At 11:00 p.m., when the phone did not start ringing, I nearly keeled over from an excess of panic-induced adrenaline. I checked my phone for the 10th time to make sure the volume was up, the battery was juiced. When they called, the phone would ring. I took a couple of deep breaths, and un-paused the Angel episode I was watching on Netflix. I needed to stay calm for my interview.
I was waiting for the phone to ring and change my life. I submitted a resume and it was accepted, already a good sign. Only 2 hours earlier, I had survived a little pre-interview with my recruiter.
"Ok," he said, "You need to be able to say why you wan't to teach. I'm just warning you, the principal is going to ask. Why would you come here, when you can get a much better job where you are?"
In my opinion, that really depends on how you define "better". Sure, teaching is not a cake walk. Sure, it's far from home. But after two years of letting my brain become jellified on too much internet and too little work, this opportunity seems like paradise.
I REALLY want this job.
It's been 5 minutes already. Why hasn't she called?
I'm super thirsty. My throat is trying to work down my nerves. I take one sip, two sips, and then I get up from the floor and place the glass on my dresser, where I can't reach it. "Don't eat or drink on the phone" is one of the 10 phone interview tips I picked from About.com earlier today. Removing temptation is good. I've got to remember to speak slowly and clearly, and sell the crap out of this.
I settle back into my uncomfortable position on the floor and shift my weight onto my right hip to give my left cheek a break. Angel is working it's magic on me, and I'm starting to relax.
"DO da do-do-do!" My phone jingles chipperly, I jump and almost kick my laptop, but don't. WHOOOsa. Big deep breath. Smile. (another tip from About.com: smiling changes the sound of your voice on the phone.)
"Mishi speaking." I go for my best, imitation-Mack phone answering voice. I.E. professional, and mildly surprised at the call. As if I don't have caller I.D. As if I don't know exactly whose calling. (Mack is always in professional mode when she's answering her phone.)
(FOCUS), Brain says.
"I'm sorry I'm late," The Principal says to me. "The 6th graders had a big test today. What time is it for you?"
We get chatting and I throw my nerves out the window. The Principal is easy to talk to and laughs a lot, which makes me laugh a lot. We are gabbing like old pals after 5 minutes, and we have never met.
"So," she says to me. I hold my breath, waiting. "Why do you want to come here? What aspect of Korean culture do you like?"
I am SO prepared for this question. I have written out my answer. It's grammatically perfect, professional and impressive. But when I open my mouth to tell her about how much I love travel, new experiences, blah blah blah, Mouth takes over.
"I love Korean food." Mouth says.
(REALLY mouth?) Brain screams.
This is the answer I promised myself I would not say. It was the first thing I thought of, and the second I said it to myself, I realized it was dumb. I filed under "word vomit" and filtered out of my prepared interview speech.
Nerves are twittering, (this is probably not a good idea.)
Brain is still screaming (OMG. SHUT UP.)
But Mouth goes on.
"Every time I go to a Korean restaurant," Mouth gabs, "I'm ready to hop on the next plane to Korea!"
I pause for breath.
(OHMYGOD.OHMYGOD.OHMYGOD.) Brain is trying to pray.
The Principal starts giggling.
"Really?" she says, smiling so wide I can hear it across the phone, "Do you like spicy?"
"I love it." Mouth says, smiling back.
(Okay....) Nerves drawl, (That is mildly untrue. We like spicy, but we can't actually eat it. It makes us cry.)
(Man up, Nerves.) Brain says, (Whatever it takes to get the job)
Meanwhile, Mouth is still running, unchecked. Gab, gab, gab, I love spicy food. Blah-di-blah-di-blah, Lie, lie, lie.
"I like you!" The Principal says, wrapping things up. "We'll meet soon!"
We say goodbye, I hang up. Nerves ease out of my throat, and I remember how to breath normally. In, out. In, out. Both my cheeks ache. I really need to get off the floor!
Then, her words sink in.
OH MY GOD. Brain, Nerves, Mouth are all screaming.
I'M GOING TO SOUTH KOREA!