Friday, March 31, 2006 

We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.
C.S. Lewis


It's been overall a good week. I was out of work sick on Wednesday. (Did I already mention that? I can't remember.) Of course, the fact that I turned in my notice and was filled with that rush of "I'm quitting" relief could have something to do with it. But really I'm here to share some random things with you.

First, I bought new cat litter. It's some kind of funky crystal-like stuff. All I know is that when the cat pops into the litterbox for a few minutes in the middle of the night and starts pawing around, it sounds like someone has turned on an electric sander. It is LOUD.

Second, my dear roommate let me use her Canadian credit card to order Caedmon Call's new worship CD. I ordered it through (for you Americans like me out there, that would be the Canadian version of amazon - there's an's this other internet world, I swear!). It was supposed to be delivered between April 5-18, but it got here yesterday. Yippee!!!

Third, I found out today that my boss has not told Chairman Kim that I'm quitting. There's all this inter-company turmoil and drama about my lack of paycheck...the real problem is the labor union of this company. They want the foreigners to be treated the same as them, but the reality is that when someone moves across the world, they do so (at least in part) because of the incentives offered. Foreigners are NOT Koreans. Anyway, it's a soapbox of mine that I shouldn't get started on. Yes, perhaps it's unfair that we get paid more. But hello...away from friends, family, our home country, our's called compensation. And throw around "linguistic imperialism" all you want, it's not my fault English is the global language. I am a native speaker of English. So sue me.

Ahem....sorry. Can you tell I'm a bit tense? I'm gonna go do some relaxing and then go to bed pathetically early. I have a semi-full schedule tomorrow and am looking forward to the weekend. Until later, then.


I'm sure you're tired of me posting pictures of my dog and claiming each one to be "THE perfect picture of Daive." Conveniently, I don't care if that's what you think. This is roughly the sixth picture I snapped, trying to get one with her looking at the camera. It's perfect...even down to the way she's holding her paw up in the air (she does that when she's concentrating sometimes).


I don't know what kind of tree it is, but I noticed them last year around this time. These flowers bud and bloom when it's too cold for much of anything else to be opening up. Then they wilt and die just as the "real" spring is starting. Anyway, these pictures are from the second story stairwell of my building, utilizing my handy 10x optical zoom. I really love these flowers, just for the abstract non-flower message they send.


This is the view from my front door. (Notice the red PT Cruiser on the bottom right. It's SUCH a rare thing to see a car not made by Hyundai, Samsung, or Kia here.)

This is my building! (In Korean: chon-sa-beg-sam-ship-sa....I think, anyway. Not 100% sure of my use of thousand and hundred.)

Thursday, March 30, 2006 

I did it.

I'm quitting. My last day is supposed to be May 12 (have to give ample notice here for them to find another teacher, or else they won't give me the required document so I can get another job in Korea). Only they just now said I need to write on my resignation letter that I can quit earlier or later, depending on them. Riiight...because I trust you so much to find a teacher quickly if you have no time constraint. But the thing is, I don't have much choice. We both will have to play by each other's rules for the time being - me because they can prevent me from getting another job in Korea, and them because I could close down their school if I tattled.

Anyway, I'm at school and need to go finish planning for my afternoon classes. I'll share more about my future plans soon.

Monday, March 27, 2006 

In exactly ten minutes I have a meeting with the only helpful person in this company. I will be telling her that I am quitting, and asking her advice as to what would be the best amount of notice to give. She is the only person I trust in this company, so I am feeling pretty good about it. But at the same time, she is a pretty high-up person in this company, so I'm not sure. We'll see how it goes.

Just wanted to blog this so I would be obligated to tell what happens, which will further motivate me to stick to my guns. This lady is awesome, but I am still anti-conflict, so this is a way of making myself be strong and brave. I'll let you know how it goes.

Sunday, March 26, 2006 

My work, due to miscommunication (a term which, loosely translated, means "stupidity" and/or "the pigheaded inability to listen"), paid me less than half my paycheck. They then, ever so graciously, offered to pay me the missing amount at the end of my contract next February. Umm... no. When I objected to this, I was given the lame line, "Well, it's really not a lot of money." Umm... 1.6 million won is roughly 1600 US dollars. For a company with 30 million US dollars in profit last year, it's not a lot of money. But for me,'s a lot of money. After that didn't work, my boss said, "Well no one intended to do it." At which point I responded, cheeks all red and blotchy from anger/frustration and tears in my eyes also due to frustration, "You know, even if no one intended to do it, it still has an impact on my life. The fact that it is accidental in no way removes the consequences." And then I left. I seriously considered not going back, ever. But that was just the frustration. The news of the seriously challenged paycheck came immediately after receiving word that I would not be able to get a company cell phone as previously promised because the Labor Union would be angry. The other teacher as well as his wife have one, but they already have theirs. I don't understand the reasoning, especially since by "company cell phone" it is simply the physical phone and a reduced-rate plan. It's not like they pay the bill. I would pay the bill. But now no.

