F*CK the Police…And Korean Banks”

The cops are fine for now, but Korean banks and banking?

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I mentioned before that banking in Korea is the dumbest part about living in a country that is so technologically advanced. Personally, I don’t believe in hell BUT combined with the humidity that’s currently going on, banking here just might make me a believer. Here are some things to remember:

  1. Banks operate the exact same hours that you are working
  2. The only way to get to a bank is to take time off of work
  3. Any official bank business (getting actual, useful help, etc) must be done during the week
  4. The bank is open on Sundays for foreigners
  5. You HAVE to be very specific about what you expect from your debit/credit cards
  6. You need your passport
  7. No one remembers their passport because only idiots carry it around

What I mean about being specific is that here, you will get a basic card when you open a new account. But as I mentioned before, it is so basic that you can only use it at the ATM located at the SAME bank you got your card from. If you want to actually use your card at other ATM’s, to actually purchase items in stores, to online shop, etc, you have to tell them! This is why I have spent basically every other Sunday waiting for 1 1/2 to 4 hours to “get my affairs in order.”

I also mentioned that Sundays the bank is open for all foreigners. This means the bank is PACKED with Indonesians, Sri Lankans, Indians, etc. And they’re all those creepy types that you usually get random friend requests from. You know? The kind of guys that have NO business wearing open-toed sandals, yet they insist? The kind of guys that signed a pact and vowed to never use deodorant? Those guys. I also mentioned that at Korean banks, you have to take a number and these mofos roll in DEEP packs and take ONE number. Then they stampede the teller when the number is called and make it so everyone else at the bank has to wait hours to be helped. As soon as I see them I just…

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WELL this is a story all about how my life got flipped, turned upside down…because of my new debit card. Now, about two weeks ago, I’d had it with the banks. I woke up early, tied my hair back a la Steven Seagal, strapped on my machete, and headed for the door. I was determined to get a card that worked for EVERYTHING. The subway, online shopping, ATM’s, traveling outside of Korea, telling me when my eyebrow hairs were getting out of line, and EVERYTHING/ANYTHING else. I translated into Korean all of my hopes and dreams for the new card. I knew what colleges I wanted it to apply to and what type of man I wanted it to marry. I got to the bank and FINALLY got this card. I even made sure to TRIPLE check with the teller that it would work for everything. Everything was fine for the first week and a half- that is until I tried to book my summer vacation.

The travel expert that I am, I spent weeks watching the prices of flights go up and down and decided to wait until closer to the date I want to leave to book my ticket. This has worked so well in the past and when the time was right, I set out to book my travel. But just as I entered in my card details and hit “confirm purchase,” I got sent over to the bank’s website. This just brought up an immediate feeling of

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NOTHING IS EVER AS WONDERFUL AS IT SEEMS IN KOREA! Seriously, the chapter of my memoir that talks about Korea will be titled, “Too Good to be True: I’m F***ed.” Getting sent to the bank’s page usually means you’re going to have to install programs and certificates and blah blah blah. So much garbage just to use your own money because Koreans take being hacked VERY seriously because they are VERY gullible and get hacked constantly. So basically, I type in all of my information and then you have to wait for a service to call you so you can punch in a secret code and THEN you can finish your purchase. It is a pain in the dick each and every time. Anyways, I kept getting a message telling me I couldn’t use my card, but of course it was all in Korean. I called the English helpline and they told me it was a problem with my card and that I would have to call the card company BUT they always say that SO I just lied and said the card company sent me to them (again, they’re gullible af) so they told me to go to the bank and see what’s what. Still a sendoff but whatever. The bank in Korea and I have been brought together by fate and I have just accepted that we will have a standing date every two weeks. It’s destiny.

But that’s not where this story ends. My wonderful co-teacher was also pissed about this situation. This is Winnie and I love her because there are times when she clearly has such strong disdain for Korea that it makes my heart flutter! I like it here, but when someone hates something with you, it’s one of the most bonding experiences you can…experience. Shut up. Since she speaks Korean, she took over and worked her way through all of the passwords and codes. She took my phone to my phone carrier to make sure it wasn’t a communication error. Nothing. Winnie couldn’t figure it out and I knew I would have to go to the bank. I got to the bank, grabbed a number, and took a seat next to a guy that was experimenting with how long he could let his toenails AND toe hair grow. When my number was finally called, I went to the teller and told her everything. I navigated to the error screen that kept popping up and she told me to have a seat. After a few minutes, she hands me my phone to tell me that she locked me out. She typed in my card information wrong too many times and locked my card. SHE locked ME out and said I should call the English helpline tomorrow so they can issue me a new code and I can COME back and fix the issue…

