The time goes by so quickly here. I should do my best to make the most of it. Here in Korea, everyone, and I do mean everyone, in my social circle is Korean. Some of them speak English incredibly well, others cannot speak a word of it. Most of them fall somewhere in-between. So I find myself speaking classroom English everywhere I go.
Speaking classroom English is not necessarily a bad thing. It's just that I get tired of talking. So I try to say less and listen more. I only talk when I am spoken to and don't often start a conversation. The last time I started a conversation was actually on the way to my apartment after work yesterday. I was a little over the halfway mark of my 40 min trip when I realized another teacher was going in my direction. When we came to the freeway crossing I told her in Korean that my neighborhood was in Hogye and that I was headed that way. As chance would have it, she was going there too. She was on her way to Hogye Elementary School (which is right next to my apartment) to see her boyfriend who is also a teacher.
She asked me to walk with her and we had a nice conversation (in English, of course). Her English is far above average. Our conversation was very pleasant. I am glad I started this conversation. It turns out she is the youngest teacher in the school (there are some 50 teachers at my school). It was nice to have someone to walk home with. The walk seemed very quick. We never actually introduced ourselves that day, but she already knew my name...
...which brings me to an interesting point. All of the teachers in the school know my name. I stand out like a sore thumb and because I am such a novelty here, not just among the students, but the teachers as well, I hear my name being said ALL of the time. I walk down the hall and kids repeat it over and over again; not always to me, but to each other. I walk in a room full of teachers and there it is again.
I played volleyball with the teachers and staff yesterday. It seemed everyone in the stands who were not participating (about 40 or so people) were talking about me. It was quite distracting.
I guess I just have to get used to this. I think that, in time, I will become less of thing to talk about. It gets old hearing your name repeated over and over again. Don't ask me what they are talking about. I don't speak that level of Korean.