The Truth Thus Far

Stuck In The Middle With You
September 17, 2008, 5:58 am
Filed under: Korean Life, Travel, Work | Tags: , , ,


I’m not even kidding. 12 hour flight from Minneapolis to Toyko and I’ll probably end up between some fat guy with head lice and a snuggler. A wise woman once told me, “take valume.” Sadly without insurance I can’t even fake anything that needs valume, but thank goodness for the muscle spasm of Summer 2008 because I’ve got a nice supply of muscle relaxers.

For those of you who don’t know-and I’m gonna assume that everyone as this is my first post- I’m headed off to Korea on Saturday to teach English to some snotty nosed brats kids in a 학원 or hagwon (Korean for private language institute) in Nowon, Seoul. I say brats kids with all the love and excitement in the world, and with a healthy dose of hesitation as I’m not sure what it’ll be like teaching elementary school and middle school students a foreign language.

I know you’re probably asking yourself, “Why, 50CentSeoul? WHY!!!???” Trust me, I’ve heard that panicked question a million times by now. I’m not sure why it seems so crazy or complicated, but there’s a pretty easy explanation.

1. Money- I’m getting paid a really great salary, tons of holidays and paid vacations, a free apartment, and a free round-trip ticket to South Korea. With all this I’ll have enough cash available to save for graduate school and to start paying back my $25,000 in student loans. Not to mention, Korea pays the best of any ESL destination.

2. Travel- A free ticket to Asia? Heck yea! If you know me (or if you want to know me), my obsession with travel is a good thing to note. I’m a fairly well dressed, dirty hippie, and I love a good travel backpack, a questionable hostel, or crashing on the couch of a random stranger (yay, couchsurfing!). Travel around Korea should be relatively cheap, especially if I keep up my CS ways, and being so close to Japan (a place my mother once lived) and Hong Kong (where my uncle and cousins live) is very tempting.

3. Boredom- Want to know what I did this summer? Sleep. Watch Korean drama. Nap. Eat something. Watch Korean drama. Chat online. Study Korean. Sleep. I’m sad the Olympics are over. Its like the excitement in my life left with it. My two best friends in Atlanta, Player and Brazil, have done the unimaginable and have actual lives without me. So I can’t hang out with them EVERYDAY…plus our routine of Waffle House. Starbucks. Waffle House. Starbucks. has gotten a little embarrassing. 5 years of the same and my mom is starting to make fun.

So as you can see, I have no reason not to go. And on top of all that I actually really enjoy Korean culture. It’s both completely and utterly different (who knew ^^ was an emoticon for a smile?) and exactly the same (Korean friends definitely grossed out when I made them watch cup girls). So try not to seem so shocked and afraid. I’m not exactly going to live in a tiny Inuit village. I’m going to one of the biggest cities in the world.

Anyway, I have little idea of what my hagwon will look like, but one of the ladies (Hye Kyung aka Luna) I’ve been talking to on livemocha checked it out for me and said it was really nice. There are 25 other native English speaking teachers at my hagwon- which is great since most hagwons have only 1 native speaker and then Korean teachers with questionable English ability. I think most teachers in Korea are Australian, Canadian or American but you can also be from South Africa, the UK, or Ireland. So I’m hoping for fewer Americans and Canadians. It could be like an international festival every day. Or not.

I’m not really done with this post…but its so long it just needs to end.

Until next time…which is really in about 5 minutes.


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