The People We Meet, writing

what two teenage girls from the suburbs taught me

I felt a warm hand on my knee and looked pointedly at it before answering the all-important question directed at me: Is the beer tent lit?

Two girls sat across from me on the streetcar, but it was clear who played ringleader. Sipping the last of her bottle of Coke, Ringleader pulled another out of her backpack. The bottles were full but the rings around the neck were already broken (explains the sort of woozy dancing). They must have hugged 3 times on the short ride to the fair. They weren’t from “around here”, they told me; they were from a smallish town not dissimilar to where I grew up. Ringleader looked like a downtown girl, Giggles looked sort of like a lost but content puppy.

Ringleader continued to put her hand on my knee every time she turned to speak to me. I gave her a sly smile — your charm doesn’t work on me — I know your tricks. Save it for the boys at school.

Watching them from the corner of my eye had made me feel both sad, and happy. They weren’t sure exactly how to get to the fair, so today must have seemed like a big adventure to them. I remember my first time taking public transportation downtown, and I remember feeling terrified. These girls gave no indication of fear, aside from Ringleader asking me upon sitting down: You know how to get to the fair, right? You’ll tell us when to get off? I wanted to turn off the music blasting from the tinny speakers of their phones, and then give them hugs. I wanted them to stop talking, and I wanted them to ask me for life advice I was highly unqualified to give.

Had they done so, I would’ve told them, stay friends. Don’t ever let a boy, or another girl, drive a wedge into your friendship. Never lose your sense of fun. Be considerate of other people (read: use headphones. You can continue dancing, but use headphones). Stay happy. Don’t be too cool to be excited.

But they didn’t, so they continued bouncing in their seats, and I looked out the window. Head bobbing to my own music.

I guess maybe her charm did have an effect on me after all.

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The People We Meet, writing

TPWM: the guys who know a guy

A white guy came in the other day with a Korean guy, both young.

I’m giving y’all the specifics because I live in a predominantly Asian and white suburb, however it’s not very common that the two mix, especially not outside of an educational setting. Naturally, this piqued my interest.

Turns out that S was visiting from South Korea, and was staying with B for two weeks. Hence the need to get a phone plan, provided by yours truly.

As we were setting up, I found out that B teaches English abroad, and has taught in Seoul, Shanghai, and in different parts of South America. I couldn’t contain my excitement as I told them that’s exactly what I’ve dreamed of doing since I was young (still am, who are we kidding), and at the very least, I’d have to try it out for a year after I finished my schooling.

This is the part where S came out of his shell a little bit, and talked excitedly about the opportunities in SK. This is actually where the two met, as B had taught in Korea. Years later, they’re still friends.

This is what I’ve learned about teaching English in SK, from them and from my own research:

  • Your employer pays for your room and board
  • Class sizes are small
  • You can make more money with private academies, but run the risk of being scammed/unfairly treated (I’ve heard some horror stories); whereas at public schools, this is less likely to happen but they come with lower pay
  • Eating local is inexpensive and healthy
  • You can buy alcohol at the convenience stores. And according to S, a beer is $2 whereas here in Toronto,  restos will charge ya $6!

Before they left, S let me know that he knows recruiters, and that he will reach out for me once I’m ready, leaving me his contact info. B echoed that S can hook me up with a good, reputable school, and he also left me a great website to post my resumé and look at job openings.

It was bomb meeting those two, and I can’t wait to make this thing happen!

Do you guys have any experience teaching abroad/share the same desire as me? Let me know in the comments below!

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TPWM: the one who doesn’t know where she lives

I need help (halp).

I looked up from my screen at work.

Hi, how are you today?

Where do I live?

What?

What is my address?

wat.

I need map.

Miss, there’s a store directory just around the corner there.

You do map for me.

I watch incredulously as this woman winds around and sidles up next to me behind the counter, peering closer at my computer screen. She corners me as she leans in. What is happening?

Miss, what’s your street name?

Uhhh… C-H-white?

Miss, I don’t… I don’t know about that…

We eventually found her address on Google Maps after retracing her steps (err, bicycle tread?). By the way, her street name did not start with a C, H, or White.

She scurries out.

(Exit stage left.)

OK miss, have a good day now.

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TPWM: the single Asian theory

I have a theory that is more or less accurate.

My theory pertains to Asians specifically, and a common pattern I’ve spotted thus far.

If you’re in sales and a single Asian approaches you, he or she is not going to make a purchase. For some reason, Asians only purchase expensive things/sign contracts in pairs, or goodness forbid, packs; with great-grandma and children in tow.

This is especially true of young Asian men/women – they’ll bring their boyfriend/husband/girlfriend/wife.

This is a good factoid to keep in mind. Don’t waste your time kiddos, know when you’ll make a sale!

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The People We Meet, writing

TPWM: the Muslim children

There was this little girl shyly watching as I worked. I looked up at the sound of two little boys screaming their little heads off, running around the mall, and noticed the little girl. She said:

Boys are silly.

I nodded and gave her a look that said, You said it, sista.

Where’s your mother? 

She’s inside that store, pointed the girl.

Shortly thereafter, the boys came back. I had gleamed from my conversation with the girl that they were her brothers, although, curiously, the two boys didn’t look alike at all. The boys eventually made their way over to get a closer look at the grown-up stranger their little sister had apparently started a lopsided friendship with.

I have money, can I buy a phone? yelled the cuter brother. He must have felt that my ears were very far from his view three feet off the ground. He held out his hand, on which laid approximately two dollars and twenty-five cents.

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The People We Meet, writing

The People We Meet

The People We Meet — sometimes they’re weird. And sometimes they make me lose faith in humanity. But sometimes I’ll meet a shiny, special human being that’ll make me want to give everyone I come across a crisp high five. In this new segment, I’m going to write about one person I meet, every time I go into work. Hope you enjoy it!

First up: The One with the Eyes

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