I was talking to someone last night about the number of times in my life when I’ve passionately declared something to be my “favourite thing in the whole world”. I’m a bit dramatic like that. Anyway, we decided that it’s perfectly fine to do this, as favourite things are likely to only be temporary – as your circumstances, needs and desires change, so will the things that make you happy. And so, just for fun because I’ve been hiding from the sun in my apartment and have nothing to blog about, here are a few of my favourite things… right now.
1. Air conditioning. The Americans call it AC, the Koreans call it aircon, the Irish don’t really call it anything because we’ve never exactly had any need for such a thing. Whatever you want to call it, it is the only thing making this heat bearable for me. Alex came into my classroom yesterday with a smirk on his face and came to my computer to bring up the weather prediction for the rest of the week. You’re going to love this, he told me as I sat below my aircon, fanning myself. I peered at the screen and observed that the predicted temperature was climbing every day, past the mid-30s… and that the predicted low was in fact 21°C. The LOW! 21°c now seems like quite a pleasant temperature to me, but I wouldn’t exactly call it cool. I like to at least know there’s a possibility that there might be a surprise cool day. Alas – those days are gone. And aircon is now my best friend. I switch it on in my apartment before I even switch on the light or set down my bag when I get home. I dread to think how much it’s costing me…
2. Kimchi. I’m staring to worry that I’ve replaced my nicotine addiction with a kimchi addiction. I can’t stop eating the stuff. As addictions go, I suppose it’s a fairly healthy one to have, but it’s still a bit weird. I mean, it’s fermented cabbage, when all is said and done. A long time ago, my Korean awma gave me a huge container of kimchi, which only just ran out about a month ago. Now I have to buy my own, and I find myself calling in at the shop every day on the way home from work to purchase more of the spicy, red pieces of crunchy deliciousness. Doesn’t matter how big a packet I buy, I always seem to need more the next day. Mmm, kimchi. I can never leave Korea, now. I don’t think I know how to live without kimchi.
3. Colouring in. Wow, I had completely forgotten how much I love colouring in. Being a kindergarten teacher quickly throws you back into a world of crayons and Pritt Sticks and glitter and felt tips and generally making a mess in the name of “art”. Here, crayons are called colour pencils and Pritt Stick is Glue Stick and felt tips are sign pens, but despite the different names, it’s just as I remember it from my childhood. And colouring in is another form of therapy I’ve found to replace smoking in moments of stress or boredom. I colour in the pictures in my Teacher’s Copy of the class workbook while the kindergarten kids are having colouring time, or while the elementary kids are working and I’m waiting for them to finish. I colour in when I’m talking, sometimes, just to give my hands something to do. It’s very relaxing, and strangely satisfying.
4. Dancing. I used to love going out dancing with The Sister and our friends on a Friday night, but gradually stopped partying after university. Here, I have rediscovered my love of dancing, surrounded by friends and with a Long Island Ice Tea in my hand. It doesn’t really feel like real life when you go out for the night in Korea – there’s a definite sense of being on some sort of extended holiday, especially with the hot weather and the permanent party atmosphere that seems to exist downtown. Dancing on the dancefloor, in my shorts and t-shirt (I love not having to get dressed up!), just makes me feel carefree and exhilarated. I can’t claim to be a good dancer or anything, but as long as you’re moving to the beat, right?! ;)
5. My iPad. For the first time in ages (possibly ever!), I have spent a large amount of money on something that I didn’t need, just because I wanted it and felt like I had earned a treat. My iPad was ridiculously expensive, had to be shipped over from the US since they’re not available in Korea yet, and then I had to pay and fill in forms to get it through customs… and it was so worth it. It’s like a futuristic toy I would never have dreamt of ever existing when I was at school. And it’s great company when I’m suffering from the heat and hiding in my apartment.
6. Thursdays. Work has been decidedly hectic since the new school year started in March, and I struggle to keep going some days – particularly on Tuesdays, where I have four Musical classes followed by two English classes followed by the worst elementary class in the world. I am good for nothing on Tuesday nights. But on Thursdays, I get a little respite, because I only have four Kindergarten classes. I also had one elementary class in the afternoon, until last week, when it was merged with another small class and taken off my hands. Suddenly, I have a whole free afternoon after a relatively easy morning! It gives me time to prepare lessons, make worksheets, and do all the things that I’ve been running around like a headless chicken trying to get done between classes until now. Thursdays are wonderful things.