The city of Busan takes on such a different character when you don’t spend eight hours a day, five days a week, for two straight years, locked in educational mortal combat with its youngest citizens. In a state of relative freedom the very same hideous alleyways of grime and filth transform, as if through glittering waves of pixie dust swirling out of a magic wand, and become charming, interesting, amusing, delightful, with flowering ivy twisting over the piles of garbage, and whole jungles gorging themselves on the cement.
You notice tourists videotaping once-hideous thoroughfares with wide-open smiles, and the sun gilds the rain dripping off the trees, and children are screaming because they’ve been caught in the sunburst without their umbrellas, and you can see each of them talking about Busan sometime in the future, when they’re much older, and abroad somewhere, talking about how much they miss it, like there’s nowhere else so wonderful.
Nine hours over the course of two days went into putting up fliers—and not a single phone call or email. On top of that, most, if not all, of the fliers were torn down, and probably within a few hours of being put up. Still, it was fun, even thrilling, to do—but we are like Dorothy trapped up in the wicked witch’s fortress, only our red dust in the hourglass is money, and we are running out.
Stay tuned as Ian’s tutoring adventures continue: can he find five more people in a city of four million who want to be tutored to speak English? Or will he be forced to drive himself back into wage slavery? Next! On….Hidden Connections!