Monday, May 23, 2011


Well not really, but it sounds good, right? Right? Whatever, I'm updating now, so be happy about that, nerds.

It should probably be a testament to how much I'm liking it here that I haven't updated baaaaasically since I got here. Either that, or a testament to how busy I've been lately. Which, as you might surmise, is fairly busy.

I suppose I should start with my school, as that is the thing that consumes most of my life these days. A couple things about that:

  1. Being able to converse fluently with your coworkers is WAY underrated. I cannot tell you how much nicer it is to be able to speak with the people I work with
  2. I am SERIOUSLY busy in my new job and I love that! You may recall that last year I essentially did very little that required any amount of thought or creativity, especially during school break times. This year is shaping up to be the complete opposite, and I couldn't be more excited. Yes, grading essays takes a while, but I am so happy to be teaching kids who can WRITE essays.
  3. It's nice to be at a job where I am both appreciated for my talents and respected as a teacher. Seriously. It's like the EXACT OPPOSITE from Hwaseong Elementary School
It's hard to convey just how much better this job is than my last job. People here don't get it; people back in America don't get it; people in Korea don't get it...I think it's because none of them really knew just how bad my last school was. Being ignored, treated like an assumed paedophile/drug addict, marginalized in every sucks. But here at my new job, the hours are longer and weirder, and the vacation is less, but I feel like an actual teacher working with a team of teachers. It's nice to feel like that. It really is.

Another thing making me SO MUCH happier here than in Korea is living in a real city again. If the last year taught me anything, it's that I can use chopsticks. Also, that I need to live in a city. Preferably a large one, and they don't come much larger than Shanghai. I love this place! I love feeling the crush of people around me - knowing that there's always someone nearby. I love the diversity that comes in any large city. I love sitting in a restaurant hearing people chatting in Chinese, yes, and English, but also in French, Italian, German, Arabic, Farsi. I love that no matter what day it is, no matter what time it is, there's always something going on. Most of all, I love living in cities because it makes me feel part of something larger than myself. Not to get all cliche about it, but I love being a part of the living, breathing human fabric that makes up the story of our civilization.

The people here are great - in another post, I'll expound at length on the difference between an academy teacher and a public school teacher, but for now I've found a good group of friends and an even better pub quiz team. The East LA Shamrocks have won three nights in a row (and about $300 in bar vouchers) and have our eyes on the prize: the overall season winners will get an open bar party for 20 people. I plan on being there come July. While no one can really replace the Pamily (miss you all terribly!), I think I'm going to enjoy the people here.

Of course, I am well aware that this is all a part of the honeymoon period, and that in about 6 weeks I'll start feeling beaten down and trod upon by this new culture I'm encountering. Fortunately for me, by then summer intensives will have started and I won't have time to feel anything but exhausted.