I have been in South Korea for 8 months and 6 days exactly. I am at my school now, waiting for my first class of the day to start. It’s 9:36 on a Monday morning. It’s a relatively nice day: sunny, a little chilly, but not too cold or too hot — neither extreme, as the weather here tends to be. I teach 5th and 6th grade today, although usually, on Mondays, I only teach 5th. Last week, though, 4 of my 6th grade classes were canceled due to some kind of Science Festival. The students’ homeroom teachers thought their students would be too wound up to teach, and so with absolutely zero notice the classes were canceled and pushed into this week. The kids were too wound up, probably from all the cotton candy they ate, some of which I gave them, and came into my after school class with ungodly amounts of energy, nearly impossible to teach. It was, to say the least, a disaster. Some days I play the role of teacher better than others.
I haven’t the slightest idea what happened to those 8 months, or what I’ve been doing, aside from loses pieces of myself and trying to pick up and attach others. I hope I haven’t lost anything essential. I don’t think so, but sometimes it’s hard to say. I certainly don’t feel the same. I’ve been reading Haruki Murakami a lot. One thing I really love about reading authors who write both novels and short stories is, as you read the short stories you really come to see what the writer is interested in. Then when you read the novels, you get to see how he developed those ideas. Murakami is interested in, among other things, how people get pulled apart, split in two, and begin existing in separate realities (or in the same reality, just in different places) at the same time. Characters feel they’ve become different people, or are not the same as they were before. One character is on top of a Ferris wheel, looking into her apartment, when she somehow sees herself with a strange man.
I have been feeling this way, as though maybe somehow when I talk to my family on Skype, I’m also lying in my bed in Elkhart, Indiana. I have thought before that I’ll come out of the room and appear in front of the computer and have a conversation with myself. It hasn’t happened yet, but I feel things are moving in that direction.