I will marry you
the after life
for as many times
as you want me to...
Today, the Kim's firstborn son got married in Jeolla province. We drove for almost 3 hour and a half to get there. Going home we had to endure an exhausting 5 hours ride because of the heavy traffic, which is very usual on weekends in country side highways. The wedding, including the reception, took only an hour.
When the Kims gave me the wedding invitation weeks ago, I saw the occasion as an opportunity to don a hanbok. Mr. Kim told me that I don't have to as only the relatives of the bride and groom are required to wear them. After throwing a little tantrum, I was given permission to wear one. For days, I was into calling frenzy to borrow a hanbok.
For everyone's information, a silk gown costs as much as 2 million won. However, pressing issues came up in the school, and the hanbok catwalking was set aside. I could have rented one for something like 80 bucks but decided not to anymore. The itch was gone and I opted for a safer black outfit ensemble. I left the honor to O, who's now a proud mom-in-law. Yay!
In spite of me not looking like a Korean royal princess, the affair went well. I didn't want to steal the thunder from the bride anyway. That would be so uncouth. It was a great privilege to witness the union of two individuals whose culture is so much different than mine. Although the rite does not reflect much of the traditional Korean wedding anymore, it still is, a unique episode in my life here. The beautiful ceremony lasted for only 15 minutes, picture taking for about another 15 minutes. Then feasting on the piquant variety of traditional Korean and Chinese dishes for another 30 minutes, or it depends on how much one can eat.
During the reception, I sat with Mr. Kim's former highschool buddy, also a Mr. Kim, and his family. The daughter's set to study in the Philippines and they wanted to know more about my country so I obliged. For dessert, Mr. Kim's daughter brought a plate of cookies and fried grasshoppers. Since Mr. Kim was relentless in his effort to make me eat all those Korean food, I helped myself with some grasshoppers to concede. And know what? It actually tastes like anchovies.
Live octopus... fried grasshopper... what are they going to make me eat next?
Back in highschool, one of my most favorite subjects is Algebra - so much so that when it was time to choose major in college, I opted for Mathematics. I wanted to be like our former Algebra teacher, Dona Soledad Alvarez, who taught binomials and polynomials as though it's just as simple as 2 plus 2 equals x.
However, my dream of becoming the coolest Math teacher was abrupted when I failed one subject - Differential Calculus, a parody of all mathematics, invented to torture young minds like mine. And when I told the clinker to my College Algebra doctor professor, the one who really pushed me to take up Math as my major (he was so impressed that he exempted me from the midterms and finals. Little did he know that everything he taught I learned already from Dona Soledad), he said something gay like "Did you have to take me seriously?" or something to that bloody effect.
Anyway, I forgave him already. He was probably right, I should have never majored in Math in the first place. I should have NEVER mentioned to my boss now that I could teach algebra. Arrgghhh!
Too late, as those memories flooded back this afternoon, I stood facing the white board with my armpit sweating, confronted with algebraic problem number 7.
The dilemma actually started when my boss presented the new Math textbook, written purely in Korean. Torture at its finest! I told the boss it would be very difficult for me to use the book as everything is in Korean and there's no one to translate the problems for me. The boss just shrugged. It's like telling me "It's not my problem anymore."
My former assistant teacher A had resigned weeks ago for reasons only she and the boss are privy to. There are two new math teachers: a dude who can't speak a single Eng-li-shi and practices sign language in my face, as though we are teachers in a Deaf Mute Academy, and a dudette who suffers from hearing dysfunction whenever I talk to her.
Back to the classroom scene: my forehead was getting really sweaty. I felt the shame in my bones. I wanted to scream: Time out kids! It's confession time! Teacher doesn't know the answer!
I can't do that though... I can't. Never in a million years would I allow my poise to disintegrate infront of smart alecky 5th graders. To save my face, I told the class that problem no. 7 is homework. Yes! That is pure genius! Whoever invented homework is my bestfriend.
As I was erasing the board, I heard Sung Hong told his seatmate in Korean: Teacher gave it as homework because she can't solve it. She's stupid.
I was so mortified, I can't believe my ears that I understood perfectly what the little tyrant said in Korean. I took a deep breath, turned around and told the boy: "I am the teacher here, I will assign which problem is seatwork; which one is homework. If you don't do your homework, I will have to tell your mothers."
I can't really remember exactly what I said, but I still remember my armpit sweating profusely out of disgust.
The class was silent for a while, probably digesting the fact that their foreign teacher can actually understand Korean. And as though they wanted to confirm my newly found authority, everyone chorused: Neh!!! (that's Korean for YES).
