Friday, November 19, 2010

Teacher Shirley Shows The Way

So you're accepting a job halfway around the world in a country you know nothing about.  There is no way to be sure you're making the right choice.  All you can do is ask a few questions and then jump.  Lucky for me, the outgoing teacher is wonderfully helpful:
Hi, Lanae!
Below are my answers to your questions and also, I will give you some helpful advise how to pack your belongings:
Living Questions:
What is the address of the apartment so that I can send a few things before I leave?
In your best interest, it is wise to have boxes shipped to the hagwon rather at the apartment due to the fact nobody will be available signing for receiving your boxes.

How far is the apartment from the school?
It is about four miles away from school or if you are walking slowly to the apartment from the hagwon, it will take you about 30-45 minutes.
Taking the bus is simple:  Walk diagonally across the street from Dongin Officetel and take the following buses-pay 1,000 Won . . . 1-1, 7-1, 9-1. 
Make certain you tell the Bus Driver:  "Ma la yo Sokcho!  Good Morning Mart, ka ju say yo.  Kam sa ham ni da!"
****Taking the #88 Bus (1,000 Won) will drop you off on the side of the hagwon building!  Please tell the Bus Driver:  "Cho nuen Wonderland Hagwon Yong-o Song sa nim im nida-Joyang-dong ka ju say yo . . . Cho gee (point towards the mountains)"; When leaving the bus:  "Kam sa ham ni da!  An nee hee key say yo!

Is there a gym, sauna or bathhouse near the apartment?
There is a sauna bath downstairs located on B-1 at the Dongin Resort Officetel Apartments.  The sauna is located next door to 7-11 Store (yes . . . the same 7-11 Store in USA!).
Cheoksan Spa(show your E-2 Visa Card and pay 4,500 or don't show your ID Card and pay 7,000 Won/WaterPia-28,000 to 40,000 Won for entire day:
Take the 3-1 Bus (1,000 Won) right by the Sokcho Intercity Bus Terminal.  Tell the Bus Driver:  "Cheoksan Spa or WaterPia, ka ju say yo."

How far is grocery shopping from the apartment?
7-11 Store is downstairs as stated in your question located above. 
There are three main grocery stores in Sokcho: 
  1. E-Mart (Wal-Mart of the Far East):  Take the 1-1/7-1/9-1 Buses to E-Mart (Say to Bus Driver:  "Cho why yo E-Mart, ka ju say o."  When leaving the bus:  "Kam sa ham ni da!  Ani yo hee key say o!"
  2. Good Morning Mart in Joyang-Dong is located 1 1/4 miles BEFORE E-Mart, so please take the same buses to Good Morning Mart from Dongin Officetel and you may also take #88 Bus) down the street from the hagwon.
  3. Hanaro Market by Expo Tower (take the same buses as stated above, but get off the bus at the Sokcho Fire Station and cross the street.
Upon comfortably settling down in Sokcho, I highly recommend you sign up for the each store's point discount card.  You will save a lot of money by signing up for the point card.  You must have your E-2 Visa Alien Registration Card when signing up for any discount store card.
What's been your favorite part of living in Sokcho?
I like Daepo Harbor for buying fresh seafood caught minutes before buying my seafood!  If I don't have time going to Daepo Harbor, I go to E-Mart afterwards and buy day-old seafood-it's ok (I haven't gotten sick from eating the seafood at E-Mart) because E-Mart will sell a BIG plate of sushi for about $4.50!!!  What a STEAL!
Mt. Soraksan/Ulsanbawi Rock/Waterfalls trails (7-1/7 Bus . . . 1,000 Won=$1.00 USD (no USA currency is accepted as payment for buses)
Osaek Hot Springs (4,500 Won one way; go to Sokcho Intercity Bus Terminal>1/2 block from Dongin Officetel.  Tell the lady cashier at the Bus Terminal:
"Cho why yo Osaek, ka ju say yo, chigum."
Walking by the lake located on the left side down the street from Dongin Officetel.
The beaches are only four blocks away from the Dongin Officetel Apartments.
The Sokcho Intercity Bus Terminal by Dongin Officetel will take you to Dong Seoul Bus Terminal in Seoul for 16,100 Won.  Tell the cashier lady:
"An nee ha say yo. Cho why yo ha na Dong Seoul, ka ju say yo.  Kam sa ham ni da!"  The bus departing gate should be Gate 1.

School Questions:
Do they provide lesson plans or will I be creating my own?
You must make your own lesson plan, but you must go by the textbook you currently using.  I am at the tail end of using the current textbook given by Lee Won Seob (Wos san neem-that's what I call Mr. Lee). 
In addition, you must submit a lesson plan for Activity Day for the Kindergarten Students once a month which is the LAST Friday of each month.
Also, Mr. Lee told me to tell you to make a report card for Elementary students on a quarterly system rather than a semester system.  The Kindergarten class will remain as status quo-submitting a report card per student once a month due on the 20th of each month.
What ages have you been working with?
I have worked with students-ages 3 through 17 years old.

