the other exchange students much, since the last time we did, we ended up getting lost on our way back home from Everland (an amusement park) and we had to take a taxi home, which not only cost me a large chunk of my money for October but also got us home over an hour past our curfew. Thankfully I have awesome host parents, and they understood, but one of my friends from Taiwan ended up getting in pretty big trouble from his host parents and his parents back home. So we decided to cool it with the late nights in Seoul on the weekends for a little while. Plus I spend waaaay too much money there.
We had a school festival. It was like a big sports thing, and we did a bunch of fun stuff. I did two different kinds of tug of war, which was actually pretty painful. We also had student body elections, which was interesting to see how it ran here. It was pretty similar to how we do it in the US. And we shot some sort of video to promote our school, which I was in, I’m guessing since I’m a foreigner. It’s like “come to our school we have foreigners with small faces”-which brings up another point. People notice face size here. I never noticed it before but people bring it up all the time. When they first meet me they’re like “wow you have such a small face” and I just sit there like…. yeah. I guess. I never though about it. So now I know that I have a small head. Especially in proportion to my body. Thanks, Korea.
In gym, we finished our golf section and moved onto something called the “slam line” which is thicker than a tight-rope but I hate it equally. That is because I have absolutely no balance, apparently. In gym classes here they actually grade you on your ability. It isn’t like back home where they were like “oh, as long as you try” here, you had better be able to balance on one foot on a rope for at least 15 seconds or you fail. So I’m going to get an F in gym. Which is a bummer, since I actually did alright with golf.
We finally stopped making cylinders in my pottery class and moved onto plates. We make them then put a white (clay?) stuff on it, which we then scrape away into designs. (these plates were the reason I pulled 2 solid 13 hour school days this week). They literally take like 5 hours or so to make, minus the waiting time for them to dry enough to tool the bottom. They take forever. And now we’re making larger ones. I really like this project though, so I’ll totally stay after school to work on these.
In my sculpture class, we are still making boxes. We have been making boxes since the second class of the semester. 3 and a half months ago. And by next week we need to have 2 completely done, THEN we start carving them. These boxes take so much longer to make than I would ever have guessed. The teachers are planning on making a bench out of them, so they have to be PERFECT, which is why we’ve been working on them for three months.
Tomorrow I’m going with some friends to Seoul, where we’re going to a cat cafe. I’m really excited- I miss cats. After that, there’s a pikachu festival going on in Dongdaemun, so we’re going to hit that up and I’m hoping to meet another exchange student who lives in Seoul who I met on facebook. Since I don’t have a cellphone though, it’s kind of hard to coordinate when we’re on the move. Hopefully that problem will be solved soon- my host mom and I are going to the service provider on Monday to talk to them about hooking up my phone from the US.
So that’s my life. Hopefully there won’t be such a large gap again, but I am making no promises.