It's been a while since my last post, surprise! Back in February my boss announced that she had found a new teacher after all, when I told her that the job I had wanted back in January was gone she said, "Well, I've had too many complains (sic) about you, so, you're fired." and she ran out of the room. Probably afraid I'd let loose on her, which I did not. In fact, I actually busted into a small grin.
So I was in Korea, mostly broke and jobless. She did give me one month's notice and even gave me a letter of release and a letter of transfer for my visa so I could change jobs easily. The day after the "firing" she and I had a heart to heart talk about everything and she said that she was actually worried about me because I was looking pretty unhealthy and depressed. This was the reason that I gave her for wanting the other job in the first place but I don't think she believed me at the time.
The job at the Y was okay, but it was disorganised and the schedule was really taking a toll on me. I basically got up went to work at 6am, went home at 9am, took a nap had some lunch, went back to work at 3pm until 7pm, went home had supper and watched some TV or puttered around a bit, went to bed and started all over again. It was too far from anyone I knew and there weren't really any places a single foreigner could go if they didn't speak Korean. I kind of liked the neighbourhood, but I had little opportunity to really learn Korean and so there wasn't much to do outside of work.
I spent the last two weeks of March and the first week of April living in a "love motel" at my new employer's expense. It cost $250 for three weeks, but it had a bathtub and the room was almost as big as my old apartment, the neighbourhood was really quiet, in the middle of the city on a subway line. It was also bright and airy. Not a bad deal for the money. My old apartment had bars on the windows, it was on the ground floor and the only window looked into a narrow alley at a wall with barbed wire at the top, it was kind of like a jail.
I started teaching again at a new school on the 7th of April, I had to fill in for a couple of weeks at a different branch of the school than I signed up for but I didn't mind too much, as long as it didn't turn out to be a permanent assignment as the subway ride there took about 45 minutes. At this place I have encountered several new and pleasing experiences as far as workplace things go: they have a curriculum and all of the students have their own books, I don't have to choose a book from a motley assortment and photocopy them anymore; I work with another foreign teacher, this is a plus because I have someone I can commiserate, bitch, moan and laugh at "crazy" stuff with. I spend 8 hours at work at the new place, but my teaching hours are about 200 minutes per day. Lesson preparation is relatively easy because the curriculum is set and the Korean teachers tell me what they're doing in class. My new apartment is in a "foreigner friendly" neighbourhood near Busan National University: cinemas, bars, supermarkets, and all the "street meat" you can eat. The apartment has a small indoor balcony which houses the little galley style kitchen and a washing machine. The school also provided all the basic furnishings.
In short, this is the job I should have had the first time around. I liked the people at the Y, my boss, my co-workers and the kids, but the job was really kinda terrible. I should have quit when they changed a lot of things after I got here.
Oh yeah, I had lost a ton of weight these past few months. As most of you reading this will know, my extra-lean frame doesn't carry much spare weight, so I looked like I was working in a concentration camp. In fact, the inability to change jobs, socialize or do a lot of things like that actually made me feel as though I were in that situation.
I've gained a bunch of weight back in the past few weeks. Se-yeong even commented on it when we were having coffee a couple of weeks after I was "fired". At this rate I expect to gain about 10 kilograms by the end of May.
So a change really is as good as a rest. Maybe even better in my case. More later.