If our 324 or so bows had anything to do with the job I ended up finding, I wish I’d done 10 324! It’s the job I’d imagined but never thought existed since I’d learned what the Korean education system is like.
In my old job I was constantly being told to stop being so friendly with the students, that I didn’t discipline enough, or that I should give more detention. During my third year I started to adjust but I was getting miserable with the job. After four years, it was time to change. I knew after my first year that my personality wasn’t a good match with the job, and actually tried to quit once. I think I stayed more out of convenience than anything.
Two weeks ago, I started my new job, teaching an after school program in an elementary school. If there’s anything I ever said I’d like to have in a teaching job, I have it. The atmosphere is friendly, the students are happy to be here, they study well (except for a few), and I’m encouraged to have fun with them. I finish work six hours earlier that I had with my old job, I make roughly the same salary, and I have half the amount of teaching hours. I’m really grateful to my old job for teaching me how to be a good teacher, and over all, treating me well, but I really feel like I can breath now. Oh yeah, and I don’t work Fridays!
As far as living space… we ended up having to leave my mother-in-laws place in a hurry. In Korea, you usually need about a $5000 deposit to get an apartment and I had about $400 left. We found a place that’s going to be renovated but, in the mean time, the owner wants to rent it out to save a little money first. They asked for a $500 deposit, plus the first two months rent, and $100 real estate agent fee. We looked at it, it was big but looked like it hadn’t been cleaned in years (about five years, we later found out). I think they figured it would be easier to renovate than clean… I don’t think anyone else wanted the place, because we told the real estate guy we didn’t have any money, but offered *a-hmm bribed* him an extra $50 if we could just pay the deposit and first months rent, they accepted (when in Rome…). With some help from EunBong’s and my parents, we moved in a week ago.
The place is definitely a project, and there’s not an inch of the place that doesn’t need scrubbing, but I’ve already worn my fingers half way to the bone and it’s starting to look nice. When I get paid, we’re going to get some fresh wall paper and I’m going to cover it with traditional Korean paper. There’s one small, extra room that we will make a tea/meditation room in, so I’m really looking forward to that!