How many students are in the classes?
Classes start at 10:10 AM until 7:20 PM M-F.  I have a schedule posted in the Dinosaur Classroom.  The class schedule operates as week one and week two.  When you see the schedule, you will understand how the classes operate day-by-day.
Kindergarten Students:
Bunny Class-3 Students
Puppy Class-8 Students
Kitten Class-10 Students
Elementary Students:
2:30 PM 
Blue Planet-4 Students
Phonics Mentor Joy 3-11 students
3:30/4:30 PM
Bricks Yellow-1 Student
5:30 PM
English Grammar-2 Students
Phonics Mentor Joy 3-4 Students
6:30 PM
Bricks Yellow-2 Students
Bricks Blue-2 Students

How much additional time past the 30hrs does this particular Hagwon requires? 
I have never worked overtime, so I cannot answer your question.

Tell me a bit about the rest of the staff.
Mr. Lee's wife, Teacher Sabrina is the head Korean Teacher at the hagwon.  Teacher Hart is the Korean/English Teacher.  You are the only English Teacher at the hagwon.
Now-I must tell you what to bring!
Bring one pair of indoor street shoes NEVER worn outside!  These shoes are the shoes you will wear upon entering the hagwon's entrance.  You cannot wear outside street shoes inside while working in the hagwon!
BRING one pair of UGG type slippers for the winter and one pair of thong type sandals for the summer while walking around inside Dongin Officetel Apartment!
Bring at least 12 USA made toothbrushes and at least 6 tubes of USA toothpaste!  You will LOATHE using the Korean toothbrushes and toothpaste (YUKKO!)-they wear out quickly and tastes terrible!
Bring one electric blanket BECAUSE the apartment gets FREEZ-ZING-LY, BITTERLY COLD IN THE WINTER!  There is an upright, free standing heater and a floor heater, but they do not emit much heat where you want it.
Bring TWO bath towels, one hand towel, and one wash cloth for your shower.  The shower is the size of a water heater closet!  So, I hope you are not claustrophobic!
Bring clothes for FOUR SEASONS.  The spring is very BRISK.  The summers are sweltering, sizzling hot, autumn is more brisk than spring-rains cats and dogs/wind howls worse than the wind blowing through NYC's streets, and winter is just DEADLY FRIGID!  Bring high top rubber boots and a goose-down stadium (floor length) jacket for winter-you'll thank me!
Bring an extra $500.00 USD for the Apartment and Utility Deposit!  When you arrive here, please arrange to go to NongHyup Bank and open a bank account ASAP!  Also, arrange with Wosannim you will pay for the utilities yourself-make SURE you STRESS you will pay for the utilities! 
I left you a plethora of maps and notes inside the Dinosaur Classroom and inside Dongin Officetel.  Please find them and please thoroughly read my notes.
BTW:  Do you need a electric coffee pot and two Korean plug lamps?  If so, please let me know if you want them.
Take care . . . and uh, if you need my help for anything, please do send me E-mail!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Don't Look Back


Are Here

 Your Tracking Information
Last Scan:11/12/2010 9:20:00 AM IN TRANSIT TO INCHEON, KR
Service:Worldwide Express Saver
Expected:Nov. 15, 2010 11:30 PM
UPS Tracking Number:1ZE73A150480742429

Scan History:

11/12/2010 9:20:00 AM IN TRANSIT TO INCHEON,  KR
11/12/2010 6:31:00 AM UNLOAD SCAN ANCHORAGE, AK US
11/12/2010 12:03:00 AM LOCATION SCAN ONTARIO, CA US
11/11/2010 11:18:00 PM UNLOAD SCAN ONTARIO, CA US
11/11/2010 10:38:00 PM ARRIVAL SCAN ONTARIO, CA US
11/11/2010 7:30:00 PM ARRIVAL SCAN SEATTLE, WA US
11/11/2010 6:29:00 PM LOCATION SCAN SEATTLE, WA US
11/11/2010 6:25:00 PM ORIGIN SCAN SEATTLE, WA US
NOTE: The times listed in the scan details are local time.

No Looking Back

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Little Miss Mori

Name: Little Miss Mori
Birthplace: Artist / Maid

The daughter of a flight attendant and a spy, Little Miss Mori (which means forest in Japanese) lives a wonderful and happy life toodling around Seattle with The Nae-nae and the Rebeqa.  The perfect partner in crime for the ornery sisters.

