Monday, July 25, 2016

One Camp Down and One To Go

Well the sticky, slimy, disgusting Korean summer is here. The best thing I have found in my many years over here to be doing at this time, is getting the hell out of this country for at least a month, preferably a couple. It's unbearable for people who LIKE summer. Then there's me. I curse the heat, the humidity, the mosquitos, the rain and the endless battle to get a good night's sleep. But I have to say, along with some other people, who warily commented on this to me lest we jinx it, the mosquitos have not been that bad this year. The heat? It's been relentless. The humidity? Like ballsack sweat in the air. But the mosquitos have been conspicuously absent. I think the foggers have been working overtime due to the nationwide Zikaphobia. Yeah, every city has foggers. It's one of the few loud noises coming from the Korean streets that I actually like. Much like the sound of a bug zapper going off, you just KNOW the very loud drone of the fogger that you can hear a few blocks before it gets to you and a few blocks after it passes, means the death of blood-sucking vermin. Not long ago I remember kids riding their bikes and running behind those foggers cheering and whooping it up. I share the sentiment with those kids, just not the desire to inhale the toxic chemicals. You know, those kids I saw back in the day... they're working age now. Perhaps running hagwons and putting English camps together. Maybe even heading up the English departments of universities. Hmmmm... That could explain a lot...

Another thing I like to do, if the money, or the vacation time isn't there, is the wonderfully lucrative Korean summer camps. I remember camps of days gone by in which I met some awesome friends and worked for some awesome people and grew very close to some awesome students. The work was endless. Not a moment to yourself, but the afterglow when you finished was similar to what I imagine opening night on Broadway might feel like. Worked and worked and worked; had setbacks but pulled together as a team to overcome them; pulled off the impossible in a challenging timeframe; rescheduled; dealt with little emergencies; had disagreements; made up; re-rescheduled; had a visit from the regional supervisor who mandated NEW challenges; got the kids to co-operate and finish their projects; re-re-rescheduled at the last minute; impressed the parents; had a nice celebratory night, (usually around a campfire), with director and teachers; muddled through the farewell ceremony with a bit of a hangover; and finally were rewarded with a bulging envelope of money.

Well, just like my experience with hagwon teaching over here, things have changed at the camps. Where to begin? So many differences! I guess first things first, the method of getting chosen for the camps has changed somewhat. It used to require an interview, but now there are highly organized online application processes, which, if passed, are followed by visits to schools to be interviewed by panels of camp aficionados, followed in turn by sample lessons that are sprung on the teacher with little to no time for preparation. I had one interview, oh so many years ago, for a camp that consisted of the director, Mr. Lee, asking me what I would like for the camp and me replying, half seriously, "I dunno. Beer every night?" We GOT beer every night. Flats of it! None of it went to waste mind you! And it was probably the best camp I ever did! I heard later that Mr. Lee took some flack for the beer budget but the camp was a huge success so he didn't get punished.

The camp I just finished, no meetings before or after. No socializing during the camp time either. I don't know a thing about the people I worked with. It was only one week, but at the beer camp I was just describing, after a week I could tell you the reason they were there; their dreams, hopes and aspirations; their first sexual experiences; their nicknames; past lovers by whom they were jilted; waist sizes; toothpaste preferences; Saturday morning cartoon theme songs they know; scars, emotional and physical; locker combinations; banking PIN numbers; communist sympathies; past crimes; their favourite drinks, foods, sports, hobbies, breakfast cereals... I could tell you much of the life history of all the main teachers, helpers and administrators. Needless to say, I like the old way better. At least on this point.

What else? Well once you GET the job, and to toot my own horn here, TOOT, I'm pretty good at these things so I get the ones I apply to, you get reams of paper describing the things that will be happening during the camp. This past camp I got reams of paper written in Korean describing what would be happening, but it didn't matter to me because I know that there is no amount of planning that will overcome the basic need for improvisation at these things. It's what Koreans are worst at and it's where I shine. So while people were stressing about schedules and details, I was stresslessly saying to myself, and actually to other camp staff, "We'll just end up going with the flow." And, as always, we did. So I guess that's one for the NOT changed side of the board. I don't think these things will ever be planned enough to where everything goes off without a hitch. The camp I just finished wanted me to take care of the pool activities. Well half the things that were planned were impossible to carry out because of campers' heights vs. the depth of the pool, the campers' swimming abilities, faulty supplies, weather, hot deck outside the pool, slippery deck outside the pool, and just the pounding rays of the sun. But I expected that sort of thing. I have to brag a bit and say that I took the supplies they had purchased and threw together several pretty good last minute ideas that were fun for the kids. A couple of other people had some good ideas and some of my ideas were not used. That's just the way these things go. And that's not likely to change.

So another difference: At these camps, teachers/counselors like me are no longer living with the kids; putting the kids to bed; eating with the kids; 24/7. I went to the camp from about 8:20 to 1:00 every day. I didn't sleep in the dorms with the kids or tuck them in at night or anything like that. I didn't help them get ready in the mornings. The parents did all that. It was a much less intimate experience with the campers, the same as it was with the co-workers. Again, I have to say I like the old way better on this point.

