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Packedin Korea, Tongyeong

SOUTH KOREA | Friday, 11 December 2009 | Views [1968] | Comments [1]

Packedin Korea, Tongyeong.

           When do I get to my apartment? Was the question that kept entering my head every five minutes as I sat at 4pm in the principles office at Chungmu Middle School.

I arrived in Pusan airport very early in the morning, expecting to be picked up by someone from my supporting teaching agency. On pushing my trolley out of the arrivals gate I realized that no one was there waiting for me. After the initial agh no way and then laughing about the situation I dragged all of my bags over to the information desk, at the back of the lounge. The woman straight away rang the agency for me and I was told someone would be there for me in about an hour.

After my hour wait I was picked up by a very smart dressed Korean man who apologized and then drove me not straight to Tongyeong where I thought I would be going, but to the education department where I was to have an interview. Luckily I had traveled wearing a shirt and trousers, which meant I was smart enough, I hoped.

During the interview I had to fight my case for being paid as a fully qualified teacher as they didnt quite understand the information I had given them. I eventually explained well enough to gain my true pay scheme. I was introduced to my co teacher, who seemed very nervous at first around the education officials. I later learned this is just the way Korean people are with people in authority.

From the education offices I was then taken the two hours it takes to drive to Tongyeong. My co teacher tells me she is taking me to the school to meet everybody as they were looking forward to meet me. I was a month over due in Korea, as it took longer than expected to gain all the necessary paper work from the very efficient uk systems, not! This meant the teachers and students were even more excited about me arriving.

Arriving at the school, now quite tired my Korean experience started. You never quite get over the way some Korean people will stare at you like the way you see a child staring at someone with a physical disability. Its a bit like the way you see someone staring into a babys pram watching the every move of a baby, bent over at the knees, head to one side.

I had a meeting with the principle before being taken up to the staff room and shown to my desk. I was then lead, by my arm, to the front of middle of the room where a microphone was shoved in my hand and I was encouraged to say something to address the room of teachers. I now wished I had burst into unforgettable by Nat Kin Cole.

I was taken back down stairs for another meeting in which I sat listening to about an hour of people talking Korean and no one telling me what was happening or being said.

As time goes by in Korea you will get used to that. I have spent many a time out for meals where not one word will be said to you. Its just the way they are, even if they can speak English, they find it too embarrassing to try: so they spend a lot of time trying to avoid contact with you.

Later I was finally taken to my apartment accompanied by the principle, deputy principle, the finance lady and my co-teacher. I must admit being a little taken back how small the apartment was as all the pictures of other peoples apartments in the research I had done were a lot bigger. Mine was a one roomed apartment with bathroom and small wash area. The apartment was also supposed to be furnished, but apart from a bed and a table it was completely bare.

I was next taken to the lotte shopping centre to buy me a bed set as there were non in the apartment. They picked me out the one that no one would ever pick out for a man of my age, it was probably one that someone had ordered and then not turned up for a laugh. I was finally left to my own devices at 9pm with out any food and so tired I could hardly stand. I decided against walking out to find food as I had found I was already asleep.









Tags: epik, esl, iainob1, korea, packedin, teaching, tongyeong




I was teaching in Chung Mu Boy's Middle School the year before you [2008]. You were my replacement!!

  James Jan 24, 2010 8:25 PM

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