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Then she sent me on my way because there were “many people waiting for help.” I tell you, I completely understand that the US has its problems. Honestly, before I came to Korea, I was never all, “I’m an American!” But now…

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Come back tomorrow? Americans aren’t a “come back tomorrow” type of  people. We’re a “Listen bitch, I’M HERE NOW!” type of people. Come back tomorrow? Fugg outta here!!! I will NEVER again complain about Chase or any other bank back home. They may rob us in service fees and you may not feel comfortable putting your money in them because SOMEHOW they always find a way to get to it BUT still. At least you FEEL like you have power. At LEAST they attempt to kiss your ass when you’re there! Korean banks don’t even have free lollipops! WHAT KIND OF A SHAM IS THIS!? But, there was nothing I could do. I just had to swallow that idiot’s mistake and do what I have to do.

If anyone who works in banking here is reading this:

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Thank you guys for reading and I hope you fall to the feet of your bank teller the next time you see them. It could be worse. IT COULD BE WAY WORSE~

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“Lord Voldemort Is Still ALIVE”

It is seriously too hot for anyone to be at work right now! I should be finishing up my summer camp plans, but honestly, let them eat cake.

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One of my responsibilities as a teacher is to plan Summer/Winter camps for the students while they’re on break. I’m not sure about other cities in Korea, but in Daegu, we are constantly hearing about how the schools have “no budget.”  But then they ask you for a materials list for your camp. It basically goes:

“Sobe, do you know what materials you need for camp?”

“Oh, I didn’t know we could ask for materials.”

“We have a SMALL budget for camp, so if you tell me I can try to get them.”

“Okay, well that can really change my lesson plans, so what’s the budget?”

“It is small. We might have no budget…so can you tell me what materials you need?”

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KOREA.

Anyways, today’s tale involves Lord Voldemort and yet another one of her, “You want to kill me, but the joke is on you because I CAN’T DIE!” moments. In this case, she asked me for a list for my summer camp. I kept it short and sweet:

-Construction paper
-Clay
-Chopsticks

Logically, she freaked out:

“OH! It’s cause we have a small budget.”

“Okay, well…how many kids are coming to camp?”

“80.”

“And it’s for 5 days, right?”

“Yes.”

“So…”

“Can you come shopping with me?”

“Sure, just let me know when you want to go.”

“Right now. I’m already outside.”

Two things- her telling me/ asking me things last minute is CONSTANT. At that point, it was 4:25. We finish work at 4:30 and since we had NO class that day, we could have EASILY went earlier! Now I would have to go after work with zero notice. The second thing is that going anywhere with her involves picking up her baby. ALWAYS. We could be going to an orgy and we would still have to pick her baby up first. And it is never convenient. It always involves going to her house first to check in with her parents and then waiting for the bus to drop her daughter off. Also, shopping with a toddler? Unless its my own niece/nephew, NO THANKS. So to say the least, before we even got to the store I was IRRITATED. I just sat in the car, listening to her baby talk with her daughter, thinking:

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She takes me to this large department store called “Home-Plus” that sells everything you could ever want- groceries, clothes, hedgehogs. After struggling to put her daughter into the cart and convincing her daughter that it was going to be “so much fun!” we started our adventure. LV immediately pulled out a piece of paper and a pen so she could tally everything up. We get to the art section of the store and start looking at clay. I asked what our budget was and she said it was 50,000 WON…that’s basically $49. For 80 kids. For 5 days. This has to cover all materials, snacks, prizes, etc. The smart thing to do would have been to just turn around and go home, but I just smiled and told her that maybe clay wasn’t the best idea. It cost way too much and when I suggested ordering online so we could buy in bulk for cheaper, she basically gave me a look that said, “Listen here, bitch. We’re finishing this shit TODAY.” We ended up getting a pack of chopsticks and a bunch of packs for construction paper, which brought our grand total to *DRUMROLL* $20. So we still had roughly $30 to spend. I suggested getting snacks and prizes and that’s when she started to panic yet again…

“Let’s get snacks and prizes since they’re cheap and we can really use them.”

