Sunday, May 30, 2010


There was such a slow transition from winter to spring, that I feel we missed most of spring and will soon be in summer.  Oh well. At least it isn't cold anymore. 

It's been a long time since we've updated, so here's the short version of what has happened:

--Week long trip to Jeju Island that was great but also cold, windy, and raining the entire time.

--Several more death threats from students; they seem to find it funny, but I'm not amused by 15 year olds holding exacto knives telling me that I will die.  Also, I have not been given a suitable explanation as to why all Korean kids carry exacto knives (I've heard something about pencil sharpeners, but that's what real pencil sharpeners are for).

--Three-day weekend for the Buddha's birthday and a trip to Busan, where our hotel (the Elysee Motel, which I highly recommend) was awesome, and of course the weather turned foul: cold, windy, rainy.

--An international report determined North Korea was responsible for the sinking of the Cheonan, which led to:

--North Korea said they didn't do it, and would respond to any aggression from the South with "all-out war" which led to:

--The value of the won dropped dramatically, and we lost about $2000 in our savings in a matter of 2 weeks.  The won has been very slowly rising again, since China has called for peace between the Koreas, and Clinton--along several dozen other U.S. diplomats--arrived in China for economic talks that inevitably turned towards the North-Korea-Problem.  We've recovered about $500 in value from that huge hit, and hoping for the strenghtening of the won to continue before wiring money home.

--I threw three girls out of my class after being tired of putting up with their rudeness and hostility for 3 months.  They stayed outside, but made faces in the door of all the other classrooms for the next 45 minutes, which was unfortunate because our manager was in one of those classes observing Nathan teach.  We had a talk, and so far it worked out well for me, because the girls were given a talk to, their parents were informed, and if they keep up the bad behavior they will be expelled from the school.  I don't want to cause the school to lose money, but these were the kind of girls that if I heard they were run over by the school's bus, I would have to try hard to feel anything other than relief.

--We got a new foreign teacher.  After 9 months of teaching more classes than any other English teachers at the other campuses, we finally got a fifth English teacher to (hopefully) help balance out the load.  So far, Nora and Jasper have their schedules, and they will be teaching 18, which is less than 19, but still not a very appreciable change.

--Our friend Jasper, aka the DJ of the one-man act Flirtphonic, put on his first public show this weekend at a small bar called Vent.  It was great fun.

And now it's Monday again.  The above mentioned horrible trio of girls are today, and our manager, Julihee, will be observing the class.  I hope they act their normal selves just one more time, and then hope that Julihee kicks them out of the school as promised.  Of course, that's the best possible scenario, and I never expect that to come about.  Somehow, I'm sure I'll be told I'm not disciplining them enough, to which I will ask how we may discipline them since we can only give detention (we assign no grades, we cannot strike them, we obviously can't speak to their parents), to which I will be replied with a reiteration that I need to discipline them better. It's all very circular and completely irrational, but that's how Korean management seems to be most of the time.

Anyway, it's a bright, (kind of) sunny day (thanks to the smog, it's never actually very sunny) and, all things considered, life is pretty good.