A day after last month's payday, I bought a new laptop, a holiday to Japan and a curry. I was consequently constrained by a tight budget which prevented me from doing all that much. Fortunately, I was able procure all five seasons of TV show The Wire, thus satiating my lust for entertainment without the need to leave my apartment. Sixty hours of my my life well spent.
I have been outside though - don't assume I've become a hermit - I've just been more localised. I've discovered chicken hofs. Chicken hofs are great. They sell fried chicken, and they sell beer, that's mostly it. I think. They may sell more, but the menu is all in Korean, and I can read what chicken is because it's the same as English. The one we frequent regularly is the immodestly named Best Chicken Hof, but there's as many, if not more than there are Noraebangs and English schools within a literal stone's throw.
This weekend was cold, very, very cold. Minus figures. This is not unremarkable, nor would it usually be much of an inconvenience: I quite like the cold, in fact my last few holidays have been to Nordic countries, and it's finally cold enough for me to break out my favourite sweater. However when the coldest day of the year coincides with the inexplicable disappearance of running hot water and heating, it gets a bit annoyong. It wasn't just that the water didn't get hot, there was no hot water. When you turned on the hot tap, nothing, literally, came out. Then, after the ouside had warmed up and everything, it came back. If this is going to happen whenever it drops below zero I'm going to have to complain. I mean, tell someone who speaks Korean to complain for me. Still don't have heating.
And it's not only the temperature that's been dropping: so are our numbers at ECC. The kids are dropping like flies, not through illness - not even through overwork which is commendable - just disappearing... to other schools, to concentrate on their elementary school exams, I don't know. The reasons are often unforthcoming and always vague. The kids themselves tell you nothing - they just cease to turn up one day, and after a couple of days of absence you have to go to your Korean partner teacher to enquire as to their whereabouts. Three afternoons a week in November I taught a class of 12 followed by a class of 8. These have now been respectively decimated to 6 and 4. In the first class I lost a lot of good guys, but I can't say I'm in any way concerned about the removal of half the second class. They were shit.
Right now I'm counting the days until the Japan trip, which will finally provide a reason to put some photos up on here. So apologies for all these lines and lines of letters. As it happens I'm meandering along quite nicely. My life is constructed with healthily equal amounts of optimism and pessimism, love and hate. You'll be aware if you know me that I'm very much the misanthrope and there's ample cause for, and opportunity for release of, those sentiments here, but its more than balanced with all the good things. Work isn't that taxing, I still have my grotesquely long lunches which, coupled with the well-structured blocks of between seven and nine 40-minute lessons a day, ensure that the days and the weeks flow with disarming haste. I was asked today what my plans were for next July. My reply was that it's seven months away and yeah, y'know, it'll work out.
But really, I should start weighing stuff up.