On dreams

Wed Sep 17, 2003

Whenever I am abruptly awoken from my dreams, the level of exhaustion I feel henceforth seems far more intense than if I hadn’t been dreaming. My limbs feel like lead, a latent paralysis seems to dog my movements. I believe it has something to do with a certain chemical, a muscle inhibitor released during dream sleep to stop your body from physically acting out the dreams we perceive as reality. I don’t think this chemical fully dissipates from my body for several hours.

I’ve come to realize that kids exist in a kind of liminal realm, a sensory-rich world in between dreams and reality where they try to forge their own worlds through play and experimentation. Eventually though, the reality we force them to adhere to wins them over.

I got kind of offended today when Debbie insisted (somewhat jokingly but underscored with concrete opinion) that one of our students had a low IQ. The child in question, however, is quite artistic and is a bit of a dreamer that’s all. Just because she can’t memorize English expressions doesn’t mean she’s not intelligent. I’m sure some teachers fail to see the whole child at the expense of the narrow goals we insist they achieve. It’s quite sad really, especially with the kindergarten kids who are giving up regular fun stuff like art and playing with mud to solely learn English. Anyways, trying to explain the merits of being an artist and a dreamer to the Korean teachers is absolutely fruitless of course. Those kind of pursuits are luxuries of the idle Western world.

I know all jobs have a certain level of stress, and I accept my work-related stress levels without complaint like all other working people on this planet. I do believe, however, that my stress is accumulating like Air Miles and the time will come when I’ll be maxed out. Even holidays and weekends aren’t providing relief anymore, all they do is slow the accumulation. This is probably normal though, I’ll guiltily admit that I’ve never worked a full time job, let alone a ten hour a day gig, for longer than a few months before.

I must say, one good thing about being in a foreign language environment is that one never feels the onus to make witty conversation. Especially when we eat, my Korean companions usually have an animated conversation, and I don’t have to join in, or nod my head in agreement to inane banter or anything. Just put my head down and eat up. It sucks sometimes because it’s kind of boring being isolated from the group, but in a way it’s kind of nice because I am naturally quiet anyway. Besides sometimes I like to imagine somebody is saying something really intelligent, whereas in reality they’re probably just commenting on the weather or something trivial like that. I guess I live in a kind of dream world, exacerbated by the fact that language is no longer my sole reference point, I’m becoming more sensitive to gestures, facial expressions, tone and raw emotion. I’m becoming better at reading people (and children of course), better at discerning their needs. Anyways, I guess it hasn’t stopped me from babbling away here! Good night gentle reader.



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