And then, the bane of my existence, immigration. Huge difference! The old camps, I'd just get a little letter of permission from my employer, or nothing at all and we'd just do it all under the table in cash, and Bob's our Uncle. Now! I STILL don't understand the best way to go about doing these camps. I suppose having a job where your employer allows you to do camps is one way to go. But now there are these F visas and people who are Korean, but not Korean doing all the jobs foreigners used to do. They are living in the U.S. but are summering in Korea to make some money for tuition at college. That's an instant F-something visa and you can write your ticket. For a guy like me who used to be the preferred camp teacher, it was not so easy. I had to first get permission from an employer, and if you go way back into the archives of this blog, you'll see that that is not always easily acquired. Then you needed to get a written letter of permission. After that it was pretty simple: you gave that letter to the camp and they did all the immigration work because they speak Korean and they have little to no problem at the immigration office or with the immigration technology. NOWadays it's a whole new ball game! I still needed a letter of permission from my boss but the camps have told me to go to immigration myself. I had to call the immigration number, 1345, and get the proper information that they want on the letter of permission. Then I had to fill it in and get my boss to fill it in. THEN, and this is the difference, I, EYE, AYE, I had to do the immigration work. Oh, and it just flows off the keyboard as I type it, but it's not as easy as all that, let me tell you! You'd think that all I would have to do is just waltz into the immigration office, take a number, wait and then give somebody my alien card, camp contract, and letter of permission so they know what I'm up to. NOOOOOOOO! That's the kind of thing that Korean immigration has NEVER trafficked in: simplicity. No, I have to first call the number. And I have to say, the person on the 1345 line was very helpful, spoke great English and told me all I needed to do as though it were humanly possible, bless her. She probably thinks it is. The fact is, I have to make an appointment before going into the immigration office and letting them know I'll be teaching a camp. She just threw the HiKorea website at me and told me to make an appointment as though it were something the immigration department of this country hadn't hired the most diabolical minds available to make as demoralizing as possible.

I still think there may be a way, but not if you don't speak Korean. And not if you don't download a few invasive Korean computer jacking programs that are necessary to navigate this site. I actually accessed the site from Canadian Google and was given a warning that the site where we have to register and make appointments for immigration matters in Korea was DANGEROUS to my computer! And, yeah, I go on there and it's asking me to install "Active X" and some keyboard program. Every time I x them out they pop up again and then notices telling me that Windows has blocked these programs from popping up come up too. So basically, I'm two days away from starting a camp and thanks to Korean Immigration ingenuity, I am unable to do the legal thing and give them the letter of permission I have for this camp. The same thing happened for the last camp. I gave the director my letter toward the end of the camp and I suppose he will give it to immigration. I don't know if the same will need to happen with this next camp at Konkuk University or not. Probably. As far as I'm concerned I've done my due diligence. If the inspectors come around the camp and ask why I'm there, I will have my letter of permission. That's the best I'll be able to do. Gee, I wonder if this is exactly the situation Korean Immigration was wanting to fabricate. They will say I should have made an appointment. I will say it was impossible. They will question my computer skills and slap a hefty fine on me for flouting the Korean legal system. Don't scoff. It's happened to me here before.

I've told the camp supe about my struggles. We'll see what we can do...

And there is still another difference. As already described, I used to love that fat wad of cash at the end of the camp! Now the Korean 50,000 won bill, (where the largest used to be the 10,000), has thinned some of those fat wads, but not only that: camps have for some reason, and through some clandestine wheeling and dealing, made it pretty much a standard thing to keep the camp workers waiting for their money. This first camp said in their contract that I will have to wait up to 10 days for payment. We all know that means 10 days. And this next camp, at a MAJOR university here in Korea, where university is EXPENSIVE, have written into their contract that payment will be within a month of the end of camp. No big, bulging envelopes at the end of camps any more. I had to do some solid thinking on this and I can't come up with a good reason why this new fad would be! Oh I can come up with a few BAD reasons... But that's Korea. One person waives payment for a week after camp and the teachers, who have limited visitation times, return to their countries unpaid, and suddenly EVERYBODY want to pull THAT scam. So a MAJOR University like Konkuk decides they will pay their workers a month after they're finished. That's a LONG time. Why? They can't afford it? A big university like that? No, it's just that everything is done the most corrupt way possible and every year comes with new and improved methods of screwing other people. I've probably missed a few since I've been away.

The wad of cash is not as big as it once was either. I remember when a million a week was pretty standard at these camps. Now I see some paying a million for THREE weeks. It's happening with ALL jobs in the ESL racket over here. People are getting chincier and chincier. Longer hours. 30 hours a week is the norm now. For ages here 20 was considered the absolute max. Vacation time is down to 10 days when the minimum used to be a month. The standard job here is basically a screw job. But I guess people keep taking them.

And speaking of getting screwed, if you are with me in Korea or in a country to which this:

absolute crap is exported, DON'T BUY IT! I can not stress that strongly enough. Spaghetti is my favourite food and while in Korea I have suffered through some awfully weak attempts at Koreanizing the centuries old art of making spaghetti sauce, but I have always made it through. None were hideous enough that I couldn't finish. None that I can recall at any rate. But THIS stuff! I added good meat, spices and veggies to this sewage. What a complete waste! I had to scrape it all into the toilet. I'm not kidding. Absolutely horrendous! I had the garlic and onion kind. I have to believe the other kinds couldn't be worse, so I won't condemn the entire line of products, but I've been so violated by the one kind, I'm scared to try the others. Yes, violated. When you buy something that says it's spaghetti sauce, you expect something that tastes at least a little bit like spaghetti sauce. Folks, I've had ketchup on spaghetti many times. I don't hate it! But this red dyed baboon mucous is the worst thing I've tasted in a long time.

