My whole life, my friends have been older than me. I was always ‘strangely mature’, in the sense that I was never relatively keen on subjects people my own age were worried about. I am the youngest of three, so I guess I have just always been accustomed to being around older people, watching what older people watch and reading what older people read. But, along with this comes an interesting aspect… being ashamed of your age. I have oddly enough lied about my age many-a-time hoping to actually be seen as a relatively older person versus being a kid who is acting like an older person.
This shameful feeling actually, surprisingly enough, shines brightly in Korea. Because I am white, and because I am young many people think I am here teaching. The idea of an American high schooler living in Korea never really dawns on them. So, I often find myself being categorized with teachers, and I feel awkward and strange when people ask what brings me here, and I tell them I’m in High School. I’ve started to feel like I’m better off telling people I’m studying at university or a Hagwon teacher rather than a High School student.
I brought this idea up with an acquaintance who is actually in their 20s. I told them how I felt about being a high schooler in Korea and the strangeness that comes with it. I admitted that this country is far different from America, where the teenage dream is being free (anarchy), experimenting with alcohol and surpassing curfew… I’ve started to learn that most of these kids lack the problems that I have/had. (which are/were pure rebellion). I continued to say that I feel like I would be better off in this country if I was 25. My acquaintance looked at me funny, and practically told me that I was foolish for making that statement, that I am a teenager, I can’t pretend to be something else, and that I must live up my years as a teenager because I will be in my 20s before I know it and quit being so ashamed…
The Rebel from the Breakfast Club…. see, more people SHOULD rebel because look how cute he is…. 🙂 well duh, any girl in their right mind goes for the bad boy!