“Every night I used to pray that I’d find my people- and finally I did- on the open road. We have nothing to lose, nothing to gain, nothing we desired anymore- except to make our lives into a work of art.”
-Lana Del Rey
I woke up this morning completely exhausted, trying to recall the adventures of only a few hours before, I only had a few seconds to gather my thoughts when my doorbell rang and Monica was at my door to help piece together our wild story…our night went something like this:
In honor of Amelia, one of co-teachers leaving, the school threw a going-away party on the roof of the building complete with an abundance of grilled meats, lettuce wraps, WATERMELON (which is basically a delicacy here because it’s so expensive), and beer and soju. The scene will always be one to remember: all of the staff gathered around playing games and chatting on a beautiful rooftop terrace surrounded by mountains and city as far as the eye could see.
After the festivities dwindled down, we decided to hit up a bar in the city for one last hurrah. It turned into an epic night of darts, shots, and many goodbye hugs. The ladies I work with are absolutely awesome, each teacher is so unique yet we have strange common interests that bring us together and for the first time in a while I truly feel like I can be who I want to be here without being judged or scrutinized.
After the crazy night, Monica and I decided to head to the coffee shop our school owns to get some tea and coffee to recover. Still feeling under the weather, as 25 year old bodies do not recover as fast as 21 year old bodies, we decided to hunt down some soup or porridge…and before we knew it, we found ourselves in a whole new adventure.
We hopped into a cab and showed the cab driver what someone had typed into Monica’s phone, we assumed it was the name of a porridge restaurant. Long story short, it was not and we had ourselves one really confused cab driver as he did not speak any English and we spoke very little Korean. Luckily, he was patient enough with us to pull off to the side of the road as Monica called a friend who speaks Korean to tell the cab driver what we needed. After about 5 minutes of passing the phone back and forth, the cab driver made a few phone calls and put an address into his GPS, within a matter of minutes we were in front of a cute little shop with pictures of various types of porridge proudly displayed outside.
The meal at this little restaurant was an adventure in itself. When our meal arrived on two separate trays, Monica and I were perplexed as to how to properly eat it so it turned into a series of educated guesses and trying to uncreepishly as possible watch the people next to us as they meticulously mixed their meal.
We ended up in a whole new part of town, I’m realizing Gwangju is seriously HUGE and it’s divided into districts, kind of like NYC. We explored the area after lunch and found a bus back to our school. I’m slowly acquiring a mental map of the city and where things are located. I really enjoy the feeling of traveling to a new foreign city and discovering it for myself; simply making sense of the city and how it’s set up is a feat in itself.
Monday morning I officially begin my teaching career! Wish me luck!