The Student Becomes the Master

This week has been a far from regular week for Kris and I up to this point. Apart from a host of students still staying away from school due to fears surrounding Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), the majority of the adjustments come as a result of Kris’ mother, Dalene, visiting us.

The first major change has been to our morning routine. Gone are our communal showers and commiserative cuddle time. They have been replaced by separate cleansing and, well, going to work early. Our lunch times are now spent showing Dalene local food close to our school. And our evenings have gone from being lonely hermits in our cave of isolation into excursions around Dongtan and, starting from tonight, Seoul itself.

While I do miss spending time alone with Kris, it has still been a wonderful experience. Showing Dalene both
the big and the little things we love about the city and country we’re living in had helped us to see past the mundane drudgery of the work week and appreciate the good things about where we are right now. This has been great at warding off despondency, and cheered us up a great deal.

Dalene has also, impressively, taken it upon herself to see as much as she can in her short stay here. Every day while we’ve been at work, she has been pounding the pavement, taking in as much of Dongtan as her eyes and legs will allow her to. She has seen places that even we have not seen (hence the name of this post). We have become so caught up in our daily routine that we have not explored as much as we first did. This has been a reminder that we should take some time to see more of our city every once in a while.

Overall, Dalene has been a wonderful guest, and it has been a week that has given us renewed strength to carry on with our lives here. And maybe venture out of the fortress of solitude from time to time. Maybe.


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