Friday, November 4, 2011

Life/Korea Updates

Since everyone's eyes tend to skip over the long FB status updates I thought I'd come to my blog (for the first time since February!!) and let everyone who cares know what's going on. I guess once last March and April hit I was too preoccupied with coming back to America to write anything and once I got back to America there was nothing exciting to write about.

Every since being back stateside not only have I gained like 10 pounds from all the food here but I'm getting more and more over the good ol' US of A every second. The plan was to be back in Japan by August 1. HA. It's November and here we are, living in my Grandma's basement because absolutely nothing is working out the way we need it to be.

We decided in the summer to give up Japan like a bad job and move on to South Korea with two of our good friends, Jared and Rachel, who suggested we all go together. Fine. I wasn't keen on the idea whatsoever but I was outnumbered 3-1. Nothing to do but do my research and decide where and how to go about a new country. Jared and Rachel taught in the Japanese public school system while Al and I were private. They were tired of the public and wanted to go private in Korea and Al and I decided to go public. Overall, teaching in public schools in Korea seems to be the better choice (you get over double the vacation time from the private schools!) but it's also a way more difficult route. Once we were about two months in to the application process we were hit with the first of many bombs that would slow our process and seriously damper our spirits: the Ministry of Education needed reference letters from our old school in Japan. If you are one of the few people closest to Al and I you know that our experience with our school in Japan wasn't the best. If you didn't know, the school is ran by a tyrranical sadist who makes the lives of most of her teachers miserable to a breaking point. I was a great teacher and I received nothing but praise from my students and parents of students but that doesn't matter in the eyes of GEM School. Nonetheless, very few leave that school on good terms and/or in a happy mindset and there is no way in a million years Al and I could get a reference letter from her (and it had to be from HER specifically). So we gave up teaching in Korean public schools.

Last month we decided that our only option was to suck it up and teach for private schools. (Personally, I would rather teach for private schools but the draw of many, many vacation days kept me hanging on to the public system.) We found a great recruiter who has been a tremendous help and had us hired within two weeks. Since there are no "couple" positions available within the next month (we want out of here ASAP!) we would be taking two single positions and therefore single housing a.k.a. studio apartment. Fine. Whatever. (Did I also mention that teaching in Korea is rent-free?) So Al accepted his job after interviewing and asking questions and I was still waiting to talk to the current foreign teacher before I make my decision.

Since we're moving along quite quickly and smoothly I should have known that, with our luck, something bad was bound to happen. Well, it did. Because Al has previously been a resident of the United States he has to submit to an FBI background check before his visa can start being processed. I got mine done months ago because I had to. It takes 6-12 weeks. Well, there goes Al's job and the thought of us getting out of here in three weeks. So I cried and we both got upset and we were at a point yesterday when we really didn't know what we were going to do for the next three months. I have been working at the golf course up at Stonewall for the majority of the summer but just a few days ago found out that there's no more work for me since the season is over. Bye bye, paycheck! Bye bye Korea jobs! Hello possibility of me going to Korea alone for three months! Let's just say it was one of our worst days yet.

So, here it is, our (kind of) silver lining. Our recruiter called last night to talk about our options and our best one seems to be this: I still take one of the jobs that start in December and Al comes right along with me to wait on his visa. Schools pay for teachers' flight over and back so we would have to pay out of pocket for Al's but once he gets a job (in like, January or so) his school will actually reimburse him for his ticket. So once I get more information about my position that starts December 1st I can make a decision on whether or not to take that one. They already hired me I just don't know much about the school yet. So the possibility of us getting out of here in a matter of a few weeks is still a good one, we'd just be living on one paycheck for a few months (though, over there, it's not hard). Hopefully tonight I will get some info about my school and we can start moving forward for once.

Fingers crossed!