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Leavings

So I arrived back in Korea after three weeks in Bali. I’m going to refrain from a Bali ramble and just say that it was wonderful and you should go. That’s probably all anyone wants to hear about any holiday, anyway.

 Seoul was familiar and cold. I had nine refills of kimchi in my first meal and am starting to suspect they lace the stuff with drugs.  Back in Yangsan, life this past week has consisted of no teaching and lots of goodbyes. I fear both the re-donning of the teacher’s mantle (five days) and the new phase of life that comes after friends have left. Soul the cat is also settled into her new home and knowing rationally that this is for the best has still left my heart to adjust and my apartment feeling empty.

 People’s post-Korea plans are often exciting, usually involving new locations to travel and work. My mouth waters just talking about it, and I am at the stage now where my own future plans are in sight.


Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood?

We live, as Ric is fond of telling people, at the corner of Drunk and Stupid, on a street where one or another of our neighbors is always getting in a drunken shouting match or fistfight with someone, usually on the street beneath our window.  While these incidents are highly prized for their entertainment value (after all, one can only watch Transformers 2 being replayed with Korean subtitles so many times), the real gems are the folks who live in our new but fairly shoddily built apartment building.  There is no insulation or soundproofing of any kind in our apartments.  And by “no”, I mean the wallpaper is laid directly on top of the concrete walls that make up the structure we live in. Couple this with all hard flooring and a stairwell in the center of the building that acts as some kind of megaphone, and you don’t even have to TRY to eavesdrop.  Like, we can hear our next door neighbor’s phone ring–when it’s set to vibrate.  


The trouble with teachers

As a hagwon owner, and having connections with other hagwon owners, the stories reaching your ears about teachers screwing stuff up does spark up the imaginations, and can easily create a negative attitude that remains as a cautious tale within the memory for future teachers to deal with.  ESL Teachers in Asia are their own worst nightmare, and they make it difficult for all of their colleagues to have a good career.  To be completely honest, I do feel that more than enough of expats (irregardless of their nationality and position) can make it more and more difficult for all the other expats to do business in Asia.  I am not always surprised at how some Asians do have a bad taste in their mouth when meeting Westerners, especially if they experience or hear the stories I have  heard AND experienced.

The Contract


Dissuasion

Image

What happens when you’re sure of a life decision, but suddenly get beaten down with an onslaught of criticism against it? For me, I have always carried my resolve through these kinds of storms (mostly to a beneficial end), but this time I find myself in the unique and rare position of being completely lost. How has a decision that I have been sure of for the past three years crumbled in a few days?


Dissuasion

Image

What happens when you’re sure of a life decision, but suddenly get beaten down with an onslaught of criticism against it? For me, I have always carried my resolve through these kinds of storms (mostly to a beneficial end), but this time I find myself in the unique and rare position of being completely lost. How has a decision that I have been sure of for the past three years crumbled in a few days?


Park Geun-hye : Ban them Hagwons!

Wow!  check it out! Banning “Advanced Learning”

I am not sure if President Park has ever read the Korean constitution.


Thank You.

Thank you for being patient while our media team undergoes some restructuring! As the nature of being an expat would have, some of our team has moved on from Korea and therefore we have some new recruits joining us. It’s a very new and exciting time of year!

Therefore, we are currently in the process of planning out another year of social justice themed field trips and activities to support our research and writing. Our new program begins in April 2014, so we hope to begin providing our followers (you!) with more new material by that month.

Thank you again for following us, and we hope to be a continued resource on social justice issues in Korea.


The LOR : Letter of Release (aka. The ESL shackles in the SK)

I have a whole list of resources for you to read through at the bottom of this post, but they are all saying the same thing.  They are not really discussing the real problem of the LOR.

Let us get down to some basics:

1. No institution is LEGALLY required to write a LOR.

2. Immigration REQUIRES a LOR for visa transfer to a different sponsor.  You obviously don’t need one to get a NEW E-2 (E-1) visa.


Frozen

Spoiler Alert:  If you haven’t seen Frozen yet, crawl out from under your log and do it, or read on at your own risk.

“Is it ‘Do you want to build a snowman?’ or ‘Do you want to make a snowman?’,”  my hapkido instructor asked me last week, genuinely interested in the grammatical intricacies of Disney’s newest blockbuster, Frozen.  At that point I knew that if my 관장님 (Master), a forty-something man with no small children, had seen and loved the film, that it had taken a firm hold on the minds and imaginations of the Korean public.


Empty head

This week, very few things have captured my mind to be able to write about it.  February is always a slow month, due to schools still not going into full swing.  Normally March is when the big push is.

Maybe just a few ideas, very small things.


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