Twenty-four

Third birthday away from home, third in a row, actually.

I planned to go down to the beach, hang out down there. Well, “planned” might be a stretch, but I entertained the idea anyway. I can’t remember ever spending a birthday on a beach, although last year came kind of close, hanging out down by the Han River in Seoul.

I thought I wanted that, but it didn’t end up happening.

During the day, I taught, prepping my guys for the speaking exam the next day and the pre-final the day after that. They had lots of questions, some of which I answered, some of which they answered, and some of which we helped each other answer. I’m getting better at that.

One student drew some cartoon murals on the chalkboard. I took a photo of the last one after everyone left.

I planned to take a photo with all the students, all of them who showed up anyway, but the faithful kept studying to the end. They needed the review, so I’m okay with that trade. Hopefully, they’ll kill it tomorrow.

Part of the review included a mock speaking exam. I played the part of the teacher, instead of letting one of them run it like I had in the past. The students answered the questions, and I let the rest of the class grade them. That worked pretty well, especially because the only guys left in class at that point were the ones who hadn’t gone home for the day yet. A bunch of them left before the final period. Pretty typical.

We joked around a lot. I like my guys.

After work, some friends and I hit up a Korean restaurant, one of the few in the city. It was all right, not the greatest but a nice change of pace and reminder of last year. I miss my friends from Korea.

When I got home, I found a couple messages from America on my answering machine, a few texts from other corners of the world, and dozens of wall posts on Facebook. I miss my family from Kentucky. I miss some of the people I’ve never even met.

A couple friends visited our place after that, and we talked. We talked about Korea and language and then chess and class. One guy chatted with me until 12:30am.

This is the longest birthday post I’ve written so far, but it might have been the quietest I’ve had since I started writing about them, the ebb and flow of birthdays. It’s hard to top last year. I didn’t even try.

I just enjoyed it, the last one on this side of my twenties.

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