30 April 2008

Teleportation is not in my spell check dictionary.

I haven't written in a month and now I feel so much like writing that I might create the longest blog entry in my history, or maybe I'll just post three little blogs tonight. We'll see, won't we? (Hey, do you see the question tag on that sentence? The 'won't we?' part? I dare you to try and explain how those work to a room full of ESL 9-year-olds.)

So, last Saturday I teleported back in time, to April 2007. It started Friday night when it started to pour rain (Who knew that rain causes time teleportation? I mean, besides Isaac Asimov who I'm sure covered that somewhere in his prolific library.) Anyway, I worked late on Friday because I was behind on my progress reports and my lesson plans. I called my buddy Jill as soon as I got home because I should have been headed into Seoul to spend the night at her apartment before our early Saturday morning hike. She said that it was supposed to rain all night and no-one wanted to hike in the mud, so I stayed in Bucheon.

By 1:30 on Saturday afternoon I knew I had to find something to do or I was going to go crazy - and that's when the teleportation happened. You see, in April 2008 I have too many friends and too many obligations, so all of my time is always planned in advance and I never do things by myself. Not so in April 2007. In April 2007 I spent my free time rambling solo around this strange new place I'd landed in, and I loved it. So, secure in my April 2007-ness, I put my camera, a book, and my journal in my bag, downloaded some Rick Steve's podcasts onto my MP3 player (admittedly a luxury I didn't enjoy yet in the first April 2007) and walked outside. I got to the main street and turned right, because right is the direction I'd seen the least of (unless I turned around. Then it was left.)

Within 20 minutes I'd passed the GS department store and crossed the border dividing the familiar with the unknown. The unknown looked a lot like the familiar: tall apartment buildings, flashy signs, crowded streets. I kept at it, though. The view changed gradually as I walked. The buildings thinned out and green mountains started drifting in around me. But, before I'd been out an hour I realized I'd walked back into the familiar when I saw a funfair on the horizon.

You see, months and months ago when I was still taking Korean classes I was korean-napped. A korean-napping is when you find out that all plans have been changed when you're already en route to a new location and everyone dodges inquiries into how long you're going to be stranded at that new location with them. At that particular korean-napping I ended up keeping friends in Seoul waiting for over an hour after my 2-hour, down-the-street class turned into a 4-hour, remote-location cultural experience at a museum inside a stadium next to a fun fair. I'd wondered a few times since then where on earth that museum/stadium/funfair was. I was driven to and from the event and hadn't payed enough attention either time to have the slightest idea. Well, there was the funfair right in front of me. Now I knew, and here I was again.

That's when I heard someone calling my name. I pulled my earbuds out of my ears, temporarily silencing the guy who was chatting with Rick about Mediterranean sailing, and looked around. Stopped at a traffic light up ahead, a bus full of kids was shouting my name. I should clarify - the bus wasn't actually shouting 'Ms. Denice! Ms. Denice!' but the kids certainly were. They were too far away for me to recognize any of them though, and none of my students has mentioned seeing me since then, so I may always wonder about that one.

Bewildered and frustrated that I'd gone out looking for something new and instead had only bumped into old again, I popped Rick Steves back into my head and pressed forward, past the funfair and into the bowels of Bucheon Stadium.

To be continued .... (because I want some popcorn now, so I'll finish later.)

No comments: