Being an anti-corporate J. S. Mill lefty, I normally would cower at a corporate marketing ploy to exploit the impressionable minds of children disguised as a field trip. Nonetheless, the field trip to the local Outback Steakhouse was one of the better field trips I’ve participated in. For one thing, it was very close. We could have walked there. They also made attempts at making it educational, by using the gaudy bric-a-brac around the restaurant to teach the children about Australian and Aboriginal culture.The irony did not pass over me of Koreans in a Florida-based restaurant acting as authorities on Australia.

They took us on a tour of the two dining rooms and the kitchen, including cramming all the kids into the walk-in cooler. At the end of the tour, they gave the kids chicken fingers and fries. For the adults, they gave fried calamari, a fried chicken salad, and cheese fries. The best part of the field trip was that the staff watched the kids for us. That alone made me want to come back and spend some money on a Bloomin’ Onion™ to thank them.

Anne missed the field trip because she was late for work. She’s getting strange and unstable now, and I hope she finds another job soon. She’s gone from being bitchy and angry all the time to frequently breaking out in tears. She keeps going into repetitive tirades about the conditions of her apartment and crying in the middle of them. The thing is that she used to have my apartment and moved to the other one because it was bigger. My place was depressingly crappy when I first moved in, but Eun Jeong and I worked hard and cleaned the place, put in a dehumidifier and air conditioner, and it’s perfectly fine now. We have no mold problems and minimal insect problems.

Anyway, I don’t know what to do with her now. She’s being extremely picky about finding a new job. She keeps saying that all the good jobs will become available at the end of August. I’m not sure if we can wait that long. I have a feeling she’s on the edge of a complete nervous breakdown, and there’s nothing I can do.

Injoo, though, has proven to be a good choice so far. I had been nervous. On Monday, James showed him the ropes. At the end of the day Monday he said the job looked easier than he thought.

We had a small going away party and birthday party for James Monday night at the cool traditional dong dong-ju place at the foot of the mountain. James was impressed by it. The food, again, was great. I realized why I liked the barbecued chicken there so much. It tasted like bacon. Roberta’s husband ordered the clear, slightly stronger dong dong-ju, and it tasted like a potent but smooth sake. He and I were putting it away almost like we were competing with each other.

After dinner, Roberta, who was the designated driver, drove us to another bar, where we had pitchers of beer, dried fish, and fresh fruit. Again, Roberta’s husband and I were packing away the drinks, and I felt like I was being a bit of a pig. But Roberta said that since she didn’t drink, her husband was looking for someone who could drink the way he did.

We said our goodbyes to James as Roberta drove him to the subway station. The bar was a block away from my home, so I walked. James called me when I walked in to get me to call Roberta. He left his bag in her car. Roberta didn’t hear her phone until she got home, and she promptly drove all the way back to the subway station to give him back his bag.

John has now returned to the States.

Injoo started teaching on Tuesday, but his Tuesday schedule didn’t have him really teaching any classes until five in the afternoon. Most of the day he was studying the books he was going to teach. He and I are also adjusting to calling him by the English name River gave him in Ansan when we first met, Ian.

By five o’clock, Ian and I were the only teachers in the building, and we started our classes. In the middle of my class, I had to duck out to get some supplies for the students. I took a peek at one of the TV monitors showing Ian’s class. He was performing like a teacher in a commercial. He was energetic and had the students’ attention. I have been watching him all week, and he seems to be pretty good.

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