So I did it....I went to Seoul and got a perm. From Koreans. And it was great! This also happens to be the same place I get my brows done. It's called Family Hair Shop and it's a gem! So, I was a tad bit nervous about the experience. I was going to get braids but since I'm officially coming home for a quick visit in February, I couldn't afford them. After 11 weeks with no perm, you can just imagine how my roots were looking. I mean, my hair still looked nice but only on the first day I washed it. Anyway, I arrived at the salon and I was the only customer there (930am!) which was nice. I sat down and selected my relaxer - Motions. They also had some other random one but I wasn't up for experimenting. I ran through my mental checklist. She did everything correctly. She not only based my scalp but my entire forehead and my ears! (basing, for beginners, just means putting oil on your scalp before applying a chemical to it) I swear I was the greasiest thing you ever saw! I watched her meticulously put the perms on my roots....HOWEVER, my only complaint was that I think she used too much perm. She was grabbing like heaps of it and slathering it on my roots. I thought to myself, "Dang, lady! You'd think I had Brillo pads coming outta my scalp!" That made me nervous...and there was also perm starting to get on the shaft of my hair - BIG NO NO!!! So I told her it was starting to burn, which it was, so she'd hurry up and rinse me out.
That went well...and she gave me a good deep conditioner! CHECK! As I sat there basking in the deep conditioning, one of the stylists was getting a pedicure. Why did it looke like her feet were snowing though?? This woman was scraping so much crust and skin off the bottom of her feet. I nearly threw up a little bit as the flakes just fell softly to the floor. Then she swept it up, ever so gently. It was like a little mound of coconut shavings. INSANE! Pedicures are not the same here...I need the whole relaxation part. I want the massaging chair and the whirlpool at my feet. I want the lotion and the hot towel afterwards. But that was nowhere to be found here....this place is definitely bootleg. Looks that will have to wait til I get home. Then my stylist, who ended up being Coconut Foot Lady, blowdryed my hair and gave me a nice trim. My hair is bone straight, which I hate. After about 2 weeks, my hair will be perfect. It'll have more body and be back to normal - fluffy and Oprah-esque!
So, here's a pic cuz I know you're dying to see it (Michelle).... I got all of those wonderful services for $50! What a steal! I remember when relaxers back home used to be that price. Then one day, they were 70...then 80...and yes, I did pay $110 for a perm once! Good ole NY....never again! Overall, a great experience and oh yes, I will be back there. So, for all of you who were worried about how my hair would be over here, rest your minds :) Although I will probably end up getting braids at some point. Too much work doing this!!
I'm going to see the new Will Smith movie tomorrow....um, can I just tell you how pumped I am?!?! My love affair with Will Smith started many years ago. I must've been about 11 or 12 and it's only gotten stronger as the years went by. He is timeless....he is vintage and amazingly humble. He is everything a movie star should be - down to earth and outta this world. I used to have albums of all his pictures. I had articles from every teen magazine and even a Spanish magazine (before I learned how to speak Spanish!) I had the poster for Independence Day on my ceiling so I could see him before I fell asleep every night. He was in my locker and on my notebooks - "Joia and Will Smith....Will Loves Joia...." with an unimaginable number of hearts surrounding our names, as if this sealed our destiny. There were others along the way - Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jodeci, Penny Hardaway (whatever happened to him!?), and Mark Wahlberg. But they've all faded from my mind...Will Smith is the one who has remained all these years, stood the test of time. Wow, I've rambled quite a bit about him....but he is truly my most favorite actor on this planet and I will run, not walk, to see him whenever I can. Now, I realize he doesn't know I exist and these fantasies only have breath inside my imagination, but I still feel like if I met him on the street today and told him of my love for him all these years, he'd give me a big hug and say, "I LOVE YOU TOO, GIRL!!!" Yup...that's Will :) So here's a little tribute to the deliciousness that is, Will Smith....
