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What is necessary for comfortable contemporary life is definitely culturally relative.  

Case in point:  for the past year, I have lived in a country where no one uses a clothes dryer because they are such colossal wastes of energy.  Everyone, even fairly wealthy families, hangs up their clothes to dry.   Larger items like blankets are sent out to dry cleaners, an insanely cheap luxury here compared to in the States.

And most of the time, despite resenting the fact that it can take three days for a hoodie to dry completely in the winter or missing soft, fluffy towels, I don’t mind it.  In just a few months, an object I would have considered essential in America became unnecessary here.  

Trust the media

Let me start this blog by saying that I have absolutely no problem with people making money.  I believe that, if the money is gained in a legitimate way, money represents the value created in society.

Let’s look at the following article.

The $4 Million Dollar Teacher: He “earns” $4M.  What does that mean?  Taxable income? Net Income? Revenue on his business?

He works 60 hours per week, which is standard in Korea, with 50 weeks makes a total of 3.000 hours.  To which he quips, “”The harder I work, the more I make” , thanks for the great advice, I am sure all of us are lazy louts. 4.000.000/3.000=$1.334 per hour.  Amazing.  How does he do it?  What is his trick?

Turkish Delight

Following three years of consecutive contracts teaching English in the Republic of Korea and due to circumstances that were forced upon me by the ever increasingly tight-fisted budget makers of my most recent employment, I was forced but also equally happy to take a two month vacation. I guess you could even call it a sabbatical. After spending most of my free time in the final few months at school organising my next contract and visa (and preparing lessons of course…) I found myself having very little time to prepare any travel plans. I found myself in the zone in between early flight deals and last-minute deals and chose to procrastinate on my itinerary. At the latest possible moment I booked a one way, multi stop flight to Istanbul, Turkey. After that we would see where the budget airlines would take me or if I would be brave enough to take a long distance train or bus.

Homeward Bound? Not Likely.

As I’m sitting here, I wonder if I’m really even capable of blogging about this without it turning into some chaotic rant on the state of public education.  Probably not, but I feel like I need to say something about what’s been going on in public education in my home state.

See, when you’re an expat, even a well-adjusted one like I consider myself, you always miss home.  You get excited about going home.  You think about your favorite things to eat, the people you love, and all the stuff you’re going to see and do when you get back to the world you know and love. 

Over the past couple of weeks, through a draconian near-dismemberment of public education, the state of North Carolina has made pretty sure I won’t be going home when our time here in Korea is up.  And it’s not just because of the money, although not being paid for the Masters degree that I earned is a pretty serious affront.

Thoughts at Six Months: One and Done or Beyond?

The majority of those who come to South Korea to teach English, to experience a new culture and all the standard trappings of the “expat experience,” usually stay for their first contract—one year. I base this only on anecdotal evidence. After nearly six months here (in a row, at least), I have already said goodbye to several who have stayed their one year; I will say goodbye to several more this month. Maybe some of them extended their stays by a month or two, as Martha did. But, for the most part, for many, it’s one and done.


Seeking Participants: Survey of 30-Year-Old Women Around the World

Seeking Participants: Survey of 30-Year-Old Women Around the World

Please help us paint a picture of 30-year-old women around the world!

Turning 30 this year was a really great experience and I couldn’t help think back on all the ideas (some much less accurate than others) on what 30 was supposed to be. 

 I’ve been fortunate to connect with amazing people from around the world (you!) and I wanted to use these connections to paint a picture of 30 year old women around the world. (Men and women was just too much on my plate right now! Specifically 30, again to narrow down the variation.)

Newspaper attention

I guess I do need to say something about this.

First of all, thank you Elaine Ramirez and The Korea Herald for the added attention to my blog, you broke my record number of visits.

I’ve also received e-mails and they are very much appreciated.  One talked about adding RSS feed, now just to find the trick on how to implement it on this blog of mine.  Another e-mail made an interesting observation about teacher training which inspired me for another blog post.

It seems that some viral effect was noticed and let me see if I can address some of the issues raised in those messages.


Before you know it –

It will be autumn in Korea
The green leaves that sprung up and out from the earth
Will fall back to the earth
Taking the stifling steam bath with it
And you will be renewed.

Before you know it –

It will be winter
And by then you will know if
You’ve chosen to stay in Korea
Or finally, after over 10 years,
Put it to bed for good and always.

Before you know it –

You will be somewhere else,
Be it February 2014,
Deep in the withering Busan summer,
or another year gone.
What then? Before you know it, you’ll know.

Before you know it –

Many happenings

Sorry I haven’t blogged. During my hiatus, the season continued and ended. This post will fill you in until the final tournament, if you’re interested.

After the tie documented in the last post, the boys steamrolled through the remainder of the regular season. One game, on a 6-against-6 field, they split into two teams, played four games against the host school’s two teams, and won something like 50-10 on aggregate – a retreat-to-the-hills route.

Kaizen Korea Documentary Teaser

A Humble Attempt at Thank You in 500 Words or Less

What started out as an idea for some 30 second blip has morphed into something utterly beyond ANY of our wildest expectations…. and this is just the 2 minute preview.

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