Sunday, April 02, 2006

April Fools & Living Daylights

Not being a big fan of practical jokes -- correction, not being at ALL a fan of practical jokes -- I didn't do much in the way of commemorating April 1, but I'll tell you what. It was certainly a day to celebrate! I was really glad to bid a fond farewell to March.

"In like a lion" was never truer; March came roaring upon me and never once let up. I can only hope the lamb is ready to take over and that April proves a bit more gentle. I don't know what made March so fierce! And it seemed like it was March forever. Maybe 31 days just seemed like a lot after the 28 of February absolutely flew. I was also in some sort of weird emotional haze for large portions of March. And it feels like I just existed in that emotional haze and did little else but sit bleary-eyed in the commune and drink and drift.

But that's clearly not true, as I was so terribly busy during March! I mean, there were the Oscars. I went to Seoul one weekend. There was the poetry slam at the arts space. (I won 2nd place! I'm competing in another one this week.) I had two meetings of my reading group...weekly meetings of my writing group...and furthermore, I held auditions for the play I'm going to direct! Plus callbacks, and I cobbled together a cast which was quite a lengthy and time-consuming and maybe a tiny bit stressful process. We had our read-through today and start rehearsals this week. I met with the Korean Democracy Movement about the play and the Speak Truth to Power symposium to be held in Seoul in May to which they have invited me and my cast. I also started taking a Korean class at the YMCA (more on that later).

Not to mention that this last week of March, the Canadian marrieds who teach at my school were on vacation in Thailand and Ding Ding Dang did not see fit to get a substitute, so we had to cover a bazillion extra classes. I had like 100 extra students this week. Or should I say, that they had me? And just to top it all off, starting Thursday night we had to deal with a plumbing issue in our apartment and it was handled in typical stellar Ding Ding Dang fashion.

So - yeah. I was really busy, I really was! No wonder I got sick and am so exhausted right now. No wonder I haven't finished reading War and Peace. It was all I could do to finally get my federal taxes done at some point during March.

And now it's April. The Koreans are familiar with April Fool's Day. It's not a big deal, though. Is it a big deal anywhere? Not really, I suppose. I guess we will be doing something for Easter, along the lines of coloring eggs and whatnot. The next big holiday here will be the Buddha's birthday, which happens to be on Cinco de Mayo. Awesome.

Korea, you may remember from the fall, does not go on daylight saving time, so instead of being 14 hours ahead of my East Coast peeps I will go back to being a mere 13 hours ahead, just as I was when I first arrived last fall. Here, let us pause to consider what that means: I have been here half of a year!!!

To be precise, I have been here 175 days. I am going into my 26th week. The time just keeps on keepin' on. Another teacher is getting ready to depart. As I sipped a beer on Friday night Frazer the Englishman casually mentioned that he has 29 teaching days left. Wow! He's so almost out. They're kicking around a few resumes for his replacement. We'll see how long it takes to fill the spot this time. They tried to get him to stay of course, but he's so going home to sit around and watch the World Cup. They also told him -- this was really funny -- that he should be setting a good example for us, as the senior ENT right now. They said he should be spending more time in the office doing -- what, exactly, we're not sure, presumably made up work to keep us at our desks because they resent us leaving during our midday break. We all had a good laugh over that one. He so doesn't care.

It's fun to call him "Senior" though. It fits right in with my ongoing metaphor of expat English teacher life here being much like high school. And now I'm passing from being the "sophomore" staff member at our school to my "junior" period, and the Canadian marrieds will be the "seniors" soon. Their senioritis has already set in big time, though. Bram pops into our little desk area every day to give me his updated numbers. "Hey, Linda, you want a number?" he'll say. "Here, I've got two for ya: 104 and 73." Those would then be their days left in country and days left teaching. Sometimes he would throw in a third, days remaining until they went to Thailand. It's so funny. I hadn't counted mine in a while -- I'm telling you March has been so busy -- but today I thought I'd check.

After the cast read-through and dinner with a few friends, I went to Movie Night at the commune, a fun Sunday night tradition at the foreigners' watering hole. Tonight's selection was Raising Arizona. It made me miss my desert stomping grounds something fierce! Those saguaros! Those desert vistas. The SKY! The sun! The Arizona clouds! You will never see a skies like that anywhere else in the world, least of all Korea. Let alone the big hair and crappy cars peeling out. Oh Arizona, Arizona of my heart.

Spring gaily forward, everyone! 'Cause here I am launching a performing arts/human rights venture, keeping very busy, coughing up my lungs, and picking my battles. Lots and lots of battles.


michael schaller said...

"mind you don't cut yourself mordicai"

Catherine_G said...

I'm with you: I too am not at ALL a fan of practical jokes and being teased...which, of course, made me the perfect target in grade school. Ah, good times. Except, you know, not.

Oh, and you must tell me...are you bringing _The Enormous Turnip_ to the stage??! ;) Lots of luck with the directing!