Wake up before your alarm goes off. Once a week, the first sound you hear is the chop-chop-chopping of a daewoo lorry. You never actually see them, but you know it's the same, wrinkled out couple on their way to the onion fields.
If it's Monday, take it easy. Tuesday, catch the bus to that other school. Flirt with the girl in the braces, she's only here until the secretary gets back from maternity leave. Take her on a second date after work. Sitting there on a heated floor, giggling at each other because neither of you speak the others' language. She asks you what you did last weekend, you lie and contrive a simple-to-understand question to move on. The less you speak the more gets said. You're so conditioned to expect sex on the second date you don't even notice the blood flow to your thighs anymore. You flash your dimples and say, “I'm going to fuck your pussy up so bad the next Korean dick that goes in there is going to need a sieve to feel it,” and she responds with a smile that says, “¿Que?”. Wonder if she gets horny during sweet potato harvest.
Wednesday, hope the school's burned down because you ran out of pills four weeks ago and 7 classes back to back is a pain in the ass, even if half of them just involve watching Adventure Time proceeded by a discussion.
Thursday you carpool through fields of barley, onion, and garlic. You drive past 5 minutes of mountain range, barely noticing it anymore. What is it about this country that makes expats so jaded and bitter? You almost have an introspective thought before it gets lost between the morning haze and your cell phone.
Fridays aren't bad- you get to teach 6th graders, which means yep, you guessed it; more Adventure Time. The test-prep kids have come to expect Apples to Apples instead of a real lesson because you're more than willing to oblige them.
Come in late everyday and still be the first one in the office. Not a week goes by without a class or seven getting canceled, leaving you under-worked, free to do as you please. What do you care, you're not intrinsically motivated, so you spend the free time doing physics problems just to stave off brain atrophy from disuse and media binging. The public sector dream. Evenings are spent cooking, exercising, or being unconscious. Your computer usage at home isn't much different than at work, except for one less coworker and one less filter.
You've got the easiest job ever and the funny thing is, you still look forward to weekends. That would imply that weekends are fun, but they needn't be. Any hagwon teacher will tell you, they just need to be a respite, an end to the other five days of the week.
When 4:40PM Friday hits, you leave work and go straight to the bus station. Not because you miss city life- Korean cities are only polluted with more garbage, advertising, and Korean men. But because you've eschewed the local traditions of swilling sweet potato rotgut, making noises at a restaurant, making noises at females, and making louder noises in a singing room, leaving consensual sex as the obvious and least destructive form of escape. This weekend you're having American, last weekend it was Scottish. The girls are usually white, never Korean, more frequently bi than straight. Because nobody would bus two hours just to make a new friend, all of your new friends are people you've had sex. As your old friends leave the ROK, you become increasingly removed from people of the same gender.
That's what my life is like, anyway. Sometimes I feel discontent, but it passes. I truly believe we expats would be a lot happier if we just stopped to count our blessings once in a while. A glance at my bank account would not normally lighten my spirits, but put that in context of unemployment rates debt back home and the money I made last year, and suddenly, I'm not doing too bad. I saved up enough for a silver parachute. I got into the habit of learning new skills on my own since I wasn't getting that from my occupation. I had a lot of consensual sex with interesting people from all over the world, some of them funny, one of them smart. I even managed to avoid sexually transmitted diseases.
You know what, my life in Ruraltown, Korea isn't much different than my life was in Collegetown, USA four years ago. Maybe my friend was right when he said, “College ain't a 4-year gig, it's a mufuckin lifestyle.”