Is that a sign I need to get out there and do more new stuff? Probably...
Last weekend was hectic - after two weeks of desk warming, I felt like I needed to make the most of my last few days of freedom - and exhausting myself to the point of not being nervous for classes was just an added bonus.
1. New EPIK teachers arrived on Thursday, immediately making me feel like a grisled Korean veteran. I can't believe there was a day when I couldn't read Hangul and didn't know how to buy a bus ticket. I've only met the one newbie - a very nice Texan of a drastically a different ideological persuasion than myself. Suffice to say we won't be bonding over the take-down the the patriarchy any time soon, but we're both active people so I'm looking forward to having another option for a running/disc throwing/soccer partner. This is one of the great things about Korea: It brings you into contact with people you otherwise would have nothing to do with. And then forces you to find something in common with them.
2. Thursday night I went running with the Haedong students, and then out to dinner with them. It was FANTASTIC. I had so much fun. One of the middle schoolers kept up with me the whole time, until the last 500 meters or so, which he walked. I was all happy and proud of him, but then afterwards the little bastard said I looked "Russian" which is Korean code for "prostitute." Humph. Annoyingly, our Haedong instructor kept up with me the whole time, and then beat me back to the van by about thirty seconds. I don't understand it. How can you be good at everything? The man is super human.
3. The next day I played soccer with some Yeongwolians and failed to fix my computer. It looks like I'll have to mail it to the Asus service centre in Seoul. Then Saturday at 6am I headed to Daejeon to play ultimate. I had shin splints from running and soccer, so I played poorly. I returned Saturday night at about 11pm. Long. Freaking. Day.
4. On Sunday I went trekking at Sobaksan National Park with my Favourite People. I woke up with a sore throat and a cough, which only got worse through the day...but the scenery was beautiful and we all got quite happily drunk afterwards over some barbecued eel. The photos in this post are from this day. We went to view the hoar frost, but it was mostly gone! It was still ridiculously cold, though...I was badly under dressed. It's almost spring in Yeongwol, but winter is holding on in the mountains!
This morning I woke up feeling much worse than I had on Sunday, but its the first day of school, so no way was I getting out of it. The morning was devoted to opening ceremonies. I got led up on stage and had to bow in front of everyone. The most popular teachers got loud cheers. My cheer was of medium-to-loud volume, which was gratifying but undeserved. I play games with the kids all day and never even have to open up a text book. It's a bit of an unfair advantage.
I felt increasingly like crap through the day, but did manage to teach my first two classes. They went well - I've come a long way from that first confused day back in September!
Ultimately....it sure was nice to see those crazy kids again. Does every high school teacher feel this way, or is it only in Korea? They were all so happy and warm and full of energy. They made me laugh I don't even know how many times today. I want to take all the stress of high school away from them and just let them be kids. They're so creative and kind and full of potential. At the end of the day, even though I'm exhausted and sick, they make me realize how much I love my job and love Korea. This place is so amazing and beautiful and perfect and I love it.
After school I headed to the hospital to see what I could get by the way of a pick-me-up. Screw being a chemical-conscious anti-medication hippie...there's no way I'm getting through tomorrow without some serious drugs. Sure enough, I had a fever of 39 degrees Celsius, and after some chest x-rays the Dr. said I probably have pneumonia. I got two days worth of pills, to take 3x every day, a shot in my butt, and two sessions breathing through a mask attached to a machine. I don't care what they put in me, as long as I can teach class tomorrow. If I'm not there to teach class....well....there isn't anybody else. No such thing as subs in Korea.
So here's hoping the rest of the week goes as well as today...and that my body heals quickly! I don't have time for this nonsense!