At my job, there are normally four of us foreign teachers on staff, but for the last two months we have been short one worker. Kelsey, Kezia, and I have been covering a class load that is normally covered by four people. Getting through the day hasn't been that difficult. While at work, I am normally "in the zone," and all I'm thinking about is teaching. Being tired, hungry, or thirsty never crosses my mind until I am finished. While teaching, especially during the last two months, the only thing I really think about consuming is coffee.
Being that the number of classes that we are teaching is higher than normal, during the last two months, we had no breaks during our work time, so eating before work is essential. I found that I was at my best when eating during preparation time. We are required to be at work an hour before classes start for that. A healthy meal enables one to have a more sound mind and body, and thus increasing performance at work. Eating immediately before the start of class time has been an essential factor in my ability to be at my best when I am "in the zone" throughout the day.
As I stated earlier, normally at work, with the help of coffee, I am only concerned with teaching, so again, I never concern myself with being tired. I've noticed that the fatigue begins to set in during the weekends. I've been sleeping a lot more, and my desire to go out to see friends and other things has significantly dropped. For the last month, my weekends, especially Saturdays, have consisted of me laying in my bed relaxing, ordering delivery, watching downloaded American TV shows, staying in at night, and falling asleep early. Lately, I've been too tired to concern myself with having a strong social life. During my time living in Korea, playing music with my friends on the praise team at my church has become sort of become something that I do on the weekends, no matter the circumstance, if I am in town. That has not been the case these last few weeks because of the fatigue. I've even been skipping out on that.
I spent this last weekend in Busan, and spending a weekend in a different city remaining anonymous, walking around exploring, and stopping in the occasional coffee shop for a cup and an internet surf is one of my favorite ways to relax and recharge, and my trip this weekend definitely enabled me to do that. I turned off my phone, and relaxed mentally.
Busan is a coastal city, and it always seems to rain when I visit there. I wanted to spend the weekend on the beach, but the rain may have been a blessing in disguise. There is not much that I dislike more than being wet when I don't have to be, so last Sunday, I took the subway to Nampo Dong, found the nearest cafe, ordered what amounted to be a few cups of coffee, and proceeded to watch college football highlights on my computer. I also spent an hour having a Sunday devotional, since I didn't attend church that day. Looking out the window, I noticed a small japanese restaurant, and when I felt like it, I walked over, and had a bowl of Japanese ramen. The rain enabled me to recharge both mentally and physically. Normally during the weekend excursions, I am recharged mentally, but find myself physically tired. That wasn't the case with the trip I took this weekend.
I came back to work today feeling good. We recently hired a new teacher at our school, Natalie. She just finished her training, and this week we are finally back to our normal class load, breaks and all. During my break today, I went to the kimbab restaurant downstairs for a bite to eat. Normally, only one of us foreign teachers at a time are on break, and this case was no different. I went downstairs with my ipod touch and my set of headphones. I sat in the restaurant reading a book that I had downloaded to my itunes along with music playing in my headphones while eating my meal.
Over the music, I overheard a group of young Korean girls sitting behind me. I normally wouldn't have noticed them, but they were being especially loud and enthusiastic, so I looked back to see if they were students that I taught. As I did so, they all immediately exclaimed in a Korean accent, "Oh!? Whoa! Hello! How are You?!" It was a group of fifth grade girls that didn't attend my school, eating a normal meal that fifth grade Korean girls would normally sit down and share together at a restaurant such as the one I was patronizing. The girls were all very cute, and we shared the normal small talk that would be shared between a native English speaking teacher and a group of young students. Each one of the five seemed to say at a different time, "You are handsome!"
After living in Korea for over a year, that still never gets old. I responded to each one with, "Thankyou, and you are very pretty!" As I finished my meal, and walked to the counter to pay for it, I suddenly got the urge to pay for theirs also, and I did. I would have preferred that he not do what he did, but the man at the counter immediately told the girls that I payed for their meal. Upon the realization, each one seemed to suddenly exclaim in a Korean accent, "Oh!? Whoa!! THANKYOU!!!" One even said, "I love you!!" They all made hearts above their heads with their arms as they thanked me. I left the restaurant blushing, and in a good mood for the rest of the work day, as I proceeded to have one of my best work days in a while.