Then today a taxi I was riding in was rear-ended by a bus. It wasn't severe at all, but startled me bad and, in a thoroughly not surprising and nearly hilarious turn of events, hit my head on both the headrest and the door. It wasn't the hit that startled me, just turning and seeing a massive blue bus far closer to me than it should have been, and realizing that things very easily could have been MUCH worse. It was only bad enough that the taxi driver yelled at the bus driver some and gave him some dirty looks. (Though they don't handle accidents here the same way we do back home.) It's horribly ironic because I was just reading about how South Korea has one of the highest traffic fatality rates, and thinking to myself, "Hmm, I don't even know if I've ever seen an accident in all the time I've been here." And then I was very nearly in one. Hate when that happens.

But now I'm up blogging when I should be sleeping simply because of how thoroughly I am dreading going to work tomorrow. I know that there is no such thing as a perfect job (or perfect anything, on this side of heaven) and so it's not like I have these hyper unrealistic expectations. My last job drove me batty on occasion, but was NOTHING compared to this. I would be more than happy for a job I enjoyed that I didn't absolutely dread going to (and by dread, I mean sick in the pit of my stomach dread). Ah well. Isn't this part of the beauty of being an adult? That even when you hate what you do, you keep on doing it, because that's what adults do. Perhaps that's cynical. But I'm tired of qualifying everything I say in a futile attempt to make sure everyone and their dog understands what I mean. So I'm just going to let it stand. And on that chipper note, off to bed.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006 

I spoke too soon...

It was supposed to be such a simple task. Get the food out of the freezer. But then I dropped it. And then I bent down to pick it up. And then I stood up, not realizing the freezer door had moved directly over my head.

All exaggeration aside, I have never hit my head so hard in my life. At least not that I can remember. I blacked out, which means I also fell down. Luckily I fell backwards into the back of the couch. I was only out for a few seconds, and immediately put my hand over the spot on my head. I was also bleeding. Oh yeah. And of course it had to be on the spot on my too-large forehead that goes back further than the other side due to some medical problems when I was born. Not as if I don't already resemble a conehead due to the enormous surface area of my forehead, but now I have a big-enough-to-be-noticed red mark running across it. Nice.

I needed some sympathy so I called Kylie. As we were talking, something fell onto my shirt. No was a chip of paint from the freezer door. I hit the freaking door hard enough so that I had paint stuck in the wound. I feel like a crime scene, like the CSI guys should be swabbing me or something.

And just to speak of the faithfulness of animals (scoff). As I am laying on the floor semi-conscious, one hand on my slightly bloody head, Daive (being the little opportunist she is) came over and tried to get the frozen waffles out of my hand! Little brat! And Claude thought I was playing, so he pounced on my hair.

All I have to say is that, for the pain it caused and continues to give, it'd better look mean. And another thing, Korean tact is different. I've mentioned this before. At least four or five times since I've been in Korea I've gotten the, "Oh Teresa! What happened to your face?" only for me to respond, "It's a pimple. Thanks for noticing." (Said in an Eeyore-esque kind of voice.) I've heard it posed to other foreigners though, and lemme tell you, it hurts just the same even if you're not on the receiving end. Natalie actually said that we should place bets on how many people ask me about it tomorrow. Stupid freezer door.

I took a picture of it just to share, but now I feel too silly so I'm not gonna. Maybe tomorrow. We'll see. I need to go to bed now though. Here's hoping to a concussion-free sleep!


Yet another difference...

is the lack of privacy. That is, lack of the Western idea of privacy. Also gone is the idea of personal space as it is known in the West. But I'm getting off the point.

My job is actually at two locations. I go to the Kindergarten in the morning (about 15 minute ride from the company headquarters and where the elementary classes meet in the afternoon). The food there be blunt, unedible (for this Westerner, anyway). There is a bakery that sells sandwiches and has a place inside to sit and eat. I go there sometimes. There's also a Bennigan's directly across the street from the kindergarten. I went there today, and came back filled with a mild sense of dread. You see, every day, I am questioned as to my lunch - what I ate, where I ate it, and how much it cost. In short, the kind of questions you wouldn't get asked at a Western job (at least not in such detail).

And so today, yes, I had the lunch steak special at Bennigan's. I'm quite okay with this, as it was quite cheap (especially for beef in this country) and delicious and I hadn't eaten breakfast. But coming back (with took approximately 3 minutes) I was deliberating. What would I tell them? When I told them I had paid 13,000 won (roughly thirteen US dollars) for a salad, they were scandalized. Hmmm. And so, all the morals/ethics - out the window. The red-faced tantrum-throwing personal space-craving, privacy-deprived Westerner in me was screaming inside, "So what if I eat steak ONE time?! What does it matter?! Or rather, WHY???? If I eat CHILDREN on my lunch break, so long as they're not the ones we're taking care of, it shouldn't be any of your business!!!"

