Friday, 18 September 2009

The OTHER Andeok English Teacher

Ever since the first week I started teaching, I’ve been asked the same question, time and time again by all of my Andeok co-workers. “Have you seen Casey?”

“Casey?” I would always question.

“Yes, Casey.” They would answer back. “He teachers over at Andeok Elementary School.”

I didn’t even know that Andeok had an elementary school. So after hearing the startling news that there was more to see in Andeok, Ken and I took a walk through the 50-meter vicinity of Myungdang-ri that we hadn’t yet explored. Much to our surprise, just east of our home stood Andeok Elementary, identical to the appearance of the Middle and High School.

You know how in movies, you commonly see two people just missing each other on the street – that’s how I felt about Casey.

Many of the Andeok teachers had apparently seen him walking around, and were very surprised that I hadn’t seen him once. I was surprised too. But then it happened.

I went to the post office to deliver a letter. It seemed like another simple, beautiful day. I was walking back home…and then I saw him. A Westerner! He was casually walking out of the local convenience store, happily eating an ice cream. I knew that there were only a few possibilities as to who he was. I headed straight for him. I walked faster and faster, not wanting to miss him. I was so close…just ten meters ahead of him…

…and then he veered diagonally off-course, across the street. Duh. Of course. I must’ve looked like just another Korean…probably a little bit like a stalker too.

I shouted, “Casey? From Andeok Elementary?”

He looked confused. “Yes?”

I explained to him that I was the new English teacher over at Andeok Middle and High School, and he immediately said, “Oh, I heard about you..”

As we caught up on our experiences in Andeok, I learned that Casey had been in Andeok for seven months up until this moment. The past Native English teacher had moved on from our cozy little haven, to a more populated area. As we were talking, one of Casey’s students – just the cutest little girl (set up in high pigtails, with chubby cheeks and a look of deep curiosity) – rode up in her bicycle and asked me, “Ajumma (I don’t think I’m that old), why are you talking to the English teacher?”

My reply, “Because I’m an English teacher, too.” just made her tilt her head.

So there it was. After three long weeks of complete curiosity and no action, I met Casey at one of the most random moments in time. That’s what Andeok is all about – waiting for (intentionally, of course) and appreciating those random moments.

- Jess

1 comment:

  1. So have you been in touch with him since the initial encounter? Where is he from?