we had a 4 day weekend recently, due to Chuseok, and while i want to blog about all our adventures in and out of the city, this post is not about that.
this post is about the highlight of my mornings.
every school morning so far has been about the same. david gets up first to shower, while i use that time to force myself slowly into a fuzzy consciousness of waking and movement (i am not, nor will ever be, a “morning person”). at 7 AM, it takes every ounce of energy i possess just to perform basic functions like blinking or breathing. then we get ready, have coffee, and say our goodbyes. david leaves about 10 minutes before me to catch his bus.
those last 10 minutes are spent in a flurry of activity for me, as i realize all the last-second things i forgot to do/pack/grab before heading out the door into another toasty korean morning. in those last minutes, my anxiety starts to build, as i think about all i need to do or say, about all the proper gestures and interactions i need to have, about how i look, what i will teach, etc. etc.
in this mindset, i rush out the door and down 2 flights of stairs. at the front door is where i have to momentarily stop, because there in front of me, stand 3 expectant korean kids: the highlight of my morning. they have been waiting for me. they greet me with enthusiastic hello’s and how are you’s, and fall in step next to me as we begin our walk to school.
the first day, i thought it was a coincidence when i encountered these 3 loitering at the front door. when they started walking next to me i assumed they just wanted to follow the waygook to school for novelty, or curiosity’s sake. but after day 2 and 3, i realized that a routine was forming.
after the holiday weekend, when they were still there, waiting for me as usual, i realized i might actually have my first korean friends. i didn’t expect my first friends to be a fourth grade boy and 2 second grade girls, but they have been so fun to talk and walk with. they try out english questions and words on me, and teach me how to say things in korean. our walk is short, but in those minutes i feel a little like a kid again, walking to school with friends. i feel like i lose the identity of “other” for a while*, as i fall in line with these three. i forget what i’d been worrying about seconds before, as we share shy smiles and comments.
who knows how long our morning walks will last, but i know i look forward to each one. it’s the best way to start my day.
*oh, don’t get me wrong, i’m sure we look ridiculous and stand out like crazy (6 ft tall blond girl surrounded by a close-knit cloud of korean kiddos), but at least i’m not alone in getting gaped at. everyone is gaping at the kids too. :)