as in not-ready-for-takeoff…
Sorry I haven’t written.
My days have been occupied almost non-stop fielding correspondence [squint] for the editing project for adoptee reunion stories in Korean, [insert anti-inflammatory eye drops] desperately searching [squint] the want ads at the Korean ESL job boards, [insert moisturing eye drops] looking for affordable housing situations, [insert moisturizing eye drops] pulling together resume packages, [insert anti-inflammatory eye drops] sneaking interviews [where did i put those drops?] and pondering middle age [insert moisturizing eye drops] while reflecting on all my wrong turns, [insert moisturizing eye drops] and missing all those people who were right turns [natural eye drops] and at this second feeling kind of angry how little Korea appreciates me, [red face, runny nose] and wondering if I have anywhere I can call home. [I need a bucket of anti-inflammatory drops so I can insert my whole head into it]
Anyway, due to a lot of complications I won’t be coming home to the U.S. anytime soon. Nor will I be able to keep my current job. Nor know when my U.S. job will finally materialize.In less than 3 weeks I must be reviewed, interviewed, vetted, and approved in time to find a place to live and move. I’ve already encountered bias against my Visa, which says I’m either worthless as a foreigner or, since I can’t speak Korean, I’m worthless as a Korean. And I don’t get to come home even for a visit.
This is no kind of life for a person my age, where every year is uncertain and every day is uncertain and your skills and experience are not appreciated. No. It all hinges on how that guy you wondered who he was and nobody bothered to tell you was the new principal and nobody bothered to tell you that the other principal had left and who has never once walked into your classroom or spoken with you other than the one time he was drunkenly making a pass at you at the semi-annual teacher’s dinner suddenly decides you aren’t lively enough.
Today I went and had lunch with the two teachers on duty today as I desk warm daily and watch them all cycle through. It is my only chance to speak to any of them one on one. I engage them in conversation at lunch. I have to ask their names and what subject they teach, because in two years NOBODY has ever bothered to introduce me to anyone. Ever. So I have had to use previous year’s yearbook photos just to get a sense of who they are. They were gracious and sweet. They had one word answers to my questions. And then they turned and ate and conversed, as always, as if I didn’t exist. Because that’s what they were used to before I came, and that’s as much effort as anyone at this school is willing to do, aside from pushing sweets on me because it is an obligation necessitated by culture. Of course one insisted on buying lunch. Koreans do that well. I have spent two years eating lunch surrounded by colleagues who never speak to me. I guess I’m supposed to be lively in spite of that.
My co-teacher apologized by email. She takes full responsibility for my neglect and knows it’s not my fault. But it’s too late for that, won’t save my job, and why would I want to put up with more of the same anyway? So the ever-changing verdict of whether there will be a position or not or if it will be me or another teacher just seems kind of pointless. I’m not a clown. I don’t do slap-stick. I get lively with exciting ideas or talking about society or fixing things. To not be able to do so is depressing. And to be out here in the country, the only foreigner around is deadly. So I carry on with this search knowing I’ll have to take anything that comes my way. Again. Not ideal.
Fortunately, I have made a couple of priceless friends here in Korea who are here for me.
OK. This blogging is taking precious time when I’ve got to not be destitute and homeless in a foreign country. The irony of it is my prospects are better here than back at home. It’s funny, you know, as I remember back when I was 18 and I agreed to get married primarily because I longed for someone to care for me. And I’m still in that same place. Older, rougher around the edges, a little worse for wear, but that’s all I’ve ever wanted. I suppose this is emblematic of the adoptee. But you know, we have to put one foot in front of the other and not give up hope.