I’m famous! Who would’ve guessed?! I really don’t possess any unique or exceptional talents that would’ve helped me achieve such celebrity status. But, it seems that everyone (the taxi drivers, the 7-Eleven owner, the kids walking to school, and the ajummas waiting at the bus stop) is interested in finding out if I have a boyfriend, how old I am and wanting to become my new best friend.
The lack of invitation required to host new houseguests. I’ve had ten guests so far. Ten, rude, intrusive, unpleasant guests who have truly overstayed their welcome. Cockroaches. I have two major fears I’ve been struggling with for as long as I can remember. The first, any type of creature that wouldn’t normally be desired as a household pet. The second, any type of creature that flies. Yes, Google has newly informed me that cockroaches can fly. What a talent! Even my apartment on the 7th floor is not protected from the invasive flight of the mighty cockroach itself.
Freebies galore! I have never in my life had so many freebies tossed into my arms… It must be my newfound fame? Last week while at the bakery I asked the employee where I could buy a cucumber. He quickly ran to the back and came out proudly holding a cucumber. He gave me my bread, my prized cucumber and then proceeded to bow. Kamsahamnida… I still don’t know where I can buy a cucumber.
How much I miss daily English conversation with substance. I think I’ve achieved some sort of new world record (hi Guinness!) for how many times in one day it is humanly possible to say “hello”, “thank you”, “nice to meet you” and “goodbye.” Everyone (and I really mean everyone) in my town of 10,000 people is eager to speak in English and are limited to those four greetings. Who better to practice with than one of the very few foreigners living within a 50 km radius?
Living in the countryside does not always mean peace and quiet. Every morning at 7:30 AM (without fail) there’s a loud and an abrasive noise that travels from my apartment’s parking lot all the way up to my bedroom. That noise is my town’s infamous tofu lady who every morning proudly parades her tofu cart around the whole town while ringing a cowbell. During my walk from my apartment to the bus stop every morning, I will typically cross paths with her 2-3 more times. In fact, her route terminates at the bus stop, where I will have to listen to the majestic sound of the cowbell until my bus finally saves me. I can’t seem to escape her presence or control my cravings for tofu for breakfast.
The scenery is jaw-dropping. I have never in my life been so excited for a morning commute to work. Each of the four schools I teach at takes about an hour to get to by bus. The buses go along these gorgeous tree-lined roads, winding through the mountains and super lush, green farming fields. I literally spend the whole time staring out the window while pretending I’m in an emotional, ‘90s music video, as I gawk at how incredibly stunning the scenery in my county is.