I remember back in the day in Korea when I used to have a lot of food surprises like this. The cheese that was actually made from carrots. The hamburger buns that turned out to be filled with brown bean paste. The tomato that turned out to be a persimmon. Those are funny stories. This one is not funny. It's tragic. I wasted food and money because of that imposter sludge. It's about 4 bucks a jar too. Only a bit cheaper than REAL spaghetti sauce. I admit, I was penny pinching. I'll buy the stuff I trust next time. The place still reeks of that pseudo Italian sludge. YUCK!

Anyhoo, here's:

the group from the Seoul Club camp. I really enjoyed that camp! The kids were pretty good and the co-workers were too. I hope it's the same at Konkuk. Okay from top left going left to right, top to bottom, Patrick (student helper. 3rd year doing this camp), Me. 2nd row: Yoon, Zoe, Sophie, Eyad, Lizzy (NYU student and registered hotty), Ye Weon, KC/Casey (Head teacher). Bottom row: Jaimie (from Vancouver! My fellow Canuck), Hee Weon (Ye Weon's sister), Sun Hoong, Jad (Eyad's brother), Lushin.

They were fun, but I wish I had the chance to get to know them all better.

Anyway, on to Konkuk. (I hope)


Sunday, July 24, 2016

If I Had a Billion Dollars



... and now for the updated version: "If I Had A Billion Dollars," by the Scantily Clad Gender Indeterminate Musicians.

If I had a billion dollars
If I had a billion dollars
Well I'd buy you a house
I would buy you a house, (in Vancouver).

If I had a billion dollars
If I had a billion dollars
I'd build you a wall around yer house
A great Great Wall to keep out peasants.

And if I had a billion dollars
If I had a billion dollars
SURELY I could buy a better hairpiece!
A nice reliant kind of a hairpiece.
And if I had a better hairpiece, I'd buy yer love.

If I had a billion dollars
I'd gild the streets of D.C. yard by yard
If I had a billion dollars
You could make a speech, it's not that hard
If I had a billion dollars
Maybe we could make little tiny orange kids in there somewhere...
We'd have orange kids but we wouldn't have orange pets.
Well can you blame us?
Yes!

If I had a billion dollars
If I had a billion dollars
I'd buy you some oats,
But not with milk or water, that's gruel.

And if I had a billion dollars
If I had a billion dollars
I'd buy you an exotic pet
Yup, like a banker or a senator.

If I had a billion dollars
If I had a billion dollars
Well I'd buy you Steve Jobs remains
Oooh all those crazy Apple I-Phones!
And if I had a billion dollars, I'd buy your love.

If I had a billion dollars
We wouldn't buy Wal-Marts any more
If I had a billion dollars
We'd take over Target cuz it costs a little more.

If I had a billion dollars
We wouldn't eat the poor for dinner.
We'd eat the middle class for dinner!
Of course we would! And we'd eat more!
And buy really expensive ketchups for them...
That's right, all the fanciest, Dijon ketchups. Mmmmmm!

If I had a billion dollars
If I had a billion dollars
Well I'd buy you a green world
But not a fossil-free world, that's fuel.

And if I had a billion dollars
If I had a billion dollars
Well I'd buy you some art
Like an Irving or a Blank.

If I had a billion dollars
If I had a billion dollars
Well I'd buy you some flunkies
Haven't you always wanted some flunkies?
If I had a billion dollars, I'd buy your love.

If I had a billion dollars
If I had a billion dollars
If I had a billion dollars
If I had a billion dollars
If I had a billion dollars
I'd be president.

*(Alternate ending contingent upon upcoming American Election)

















Wednesday, July 13, 2016

I Wanna Be Sedated



It's painful not to pretend. That's deep.

A cousin asked me how I'm doing. Just yesterday. I talked about the prospects of camps and finding a new job here in Korea at a university. He commented on how exciting my life is.

Well, I think he's right. In a way. Exciting and terrifying are similar. I didn't tell him that the camps are dependant upon getting permission to work elsewhere from my official employer over here, who I recently had a big fight with and quit. I've been told that the permission will be given, but many of the things I was told by this employer did not happen. Add to this the fact that I have already given them a signed, but not dated, letter of resignation. To show trust. I can't tell you how many times showing honesty and trust to a Korean employer has bitten me in the arse. So often that I should, by now, have come to expect it. But I continue to employ this terrifying/exciting trusting approach, which most Asian people see as stupid. And, by golly, it has made me feel stupid a time or two. But my position is that if I have to go through life not trusting anybody, what kind of life would that be?

So as I type this my employer may have informed immigration that our contract was broken by me. If that is the case I believe I have a month to leave the country or they start charging me some money for every day of overstay. I am not sure how much but in Indonesia it was about 30 bucks. Here it's probably 50. My bosses were in Spain for two weeks and were due back Monday. I messaged them Monday asking to get papers signed for immigration. The permission to work at these camps I'm signed on for. That start basically tomorrow. I have orientation tomorrow for a camp I am doing next week. Monday I received no reply. Tuesday I was told that they had missed their Monday flight. So I asked again if we could meet and sign papers. "Is it urgent?" was the reply. I said that it wasn't but I need the papers signed by Friday. Yesterday, Wednesday, I agreed to give the bosses a day to recover from the vacation. So hopefully today I'll get these papers signed.