“Um, it’s just cause I do the budget for the teacher’s dinners and events and we can use this money and we don’t have a big budget and it could be for more things…”

That’s exactly what she said -_____-. She frustrates me like no other. I wanted to be like, “Biiiiiiiiiitch! We only have $50 to plan a WHOLE ASS summer camp AND you want to take the rest of the little money we DO have to use it for some other shit?!” I was beyooooond done with her at this point! Like I could not care LESS about teacher’s events and the budget because I am not even included in said events and I honestly felt and feel like she’s setting camp up for failure. In the end, I just gave her an “I’m DONE” look and she said, “Let’s go look at the snacks.” As soon as we hit the beginning of the candy/snack aisle, she saw there was a sale on these nasty, generic Snickers and grabbed two packs of them. “This is perfect and it’s only 10,000 WON ($10) for 2!” Then she threw them in the cart and started heading toward the check-out aisle. Now, if you can do basic math, our grand total was $30 so far. I suggested we get some prizes for the students and she walked me over to the $1 toy section and the moment I picked anything up, she started freaking out and scribbling and scratching out numbers on her little piece of paper. She cut me off and said that we hit the limit and started rushing to checkout. Our total ended up being $40 SO she threw in two packs of tape (for her personal use!) that brought the total up to $50…

After we boxed everything up, she looked at me and said, “Sobe, I have a lot of shopping to do so maybe…”

DONE. She meant that she still wanted to grocery shop, so if I could just fuck off, that would be so perfect. She started looking at her watch and trying to decide how to best go about getting rid of me because she drove us to the store. She suggested that I wait and she would send a message when she was finished. I told her that I also had to shop and would just grab the subway home. “OH really?! Okay! See you Monday! It’s so far away!” NOT FAR ENOUGH DOEEEEEEE!

The worst part is that other teachers who I’ve spoken to have budgets in the HUNDREDS range for their camps, but I’m told that an application process is involved in securing a budget and I know that LV would neeeever take the time to do all that! Anytime I ask her to do anything, she just…

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Lord help us all these last few weeks….
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“Teaching On My Last Damn Nerve”

AGH LAST WEEK OF SCHOOL!!! I can’t wait to bust outta here likeeeeee

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Today I wanted to talk about co-teaching, specifically my co-teachers. One of the perks of teaching in Korea as opposed to other countries is that you get a co-teacher. You’re not alone in the classroom. You have someone to translate. You have someone to observe and feed off of. Basically, you’re not just thrown into the lion’s den with a bunch of kids who have no idea what you’re saying…BUT. This. Is. Not. Usually. The. Case. I wanted people to read that slowly, especially if they’re a new teacher or looking into teaching abroad. I PROMISE that no one tells you about co-teachers UNTIL you get here. THEN and only then do you start to hear the stories… There are no two people that have the same relationship with their co-teachers. Everyone has a different story. Some people are best friends with their co-teachers and really form a lasting bond. Some people end up reporting their co-teachers to the Office of Education -_-.  Now, your co is supposed to be your go-to person. They are the first person you have in your new life. They are supposed to help set you up for success at work and for the rest of your time in Korea. Setting you up includes:

  • Showing you your new apartment
  • Showing you where you’ll be working
  • Getting you your Alien Registration Card
  • Setting up your bank account
  • Setting you up with a phone if you choose
  • Taking you shopping
  • ETC

Now, in my case and sooooooooo SO many others, not all of this happens according to plan. I recently spent my Sunday morning at the bank for the FOURTH time since I’ve been to Korea and this ALL could have been avoided if my co-teacher hadn’t been such a careless person. I actually have four co-teachers, as I’ve mentioned before, but everyone has one main co-teacher. In those first few months, she/he is your link to all of the administrative business, apartment issues, life in Korea, etc. Now, even though these people are “English” teachers, they can’t always speak English. Yes, not all English teachers in Korea can actually speak English. This can cause lots of problems when you start working with them. There is a whole spectrum that your co-teachers can land on. Sometimes, they’re so grateful to have an English teacher, they give you full reign of the classroom. Sounds nice, until you need someone to translate or you’ve never taught before. Sometimes, your co-teacher can’t speak English very well and this results in a real power struggle between the two of you. They don’t know what you’re saying and they don’t like that, so they carefully monitor you and breathe down your neck and try to hijack lessons as much as they can. Your co-teacher might speak great English, which can result in them constantly interrupting you in class to correct you, ask random questions, etc. On the rare occasion, you’ll have a great relationship where you are both in sync with class and your co-teacher translates, let’s you actually speak to students, etc. SO RARE, yet so wonderful. I have a mix of EVERYTHING. This is a breakdown of my co-workers and my experiences with them…

