Tuesday, January 30, 2007


I shouldn't be so surprised when things work out, because they generally do. I got the contract on Sunday night with apologies for its late arrival. All of the appropriate changes had been made to the contract and I was more than ready to sign it. I've already booked my flight for February 17th at 6:30am. I'll arrive in Seoul at ~5:20pm on February 18th.

I sent the signed contract, 4 passport photos, sealed university transcripts, a notarized copy of my degree, and copies of my resume and the first page of my passport to the school's head office in Seoul. Someone will take those documents to the immigration office to get my E-2 visa number. I will then take that number to the Korean Consulate to get the E-2 visa stamped in my passport. At that point, I can legally work as an English teacher in South Korea.

Now that this is really happening, I have to get serious about preparing everything I need for living in Korea for a year and two months. (I signed a 14 month contract). Even though I'll be in a city and will be a 90 minute express bus ride to Seoul, there are certain things I'll have difficulty obtaining- like clothes in my size. More on packing later...

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Assume, verb: to make an ass out of you and me

Nothing that has happened in the past couple of weeks excuses my neglect of this blog. I was hoping to redeem myself by writing a concise summary of how everything turned out alright. Unfortunately, things may not turn out alright. Why is that? Assumptions! We make assumptions all the time. Some of these assumptions are warranted and others are not. I made several unwarranted assumptions that have contributed to my increasing anxiety regarding my job status in Korea.

The second school finally came through with a job offer- about a week after I last spoke with them. I had assumed that if they were interested that they'd have emailed me sooner. Mistake number one. In order to accept this job, I guiltily informed the recruiter for the first position that I could no longer make it to Jeonju. Even though I felt bad going back on that decision, I feel ultimately justified putting my own interests first. Even so, I assumed the recruiter would be very upset with me. She first expressed concern that I was OK and later attributed the sudden decision to my not wanting to be in Jeonju. She suggested she find me a position somewhere else. *guilt!*

While I was extricating myself from the first job, I was trying to get things settled with the new position. We had one quick email exchange and I was confident that things would move quickly. The school seemed eager to have someone there asap, so I assumed the whole hiring process would quickly. Mistake! After a FIVE day interlude, I finally got another email from Jae. He said things were hectic at school but that he'd send me the final contract soon. I thought we were back on track and that now things would move quickly- especially considering I need to get a visa before flying over. Last weekend we sent a few emails back and forth, talking about flights and other minor points. On Monday he said he'd email the final contract to me the next day- that being Tuesday. It's Friday midday in Korea and I still don't have a final contract.

The dialogue in my head goes something like this:

Am I missing something? What is going on? They offered me the contract, I accepted it. According to American law, that contract is now binding. But we're talking about Korea. Maybe they're trying to stall while looking for another teacher? But if they're serious about getting someone soon, they should just send me the contract! ME! He said things were hectic last week. Maybe things are still hectic. He's just slow. He said "welcome to the family" in his email- of course everything is going to work out! How could it not?! Right?! There's plenty of time for the visa. Don't worry. BUT he said he'd send the final contract the next day- it's been way too long! I'm just used to things happening quickly with email. I'm making these assumptions that reveal my American biases. Shut up about cultural relativism! He said next day! That means next day! Give it some more time. Try to relax! Relax! GAH!

Some version of this occurs every time I check my email. I don't like being in limbo. If this isn't going to work out, I need to know so I can find another job. But I really want this job! This is by far the best position I've found with regards to pay and location. I've also been in contact with two of the current teachers and they seem great. I just need the contract...


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

There was a plan and now there may be a new plan. More details regarding my job switcheroo to come!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

I am much more excited about things today! I'm optimistic that this job will work out and that I'll have amazing experiences while I'm in Korea.

I will send all of the necessary whatnot off to Korea tomorrow to jump start the visa application process. I don't have a date of departure yet, but anytime at the end of February is still coming up soon! I have a lot to do before then: study for and take the LSAT, organize my room, box up books, get rid of an organ (seriously, if anyone is looking for a Roger electronic organ, let me know!) and acquire anything I might need for a year. I also need to find appropriate gifts for the director and other teachers. Any suggestions for light and packable American/New England-related gifts are appreciated!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

How anticlimactic.

I haven't received a reply from the potentially better position. I was hoping that I would have received something this evening...alas alas. But who knows, it may not have worked out at all. I just sent an email to the recruiter for the position in Jeonju and told her I'd sign the contract.

There you have it. I'm definitely going to Korea.

Monday, January 08, 2007

It's already January 8th and I still don't have a job! I want to sign a contract this week!

I have a contract that I could sign right now. The school is in a decent city, Jeonju, and the salary is good. I've spoken with two teachers who haven't had any problems. They also get free lunch at the director's wedding hall...

I would have signed that contract except that I got called last night about a position that pays better and requires that I teach fewer classes. I've already heard back from one of the foreign teachers who has vouched for everything. The director said he'd like to hire me but needs to check the schedule since I can only start later than he had expected. I only have a verbal commitment and that's if certain circumstances are in my favor.

The recruiter for the first position is pressuring me into making a decision soon, understandably. I've already tried stalling for a couple days. The second position might not work out but I'm going to hold off on signing the other contract for at least a day.