fish food

so the week after collin left, someone was definitely looking out for me.

i went from team 1 to team 6, and got really lucky with a good group of kids. i ended up getting more involved than usual - likely because i was unintentionally seeking distraction from the slight earthquake going on in my life.

there was a bit of a bullying issue, and i had to keep an especially close eye on one boy in particular. but rather than letting him be my nightmare, he became one of my favourites. i decided on monday that georgie (in the blue jersey) would be my own personal project for the week. bright, charming, and bloody obnoxious - he was an immediate and effortless leader. my mission: get georgie to use his powers for good, not evil.

looking back at the end of the week, who knows how much - if any - good i did. before graduation he asked me to sign his passport (as all the kids do, with all the teachers), and i told him to hold off. i wanted to send him away with a written reminder of the message i'd been trying to send him all week. all i could come up with, and what i ended up writing above my signature, was not nearly as profound as i'd hoped it might be. though i guess, profound as it might have been, it would be completely useless if he could neither read nor comprehend it.

be a good leader.
be a kind leader.


saturday i went for a massage.
it was alright.
afterwards, shanda met me at the station for really good grilled chicken galbi, and then we went out in search of Dr. Fish.
this is something i've wanted to try for quite a while. i'm not sure what i was expecting, though i did know the general idea of what i was getting myself into: skin-eating fish.

this place is a cafe. you come in, enjoy a coffee, tea, or in my case a really amazing, icy pink lemonade, and pay an extra 2,000won ($2ish) for "foot spa" (or whatever they call it) - with which you get access to the self-serve coffee, toast, and popcorn station. naturally.
so we drink, and talk, and it's about -14 degrees celsius because the AC is cranked. we have some bread with butter and jam - free with our drinks. i can't help wondering why the area by the windows, with the three little fish pools, has tumbleweeds blowing through it. the place is busy. there are plenty of people. why is no one...exfoliating?
i'm comforted - a bit - when two men and a boy go over and roll their pant legs up before having a seat. shortly after shanda and i agree:
it's time.
we wash our feet and sit on the edge of our little pool, giggling and squirming with fear. after about 5 minutes of this, the boy from next door comes over and just hops right in. "it's ok?" i ask him, looking for a little reassurance. he nods a bit, but hardly notices we're even there.
shanda puts her feet in and they swarm.
i'm talking Piranha-style swarming.
i don't want to do this.
i think it.
i say it.
i consider walking away.
i like to think i'm not a wuss. but this...this is just scary and disgusting.
but we're here. and i've wanted to do it a while. maybe just...one...toe.......

suddenly 12 shimmering little fish are nibbling my foot.
it tickles...it hurts...it's weird...i hate it.
the next day, my friend carole told us that Dr. Fish is not safe, because they're supposed to use special fish from Europe.
the fish they use here are from China.

sunday we went to ansan to look at sunflowers...

we had monday off for chuseok holiday (korean "thanksgiving"), so i went to hwaseong - the pride of suwon! - finally.


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