Saturday, August 15, 2009
so a lot has happened recently and i haven't been able to really get on the internet because my new place doesn't have internet.
1. vacation- i went to jeju island for my vacation. jeju is often romanticized in korea. it's the honeymoon island. well, i figured out why: it's a great place to go if you want to stay in your hotel room for a week. that's not to say it wasn't pretty, but it is certainly boring. the first two days i had friends from seoul in town. they left. i was alone for a few days and then kakki and chad came and i spent the rest of my time with them. i saw lots of waterfalls and ate a lot of ramen. i went to some mountains. it was hot as the devil as well. one morning after i took a shower, my shirt was soaked with sweat after a 30 minute walk. i met some people from oregon who actually live in the next city over from me. we went to nore bang and the guy got a little destructive when he got drunk. it made it an uncomfortable experience. all i could think about was "this guy is going to break a t.v. and i'm going to have to pay for it." they were both nice otherwise though.
2. guitar pickup- i went to seoul yesterday to buy a guitar pickup for my classical guitar. i guess i never really thought about it, but classical guitars have smaller soundholes than steel string guitars; they're just smaller in general. so my pickup didn't fit. realizing that it wasn't worth the trouble to go back to seoul because of a cheap pickup, i decided to modify my guitar...i did this by using a butterknife to saw out two little squares in the soundhole. i'll post pictures, i'm proud of my butterknife skills...long story short, i put the pickup in and it doesn't work. i'm pretty sure the cable i was using was fine, but the pickup made not a noise. so i seriously hurt my guitar to install a non-working pickup. fml (for those of you less web savvy, that stands for "f*ck my life." all the kids are using it these days).
3. padraig's gone- my best friend in korea left. padraig was rather unhappy with various things about our school and other various things so when the opportunity to receive a scholarship for his phd back in the u.k. presented itself, he did the right thing. i got a call from him on wednesday during vacation and he was at the airport. he had kept it a secret, which i can understand. all the same, now i do things alone a lot more often. the school is very mad. they're filing charges which can't really do anything. he won't be able to work in korea again most likely, but he'll have a doctorate and so i can't imagine why he'd move back to a place that made him so unhappy. they're telling the parents that his father is sick and he has to go home for a while. in a few weeks, they're going to say his father died and so he's not coming back. that way they don't look bad. pretty sick, huh?
4. new place- one of my coworkers had a place that was about a 20 minute walk from school and i have a scooter, so he just said he wanted to move to the school and i said i'd consider trading with him. the boss heard this and immediately said "oh, so you're trading with michael?" and i said "well, we haven't talked about it." the next day, this same conversation took place again. he then told michael to go ahead and pack his things and did not tell me this. i packed up everything in my room on a day's notice. talk about being filled with hate. well, i moved in a day before vacation. i love it in my new place. padraig left during vacation. 3 days into the next week i was told that i would have to move back into the school. i had not lived in the apartment for even a week. i told him i'd really not like that. it would be the 4th time i've changed locations in the last 5 1/2 months. this has made me really pissed off. the location of the school is not great. there is no privacy. you cannot have guests. there are cctv cameras in the hall and we've been told before "oh, you came in late last night." if i live at the school i have to do pickups, which means that every couple weeks i have to go to work an hour early for no money. the bosses work sometimes till 10 at night and want to chat it up if they see you. the bills are insanely expensive, our electric bills basically pay the electricity for the whole school. so i've decided that i will move back to the school under a few conditions: the ad for the school said the job paid 100,000w more a month than the actual contract i signed in korea. i would ask for backpay and a raise of another 100,000 on top of that. i would also ignore any pesky rules about having guests. if they do not want to do this and still force me to move back into the school, i will give them my notice because i could easily find another job in korea...and since they just lost a teacher, they cannot afford to lose another, it would sink them. if they don't want to give me a release, i'll just tell them that i'll report them to the labor board if they don't. they have engaged in various illegal activities such as not providing us with health insurance until after 5 months, still not giving us pension, and breaking all sorts of general labor laws associated with how many hours we have to work a day. of course, they could just let me stay and everything would be fine.
5. darts- i play darts now. i bought my own set. everyone here loves to play darts at the bar. there are people who can pretty much get bull's eyes every time. it's amazing.
6. the ladies- it turns out that the waitress i have a crush on at the bar also has a crush on me. this was related to me by my korean friends last night. she's 29 and doesn't speak english very well, which is her concern. i can't say i don't understand. not speaking the same language is sort of a big deal when you want to know someone. she came to our table and put her arm around me. she said in english that i was "her man," which is funny on many different levels. she then explained to my korean friends that she likes me but is afraid because she can't speak english. oh well.
7. books- i finished "hocus pocus" and "bluebeard" by vonnegut. bluebeard was maybe better. hocus pocus was maybe my least favorite vonnegut book so far. i went to the book store to find something more heavy to read. i got "critique on pure reason" by kant. i've trudged through the massive introduction and i understand about 30% of it. i consider this a huge accomplishment, the 30% that is. i think i'm going to start on pynchon's "vineland" again. i started it a while ago and then moved to something else. my friend kakki also has "the crying of lot 49" which i might borrow.
that is all. i've been here for nearly 6 months. i think my big plan is to come back and study for my master's degree. i met a guy who did that. with a 2.7 gpa, he got a 75% scholarship on tuition and a 50% scholarship for the dorms. why? because korean universities love white people going to their schools...or foreigners in general, it's just that most of those foreigners are white folks like myself. so that puts me here for 2 more years. hopefully i will speak a lot of korean when i come back for good. it would be a shame not to.