Monday, January 17, 2011

And You Shall Have an Oven (27 November)

After a very social week, all I want to do is stay in my apartment and relax.  I don’t bother setting my alarm as I probably won’t hear it anyway.  Being able to sleep in is fantastic and I get the feeling today’s going to be a lazy day when I finally get out of bed at 10:30.  Since having internet in my apartment is still something of a novelty, the first thing I do when I get up is log onto the internet.  I’ve barely logged on when my phone rings….

Connie, the Canadian who lives closest to me, is phoning to see if I want to come around to her apartment after lunch.   This forces me to shower and actually get dressed for the day.  Finding Connie’s apartment is another story altogether.  It’s the first time I’m going to her apartment on my own but I think I can remember how to get there – after all, there are only two roads and there was a large sign on the wall of the second road so I’m confident I’ll find it pretty easily. 

As I walk along the first road, I start to doubt my sense of direction.  All of the side roads are starting to look familiar and that enormous sign that I so clearly remember being on the corner of the road at which I need to turn seems to have been removed.  I’m suddenly reminded of an English speaker in Japan whose wife reported him missing when he didn’t come home from work one night.  He was eventually found but had been driving around for hours looking for the McDonald’s sign that he used as a landmark and which had subsequently been removed.  Fortunately, I live in a small town and I know that I’m not far from the main road.  If all else fails, I’ll have to take the very long, but very direct, route. 

By the time I finally make it to her apartment, I’m relieved to discover that another waegook is joining us so I haven’t kept Connie waiting too much.  As soon as the American arrives, we’re off to E-mart for McDonald’s – food we recognise, can pronounce and, on occasion in my case, crave.

The rest of the day passes in a bit of a blur as we meander around E-mart, ooh and aah over the Christmas decorations that have been set out and make random purchases.  My favourite purchase of the day is the pair of fluffy pajama pants that are soft, warm and actually fit me.  This purchase becomes my second favourite when Connie mentions that she and her husband have a small table-top oven that they’re wanting to sell and so, in the eighth week of being in Korea, I finally have an oven!

By the time I get home, all I want to do is go to bed so it’s a rather rude awakening the next morning when I suddenly fully understand the extra work I’ve agreed to take on this week.  Between my co-teacher and a student, it dawns on me that I’ve agreed to edit nearly 200 pages of writing (on varying topics) by Friday – on top of my actual job.  It’s a good thing I have two weeks to finish those journal comments….

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