Monday, April 20, 2009

K-pop's finest

Chris: This is my 5th post and we're not even in Korea yet. I'm sure the novelty of this blog will wear off for me soon ....probably around the time we actually get to Korea. We can't get there soon enough! I hear the Korean siren song posted below calling me. I don't have the skills to upload this song from youtube but hopefully this link will work. At first you'll cringe but you'll be won over by the end. So don't fight it, sing it loud, sing it proud, "gee gee gee gee baby baby baby"

Saturday, April 18, 2009

I heart Korea

Q. Who would you trust alone in a classroom with your kids....

....the bright and bubbly young lady pictured above? Or.....

....this evil looking mofo?
A. If you're Korean, then BOTH. All you really need to teach English in Korea is a Bachelor's degree and a clean criminal record.
On a related note, a big thank you to Victoria Police for your ineptitude!
P.S. If you're the director of the English academy I'll be teaching at and you're reading this then I'm only kidding, honest.

My Plan

Chris: I know it seems like I'm hogging the blog but after seeing my previous entries I don't think Rowena wants to post here. Go figure.
So anyway, we should be in Korea in under 2 weeks and those of you who know me know that organisation/preparation aren't my strong points. But I'm trying to at least mentally prepare for my impending year-long out of body experience. I thought it would be helpful to flesh out my thought process a little and even create some goals. It should at least be interesting for me to look back on this post in a few months and see how naive/accurate/stupid I was.
Okay so I'm planning to just dive head first into as many opportunities and situations as I can. Up to this point I probably haven't been all that adventurous. Instead of a "dive in head first kinda guy" I'm more of a "dip the toe in, check the Ph, and then lounge by the pool with a beer kinda guy". Well that's gonna change. Think Jim Carey in "Yes Man". I haven't seen the movie but apparently he says "yes" to every opportunity that comes his way and hilarity ensues. Realistically, "Yeah Probably Man" would be a more accurate title for my movie ...or even more accurately "Yeah Probably, Right After I Finish Watching This Episode of '*Boys Over Flowers' Man".
I plan on doing my best to adapt and assimilate to the Korean culture. It's like what they say about prison - I've you're gonna survive, you've gotta forget about the outside world and get your head on the "inside". Maybe that analogy is a little unfair (hopefully). But just to torture the prison analogy a little further, I think when it comes to actually teaching the kids I'll have to, on my first day, either punch somebody out or become somebody's bitch.
I also plan on using this year as a kind of "personal development" experience. Chiefly, I'd like to develop some more discipline. Our Korean home town of Chungju has a population of around a quarter million. More than 3 1/2 million less than my Austraian home town of Melbourne and of course much less again than Seoul. While this should mean Chungju will have a certain quaintness and beauty, it will also certainly mean that it won't be the most exciting place. But this may be a positive thing because it will allow me to practice discipline. I'm picturing myself living a kind of semi-monastic existence. Like a young Budhist monk ....but with more meat eating. I guess it doesn't really matter how I practice my discipline, eg. physical exercise, ....ummm.... that's th only example I can think of right now. It's gonna be a long year.....
*'Boys Over Flowers' is an uber popular Korean soapie

Monday, April 13, 2009

Home town

Chris: I Googled our home city for the next year - Chungju - and one of the first Google blurbs that appeared indicated that one of Chungju's claims to fame is that it is South Korea's 3rd largest peach producing areas. Well you could imagine Rowena and I's excitement! I don't like peaches all that much to be honest. It's more about the bragging rights. Look, obviously we'd prefer to live in Korea's number 1 or 2 peach producing areas, but we're realistic. We're sure the competition for English teaching jobs in those areas are pretty tough. A Masters degree and some teaching experience are probably prerequisites.
Strangely, our Korean recruiter made no mention of Chungju's peachy exploits. It was instead sold as a conveniently central location. It made sense to me. It should make weekend trips around South Korea relatively quick and easy, and only 90 minutes bus ride from Seoul which isn't too bad. But I guess the real reason we chose Chungju was that it was the first job we were offered. Well the second job if you count the EPIK gig in some southern regional town that I forget the name of. But just as we finished gathering the mountains of forms together some other couple snaked us. Oh well, off to Chungju we go....

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Ground rules

Chris: We're not in Korea yet so I don't have much to write, though our ongoing experience of trying to get there could fill a few hundred posts. But anyway before I do a real post I want to define this blog a little (as much for myself as for the reader). I've never "blogged" before but over the last few weeks I've read a bunch of them from English teachers in Korea. I've come across some really good ones and some pretty bad ones (in my humble opinion). I'm not exactly sure how my entries will look like - in terms of content, tone, etc - but I'm pretty sure how I don't want them to look. I'm going to steer clear of soap boxy topics completely unrelated to my experiences in Korea, such as foreign politics. I'm going to try to avoid sounding pretentious and self-important, as is the tendancy of some bloggers. So in other words you're very unlikey to see the following in my posts (or Rowena's, if i know her well enough): "Gaza Strip", "postmodernism", "paradigm" get the idea. I also promise not to list my top ten movies, bands, tv shows - because who really gives a shit? Finally, I will do my best to not have our blog turn into a series of gripes about all things Korean. Neither will I use this blog to try to assert my P.C. credentials and spend my days thinking up ways in which I think Korea is superior to the West. To all those bloggers who do this (and there are a LOT) I say enough already, we get it, you're culturally sensitive, move on!