Wednesday, November 01, 2006

I lost my pumpkin. Won't you help me sir?

Just relaxing and getting my daily surfing, listening, news browsing fix in before my 3:20 pm class.

I'm at an Internet Cafe enjoying my personalized USB (my slim) installed with heaps of portable software.

Enjoying some old Louis Armstrong, and Count Basie tunes thanks to:

Once again my favourite holiday has come and gone. And I forgot to carve a jack-o-lantern!

I'm not sure how I keep on forgetting to carve one but I guess part of it could be that you just cannot find a pumpkin any old place around here -- you have to hunt for one.

It feels like I have been wearing socks for ages now, when I get a chance to take them off in yoga class I feel like they are smelly strangers that I don't want to see. That's how I have been marking the end of the summer season since I came to Korea.

Despite my feet, I still enjoy this season, perhaps even more so because our cold weather takes longer to come-a-creeping than Edmonton's.

Saturday morning I went off to my first Kotesol (Korean Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) conference -- God, I hate acronyms. I must say, that I wasn't very impressed, of course, networking, making contacts and getting involved in dirty politics were never my favourite activites.

The most interesting part of the conference was when I tried to pull out of my parking lot at 6:30 am Saturday morning, only to discover that I was blocked in by several cars. I pushed this car that-a-way and that car this-a-way and the other car too. When it was all said and done I'd moved 4 cars, including the 'kiss' that was halfway intentional -- reminds me of pool at the bowlodrome.

The drive to Seoul was not even slightly congested and a friend of a friend helped me to avoid congestion by letting me park in her underground lot at the YangJae interchange.

It feels like I have already started to hibernate, even though the winter has not yet arrived, it is still getting upto around 19 or so in the afternoons. Having the usual troubles with Rosi not being able to understand that I was not able to contact her on such and such a night at various times because of the limitations of various bits of technology.

I am plotting my winter holiday, trying my best to find a way around the ridiculous high season fares the airlines like to charge and I am still wondering how soon I can bring my family over to Korea. I have plans in the works to ditch the hagwon stint and land myself a University job. I am not so much concerned with my monthly income as having a relatively flexible schedule with a guaranteed monthly salary. Hagwon and Kindy owners seem to share in common a business ethic that I find quite detestable; "Fuck anybody around you, as long as it helps you make a buck".

I have had dealings with 4 hogwans and 2 kindies thus far in my career and only half of them have taken on the above business ethic, and so, my experience thus far has just put me on the fence with relation to Hagwons and Kindergartens. But when you are talking about the little things like salary and work related references, that shoves them out the window as far as I am concerned.

Besides the shady dealings of 50 percent or more of hogwans I have also discovered a few important facts. Many Universities in Korea hire English teachers that have only a B.A. or B.SC. There is no need to have an M.A. or Ph.d, if you want to work with them. Most importantly, the universities tend to give their English profs amazingly light schedules commensurate with a traditional professor's teaching schedule but without any pressure to publish! I've met teachers that work at a uni in Asan. They work 16 hour weeks with either Monday or Friday as a holiday. They get January, February, July and August as holidays and they get 12 months of salary at 2.2 million won (2200 USD roughly).

Anyway, it is pretty hard to think about hagwon conditions when you know these types of positions are available. Besides all of this I know I should have some other things to type but they escape me at the moment.

The only thing that is keeping me going right now is waiting for my package from moo to arrive-- 100 of my own favourite pictures printed on half-sized business cards. Not because I really need business cards but because I'm too lazy to dig out the photos I have already printed.

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