Mon Oct 13, 2003
So yesterday I hooked up with my ex adult students and Sulu and went to some festivals around Paju. The first was a children’s book festival but they had art as well. We just strolled around drinking coffee and checking out the artwork. A major publishing house has just opened in Paju, which is an economic boon for the area. What I found most interesting was the blacksmith demonstrations. They were hammering shapes out of the metal. Next we went to another art festival where they were making all sorts of traditional Korean crafts and displaying architectural designs. There was also some Korean traditional music which I enjoyed very much, I liked the sound of the violin-thingy (Hae gum). We had some good food with Makoli (rice wine) and was nicely mellowed out, even though it was raining. I came home and had the first nap I’ve had in months.
Today wasn’t a bad day overall, the kindergarten kids were being nice for once and that really does set the tone for the rest of the day. Unfortunately though, I haven’t been feeling really positive about myself lately (partly due to private reasons I can’t go into here). I think I’ve been feeling like an emotionally cold and distant person recently and I also feel really unresourceful (or whatever the opposite of resourceful is), unsuccessful, ineffectual and, well, like a loser really. It didn’t help that cowboy Shawn stopped by today. I may have mentioned before that he talks a lot about himself. Today he was going on about his 4 million won a month job (twice what I’m making), his new three bedroom apartment in Uijongbu, etc etc. He also announced his engagement to a Korean girl, went on about how skinny and beautiful and intelligent she is, and he showed us pictures. Yeah, he was showing off, but rightly so, I’m genuinely happy for him. He deserves it after the life he’s had so far, his wife and unborn child dying in a car crash, the psychological trauma of killing Iraqis in the Gulf War and all the rest of it he told me once in an extensive drinking session. You can literally feel the happiness and contentment radiating off him now, and it’s fantastic. But what’s wrong with me!? I boil down all my perceived failures in life to the fact I’m so damn anti-social and my unwillingness toward addressing this personality ‘flaw’ of mine.
And then I started thinking none of students liked me, one of them even told me to my face that Shawn-teacher is a better teacher than me. Of course I don’t take the things kids say too seriously but it still feels crappy to hear that. I wonder if I’ve failed at developing a good relationship with my students after all this time because of my anti-social nature. Too terrible to contemplate, and oh what a fickle neurosis, no need to go into it here.