A strange 2015

Forgive me if you will as I write at length about my favourite subject, myself. As its New Years Eve, I thought it would be the perfect time for me to write about my year, which if I could define in one word it would be….strange.

There were a number of highs this year. In June me and my girlfriend went to China. On June 15th we journeyed to the Great Wall of China, where I planned to propose to her. On the highest point of the wall I fumbled for the ring and, doing my best Hugh Grant from any film impression, nervously asked her to marry me. It was a great day, and the Great Wall was quite pretty as well.

The next month we went to Tokyo for a week. Tokyo was amazing; it was bright, happy and welcoming. It also happened to be very humid, so I spent most of the week looking uncomfortable and sweaty. We saw Mount Fuji (slightly disappointing) and Lake Ashi (unexpected hightlight) and went to Disneyland for two days. Two great holidays in one year, how can you complain about it?

Well hear goes, most of 2015 has been completely miserable. We have been stuck in a horrible job for the entire time. We work at a completely dysfunctional ‘school’ in South Korea, where we are treated like pariahs but expected to work like dogs. Imagine a school run by stressy, overbearing mums who don’t have a clue about education, my ‘school’ ladies and gentleman.

It’s described as an ‘international school’, but its really a Korean school with international kids lured in by its title. All the kids are expected to fill in work books day in day out, and you’re expected to TEACH two years olds, without toys or anything fun.

It’s such a dispiriting place. Everyday we are spoken to as though we are the stupidest people on Earth, every week the ‘educational expert’ comes up with stupid ideas that she wants you to do. The kids don’t learn English, they are expected to just memorise without understanding. We don’t have enough time to prepare, so you are forced to be lazy and print worksheets. We consider ourselves lucky to have been able to teach the kids to read (there was opposition to this at first). I cringe when the kids call me ‘teacher’, I prefer the title ‘worksheet dispenser’ or ‘time waster’.

Most of the year has been spent counting down. 200 days to go, 150 days to go, 100 days to go. At the moment its 57 days to go, which still feels like too much, you’d understand if you were here, honest.

For twelve months we have had to deal with this, but luckily we only have two months then we leave stressy mum international school. It’s a shame really. South Korea is a nice place, the city we live in is nice, the people are generally nice, it’s just been ruined by that ‘school’.

It also makes me feel like an arsehole. I’ve spent a year working in another country, I’ve been to China and Japan, seeing the Great Wall of China and Mount Fuji, and proposed to my girlfriend, yet still I moan. First world problems right? This was also the year in which an old university friend of ours died suddenly at the age of 23, whilst we were in Japan. This has been the worst thing either of us have had to deal with, even now its hurts. How can I complain about anything, when something so traumatic happened? I should be thankful really, and I should stop fucking moaning.

So that’s why 2016 will be dedicated to not being miserable, a very hard task, but one I’m determined to achieve. It will also be the year in which I try to do what I want to do first, before succumbing to reality. Happy new year everybody!

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