And so, yet again, the Westerner in me gets squashed. As do my ethics. I find that, to keep the peace (and by peace, I think I mean my sanity) over here I lie a lot. If I have a cold (which is most of the time as of late) and 90% of the Korean people I know ask me if I take a multi-vitamin, I just smile and say yes. The appaling reality is that I do NOT, in fact, take a multi-vitamin. I do take a vitamin B complex in the morning and at night (when I remember) and I figure that's close enough. Ditto for "Do you sleep with your fan on at night and the windows closed? You know, that's really bad for you." Me, innocent and wide-eyed, shake my head no. "Nope, I don't do that. I hear it's really unsafe." Bwa-ha-ha...(and as I'm typing this I realize this is one of those rebellious things I do to help me cope with life in a foreign and occasionally maddening country) I DO sleep with my fan ON and my windows CLOSED. And I'm still ALIVE. Take that, you and your silly isms! (Isms being the word I have modified to include all the fable/myth type rules and advice I encounter in this place.) I also walk in the rain without an umbrella on occasion, just to prove that my hair won't fall out! Let's see...well, that's all I can think of, and my completely impotent and semi-ridiculous rant has run out of steam. So I'll go now.

For those that care, I'm currently scanning books into the computer to use on the projector. For whatever reason, they don't actually want to make the parents pay for books, so I've got to use them this way. I'm currently on book 4 of 24, and I've been scanning at every available minute. And cursed be Canaan, I just gave myself another papercut! I swear I'm the queen of hurting myself lately. This is the third papercut I've had in less than a week, I've run into so many things at my house I nearly look like a battered woman. Factor into this sudden burst of being even more accident prone, the slippery floor issue I mentioned yesterday, and you should be amazed I'm not stuck in traction somewhere. *sigh* I really am feeling a little frustrated. But that steak sure was good. (Insert sly-bordering-on-evil-grin here.)

Tuesday, March 21, 2006 

Back by popular demand...

But that makes me sound arrogant. There are simply at least two or three people interested enough in my life that have asked what is going on with the job situation. But before I get to that, allow me to introduce you to the hilarity that is my sister. In an email to her I mentioned something about being tired of hearing all the Chairman Kimisms. She IMed me and said that my choice of words made her think of "Kimunism." That IM made me laugh till I nearly wet myself. Then today when I opened up my computer there was a message from her saying that her friend (also named Jen) said I should change the name of this blog to "Chairman Kim, not for me."

With that said, allow me to illuminate you as to where I am with the job. It's a little place called indecision. Friday night I was looking online for a new job. Sunday I made an extensive pros/cons list of staying vs. going. I had pretty much decided to turn in my notice soon, but made the unusually wise rule that I must wait at least 2 weeks before I turn in my notice. Since then (that is, since SUNDAY) I have decided to stick it out as long as possible, and then today, again decided I should quit. Quitting though, will take time. If I do decide to quit, I'll have to give at least a month's notice. And since I can't turn in my notice for another week and a half, that puts any possible last day almost six weeks away.

Besides that, I cried at work on Friday. I teared up the Friday before. And the thing is, Koreans don't get and cannot begin to fathom the idea of crying for any reason other than being sad. They do it on occasion, I'm sure, but just don't get it. I tried to explain _____ (insert exaggeratedly high number here) times that I was crying because I was frustrated, and for no other reason. They didn't get it. In fact, one of the Korean staff called me a baby. She said it in Korean, perhaps thinking I wouldn't understand, but when I told her such a comment wasn't exactly helpful, she laughed it off like she didn't mind. Arg. Sometimes Korea makes me want to pull out my hair.

So I'm looking for a job. Looking for a job and keeping my options open. And slowly going crazy? A possibility.

In other news, I a few small parts of my floor the other night with these antibacterial wipes they sell at Costco. Little did I know...these things have made these few spots on the floor so slippery! I watched both the cat and the dog hit these spots and wipe out, and I would chuckle, from where I sat safely on the bed reading. Let me just tell you, it wasn't nearly as funny when I did the slapstick arms-waving thing halfway across the room trying to keep from falling on my hind end. And I don't know how to fix it. I'm afraid it'll just get worse if I clean it with something else. And if it gets worse, I'll have to attach sandpaper to all of my socks and seriously, that would just be difficult to explain.

Need to go to bed. Gotta be at my job at 8:30 in the morning to catch the bus to the kindergarten. Arg again.

Sunday, March 12, 2006 

My blog is out of commission and I don't know why. How frustrating. We'll see if I can't fix it soon. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006 

Jen, thanks for the birthday wishes. I'm officially a quarter of a century old. It's nice.

As for what I've been doing, and why I haven't posted much, check this out. I will say that things, as of yesterday/today, seem to be potentially improving. Things change so much everyday though, I don't trust it yet.

Other than the job issues, I had an amazing birthday. Got to spend time with all of my amazing friends here and eat delicious home-style cooked Western food. Definitely a great time.

Off to bed for now though. Here's to not having to wake up super early! Yay!

Friday, March 03, 2006 


Happy Birthday!

Big-sister Jen popping in again to post that it's Teresa's birthday! Everyone here in P'cola (it's easier than typing every family member's name) says "Happy Birthday!" to you! Don't work TOO hard, and you keep right on drinking Diet Cokes and inhaling dog hair. We love you!

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