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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Dire Situation and the Exploration of My School

I've already mentioned how my shower is a no good, dirty tyrant with a rare and capricious taste for hot water. It spews forth cold water and only intermittently, when the tenants on the lower levels aren't taking their showers does it become lenient and allow for something a bit warm. Even when it does work, it is a poor, stingy trickle. And then it is very hot; it almost scalds.

So just the other day, when I came home from school, I was immediately invited to go to shoot golf at a indoor facility with 2 of the guys in my building. Not that I can't wait to play golf. Quite the opposite, I saw it is an excellent opportunity to see something I've never seen before and to socialize with some of the other tenants. Now, it was Tuesday and I think it had been Sunday since I last showered. So, all I wanted to do was take a measly shower in my apartment. But after having the water on for maybe 5 minutes, the usual warm up time, the water instead of turning warm, it turned off. I was once again without a shower. So, I did something embarrassing. Though, true to my nature. I lost my temper and completely ripped the shower head off. I was like an irate Moses landing my frustration on the stupid rock, because there was no water. So there was to be no shower. Now, nor ever. I was pretty distraught right then and there.

So I resolved to rig something up to take showers. I found some spare tube and hose but couldn't connect it with the bathroom sink. In the meantime, I really needed to take a shower. But that would have to wait til tomorrow. I had to shortly scoot out for that strange and useless game called golf.
So this morning I woke up and it was Wednesday and I hadn't taken a shower since Sunday. So, I thought, "Surely in my school somewhere there is a shower. I mean there's a swimming pool. I'm left with no other real option."
So, I brought my shampoo, shower gel, and towel, if in the event that I should find a shower. In the middle of the day, from like 12:30 to 3:00, I have this long lunch and planning time. I'm already struggling to find something to fill the time. This would be perfect time to go on a exploration of this school in quest of a bath. But, I don't know if this is apparent to anyone else, but the awkwardness of trying to take a shower at an elementary school. I mean this could look bad. Real bad. What if I'm caught by one of the faculty? One must have ones clothes off to take a shower and being naked in an elementary school just doesn't sound nor look right. Or worse yet, what if one of the students wanders off and catches me taking a shower. Very awkward. And still it could even be worse, what if one of the students wanders off and catches me taking a shower but before they cry out or run off, maybe they're standing there bewildered at the naked white man drying off or what not, and a faculty member walks in, and sees me and this student in the same vicinity? I mean how horrible would that be? I don't think there could be a worse thing to happen. Dang it! And all I want is to be clean!

But something tells me this is so unlikely. I mean, the kids are way off in the cafeteria and various classrooms during this time. I'm sure if I found a shower it would be like one in a spare janitor's closet or a rarely used bathroom in a basement somewhere.

So I began my exploration of the school. The Jayeon School is divided up into two separate wings. One is primarily the English Language part (the part that I am only knowledgeable about.) And the other wing is the normal Korean school. On the English side there are 4 floors. The first floor is strictly administrative. Floor 2 and 3 is where all of us English teachers have our rooms. My room is on the 2nd Floor. One of the offices is on the 3rd Floor. And down in the basement is this swimming pool and a small kitchen. The kitchen is for the staff. The main kitchen and cafeteria for the children are all situated in the opposite wing.

I had no idea what was up in the 4th floor of our wing, no one ever went up there. It was quite the mystery. When much to my suprise, when I ventured through the shut door. Its what was called the English Village. And they all had these mock scenarios for the children to play and experience the world in English. Remember those little plastic kitchen sets that every little girl plays with? Yeah, my sister had one. It was like that...except it was the full works. They had an entire market with all the meat and can goods in plastic. They had the little shopping carts stacked against the wall. Then they had this little "play" airport with a toy security area that you walk through (Something tells me that these don't sell real well on the toy market.) They even had small airplane seats where the kids can pretend like they are actually on a plane. -And that was only the first main room.

I ventured over to another room and saw this mock beauty salon where all the little girls can even put on wigs and "get their hair and nails" done. I even think they had fake mascara for sell. They had a fake clothing store and such. It was like a little shopping mall.

What made matters more eerie is that the entire place was vacant. I mean, there was no sign of anyone else on this floor. The lights were out. And nothing was stirring. It was unnerving really. I continued to explore another hallway. I found this little area that was supposed to be the children's post office. They had fake currency. Some Korean, some euros, some American dollars, and even fake Canadian money. There was a little shelf with real post office forms, real Fed-ex looking boxes, and real envelopes. "So strange", I thought. I so hope that we foreign teachers get to teach lessons here. I hope I get to be the American postal worker.
And still, I went on. I saw this room that was supposed to like the children's pharmacy with a pharmacists station. And behind that was a mock hospital. With a hospital bed and even a play I-V. (The beds were real and looked comfortable; I now know where I can sneak off and loaf around.)
Yeah, the whole thing was so bizarre, but yet impressive. It was like a little people's ghost town. But still no shower.

I ventured into the other wing and made my way up onto the scenic roof. Very nice in the sunlight. They even had bushes up there. Then I went down, sneaking by the cafeteria where all the kids were busy making all kinds of racket with their tiny tin trays. (This was the first time I saw where they eat for I never wandered in this hall.) There was this other large room with a piano where I guess certain small performances are made. Whole closets were devoted to drums, tambourines, and other noisy instruments I'm sure the kids love banging the heck out of them. Then, I went down past the offices, and into the basement on this side and thats when I opened this door and through the crack saw these two older men laying down on mats taking naps. I think they were the bus drivers or maybe the Chinese teachers. I couldn't tell and I shut the door before they awoke. Yes, very strange indeed.

I next went to where the pool was, in the basement side of our wing. And that's where I found this little bathroom and a shower that had the most beautiful, hot water streaming from it. So I shut myself in the bathroom. And finally, took my shower without anyone walking in on me. And tomorrow I hope to see if I can fix my shower in my apartment so the above adventure does not become too frequent.


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