Update

The rumor was true.  My Supervisor from Hell™ is indeed being transferred to Naju, and so I am getting a new one on Monday.  I’ve already met the guy, and he’s awesome.  His English isn’t great, but it’s better than SfH’s, and he’s very friendly, has been to the states, and loves both Boston and the Sox.  So, this bodes well.  Maybe my luck is changing, eh?

First week of the new semester went well.  Korean kids spend much of their vacations in various other forms of school, so there isn’t as much of a post-summer rowdiness issue as I have experienced in teaching in the US.  But, there’s still some, so I took this week relatively easy for them.  Next week though, it’s back into the abyss.

I’m really, really enjoying my new scooter.  Makes getting around the island quite easy and pleasant.  It also makes it easier for me to get around to take photos like these:

Field of Sunflowers

Field of Sunflowers

and

Dolduksan

Dolduksan

I can theoretically drive it all the way to Mokpo, but I’m not quite that brave yet.  Maybe after another week or two, once I’m more comfortable with the highways.

Apparently, come October, I may be essentially the only foreigner on the island. They can’t find replacements.  The irritating Torontonian (or whatever they call themselves) left in August, and he taught at the high school. Lisa, who teaches at the “English Town”, leaves to go home to Nova Scotia in October.  There’s a guy who works at the local hagwon, and while I see him more these days, it’s still not really regular. That leaves me, that guy, and E. However, E is married to a Korean, and we (the other foreigners) don’t see her that often, and we’ll see even less of her when her baby is born in September.

According to the recruiter that works to find jobs for this area, nobody wants to work in rural areas, and they’re having a really difficult time finding anyone to come work here. Hopefully they’ll find someone soon, or I’ll have to recruit someone myself!

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10 Responses to “Update”


  1. 1 Mom August 30, 2008 at 9:07 am

    So good to talk to you this morning. Glad you had time. Lola is a hand full, but she’s really sweet. I hope you get to see her sometime.

    We’ll try to talk again on Sunday.

    Love you, punkin

  2. 2 Erin September 1, 2008 at 4:35 pm

    I DO have a job, and where did you get the idea that the Candian who left in August is a druggie????

  3. 3 Driftingfocus September 1, 2008 at 4:44 pm

    Sorry, I was under the impression that the teaching was only an occasional thing, not a full-time job. I guess I misunderstood the situation.

    As for M, I didn’t name him for a reason. Perhaps druggie was the wrong term, and perhaps I’m just conservative by comparison, but to me, someone for whom spending a vacation while tripped out on shrooms and other drugs is spoken of as their favourite thing, and whom seems to do drugs on a regular basis when not in Korea, to me, fits my definition of “regular drug user”.

  4. 4 Erin September 2, 2008 at 10:16 pm

    Don’t you think that after having gotten the wrong impression about my job situation after having multiple conversations about it, that you might have also gotten the wrong impression about someone else’s drug use based on one conversation?

  5. 5 Jessi September 4, 2008 at 11:13 pm

    Has it been more difficult to recruit teachers since the new VISA regulations? I’ve been hearing nothing but complaints about them, though I personally support them and think they should have happened ages ago. I always thought if I returned to teaching in Korea I’d want to go somewhere rural. After 3 years in Seoul it would be a welcome change!

  6. 6 Driftingfocus September 4, 2008 at 11:24 pm

    Yes, because whereas before you could be in the country within 2-ish weeks of applying, now the earliest you can really get here is about 6 weeks, from application to touchdown in Incheon. For many, that’s too long. Also, many can’t pass the CBC, as they disqualify you for ANYTHING, including more than one speeding ticket. Hell, they recently got rid of the marijuana part of the health check because so many applicants were failing it that it was narrowing their pool too much. Let’s face it – Korea would rather have crappy teachers and be able to pay them poorly and complain that they’re crappy teachers than go through the effort to actually get qualified teachers and pay them appropriately.

    Most people do not want to be in a rural area. There is little to do (fine with me, but I mostly read, write, and go for walks), nowhere to buy anything (I have to drive 20 minutes to buy groceries of any sort), and sometimes, no other foreigners. Most of the waygooks in Korea are here to “have fun”, and they are certainly not going to get that here, where I am woken up by the roosters next door. I love it, but again, I worked on a farm for free in college, so I am not your typical teacher here in Korea.

  7. 7 Jessi September 6, 2008 at 5:31 am

    I heard they took the marijuana restriction out, but that wouldn’t have been a problem for me anyway. Now the speeding tickets…that’s a different story. 🙂

    I had more fun (and alcohol) during my time in Seoul than in all my years in America combined. But I also think I worked harder at my school than at any other job I’ve had. My time in Korea was all about balancing work and play, which was a good life lesson for me to learn. In America I’m such a homebody, just gardening and reading and watching documentaries. I feel a bit overwhelmed by cities now, though I don’t know if I’d want to be as isolated as you are.

    Sorry to read you’ve been having a bit of a rough time. Hopefully it clears up soon! Chuseok must be coming up…maybe some travels to a place with more English speakers will help a little.

    Take care.

  8. 8 Driftingfocus September 6, 2008 at 11:53 pm

    Wouldn’t have been a problem for me either, but apparently it was for many.

    I work pretty hard at my schools, though since I work at 7, I mostly repeat the same lesson over and over. BUT, the hard work comes in when you consider that, since I’m at a rural school, the level of my third-year students is around most elementary school hagwon students I have met. I don’t really drink (maybe twice a month, and only one beer, two at most), and so that sets me apart from pretty much everyone, both foreigner and Korean alike.

    I’ve lived in cities (Houston, Boston, Washington D.C.) and lived in rural areas, and I tend to prefer rural areas. I like to keep to myself, and I generally find most people to be irritating. So, other than the fact that I sometimes get a bit lonely when I’m going through a rough patch, I actually prefer this isolation.

    I’m hoping to go up to Seoul for Chuseok. I try to go to the Quaker Meeting up there once a month, and it’s cheap for me to visit because since I stay with the other members, I don’t have to pay for lodging, or often meals.

  9. 9 Brian September 8, 2008 at 9:31 am

    I tell you what you’ve got some nice-looking photos here. Jindo seems like a neat place.

  10. 10 Driftingfocus September 8, 2008 at 9:42 am

    It’s a very beautiful place. Not quite as nice as Wando, but way less touristy. Gotta like dogs though, as they’re everywhere.

    And thanks for the compliment. Back in the US, I teach English to immigrants and am a freelance photojournalist, so Korea is a good opportunity for practice in both.


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