Lord Voldemort– Nough’ said. This is my main co. She is, how the French would say, “Le Poo.” “Lord Voldemort” is honestly too good of a name for her… Anyways, she is the one with the baby who, together, manage to be the bane of my existence. My first few weeks in her class, she told the students I was the “Human Computer” and asked me to stand in the back of the room. The students had to ask me for help with spelling…and that was it. SO my first few months, I just stood in the back and said and did nothing UNLESS one of the kids needed help. This caused major problems when it was time for my open class…more on that later! She is someone who can NEVER be bothered, but has no problem bothering everyone. Seriously, the teacher who I replaced actually had dinner with me to tell me about how awful a time she had because of the same teacher. There are SO SO SO many examples of why she is the worst, and they include:

  • Leaving me all alone my first night/weekend here in Korea
  • Being an idiot at the bank which has resulted in me returning there on my days off FOUR TIMES to correct what could have been avoided if she wasn’t always rushing
  • Making sure her baby comes with us EVERYWHERE ALWAYS
  • Confusing “useless” information with useful information
  • THIS LIST COULD GO ON FOR CENTURIES

How I feel before/during/after ANY interaction with her:

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Chicken Little- Aside from having a baby voice and wearing very large glasses, this co-worker also has a habit of bobbing around my desk/face when she needs to speak with me OR she is just being nosy as hell, which is OFTEN. This particular co-teacher works at my second school, which if you’ll remember, is already hell. Now, she’s a kind person, but, as I suspect is the case with MANY of our co-teachers, her English is not good, so sometimes, she is too direct because she doesn’t know how else to say/ask something. At first, I would get so annoyed that she was really obsessed with time and constantly cutting my lessons or telling me to wrap things up, only to find out I still had a good 5-7 minutes left! She also insists on talking on the phone directly next to me in her baby voice ALL DAY. Besides that, she started trying to take my lessons over my first few weeks here, so I started using language and bigger words that I KNEW she didn’t understand. That way, I HAD to do the lesson. She also LOVES to start discussions with me, ask me to change lessons, etc at 4:20, when we get off work at 4:30. She is one of the first people I started saying, “NO” to, but that hasn’t stopped her from TRYING IT. She RARELY translates anything in class so I’m basically all, “Bueller? Bueller?” for 40 minutes straight. She also questions my every move and is CONSTANTLY staring at my computer screen. No shame.  I could also go on and on about her and the other ways that she PUSHES my buttons, but I truly believe she has high-functioning autism. She has many of the traits I would associate with it, and this has helped me to remain so patient with her.

As soon as I hear, “Um, Sobe?” at 4:20…

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Ming Lee- This isn’t actually her name BUT I actually have no idea what my co-teachers’ names are at my second school and this is what I call her in my head. They’ve called me by the old teacher’s name TWICE now, so I don’t really care  -_- .  Anyways, Ming is actually a substitute teacher. My real co-teacher got really sick a few months back and she’s replacing her until next semester. She’s young and cool and I have no real issues with her. The only time she was ever IRKY was during my open class with the Vice Principal and Principal. Again, it was one of my first times teaching this particular group of students and she was super anxious about the open class all day. We had agreed beforehand that I would teach and she would help the lower-level students if I was busy helping the student who was at the board (this activity required students to use the white board at the front of the room). Anyways, the Principal and VP forgot to come to the class and Ming didn’t remind them, so she calls them IN THE MIDDLE of class and they come up during all of the chaos. They then had a meeting about me and said I should have been walking around more. I asked Ming if she mentioned that it was her suggestion that I NOT do this and she said, “I did not say this.” It was just an awful experience. Besides that, she’s cool and this is really my last week with her.