If not, I may be refused for the first camp. It will be working in a swimming pool for a week. I think it's basically playing with kids and making sure nobody drowns. Pretty sweet and pretty lucrative. About 150 bucks a day. If I don't get the permission, I could always just say I did the paperwork myself and do the camp hoping that they won't be investigated by any immigration people. If they are, I could be deported. Then I won't be able to do the second camp, one for Konkuk University, which starts the following week and goes for two weeks. It's not as lucrative but I will be working with 9 teachers who work full time at Konkuk. They advertised for a full time teacher as well and I have applied for that position. I think that if I do a good job and the other teachers like me, I'll have a very good shot at a year of full time work at Konkuk. But not without a letter of release from my current employer.

So what I need to get today is a couple of letters of permission for the camps and a letter of release for a full time job. I've written them up but they require a signature and/or stamp from my employer. That is to say, he must agree that I can quit working for him in the middle of the contract and work for these other people, some while still technically employed by him. He has promised that this will be done, but I am quite nervous today. Up at 6 AM even though I had a late night last night chasing down mosquitoes and trying to stop sweating. It's no picnic in summer here in Korea. Especially without air conditioning. Which I don't have.

But no, I'm "fine."

And I'll be just staying with my friends, Heather, Mike and their kids and dogs. They have a full house and really don't need an extra person there for 3 weeks. Oh I will help with a little cooking, cleaning, dog walking etc., but I'll be another person using the shower, bathroom, eating food and taking up a spot on the couch. I may have said this before but they are wonderful people! I know they don't think of this as doing anything extraordinary, but I feel like I owe them big time. They stayed at my place once but that certainly doesn't make us even in my book for all the kindness they've shown me.

Heather, many years ago, worked on the Clinton campaign. Bill, that is. I know I'm not alone when I look at the current presidential front runners and see America as entirely peopled with mad political scientists. "Okay, we tried the black president, now let's see what happens when a woman is president." I see the whole country wringing their hands and hoo hoo haa haaing. I read a great comment online today about this whole clusterfuck: Hillary and Trump are both running against the only person they have a chance of beating. Are these the two BEST candidates the entire U.S. of A. could come up with? Of course not! Bernie Sanders is. Not everybody knows that because the media went out of its way to NOT cover the massive support he had while he was still in the picture. Even Heather, who I am positive knows Hillary personally, posted this on Facebook:


So what happened to Bernie? Back to the top. "Rigged elections." I thought this stupid mockery of a process would die a long overdue death when we found out that Bush cheated, and was not really the president. Not only didn't it, but they just kept him on. Well there was some doubt for a while, but when touch screen voting machine programmers admit to rigging those machines, it's time to get rid of the cheater, no? No. Now I know, and am often reassured by American friends, that there are some really DUMB people in America, but I think Trump's numbers are over hyped and Bernie's were under hyped. As for Hillary, she'll probably win. She will probably do a decent job as president. But the major changes that the majority want, and Bernie Sanders would have brought, will be delayed another 4 years. That will give the cheaters time to rig another plan to keep democracy out of America.

"The world itself is just one big hoax." We vote not with the above rigged elections but by buying stuff. Shit. I don't have an Apple computer, but many people pay extra money for what they think is a better product. Many people think Steve Jobs IS a genius and a great man. I don't think THAT either. But I suppose with my computer purchase I voted for Bill Gates. Hey, he's no Bernie Sanders, but I have two words for you: Mosquito Laser! Check it out! So at least I can hold my head up a little higher when my Internet Explorer malfunctions and I have to upgrade my upgrades and download more programs to make the other programs work again. I wish I had a mosquito laser last night! When will Microsoft make THAT available to the public? Or, will that be a bonus when you buy Windows W or Windows XI or Windows 2020 or whatever the next bug filled, incarnation of Windows will be called? I hope so.

"All our heroes are counterfeit." Imposters. I remember when the Kia Tigers had Kim Sang Hyun and he was just rockin' it! He got MVP in 2009! Now, he watches 20-year-old girls while having a wank in his car. He shoulda just said he was having a Whiz. Har har. I wonder if his car was a Kia. Look, I personally don't think less of his baseball skills, and what you do in the privacy of your, uh, car, is nobody's business. It was a victimless crime. Certainly not worse than fixing elections, starting wars for profit, revealing state secrets, racism, bigotry, corruption. I guess Kim Sang Hyun will have to run for president of Korea now and rub elbows, and other body parts with the elite of moral depravity.

Anyway, with luck I'll be able to work the camps and get things worked out with immigration. With a little more luck I'll be able to land a job at Konkuk or some other university here in Korea for a full year of work. But, as I've already said, I'd be stupid to expect the same things NOT to happen. There will be ethical and educational differences. There will be managers and micromanagers who want me to teach the way I'm comfortable because it pleases the students, but also want me to teach the Korean way because it pleases management. Maybe I'll see about some Xanax or some other sedative that can keep me in a level of consciousness, or semi-consciousness that will allow me to cope with these otherwise soul-stealing issues.

Maybe we ARE all Johnny Ramones and we DO want to be sedated. Well whatever. At least it was a pretty cool song.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Pay Up, Make Up, Shut Up.


I don't like to post stuff like the above picture. But a buddy of mine posted it on Facebook today and it got my old mind a whirring. It's a picture of French soldiers in Cameroon posing proudly with the heads of some locals on sticks. This was taken several hundred years ago, surely! Nope. Between 1956 and 1971. At most 60 years ago. Which means those heads could very easily belong to the grandfathers of young, impressionable, "terrorist"-aged kids in Cameroon. Or the father of an older revolution leader. I might have been alive when this photo was snapped! Hard to believe! If the third head from the left were YOUR Grampa, just imagine how hard it would be for you to try to end the violence by showing love to your fellow man. Your fellow French man. What if you met the grandson of one of the French soldiers in the picture. Sure, HE had no part in this, but could you forgive and forget? Let bygones be bygones?

