Archive for the 'work in korea' Category

02
Dec
08

Update

3075946401_4aebe48144_oThings have been kinda crappy here for the last week or so.  Without going into detail, I’ll just say that I hate working for Koreans and that the exchange rate is at the bottom of the garbage bin right now.  In two months, my salary has dropped by more than 1/3rd.  It’s rather depressing.

At least I will be back stateside soon.  Exactly when is still under negotiation, but it looks like I will be headed back to the states either January 24th or 31st, and then will be heading back on February 28th.  I’m hoping I can convince my school to let me go on the 24th, but I’m not holding my breath.  But, even if I return stateside on the 31st, I still have essentially a full month back at home in DC before I have to return to Korea to go back to teaching for 3 more months.  It’s less time than my Korean co-workers get, but more than I will get in the US unless I can actually make a living freelancing, so I suppose I can’t really complain too much.

2102576447_f43c91f808_b

I’m looking forward to being back in the states.  I have two kickass reenactments to attend in February, both of which are hosted by groups I am a member of (being the host is always great), and I will get to see some of my friends, and my family is going to come visit Marc and I in DC, and, of course, I will be staying with Marc for the duration of my vacation, which will be nice.  I miss him quite dearly, and I know for a fact that the sentiment is mutual, and it’s good that I have such a relatively long vacation.  By the time I see him, it will have been 6 months since I last saw him, and even with the strongest of relationships, that is a very long period to be apart.  I miss my Frenchman.  After I finish teaching here in May, we might spend some time in France, before he starts work.  We can visit his sister and I can work on my French, and we can just in general use that as decompression time; me from Korea, him from grad school.  I think it would be good for both of us.  Plus, after having lived for a year here in Korea where bread is pretty non-existent and cheese is unheard-of, I think my body would appreciate some good French food.

27
Oct
08

Grrr…

Goddamn it, one of my students hocked a lougie into my motorcycle helmet today, between classes, and I have no idea who it was.

Sometimes, they test me.  They really test me.

24
Oct
08

A Glimpse at my Week

My life has definitely calmed down now that I am only teaching at 3 schools instead of 7 and have been able to thus develop a routine.  I was told by many, many people that after the first 3-4 months, which seem interminably slow, that time really speeds up.  I was skeptical about this, due to the snail’s pace at which my life seemed to crawl for awhile there, but it is definitely proving to be true.  It feels like I go from Monday to Friday in about 3 days, which is good, because right now I’m just counting the days until I go back to the states for my month+ long winter vacation.  For those curious, here’s how I generally look at my work-week:

Monday:  My first two classes of the day are also my worst-behaved of the week.  So, if I can make it through those two without getting too angry, things are good.  Plus, at that school (which I will call GS), the teacher has decided that she doesn’t like my lessons, and so I’m basically a pronunciation monkey for her.  Makes my life easy, so I don’t complain.  Mondays I teach 4-5 classes, and I am usually done teaching by 2 or 3, and my remaining hours (until 5) are spent anxiously awaiting someone to upload the week’s new episode of True Blood, and then downloading it.  That evening, I go home and treat myself to one of my Belgian or German beers that I hoard when I find them.

Tuesday:  On Tuesday I am at my favourite school (which I will call US), and the students there love me and come to my desk to try and practice their English with me, which 90% of the time is cute, and not too annoying the other 10% of the time.  The students there are generally actually interested in learning English, and their pronunciation is the best on the island, in my opinion, so my job there is relatively easy.  Plus, the teachers there are generally happy, so the environment is nice.  The best part about Tuesdays, though, is that by 1:00 or so (and I only teach 2-3 classes), I get to head home, because that school is sane and releases me after I’m finished teaching, rather than making me sit uselessly at my desk until 5.  Tuesday evenings I spend either in front of my computer or out walking, or both.

