Happy Grad, All 200-Something-Odd of You

Shanty flower shops along the roadside, set up in front of EVERY SCHOOL

Apologies to interrupt our regularly scheduled neurotic deconstruction of my wicked vacations, but yesterdayTuesday*  was graduation day.

It seems weird to talk about it here, on the English-written parts of the internet where my former grade sixes will rarely venture and thus almost certainly never find (and if they do, oh god, uh oh), but here we are. A message to you, my teeming hordes: I might not know all of your names (there are a lot of them, and I’m not going to lie, they’re hard, at least twenty of you are named Jihye), and I might only see you once a week. I have no idea if I’ve had any real, lasting impact upon your lives or your growing noggins. But for whatever reason, and mostly by surprise, I care. I actually do care. I’m a little shocked, because I didn’t think I could find myself attached to hundreds upon hundreds of you at one time without the regular contact of having a home room, but here I am, caring. It’s probably helped by the fact that you lot keep saying you’ll miss me and hugging me, which is pretty much a criminal offence in my home country. When I asked you about graduation, and what middle school you’ll go to, you actually answered me in English (except for that one girl who I had to hector at in Korean before she eventually relented), which is pretty wicked. I hope that you know what I think of all of you, and I hope that teacherly pride translates beyond any language.

So be well. Be good. Don’t turn into the raging, horrific monsters that middle school (or as I like to think of it, the puberty gulag, where we isolate pubescents from decent society for our own well-being) can make you. And be nice to whatever weird foreigner they’ve shoved into your middle school, as they’ll probably care about you, too.

졸업 축하해 to the whole lot of you

*I got sick on Tuesday evening, and turned into such a big baby that copying and pasting this into the WordPress dashboard seemed arduous, an internet bridge too far to cross. As seems to happen when I sicken, a care package also arrived to lift my spirits once more. Huzzah!


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