All over the world countries have received reparation payments for atrocities committed against them longer than 60 years ago. Germany and Japan are still paying for stuff they did in the '40's. As recently as last year Japan offered 8.7 million to the few remaining comfort women of Korea. To give you an idea of how low that number is, in 1988 Canada gave 300 million to the Japanese who were placed into internment camps during the same war. This pic is of some in Lemon Creek in the Slocan Valley where Castlegar, my Canadian hometown is.


And this is not to mention the billions and billions Canada has spent on native Canadian reparations for something that began in 1604 when, (of all people), the French founded Quebec on the St. Lawrence.

But Cameroon, and for that matter, Algeria, no reparations from the French. I've blogged about this before. Why were the French there? Coffee and cotton. As mentioned before, this is called capitalism, but killing over a million, (1/10 of the population of Algeria at the time), tens of thousands in Cameroon, chopping off heads in both countries, this goes far beyond 9/11 or the 200+ schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria. Or the 12 people killed in the Charlie Hebdo attacks. The brothers who carried out Charlie Hebdo were of Algerian heritage. Big surprise!

Back when people were superimposing French flags over their Facebook photos I mentioned French colonialism and capitalism to some friends and was accused of trying to twist the truth. I actually LOST friends by strongly opposing the attack, but saying, "Buuuuuut France is no angel either." At the time, France WAS an angel in the eyes of the media and therefore the world. The attacks were entirely unprovoked terrorism. There could be no justification for such brutal attacks. I don't know about you, but I never put the French flag over my Facebook pic. I was NOT Charlie Hebdo. Would I feel like an asshole if I had? Or if I were? No, I wouldn't. Because at the time, people were swept away by solidarity and actual LOVE for their fellow man. And I support that. It was easy for those of us who have never been affected by French violence and economic terrorism to show our support for the French. But go back to paragraph two. What if you are from Cameroon or Algeria? Or any of the other places the French just walked into, mowed down people like rain forest trees, used the ones who weren't killed to farm the crops and exported all the product and money back to France. Do you suppose you'd have a bit of a grudge? True it was a generation ago and you were not directly affected, but ultimately, what would your life be like if that hadn't happened? "Don't be so negative! Let it go!"

This is a task that we are not just expecting from generations of disenfranchised victims of corporate capitalist brutality, we are demanding it of them. I will say it till I die, I don't support terrorism or returning violence with violence, but it seems to me the originators of the conflicts worldwide are so seldom taken to task. The French need to take a little bit of money from the filthy rich companies that have any connection to African colonialism and give it, and an apology to the countries they've stolen from. Period. The tidal waves of dirty money that sweep into the bank accounts of the French elite will continue to roll in. It seems a simple enough thing to do. They need to pay up. Give African countries they colonized some money. Even though the governments will get it and they'll set up bogus Relief Societies that will most likely help the average citizen very little, it would be a start. Then France needs to work on their relationship with the people of these countries, and I don't mean just, "I'm sorry." The older I get the less that phrase means. Support. Give them good jobs in France. Create some in Africa. Really DO something. Make up! Again, it won't break the French bank. Finally, when things are settled, everybody needs to get on with their lives in a peaceful way and put the past violence behind them. Shut up! This is the hard part. Because how do you come to an agreement that suits all involved?

Just ask Canada. The native people have been a privileged group in Canada for a long time. Free money, free housing, free education, no tax, no fishing or hunting restrictions, they have so many advantages, other Canadians are jealous. Canada provides a good example of how to make proper, and improper reparations. Look at the Japanese, and the formerly ill treated Chinese in Canada. They're all happy. They got what they wanted. Money. The Chinese got 12.5 million in reparations for the terribly racist head tax of bygone years in Canada. And the guilt of future generations that has lead to billions in business favouritism in Canada. The Japanese got their 300 mil. But the natives got money too. It wasn't really what they wanted. The more free stuff given to the native culture, the more it hurt their pride and honour. I think the early settlers of Canada should have shared the land with the natives. Sometime between now and 400 years ago that should have occurred to somebody. Natives, unlike a lot of groups who cry for equality, REALLY want to be equal. Instead they're privileged and it creates bickering and mistrust between them and their fellow Canadians. It also insults their culture.

But back to France. They need to, during the "make up" stage, figure out what would best settle the score and try their best to offer it to those they've wronged in the past. But, they refuse. Even the huge corporations that owe their very existence to French expansion into Africa won't do jack. Instead, the little people are the ones who have to make the adjustments. Be the mature ones. Force themselves to love and not hate.

Now to more recent affairs. I think the situation with the police and the whole "Black Lives Matter" movement, bears some similarities. Having worked with the police quite closely as a jail guard and hospital guard, I have seen first hand the evolution of police prejudice. It comes from repeatedly arresting the people from the same race, often the very same people, again and again. It's true that 9 out of 10 people brought to the jail I used to guard were natives even though they certainly didn't make up 90% of the population of the towns I worked in. It was because of the general unhappiness hundreds of years of misunderstanding and mistreatment has created in the native community. This often leads to alcohol abuse and illegal behaviour.