Wednesday:  Wednesday I am back at GS, which is rarely pleasant as the teachers always seem very angry and stressed.  The students are my worst-behaved and their English is the worst, so my job there can be relatively stressful sometimes.  But, my afternoons I have no classes, so I spend that time working on my various websites, or on editing photos, etc.  Plus, after that day is done, I only have two days left in the week.  I theoretically have a workshop for the middle school teachers that day in the afternoon, but it only happens about half the time.  I teach 3-4 classes on Wednesday, plus the occasional workshop.  Wednesdays are cooking days, so my evening is usually a mix of cooking and cleaning.

Thursday:  Thursdays I am at GN, which is a decent school.  I love my co-teacher there, and like US, the teachers and students are generally in a pretty positive mood, so it’s a comfortable environment.  Some of my students there are good, some are bad, though the ones that are good are really good, so that’s nice.  I usually teach 3-4 classes on Thursday, and they’re almost aways all in a row, which can be hard, but I’m usually done by 2:30 at the latest, and then I go home.  I teach a workshop for elementary school teachers at 4pm at another school, and so I go home and surf un-censored internet for an hour or two before I have to head out again.  The teachers in that workshop are pretty low-level, which is a challenge, but all my previous experience has been with teaching adults, and the teachers are nice, so it’s usually fun.  Thursdays I almost invariably eat at the street-stand sandwich place in town, where they know me so well they start making my sandwich as I walk up to the counter.

Friday:  Friday is, well, Friday, so it’s almost always a good day.  Fridays I am back at US, and I usually only teach 2 classes, so I’m done by 11:30.  I usually stick around until lunch at 12:30, as a free meal is welcomed, and US has the best food of the three schools, but if I need to head out earlier to catch a bus or something, I can.  Because I am finished so early, and my days at US are so easy, Fridays almost don’t feel like a work day, which results in my weekends feeling almost like a three day weekend.

So, in short, Monday sucks, but then Tuesday goes by like a bullet train, Wednesdays suck but then Thursdays are okay and I spend them looking forward to Friday, then Friday is almost a non-workday.  So, really, it makes things go by rather quickly.  I have mostly been sticking around on the weekends, though I was going to head up to the province north of here to check out the foliage this weekend, until the weather called for rain and clouds there.  Maybe next weekend.  Sometime in November I need to make a trip up to Seoul to hit the expat store and an expat bar or two (I now have a ring I wear to fiddle with in class, and if I go to a bar by myself, I just switch which finger it’s on and the men mostly leave me alone – haha), but in general, I’m trying to stick around town more, since with the economy the way it is, I need to save my money.  I am still going to do the Trans-Siberian on the way home, but I may cut my time in Europe a little shorter than I originally planned, unless the economy rebounds.

Anyway, this entry is long enough, so I’ll stop now, especially since I’m cross-posting it to Waygook Next Door.

24
Sep
08

A Rather Unsuccessful Day

I will finish unpacking today.  I will, I will, I will.

I still have no working stove. This is getting old, folks. How hard is it to find a piece of gas-line tubing in a country where everyone has the same goddamn stove?!

I missed my meeting this afternoon, that will determine where I am going to continue teaching and where the new teachers will be assigned, as well as how the workshops will work now.  I really, really wanted to go, so I could have some say in how I am going to be used, but about 50 yards out of the school gate (the meeting was across town), the scootercycle ran out of gas.  I hadn’t been paying attention to the fuel gauge, because I had just been using the bike to toodle around town, rather than driving around to the different schools (longish distances), recently, and so I hadn’t really been thinking about it.  The nearest gas station is about 1/2-3/4 of a mile from where I was, and I had to push the goddamn bike the entire way.  Sure, it rolls, but it weighs quite a bit more than one would think, and it took me about 30-45 minutes to get it there.  By the time I did, I was totally sweaty and gross, and so went back to my place to take a shower.  By the time I got out of the shower and got re-dressed, it was already past 3, and the meeting had been at 2pm.  Even if it was still going on, it was not worth the effort to attend, at that point, for the last few minutes of it.  Other than the meeting, I had the afternoon off, so I just decided to make an executive decision and stick around the apartment for the remainder of the afternoon.

So, here I am.




free counters