you wake up early to finish planning lessons for that day - you procrastinated a bit too much, even for you.
your bialetti wasn’t tight enough and your espresso sprayed all over your counter. the milk was too hot, the foam doesn’t sit right. you slipped in the shower and hit your funny bone on the towel rack. you can’t find your clothes and have no food for breakfast.
krispy kreme it is - you check your calendar. you realize that you’ll be on your period in india. you are glad you decided to go with the all women’s trekking agency. e-mail asking them for advice. look at pictures of the area. get excited again.
you left too early, your bus won’t be for another 15 minutes. more coffee it is. iced latte. tall. 고맙습니다, Starbucks lady. you sip it. you smile.
but wait, why is there such a large group of people waiting for the bus? you are one of the last ones on, there’s no room to stand. your laptop feels heavy. you try not to hit the elderly man in the face with your bag. the air conditioning is not on. no windows are opened. sweat begins to trickle down your spine.
gradually being pushed to the back of the bus. propelled as far back as possible. an ajumma smiles at you. you smile back, 안녕하세요. she pats her lap, asking for your bag. 고맙습니다, you hand it to her. now you can stand semi-comfortably.
the vice principal is calling the other teacher with you - where are you? explanations.
people gradually get off the bus. you have to fight forward when your stop is called. you almost get trapped, the door starts to close, you frantically push and squeeze forward. you hop out laughing now. you make eye contact with your colleague, he laughs too. he explains. too many people. more smiles.
rush into school, set up your laptop - lessons to plan, things to do! too much coffee, dehydrated. you jog upstairs to find water. everyone is in a circle laughing. good morning. the shy teacher turns to you and blurts out “plum!” she smiles and covers her face, embarrassed.
you enjoy the plum. you chitchat. you get water and slowly walk downstairs.
your lessons are almost done, time to print. but wait. your CoTeacher is back. lessons are all cancelled, she has a different plan for the students. you act disappointed, you are disappointed, but you smile and agree.
sometimes you wake up early, mess up your coffee, rush out the door only to be packed onto a bus with too many people. you are late to school, unprepared, and sweating profusely already. sometimes people greet you with a smile and an effort at conversation, they share their fruit and offer coffee. you realize everything worked out.
sometimes you are glad you wound up here, even after a terrible week.
sometimes Korea isn’t so bad, after all.