Is there a general unhappiness amongst American black people? Oh I think so! Have they been pushed socially over a few centuries into situations of poverty and desperation that often lead to crime? Certainly. Are they disproportionately uneducated and poor? Absolutely! So the way to combat that is for every cop to look beyond the arrest records and try not to expect crime from black people? No! Because I'm sure saying, "We don't arrest mostly black people," while arresting mostly black people will change nothing. It's also not the job of the public to shame each other into thinking, or at least acting, like black lives matter. It's the same as the above. The source of the problem is with the true powers that be, the government and corporate entities of the U.S. need to do something meaningful to relieve this general malaise among the black population. This is something that can be traced back to the years of slavery. So it's simple. Pay up. Any company that can be linked to slavery in the U.S. pays a share. Make up. Find out what black people want and make it happen. You will have the money. If it looks like favouritism for a generation, oh well. If a black person gets into a college and a smarter person is refused, it will be because for generations none of that person's forefathers had an opportunity to be educated. It won't take more than a generation to right that wrong. Same with jobs, good neighbourhoods, schools, housing. Show some favouritism for a while and just watch the arrest numbers even out.

And as part of the SHUT UP portions for both situations, we have to stop listening to the media! Shut them up! Their jobs are to create fear far too often. Here's a great example.

The war on police, war on terrorism, war on blacks, war on drugs... we should realize by now, anything the media calls a "WAR" on just increases due to public panic. In reality we see more police brutality and attacks on police because there are more cams out there. But in general, people are showing more love and the numbers are down. The police officer who saw his father, a cop, gunned down by a gang of black kids; we are now expecting, no, demanding him to let bygones be bygones. Put it behind you. He is the same as the potential terrorist whose uncle's head was on a spike. Why put all the onus onto them? Let's get to the heart of the matter. Make things right with meaningful gestures of reparation and apology from the people and entities who were the causes of the problem in the first place. The ones who are most reluctant to make these meaningful gestures, yet, ironically, because of the people they wronged, are in the best positions to make them. They need to be forced to pay up. Period. They won't want to even though it won't hurt them a bit. But "the time has come to say fair's fair." Pay your rent, corporations founded on economic terrorism, violence, slavery and colonialism. Pay your share! Then it'll be so easy for everyone to love each other!


The problem with all of the above is simply, love cuts profits. And if you're like me and think that capitalism won't be forced into responsible corporate citizenship, there is hope. Let's be a world of Kunkletowns. Let's put pressure on the greedy scumbags who have created so much trouble in our world. Sometimes it works.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

People Say Stupid Things


"People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones." What if they're locked in there? How about this: People shouldn't lock other people in glass houses. Particularly not with stones. Not much of a problem because there just aren't any glass houses. Well, other than that thin restaurant that just went up at the bottom of the hill in Itaewon, I never see glass houses. And if I should ever go in there for a beverage, I'll remember not to throw any stones. I won't go in there. It's mostly girls with skirts on sitting on the second glass floor so that they can be concerned about people looking up their skirts. That's why they wear them isn't it? Here's one: People wearing skirts shouldn't drink expensive beverages on the second floors of glass houses.

"Laughter is the best medicine." Ever tried morphine? If laughter is the best medicine, then comedians are the best doctors. Makes sense. They're the cheapest. This could be why so many ailments have hilarious names. Shingles, lockjaw, Ebola, Asperger's, syphilis, gonorrhea, diarrhea, ruptured aneurysm, humerus fracture, acute angina, CANCER... Woah! That one doesn't work, does it? The big stopper! A word we all hate, maybe because we all know someone who has had cancer and it isn't funny. Hence the saying, "I am as serious as Cancer." I have nothing funny to say about this. Oh well...

I guess "you can't have your cake and eat it too." Or can you? Yes! You can! I've done it many times. Usually at birthdays so, yes, I've had to share, but I have had my cake and eaten it too. What else would I have done with it? I suppose I could have just shown it to everyone. "Hey look at this. I have a cake!" But then what would I say to people if they asked whether I was planning to eat it or not? "Of course not! I'm not spoiled! I am going to keep showing this cake to everyone I know until it hardens and goes bad. Then I suppose I'll throw it out. Have my cake and eat it too? How absurd! I mean really!" But I've never really experienced that...

"You should never say never." What if your mate asks if you ever cheated? Whether you have or not, you probably should say never. Or, if laughter isn't working for you and you visit the doctor and he/she asks, "How often do you go out for a night of drinking, smoking and unprotected sex?" The best answer would be never. Again, true or not. It's a pretty safe answer for other questions too, such as, "Can a plane full of Koreans remain in a seated position until the plane has come to a full and complete stop?" or "Flavoured coffee for you, sir?" Or even just a statement like, honest politician or convenience in banking. Never saying never is bull.

"Take the bull by the horns." Yeah? And then what? Get shaken around like a rag doll and probably impaled. Bulls do three things: Eat, rage and fuck. If you grab the horns of a ton of eat/rage/fuck, I don't need to tell you which of the three reactions you should HOPE for. And then, how lucky would you feel? During the cigarette afterwards, you might even wish it had been one of the other two. No, the only time you should grab those horns is when the attached bull is smothered in barbecue sauce on a rotating spit. And then it really wouldn't be grabbing a bull by the horns. So how about this: "NEVER take the bull by the horns." This is yet another stupid saying we hear a lot. But...

