I really didn't think I would like kids.

This weekend is the beginning of the Chusok holiday here in Korea, which means that millions of Koreans are leaving Seoul and travelling to their hometowns to be with their families. Chusok is the Korean equivalent of Thanksgiving, except with an emphasis on honoring dead ancestors that is largely absent from the western version. You can read more about it here and here.

The two students I have been teaching the longest — Chris & Steve — moved to Vancouver, Canada with their mother today. They are going to live and attend school there for three or four years while their father stays in Seoul to work. This is surprisingly common here — mothers moving to America or Canada with their children while the father stays behind to work. English ability is one of the most important factors in getting a good job here, many parents are willing to sacrifice their lives and relationships in Korea in order for their children to have a jump on the competition.

I’ve grown quite attached to Chris & Steve, so I am sorry to see them go. We spent three hours a week together for the past six months, and I’d begun to feel strangely paternal towards them. I’d never really spent much time with children before coming to Korea, so it’s a constant suprise to me that not only do they seem to enjoy being with me, but that I usually enjoy being with them. I really didn’t think I would like kids.


Stay tuned for more on my trip to Tokyo, and please don’t vote for Bush.

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