The end of my day was pretty boring...I was just monitoring my middle school kids. They have tests coming up for regular school so we just give them study time. And I started writing a letter, to no one in particular. But it soon turned into an ode to my favorite teachers. I know I am a teacher over here, but I don't feel like a teacher all the time. I feel like I'm an ex- Assistant Buyer moonlighting as a teacher. I came here with very high expectations for myself. Some days the kids don't respond and they're tired. Somedays I just don't feel like teaching, but I still have to put on that smile and give them a show, so to speak. I realized today that I won't make these kids fluent by any means in English. I'll be perfectly happy if, by the end of my year, they can speak to me in a complete sentence. Talk about lowered expectations...but honestly, they're learning a totally different alphabet. Totally new characters and meanings and sentence order. I remember how I felt taking Chinese - like the biggest moron on Earth. The difference was I wasn't afraid to be wrong...and my kids are. They won't just say something. It's very calculated. I only have one student, Olivia, who is fearless. Actually, she may have Tourets now that I think about it...but I got to thinking that all a teacher wants is to connect with ONE. Just ONE and suddenly, all those grueling lesson plans and hours after class and before class and between class become worth it. A teacher wants that lightbulb to go off for just one....
I know my kids will have countless English teachers throughout their schooling, but I hope at least one remembers me. I started feeling sad because I'm totally attached to these kids already. I will miss them dearly. They are leaving footprints and handprints on my fragile heart...and they have no idea. This is why I don't know if I could be a teacher back home. I get too involved, too emotional. I'd be walking a tightrope between parent and teacher, not being able to draw the line and not knowing when to just walk away. I'd fight tooth and nail to preserve those precious minds, those developing identities. Then I started rambling off a list of some of my most memorable teachers...this is not all of them but I ran out of time:
Mrs. Flack - my first teacher when I moved to Cherry Hill and the sweetest face I'd ever seen. She took me under her wing..
Mrs. Powell - my 3rd grade Math teacher for 2 days...she gave me the "Math complex" and I've been afraid of the subject ever since. She made it crystal clear that I did NOT belong in her Advanced class....why, I couldn't even do my double digit times tables!
Mr. Heller - my 5th grade homeroom teacher, a wonderful guy who had zero control over the class...we tormented him
Mr. Murphy - my 7th grade Social Studies teacher, a man whose energy transcended this world. The sky could fall and Mr. Murphy would just dance on the stars. That's how much he loved what he did...
Mr. Lee - my 8th grade Math teacher and quite possibly the smartest man I've ever known. His patience was phenomenal, his sense of humor impeccable, and he had an uncanny ability to breakdown math to its essence, allowing me to finally (somewhat) embrace the simple science
Miss Chanowicz - my 7th grade Reading teacher. a plump woman who danced around in her rolling chair and stirred anew my passion for printed word, she was the epitome of dedication
Coach Garrity - my basketball coach from 9th-12th grade who saw my potential. When I didn't believe in myself on the court, she always did. When I messed up, she'd scream and yell but she'd send me back out and say, "Do it again...do it right this time..." She never gave up on me and I never gave up on the team
Miss Biello - 12th grade AP English teacher, a literary Nazi in many ways who sent every one of her students hurdling towards suicide but who always brought us back from the brink with dry humor and witty one-liners. She forced on us "The Epic of Gilgamesh", "Heart of Darkness", and "Wide Sargasso Sea" (one of my favorites to this day). I can appreciate her madness now because it unveiled my love and search for something deeper. I developed my ability to analyze some of the world's greatest novels.
Mr. Mann - my high school Spanish teacher, all 4 years...I fought every year to get into his classes. I knew I'd learn a ton and have fun doing it. I think his class planted the seedlings of my wanderlust, to see what else this world had to offer.
Dr. Pyatt - my college Finance professor, the hardest teacher I've ever had. I literally sweat trying to pass his Managerial Finance class. I was up til UNGODLY hours studying and re-studying for his insanely hard tests. Most people were thrilled to get a D. I sat in the front everyday, took notes, bought a tape recorder and everything else....I passed...with a C. I came back next semester for Investments and I got an A-...he remembered me after that for sure. :)
Mr. Krantz - my certifiably insane 10th grade Bio teacher...after all these years, I can still hear his monotone voice saying, "Let your conscience be your guide..." Anytime someone asked a question about "what to do" about anything, that was his response...and it's actually served me pretty well. And he also claimed that his dead Aunt Shirley was living in our classroom garbage can....I couldn't make this stuff up...
This list is not complete for there are so many teachers, formal and informal, who've shaped me today. But it's like looking at things through a different lens now. I'm realizing that being a teacher means everyday is a chance to impact someone and leave your footprint on their heart... Until next time, J