Wednesday, July 15, 2009

My year anniversary

As of July 16th, I will have been in this country for exactly 1 year. I got off the plane around 9pm and was escorted to a love motel on a back alley. I remember being wired from the excitement and went to the front desk to try to use the Korean that I had been studying for so long that I thought was so good. I asked where the PC bang was... and then I realized that I couldn't understand a word and that I was screwed.

I started my job as an afternoon teacher and soon fell in love with the students, schedule (1-8pm) and the lifestyle that my paycheck and free apartment could afford. I traveled to Taiwan for Chuseok, Vietnam for Christmas, Hong Kong for Lunar New Year and Beijing for Children's Day/ Buddha's Birthday. I'm leaving for Bali in two weeks, not to mention several trips around Korea.

I was really lucky to have found a decent school. I've always been paid on time, and my school gives us some perks like free temple stays and Chuseok and Lunar New Year presents that not every teacher gets.

The only thorn in my side about the whole experience thus far is/was my stint teaching Pre-school. Starting from March, I was switched to a 9:30-5:00 schedule without a choice, and forced to teach preschoolers which is something that I really never wanted to do. I really tried to keep a positive attitude, but the students really cause me so much stress it makes my chest hurt some days from the constant shouting from their part and mine, the constant bickering because they spend too much time together, and the constant problems that they have that I need to solve.

Fortunately, starting Aug. 3rd when I come home from Bali, hopefully well rested, I will be switching to my old position, seeing as how my contract has been renewed for an additional 4 months and there was an position opening teaching afternoon classes again. I have a facebook countdown to my last day of preschool, which I have had running since July 1st.

I think my biggest hope for a year in this country was to become proficient in Korean. I'm no where near that, but I've already achieved much more than 95% of the foreigners that come to this country. When I speak my infantile Korean, people assume I have been living here for many years, and are very surprised when I tell them that it's been less than a year. Now that I go to my hagwon (I'm on my third month) I hope to be much better by the time I finish my contract.

I will be completing my job around November 19th or 20th, hopefully traveling for a few days, then coming home just in time for Thanksgiving. I feel as though I should look for a job at home, so as to not completely waste my degree in science. But, I feel that I am going to be too picky about jobs and probably wind up back over here for another year. We'll see what happens, I'm trying not to plan too far in advance, in case other opportunities arise.

Thanks to you all who read my blog often and follow my silly little adventures. I hope that you continue to read my blog, leave lots of comments and send me all your questions. I have had an amazing time so far and I'd like to help anyone else I can to get to this place.


  1. REading this post helped me understand that we don't have to worry so much about the future. That if we (teachers) do a good job and complete our contracts we can choose to do what we want afterwards. I am so scared sometimes that if I don't know my contract decision for next term I will be screwed in life. Meaning if I take the risk and complete this contract and do something then find another job again that life will be ok.

  2. YOu know, the worst that can happen is that you renew and then change your mind and leave. You are still entitled to your plane ticket and severance. Just see what happens and do whatever you think will make you happy!

  3. Congratulatons on your anniversary! I'm not too far behind you!

    BTW, I love following your "silly little adventures".

  4. CONGRATS on the year. Why not stay for another few years? You might get further along in your knowledge of Korean and might have more fun times to add to your life.

    I'll be landing in Incheon at the start of Sept. Looking forward to it.

  5. Well... I have to go home some day... only child and all that...

  6. I see. That's understandable. Me, too. But, I want my own life.