When it comes to her:

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Winnie the Pooh– My co-teacher who is ridiculously cool and probably the only reason I haven’t left Korea yet. Literally, an angel here and so, so cool. Winnie is always MORE than willing to help. So far, she has helped me order things online, installed the McDelivery app on my phone (praise him!), called around to get prices for me on various occasions, taken me shopping, invited me to go out, ETC. She is always willing to help ALWAYS and often asks me if I need anything. I can talk to her about so much (except Lord Voldemort because oddly enough, they’re good friends) and she has a real sense of humor and such a good soul. I could go on and on.  I really  wish for the sake of any other teacher coming to this school that Winnie could be their main contact here, but she’s leaving next year, which is also a big reason I won’t be staying at this school, if I stay at all! She should be in charge of training co-teachers (not that they receive ANY training at all!) I really wish everyone had this type of relationship with their co-teachers because it would really change their lives here!

Anytime we have class together:

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Wow, so much more can be said about co-teachers and our relationships with them. So many stories that will never be told. So much heartache, laughter, sorrow, joy! Every emotion in the world is felt with these people! When they’re good, they’re good and when they’re bad you just wanna be like:

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If you can’t tell, I really miss “The Office.” Thanks for reading this week’s post and if you feel that I am complaining about these people too much when I am a GUEST in THEIR country then:

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How the FAWK am I a Teacher?

If any of my relatives are reading this, I didn’t actually swear…so f*** off. I wanted to write about how the hell I went from improv and sketches at Second City to teaching English in Korea. First thing’s first, like 98% of the people who are in this program, I studied abroad and loved it and knew that I wanted to travel again, but have some sort of home base to come back to. Studying abroad is really the first time you experience traveling on your own (I had done some traveling to Palestine and a teensy bit around the States). You’re with your friends and you have to book hotels (hostels…), flights, activities, etc. After that, you know how easy it is to travel and how much you can get by on. PSA: Traveling is NOT expensive and once you save up enough money to actually get out of the States, you’d be surprised at how inexpensive it can be! Obviously you’re not gonna be staying in hotels every night or flying on planes with leg/arm/breathing room BUT it’s so doable! Anyways, I knew I wasn’t done traveling and after two years of taking classes in improv, writing, acting and learning more and more about television and all the work and effort it takes to have a career, I knew I wanted to do so much more before I really settled down and started to put in the work. Once you start putting in the work for a career in that sort of industry, it can be really difficult to stop because you don’t want to waste time AND watching everyone around you making films, sketches, writing, performing, auditioning etc. can kind of scare you into staying around them and putting everything else on hold. SO for a few years, I had teaching English on the back burner and I decided to do it. As I mentioned in my first post, I applied to every single job in the world with every single company and was getting NOWHERE. I finished up my internship at a casting agency and then finished up at Second City and decided to just travel for a year. What could I lose? I was working at the Cheesecake Factory and after a year, I decided that I could spend another year NOT working or getting experience in what I’m passionate about OR I could knock something else off of my bucket list.

So why KOREA? I’m not sure there are any little girls that dream of going to Korea for their first “real” job out of college, and you never see Korea on anyone’s vacation destination. BUT teaching jobs in Asia are plentiful and they are really your best bet. South America and Europe can be very sketchy when it comes to jobs, getting paid, safety, etc. It’s really hard to get a visa to teach in Europe and if you work there, you’re not really going to be making bank or saving. You’ll be working to live, unless you are some psycho who can actually live in Europe and not spend money. I already did live in Europe and I could not NOT spend money! Too tempting. Cheap, delicious food and cheap, delicious travel! But still, with the cost of living and the instability of jobs there, I knew I couldn’t do it. Also, if you want a good job there, it’s better to have some experience teaching to get yourself  in a more ideal situation. Which brings me to Korea. Why KOREA?

  • It’s not China
  • No experience necessary
  • Rent is paid
  • Flights to & from Korea paid
  • Bills are ridiculously cheap
  • Salary is decent for the cost of living
  • Saving money is possible (I haven’t yet, but I know it’s out there…somewhere)
  • I didn’t want to teach alone, so I wanted co-teachers (be CAREFUL what you wish for, kids)
  • Traveling Asia is on my bucket list
  • My program is pretty reputable and I trusted it (*cough* *cough*)
  • I had a friend who was already here who RAVED about Korea (he’s in Seoul  -_-)
  • Everyone blogged/vlogged about how AMAZING and EASY the job is
  • Huge bonus when you finish your contract
  • I thought I would be eating noodles 3x a day and I would go anywhere for that setup