"It is what it is." Who was the originator of THIS little philosophical gold nugget, Plato? Socrates? Tesla? Shakespeare? Before someone else does, I'd like to coin my own wise little observance about life. Are you ready? Here goes: "It isn't what it isn't." Thank you so much. Or how about "I am what I am." Wait, curse you, Popeye! Okay, "I am not what I'm not." Woohoo! Making history here. I'll try for one more: "Crocodiles aren't gravel pits, and grape juice isn't a jumbo jet." I'm a genius!!! I tell you, if it's not one thing, it's another! Sheesh! Stupid sayings! Stupid! And I think, believe it or not, that people say "it is what it is," to sound SMART!

"Don't get smart with me!" I am pretty sure I've heard my Mom say, "Don't get smart with me, Smarty Pants. You'd better smarten up or I'll smack you down. Right smartly." And she did. And it smarted. So what is it? Smarten up or don't get smart? I'd say you have a 50/50 chance. I'm proud to say I disobeyed this sage parental advice. But there are a lot of stupid people in the world. Are they the obedient ones? Whose parents told them not to get smart? So they didn't? And what do you say to your parents? "Don't get smart with me, young man!" "Why not? Are you worried you won't be able to pay for my college education?" "Don't get smart with me!" "Duuuh, okay, howth thith? One plus one is tree. D - A - G spells dog, and.." WHACK! "Smarten up! And...

"Stop that crying or I'll give you something to cry about." Okay, let's break this down. That "WHACK" was something to cry about. It was likely a wooden spoon whack. And it just might have been followed by a few more. Indeed, something to cry about. In fact,(parents are all alike, aren't they?), the crying probably reduces the number of blows. Even if it didn't hurt, I'm not going to NOT cry or that will encourage my enraged, spoon-wielding parent to whack me some more. This research shows that it is at least partially the very PURPOSE of the wooden spoon assault to induce crying in its victim. Now she's flip-flopped and wants me to STOP crying. And if I don't, why, she'll haul off and whack me a few more licks, again with the purpose of making me cry, which is what she just informed me, she doesn't want me to do. How did we survive these crazy mixed messages our parents sent us? Is that a stupid question?

"There is no such thing as a stupid question." Oh rea-hee-heeeee-ally! Go back two sayings. I once asked my Mother, "Mom, which is smarter, my pants or my ass?" That was a stupid question. Do fish need to wait an hour after eating before they get out of the water? What happens to all the DURING pictures? Do ravens have really big appetites? If your Uncle Jack asked you to help him off his elephant, would you help your Uncle Jack off his elephant? My favourite is when I tell somebody I lost something and they ask, "Where?" There are plenty of stupid questions. Okay last one, I have to wake up early tomorrow.

"The early bird gets the worm."

... and what does the early WORM get?



Tuesday, July 5, 2016

One Little Thing

Before you read any further, you have to read this.

Another day, another carefully worded article about the elephant in the middle of the room that is my chosen country of employment: racism in Korea. Oh, I give the Korean as much latitude as anyone when it comes to understanding their difficult history and where feelings of moral outrage and xenophobia might come from. They were treated like crap by some countries, mostly Japan and China. But they have also been treated with tolerance, equality and co-operation by a great many OTHER countries. At what point does cherishing the memory of the former and all but ignoring the latter stop being written off as their relative inexperience with other cultures and people from other countries and start being addressed as what it really is?

I understand writers of articles such as these are trying to preserve feelings and perhaps coddle the reader so as not to lose academic tone and be written off as a hate literature. So they overload these pieces with euphemisms that tend to soften impolite to reprehensible behaviour that is very common in this country, but facts are facts. In this blog I choose not to pussyfoot around them. And I have lived in Korea long enough to understand that this subtlety and understatement won't get you anywhere with Koreans. In order for racism to be recognized on a national level as economically, socially, globally and in so many other ways, terribly harmful, and for the conception of it in young, impressionable minds as patriotic, humourous, and stylish to change, somebody has to sack up and present this issue in a K-pop song or daytime drama where it is going to be seen and in no uncertain terms. Now maybe it's just a bad, torrential downpoury day of no baseball, slimy humidity and an ongoing battle with the miraculous fruit fly that multiplies by the second and thrives in a garbageless environment like my apartment, but, I dare say this country needs to be kimchi slapped into changing on this issue, not softly persuaded.

It's "challenging" for a foreign teacher or student at a Korean university? No it's not. In many cases, it flat out sucks. This is mostly because foreign teachers and students are viewed as exactly what they are: figureheads. I have been told exactly that by Korean teachers I worked with, who were probably given the wink wink nudge nudge, "We only have them around for authenticity," speech and believed it. It couldn't have anything to do with superior credentials and educational background or experience, it's just that if people go out for enchiladas, they want to see Mexicans in the kitchen. Like accounting laws, anti-corruption regulations, education upgrades, traffic rules, social problems like racism in Korea are seen as things that can be treated with Band-Aids so that the country can APPEAR more global than it is and fake its way into massive contracts available on the global market. And as long as the need for these things is viewed as the route to more money and not the route to a better Korea, this isn't going to change.

And as long as Korean leaders and dignitaries, such as Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary General, continue to speak out about world unity with an apparent wink wink nudge nudge as he and his country do absolutely nothing about it, Koreans will continue to get the message that it's not a serious issue. Accountants won't implement transparency practices as they were trained to do in the 1997 IMF crisis because those things were just put into place in order to rescue the Korean international credit rating and maintain overseas business. Accountants were not told that maybe, just maybe, if you stop with the lying, cheating and stealing that is the norm, you could attract more of these lucrative overseas contracts and actually HELP your company and even your country. No, they were told, "We have to do this for a while, wink wink, nudge nudge." And the spoiled, entitled children of the Chaebol heads of the country, (like Samsung, Hyundai, SK, LG and Hanhwa), who will be handed the reigns of those ludicrously rich and powerful companies without ever having been taught the importance of international relations to them, just might drag this country into another, even bigger financial crisis.

