River called me at 7 A.M. “Do we have work today?”

“Um… yeah. We need to be there around nine or nine thirty.”

I didn’t have much of a hangover today, but I have been groggy from lack of sleep. Since we had no kindergarten classes this morning, we scrubbed down the classrooms to get ready for the next year. We did have elementary classes, though. And I was nodding off during one of them. And I think I was getting delusional too. I could have sworn I saw a kid who had a label on the back of his jeans that read “Reqtm.”

Also, it’s strange that the kids are fascinated by my hairy arms.

In the teacher’s room, Sue Supervis-ah gave me a present from all the teachers — underwear. I always get underwear. I’m not going to read anything into that present. They also gave Ross underwear today as a farewell present.

Brant’s holding a small party for me tonight in his apartment. Fried chicken and pizza. We have to get to bed early so we can wake up before dawn to head to Itaewon for our tour of the DMZ. After the DMZ, we’re planning on hanging out in Itaewon, which has a notorious reputation, since it’s next to the Army base. So I guess I’ll have a few stories to tell after the weekend.

Oh yeah, I got my passport back and my alien registration card.


Well, my birthday was nice and quiet. Which was good since the soju from the night before had rattled my body. We spent the morning cleaning the classrooms and moving furniture, getting ready for the next term. We had a decent lunch in the kitchen, which involved those cool lettuce wraps. Sue then took a few of us out for a real coffee. I’ve been drinking instant since I got here. I then did my best to teach the afternoon classes, which consisted of a quick lesson and then letting them play hangman for the rest of class. Before one of my classes, Ellen Teach-a told me that Tom’s mother wanted me to assign homework so she could check it. A few minutes later, I had to go get Ellen back in the classroom to explain the concept of homework to Tom. My late night Friday class was a tough one to get through. We use a textbook that relies heavily on a tape that we don’t have. So I try to do what the class is intended for: conversational English. I was feeling worse and worse as the day progressed. One of the kids had a cool candy dispenser that worked like a lotto machine. He’d push a button, and these numbered candy balls would float around until six came out in a little compartment.

I finally let the class out, and I headed to the elevator. Mr. Chae came up to me and said, “Joe, Thursday meet?”

“What? Thursday? Uh, sure.”

“Saturday, pull (full). Sunday, pull. Monday, pull. Tuesday, pull.”

The elevator opened, and it was River going to Brant’s apartment, which was where I was going. I cut Mr. Chae short on telling me his schedule and got in the elevator. As the doors closed, he stuck his hand in there, which scared us. The doors opened back up to Mr. Chae with a sheepish grin. “Good night.”

The doors closed. Odd man.

Brant had a small birthday dinner of pizza and fried chicken for us. River was there, and eventually Trish Teach-a joined us. She gets nervous when there are a lot of foreigners at a get-together. I started feeling a little better after some pizza. We cut the night short since three-quarters of our group were leaving early in the morning.

Don't make mistakes other travelers have made!

Get regular emails with insider tips on how to maximize your visit to Korea. Sign up now!

Tour Tips Newsletter

You have Successfully Subscribed!