Now, there is also the option of teaching English in Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and plenty of other places in the Middle East and that option is so appealing because they REALLY set you up! The money is FANTASTIC, they pay for everything, and IT’S THE MIDDLE EAST! There’s money there and sometimes it’s just nice to be around people and places that are rich! BUT I didn’t go there because for those jobs, you do need experience first. You have to have at least a year of experience, sometimes two, and then you can apply. But also, I really wanted to come to Asia and travel here. While I may complain about WORKING in Korea, I DO NOT regret traveling here. It is really beautiful and my friends and I say that if we weren’t working here, it would be so amazing! When you’re just a tourist, you don’t get so heavily involved with the inner workings of a country and their rules of society, etc. You’re oblivious to that, which makes travel amazing. I’m sure if we actually worked in the places we dream of traveling to, we would think of them way differently.

So, despite countless attempts from my dad to get me to go to Dubai and be near my family (who I love too much and would love to be near!) I chose Korea. I should also mention that my mom is actually Korean. While many of you may know her as the half Spanish, half Palestinian woman who is white with green eyes and blond-ish hair (I think my dad brought me here from Palestine and THEN married her) she is very much Korean. Korean in that she is obsessed with Korean dramas and Korea. She is slowly teaching herself Korean and has a list of places she wants to go there/things she finds interesting. My mom knew more about Korea than I did! I thought it was kind of weird that my mom was so into Korea and that it was a weird sign, so I kind of went with it. I will say that I thought of Korea before she even began her little hobby, so back off MOM. Anyways, I took a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) class in October, applied in November/ December and I was off in March! SO fast and so exciting!

What a long, kind of boring post, right? Totally, but that is the story of how I came to be this international traveling blogger and if my story can help just one person turn their whole life around and be mildly irritated on a day to day basis, then that’s all I can ask for  :,) Thanks for reading and if you have some sort of commentary about your friend’s kid who found a great job teaching in Italy, while they had no experience and they took an Italian lover and enjoy pizza and their little fat Italian kids, then keep it to yourself because THAT’S MY DREAM AND I WILL FIND A WAY TO TAKE AWAY THEIR HAPPINESS. 

 

“Lifestyles of the Rich and the Famous..They’re Always Complaining…”

Happy Eid, kids! Ramadan is over and I plan on celebrating by eating overpriced kebabs and going to the movies! Can’t believe I’m desk-warming while my family  celebrates the 4th of July and inhales pounds of carne asada, tortillas, guacamole, chicken, and every other delicious thing I CAN’T get in Korea! But that is life. Speaking of life, why is it that when you’re not home, it seems that everyone is having the best time that ever existed? Chicago is poppiiinnnnn right now, meanwhile I have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of my new toaster oven so I can melt cheese onto my nachos  -_-  At least 47 of my friends have gotten engaged, and 36 have had a baby or are pregnant, meanwhile…nachos.

Moving along, I am going to break down what my daily life looks like since people keep saying to tell them what life in Korea is like. AND I keep telling them to go stand on a train naked, surrounded by people who speak in a different language and you’ll know exactly what it’s like! I think every teacher here knows exactly what I mean because when you live in Korea, you have to get used to people staring at you. Not just staring, but staring and NOT looking away. Ever. Sometimes I’m tempted to stare right back at them seductively and rub my nips to see if that does anything. SN: if you’re black in Korea, that is a whole different experience. Korean people are fascinated by black people and touch their hair without asking and the actual person without asking!  I think that’s insane, so I probably shouldn’t complain about the staring, but it is something that becomes a constant in your life! It definitely makes me feel bad for celebrities..but not too bad… Anywhoo, here’s a short overview of my days here:

Monday, Tuesday (School 1)

8:30     Get to work

9:40-12:10  Teaching (6th Grade)

12:10-1:10  Lunch

1:10-4:30   Desk-warming

Wednesday (School 2)

8:30  Get to work

9:20- 11:50  Teaching (5th Grade)

12:10-1:00   Lunch

1:00-1:40  English Writing Club

1:40-3:00  Lesson Planning for Friday

3:00-3:40  Conversation Club for Teachers

3:40-4:30  Lesson Planning/Desk-Warming

Thursday (School 1)

8:30  Get to work

9:00-12:10  Teaching (4th Grade)

12:10-1:10  Lunch

1:10-2:40  Teaching (cont’d)

2:40-4:30 Desk- Warming

Friday (School 2)