However, there is more to this friendly threesome then just their wacky miss-adventures.  They have a finely honed system of checks and balances designed to keep each other out of trouble and on the straight and narrow road of relative sanity.

What will Rebeqa and Little Miss Mori do without the third balance and the third check?  More importantly, what will The Nae-nae do without the Miss Mori and Rebeqa to call her back from crazy town?  

Will Nae-nae remember how to dress appropriately for public, or will she once again forget to put on pants before leaving the house?  Will miss Mori remember Diet Coke and cigarettes aren't dinner?  Will Rebeqa remember that food she be eaten off plates not pants?  Stay tuned.

The Nae-nae

Name: Nae-nae   
Birthplace: Talkeetna, AK
Profession: Author / Artist / Teacher
Star Sign: Leo

Confused and lost, the once driven Nae-nae has fallen down.  Pushed to her breaking by a life filled with loss, she awakes one morning to find that - for the first time in her life - she cannot push through.

Unable to make decisions, she is faced with the reality that she must give up everything if she has struggled for in hopes of finding peace.

As her world quickly falls apart around her, the once strong Nae-nae begins to discover the true meaning of life, love and family.

The Handsome Harri-bou

Name: Harri-bou
Birthplace: Nashville, TN
Occupation: Tradesman / Photographer
Star Sign: Leo

The quiet, strong Handsome Harri-bou has spent seventeen years running from a haunting and troubled past he hides behind a smile.

With The Fall of Nae-nae, Harry finds himself unemployed and facing a year alone with no one to wake him from his nightmares.

Can Harri-bou find it in himself to overcome his haunted past and seek out a bright future without Nae-nae there draw him along?  Will he find the spark and the fire to dream again? 

The Rockstar Sister

Name: Rebeqa  
Birthplace: Talkeetna, AK
Profession: Musician / Song Writer / Teacher
Star Sign: Gemini

The driven, beautiful and talented Rebeqa is the leader of the hot indie Seattle rock band Latitude x Longitude. 

With her album set to release, Rebeqa is forced to not only deal with the drama of Rock & Roll life but also find it in herself to be the glue that holds the family together when Nae-nae falls down.

Will Rebeqa be able to launch her band, keep Harri-bou from loosing his mind, keep Nae-nae on the straight and narrow while also finding time for herself?

If the Shoes Fits

Name: Shoes
Birthplace:  Portland, OR
Profession: Musician / Philosopher / Salesman

The Resident Musician at Finca de Rivers-Woods, Shoes is the quintessential Philosophy major, a consummate salesman and a compulsive musician.

Living in his studio below ground, Shoes is committed to completing his first solo album in 2011.  His days are spent between sales calls and music notation.

He is the laughter and the flint that keep the Harri-bou, Rebeqa and Nae-nae on their toes.

With Nae-nae heading off for Korea and Rebeqa busy with promoting her album, The Shoes will be left in charge of entertaining the lonely Harri-bou.  Will he be able to convince the Harri-bou to dance?  Will he get the Harri-bou in copious amounts of trouble with the far away Nae-nae.  One can only hope so.

Monday, November 8, 2010

All Drama Starts Somewhere

Found on a wall in Pioneer Square

Sometimes having everything leaves you nothing, and sometimes dreams turn into nightmares of ones own choosing.

That is how I ended up here... talking to you. Ripping away at the life I built, searching for the chewy center.  Hack, hack, hacking through my relationships and choices - trying to find the path I’d wandered away from over a decade ago.

I’d like to say that this is a story of redemption, but only time will tell if that is true.  Right now I’m only in the beginning and the only chapter written is how I fell down and couldn't get back up.

Monday, November 1, 2010

What I learned Last Time

When I walked onto the plane I didn't know I was leaving my husband. I just thought I was going to work. Even when the plane touched down, I thought everything was fine. However, by the time I finished the two and a half hour drive home I knew something wasn't right.

I was supposed to be managing our business in Alaska. This was a long business trip and nothing more. We'd worked hard to build our little gallery in the woods, and even a move to Seattle couldn't make us close its doors. We decided to keep our business open during the summer months, and I volunteered to be the one to go back.

It was early May and past midnight when I arrived at our house. It was cold outside and we were out of heating oil, but I didn't care. I was far too exhausted to even crawl up the stairs to our bed. Instead, I dropped my groceries on the kitchen floor, fell onto the futon, and burrowed under our down comforter.

That was where my friends found me three days later, the groceries still in bags on the linoleum, and with Sex in the City playing around the clock. I'd made no effort to contact my husband and had lived off one big pot of spaghetti I'd made halfway through day one. I was alone for the first time in years, and I didn't know what to do. What I did know was I had a big, big problem. I did not miss him; I did not care he was gone. Being alone felt right, like a warm bath after a long race.

