A lot has happened since i got here on the 25th—some good, more bad. There are so many things i have trouble with when it comes to Korean culture, and i’ve already been a victim of them for the past four days. That’s the thing: it might just be the “culture,” but when it’s something you are so unfamiliar with, it feels like a threat. Anything unfamiliar is a threat when encountered against your will.
If i had to pick the one thing that is making me most miserable right now, i would have to say that it’s the complete disregard for privacy. I think i’m always so tense and tired because i know there are people monitoring me from every corner, trying to find out everything possible about me. The administration office manager, who lives across the street from me, asked me the other day why i wasn’t home at night. My lights were off, she said. It was quite a nasty shock, but at least she had the decency to let me know that she can see my window. One of the English teachers who picked me up on the day i arrived here with the other Native English Teachers has been taking care of me and helping me sort out administrative details like getting my Alien Registration Card and finding office supplies for me. I have nothing to do with her—she’s a 3rd grade teacher and i don’t teach any 3rd graders—but she’s over 50, unmarried, lives close to me, and has nothing better to do. Sometimes i’m touched by all the things she voluntarily does to help me get settled in, but other times, i can’t help but suspect that she only does it to get information out of me. Every little thing i tell her, even the most mundane details, spreads through the entire school like celebrity gossip. Lunchtime is basically catching up on everything that the entire staff found out about me the day before. Gossip here is such a threatening invasion of your privacy, and not only do i feel uncomfortable being dissected and broadcast that way, i don’t like having to partake in it.
I’m not used to getting so many phone calls in a day. My brother calls once a day, my uncle and grandma call once or more a day, my mom calls twice a day…from the States. The 3rd grade teacher calls whenever she has news for me about administrative things, so it could be anywhere from one to three calls a day from her. Here, when a teacher needs another teacher, the first thing he/she does is reach for their cell phone. That came as a shock to me, too. I hate phones and phone calls to begin with—always have and always will—so this is going to take a lot of patience on my part.
I’ve been crying everyday because people won’t leave me alone. I truly do appreciate their care and concern, but sometimes i just need to be left alone. I like figuring things out on my own. I have too much pride to have people help me with things. I like everything to be under my control, and my control only. I don’t trust anyone enough to help me with anything, not even my family.
I lashed out at my parents today because i’m getting sick of hearing from them everyday. I don’t even have time to sleep or lesson plan properly, let alone talk with them about nothing at all. They do have some reason to worry about me, i’ll admit that. I live in such a poor area that my plumbing is unreliable and unsafe, and at any moment, i could lose all running water for hours and it would come back in a brown drizzle. But i wish they would treat me like the adult that i am and trust that i can handle everything on my own, or at least with the help of anyone around me. When they worry, i feel disrespected.
All things considered, i actually like my home and my school and would like to stick it out for a year. It’s just that i really mean it when i say i need to be left alone.