Stuff

1. I had dinner yesterday with the two expats I get along with most here (A Nova Scotian and a North Dakotan – seen above with her dog) and a Korean co-worker, and they are all really glad that I stood up to my supervisor. They say that I have really done a service for whoever works after me, because everyone before me let the supervisor push me around, and now she knows that she can’t always do that to foreigners. So, maybe she will be less likely to push so much in the future.

One thing that I didn’t talk about here was that when I went in to talk to the supervisor about the housing/etc situation in regards to me quitting, I went in with the phone number of the labor office and an English-speaking employment lawyer (they’re cheap here and often work for ESL teachers who are getting jerked around) on an index card, which I had labled in both Korean and English. When she started to make a fuss, saying that she felt her “alterations” to my contract were within reason, I pointed at the card. She quieted down and grumbled. Then after I said “If you do not follow my contract, I will quit, like I said I would.”. She fussed again, and said that if I quit, she would not write me a letter of release (which they are required to do if I leave after more than a month of employment), and so I pointed to the index card again, and said “If you don’t, I will call.”. She fussed some more in Korean, and I picked up the phone and started to look at the card, and she freaked out and told me to hang up, and then her English mysteriously improved (we had been speaking through a coworker who knew a little more English than usual) and she said she would see what she could do, which is how I got to where I am now. 

That’s definitely the Adams genetics coming through there. I don’t take no for an answer, and I *will* take things to a higher level if I have to (I really was going to call the labor board), and I will not sit down until we have come to some sort of agreement. I am not someone you really want to try to fool, when doing so may piss me off. I generally see right through that sort of thing, and I will have none of it, and if you *really* piss me off, I’ll probably try to take you with me. And apparently, if I were to leave this job, I’d be taking the supervisor with me, especially if I involve the labor board. The Korean at dinner confirmed this.

I swear, I’m not really an automatically contrary person, I just always seem to be underneath someone who thinks they can push me around by lying to me. I get more naturally contrary every time this happens though, and it has happened a lot in my life, so by this point, I have how to deal with these people down *pat*.

Shiro and Erin

2. It looks like Marc will be coming in on the 11th! That’s like, 16 days from now! Today at work I will be writing up a letter confirming the dates they have listed as my vacation, which I am going to make them sign. Basically it will say “Kelsey Freeman’s personal vacation days (days on which she may leave the country) are from July 17th until July 27th.” but in much fancier, more official language. Once they sign that, if they fuss about it, “the index card” will come out of hiding again. I don’t want to use the “I’ll quit!” threat if I don’t have to, but unfortunately it seems to be the only thing they listen to. Hopefully things will quiet down again soonish. Not counting today, I only have 14 teaching days left before my vacation, then I have my vacation, then a camp, then a 2 week workshop, then I start the new semester, and hopefully that after the craziness of all that, things will fall into place a bit more. Well, at least until winter vacation comes around and I get to go through this whole rigamarole again.  

3. Now that I’m almost positive I’m staying here in Jindo (well, somewhere on the island, at least), I’ve started to get a couple more things to make my apartment nicer. I got a second rug, since the first one has been relegated to in front of the sink, and so this one now sits next to my bed. I want to get two to three more, depending on what the new house is like. I want one for my feet to rest on when I’m sitting at my table/desk, and I want one for right outside the bathroom, because I often have to get out of the shower mid-way and turn the water heater back on (it sometimes turns off at random), and the linoleum takes forever to evaporate the water, so sometimes it’s still there when I get back from work! I also need a fan, unless the rumor that the house in Gunnae has AC is true.

4. Koreans are really into acupuncture. The other day, I said my throat was bothering me, and one of them took out this little pen with a tip similar to the metal tip on a high-quality mechanical pencil but with no lead or anything, and then started poking at and pressing on various points on my middle finger with it. It was a very strange sensation. Not sure it did anything, but who knows. My throat *was* better the next day, for what it’s worth.

5. Lisa showed me a restaurant one block from my apartment that serves pizza. It’s pretty good, but they stuff the crust edge with sweet potatoes instead of cheese. It’s weird, but surprisingly good. I actually eat the crust here, instead of putting it aside.

6. It hasn’t rained in a few days, but it hasn’t been sunny either. The clouds are extremely low, covering the tops of the mountains that cover the island, which are generally only about 1000-1500 feet at best. It’s very pretty, and reminiscent of cloudy days in Lauterbrunnen in Switzerland, but it means it’s very damp too.

7. Here in Korea, you are considered to be one year old when you’re born, and you also gain a year at New Years in February, I’m 24 by western standards, but I’m already 25 here, in September after my birthday I will be 26, and in February I will be 27. It’s weird, and I always have to remember to subtract a year or two from someone’s stated age. Until I started stating my “Korean age”, people kept saying “You’re so young!”, and now I know why – they were thinking I was 22 years old! Oops.

8. As much as I rag on the Koreans, most of them are incredibly nice people. The other day, I taught my co-teacher here at Jindo the Americanism “favouritest”, and I used the example “some of my favouritest foods are fried chicken and watermelon” (hellooooo southern upbringing…), and just now they brought me a whole tray of fried chicken and watermelon. This is literally one of the sweetest things anyone has ever done for me, right up there with when Peter broke into my room while I was gone to Boston during Valentines Day to work on my Div III (he was an intern, with access to keys, though entering a student’s room is a huge no-no) and left me a cute handmade valentine on my desk, back when we were dating.

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