Now, the big question is: how am I going to know which is the correct answer should they pass the homework next week? Arrggghhhhhh!!! What have I gotten myself into? What???!!!
After what seemed to be an eternity, I was able to talk to Rue finally. My phone got busted and I never had time to go to the service center. Blah. Blah. Although I still can not receive and send text messages as the screen is virtually blank, I can now make and receive calls. Yay!
Of course, my beloved boy told me that he missed me a lot and that his "birdie" is now healing. I was tempted to tell him not to please have sex without any girls yet. Waaa! But I didn't want to gross out my son so I bit my tongue and just told him how my days are without him. I am so in denial that he is now a budding man. Whatever!
We had a little chit chat about this and that, and then, my son, known for being straight to the point, told me that he wants a guitar. He wants to play the electric guitar that his father left him but he needs to take some lessons first. Upon hearing this, I wanted to scream "Yay! Am going to be the mom of a future famous rock star! Yipeee!"
Then unconsciously, my head wandered off to the future; seeing myself as a roadie. Err, I think I would look too old to be a roadie. How about a groupie? No? I changed the scenario. I'm the manager. Ewww, why do I have this evil feeling that as their manager, my son fired me?
Heck, I told my son that as long as he promises to study really hard, I am going to send him the dough to buy a guitar. Of course, the young Joe Satriani wanna be swear to high heavens he will study a lot more. He even said "I swear Mom, I will study a hundred times more everyday!" I didn't really understand why he giggled after he said that.
Wait... what if Rue does become a Rock Star? Will I be allowed to hang out with my son? Hmmm... I will have to plan this. And the outfits befitting to the royal matriarch of a rock star. Yes, I should start planning as early as now.
My room mate prepared pancakes for breakfast today but since I opt to have heavy breakfast, I ate rice with the leftover viands. I decided to bring one pancake to the class and thought of having it later on.
Came break period around 5pm, I put out the tupperware container where I kept the pancake then went to the ladies room to wash my hands. When I went back to the classroom, I saw four heads already devouring what was supposed to be my snack. I told them that I was really hungry but they seemed to ignore my comment and proceeded to tell me that the pancake was really yummy and if teacher could please bring more tomorrow? Arrgghhh!!!
I opened the windows and thought that I could easily shove the four of them out of it. But then again, I tried to regain my composure and evade the ugly scene already playing in my head. I think I saw the four of them flying out in the open space, as I giggle to death.
Too bad everything just happened within my lurid imagination. None of it could ever exist in reality. I heard that prisons here in Korea are really pretty bad. Wait, I am not sure if I will stay long in the prison for annihilating kids. Perhaps I would be electrocuted to death right away. Sad. I won't enjoy prison life anyway. I think.
Of course, I am going to bring more pancakes tomorrow. I am thinking of spraying Pinesol on it. I wonder if my students will notice the difference. Should I tell them that it's a homemade syrup? Or shall I cajole them into swallowing one big pancake in one gulp and watch them choke to death?
So much for the hysteria. It's just a pancake for crying out loud.
I will try not to eat tomorrow.
Yesterday, 26 March 2006, my only child, Rue graduated from grade school. I promised him some eons ago that mommy will be home for his graduation. Sadly though I didn't fulfill my pledge. I wasn't able to go home for a lot of reasons. Suffice to say that my son wasn't too happy when he heard of this very unfortunate news.
Weeks before the commencement date, we had another heart-wrenching conversation. As I was trying to outline my justfication for not making it on his graduation day, he told me that he wants me home because he misses me badly. Little did he know that I miss him more than ever. Just like that and I broke down and cried myself to death before I eventually drifted to sleep.
Yesterday, as witnessed in the pictures that my sister sent me, my son didn't look too happy in his toga. It broke my heart again that I was not there to pin his loyalty award medal. It saddened me to think that it will be a while before we will be together again. It pained me that it will be several days and months before we would enjoy each other's company again. It will be a while I know, but Rue and I will be together again... for good. That much I know. Just the thought of it makes me happy already.
Now as I reflect on the fact that my son is going to highschool in two months time, I can't help but panic. Not that I worry about his school fees or anything. It's beyond that. I know that going through this pubescent period would be very difficult for someone whose only parent is so far away from him. I try not to worry as I know that God will always be there to guide the two of us. There are some moments though that I can't help but wonder what would happen next, now that he's going to be a teen-ager soon.
Grade school graduation for now. Before I knew it, he will be off to baccalaureate mass. After that, wedding then baptismal of my first grandchild.
Accckk... Isn't it too soon to worry?