At my husband's advice, two days later I found a roommate. He came into the gallery with one of my friends from out of town looking for a place to stay during fishing season. They'd found him a camper just outside of town, but he wasn't really looking forward to spending two hundred bucks a month for a place with no toilet.

The boy was fresh-faced and quiet, just my type. I looked him up and down and said something like, "Well, if you don't smoke pot, you can live with me." 

He smiled. "I've never even tried the stuff." 

I asked, "But you do drink, though, right? I plan to be at the Fairview every night and I need company." 

He replied, "I'll be on the stool next to you." 

Three days later he moved in.

So began an endless summer. The type folks write movies about with slow lamenting songs. My roommate and I became fast friends with a perfect living arrangement: I cooked, he cleaned, and we both went out until 4 a.m. At first this caused plenty of scandal. I knew it would. How could it not in a town of six hundred where I had lived all my life? Here I was, showing up after eight months without my husband and living with a guy none of them had ever met. I didn't try to change their minds. I didn't care.

The freedom I felt made my heart hurt. It was amazing to live with only myself to care for. I started writing again, amazing things. Things I didn't know I could feel anymore came pouring out across the page. I worked my butt off during the day, and then I played harder than ever during the night. At the end of the evening I would fall into the middle of the bed and take up every single inch with just me. I loved it.

Why would a married woman do such a thing? Even more, why would she like it? It's pretty simple really; I am far more than just a married woman. I am me: a lover of solitude, independence, and my own thoughts. And that summer I had the chance to remember who that was. Luckily, I married a man who understood that. 

As soon as I told him, "I don't know when or if I am coming back," he said, "Do whatever you need to do, baby. I'll work and pay for everything. Wherever you go, I'll come to you there."

What, you might ask, would make a husband respond like that when his wife is living with a man he doesn't know and said she might not come back? Honestly, I have no idea either. It seems pretty crazy to me, but that was his story and he was sticking to it. He just let me go.

It took three months for things to really hit the fan. Eleven years of my pent-up rage finally turned on him with the force of a thousand storms. During my time away, I'd found my soul again and I was in love with life for the first time in years. I was willing to fight to the death to keep a solid grip on my heart, even if it meant fighting the love of my life.

Daily e-mail and phone calls shot back and forth in rapid fire. I was at war and held nothing back. All my suppressed rage poured over him in waves, the miles working like a conduit. Life had not been easy for us and it had taken its toll. There wasn't any part of me that wanted to go back to the way things were, so I just shot until I was empty and waited to see who was left standing.

Then, out of the blue, a surprising thing happened. He got angry.

It had been over ten years since I'd seen him fight for anything. Ever since he was nineteen and saw his father murdered, he refused to feel anger. Then after he saw my mom die in a motorcycle accident, he just refused to feel at all. Instead of bothering with all his pesky emotions, he just clung to me as if I was the last dinghy on the Titanic.  I, in turn, had kept us afloat. Now we were dead in the water and I was starting to sink under his weight. In a last-ditch effort to save us both, I was cutting him loose. 

I told him, "It’s over, baby. You've got to sink or swim. Make your choice, me or the pain. I'm not coming home."

For the next two months, he raged. His letters were disoriented and scary. His nightmares came back with a vengeance, and he began spending late nights in bars with the only men who could understand his stories, Vietnam vets. I lost all hope for our marriage and began making other plans. I loved him too much to stay and hate him, but I could not live for both of us anymore.

At the end of the summer he came for a visit, a quick trip to deal with the business and decide where I would live when I got back to Seattle. As I waited to see him for the first time in months, my heart twisted into many little knots. What do you do with a husband you've decided to leave? A man you have loved since you were eighteen? 

As he walked off the airplane, handsome and calm as a cool winter's night, I looked deep into his clear blue eyes and saw the boy I had fallen in love with eleven years before dancing behind the eyes of a man I’d only just met. For the first time since my mom died, he looked at me. His gaze went right past his fear, right past his anger, and right into me. I'd forgotten what I looked like in his eyes. There I was, strong and capable, a person in my own right, no longer his salvation. I was human again, just his friend, just a person. That was when I knew exactly what I was going to do with him. Go home.

Is this “happily ever after”? I certainly doubt it. Life doesn't stop happening just because you find yourself or each other for a moment. There are most certainly many more traumas ahead, twists in the road where we’ll get off track. But I know that no matter how far I roam, he will always come to join me right where I am.

Decisions, Decisions

Sometimes you find just what you need,
right when you need it most,
in the most unexpected places.

Today I'm starting over at the beginning
and it reminds me why I'm taking the steps
to build a stronger life for myself and my family.