8:30  Get to work

9:00-11:20 Teaching (6th Grade)

12:10  Lunch

1:10-2:40  Lesson planning for Wednesday

2:40-3:20  Game World Club

3:20-4:30  Lesson Planning/Desk-Warming

After 4:30? Well that consists of at least 6 hours of me watching TV and forcing myself to NOT order McDelivery. McDelivery is the worst/best thing in the world. Last week I ate a DOUBLE Big Mac. And I enjoyed every second of it! I think people have visions of me meditating naked in rice fields every morning (on my to-do list, btw…) and then walking out into the village, while children rush up to me and attach themselves to my legs as I laugh and we head to our one-room school and I write letters on the board in chalk, while they trace the letters in the dirt with their fingers. At least, that’s kind of what I imagined I would be doing here! But alas, being in Korea is like being in any other city. I live in a bigger city and aside from an extraordinary amount of Asian people and motorbikes, I might as well be in Cincinnati. Granted, there are mountains in the distance and sometimes just walking around here, there will be a random stream or park filled with bamboo and then it hits me that I’m in Korea. It is ridiculously beautiful here, I will say-that’s coming from someone who does NOT enjoy nature! Like seriously, my dream is to live in a high-rise in the city with artificial grass on my roof. I would pave my backyard at home if I could because  I cannot stand rats and bugs! SN: I haven’t seen a single rat in Korea YET so I know it’s coming. I believe that if you are really worried about something, it will happen to you. It happens, but then it’s over, ya know? Like the bad thing just had to happen because you were so worried about it, but now you can relax! When I was in college, I moved into a house with 3 other girls my senior year and we had a huge shared backyard. Those usually mean field mice are included with the house. I was terrified that I was gonna see a mouse for my first week! I never saw one BUT while I was sleeping one night, I felt claws digging into the back of my bare thigh (it was hot and you already know the pants were off) and my body forced me to shoot out of bed. I woke up, turned the lights on, and immediately started stripping my bed. I flipped over a pillow and BOOM! the mouse ran across my bed. After frantically searching for some way to end my own life, I ended up waking my roommates up (no idea why I did this!) and my roommate Nora was not having it and basically said, “Not in my house,” and tore my room up! Long story short, a maintenance worker came and caught the mouse and then said, “I should write you guys up for having a pet, haha.”  -_______-  The longest silence in recorded history followed his comment and he saw himself out. Back to Korea…

My schedule can change and sometimes I have more or less added to it. Each teacher in my program teaches 22 hours a week. I teach something like 20 and manage to avoid the other 2 hours by constantly changing the subject when my co-teacher suggests “English Conversation Club” or anything extra at my first school. I honestly feel that not making me work those 2 hours is the least they could to for all of the annoying little things I have to put up with while here. One example of this is Teacher’s Dinners. When you research teaching in Korea, one thing that everyone raves about is going on school dinners with your co-workers. They all say it happens all the time, it’s great for bonding, blah, blah, blah. I’ve been here for three months and never once has there been anything of the sort…until last week. I arrived at my 2nd school (my LEAST favorite) and at around 11:30. one of my co-workers brought it up:

“Sobe, will you come to the dinner today?”

“What dinner?”

“The school dinner. All the teachers are going.”

“Oh….did you guys just find out about it 5 minutes ago?”

“No.”

“….Okay…well…no I’m not going.”

“OH, but it is a school dinner.”

“……OH, but you JUST told me about it…”

-______-.

This went on for the rest of the day. Not only was I fasting, but they were leaving RIGHT after school and I looked like s***. ALSO I had someone coming to install my WiFi and simply could not (would not!) cancel. Besides all of those valid reasons, I wouldn’t go simply on principle. One of the most annoying things about Korea is how last minute they are when it comes to telling you things. Now, this is something you read about when doing your research, but that doesn’t mean you have to just do what they say. I have refused several other things they mention to me three seconds before they expect it done and I’ve realized that it’s such an important key to survival here. Just say NO! There is so much power in it. It’s not like they’re going to start actually telling me things now, but it’s just something you have to do for yourself. If anything, it shows them that you will say “No” sometimes and that is SO shocking for Koreans because they are ridiculously passive aggressive here and they really get wide-eyed when you are direct with them.

Such a long post BUT please remember that YOU came HERE…so you have only yourself to blame…Thanks for reading though! Toodles!