Imagine the "Peanut Princess," and Korean Air heiress, the erstwhile Ms. Cho at a multi-billion dollar airline deal that could mean thousands of jobs and improved infrastructure in and near airports all around Korea, stomping out because the macadamia nuts were in bags and not on plates! You can bet this sort of thing HAS happened before and since. Many times. Always hurting the Korean company and probably Korea.

This brings up another point that a lot of these articles shy away from but is perhaps the most important point that can be made on this issue: this sort of behaviour is in no way on the decline in Korea. It is on the rise. I can say this with certainty having lived here since the IMF year of 1997. I have never before had any trouble with racism in a middle school class, but this year, it was pretty obvious. And no matter how many Koreans try to defend their country and say it's more of an innocent ignorance of other cultures, they cannot argue that the perception of the person perpetrating the racism is only half of the story. The perception of the victim is also important. Koreans are constantly defending their country or countrymen's behaviour while blissfully blocking out this very valid point. You may not think refusing foreigners entrance into bars here is racist, but it is. Koreans desperately need to be taught the validity of the sensitivity of other countries when it comes to things pertaining to race. But so long as there are absolutely no anti-discrimination laws on the books, it's going to be really tough for Koreans to take these things seriously.

I have been debating with friends lately about the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics in Korea. They had the 1988 Summer Games in Seoul and I don't remember any problems with racism then. Though there are some really big controversies over some of the games Korea played and when looking at the officiating you realize that their success in the 2002 World Cup was not as miraculous as it seemed, Korea pulled off the co-hosting of that tournament with the hated Japanese admirably as well. I have a feeling that during the two weeks of Olympic Games in the winter of 2018, Koreans will be given the wink wink, nudge nudge speech again, "We need to watch our racism for a couple of weeks to impress the world," and they will pull it off. But there are some who don't share my pessimistic optimism. Many think now that racism is getting harder and harder to cover up, there will be some issues with the Games. I guess we'll see.

In the area of ESL teaching, there is a newly developing exodus to China, of all countries, to ESCAPE racism in Korea. You KNOW you have to do something when... I have actually looked into it a little more closely than ever too. It might actually be worth it to eat the air rather than breathe it to return to an environment of polite, obedient, easy to teach students that I fondly remember in the old days in Korea and that many are reporting having in China. Chinese wages are rising and Korean wages are plummeting. Chinese working conditions are improving while Korean conditions are getting worse. I am still not seriously looking to China because I like the internet, and relatively less crowding and pollution in Korea. But the racism is something that is becoming harder and harder for me to deal with personally.

And the international perception of Korean is no secret any more. I remember buying something at an airport store in Vancouver. The worker there asked where I was going and I told her to Korea. She told me Koreans were not well liked by the airport workers she knew because they are usually very rude. That was many years ago. I've talked to many people from many countries surrounding Korea and nobody says they love Koreans. I've talked to many Koreans about people from poorer Southeast Asian countries and I know WHY! They are considered inferior and ugly by Koreans. This is not an opinion, it's a fact. And it's unacceptable. In my elementary school classes the kids enjoyed talking about how ugly the brown kids in the textbook were and even commented on that to me on occasion. Some of them added racist little doodles to the faces that made them look like dogs or monkey and made the other kids laugh.It's no coincidence that Koreans are starting to lose contracts in these countries; they are not as welcomed as they once were; and in some cases, they are being killed. I would think this would register as more of an issue with the Korean people, but it probably does nothing more than fuel their distaste for the people of the Philippines and other countries where Koreans are not liked.

I'm not saying it's totally the fault of Koreans and their social values that are, as near as makes no difference, shared by all, but the fault of Koreans needs to be honestly and seriously addressed in a forum that will bring it to national attention. This is not something that needs a quick fix Band-Aid. It is one of the biggest problems in this country and it's getting worse. And for those of you who truly understand my ranting and raving about this country, I don't say any of this from a position of hatred for Koreans or Korea. Quite the opposite. I think they could have a wonderful, little country here if just this one thing were focussed on. Well, I HAVE outlined ninety more things to focus on, but for now, just this one little thing. Come on, Korea! FIGHTING!

Monday, June 27, 2016

New Chapter

It's now June 28th. Tuesday. And I haven't worked since Friday the 17th.

The pills I got from the doctors are gone. I am feeling great! The vascular doctor has cleared up my nose so I have had a few double nostril sleeps lately! What a difference that makes! I was a bit of a bad boy and I went for some hikes. The same trail as usual. Tiger Rock. I absolutely FLEW around that circuit! Sweat was flowing, heart was pumping, I was passing people! It was like I had tried on a new body! Legs weren't complaining, head wasn't aching, I was breathing hard but not out of breath. It felt AWESOME! I am convinced that I've been all clogged up due to an allergy to this stupid black mould. That's what the vascular doc gave me the pills for and MAN are they succeeding! She said they were for an allergy. To what, she didn't say, but it stands to reason. I'm telling you, if not for this mould, I might be slim and trim by now! It saps my energy, and I'm not getting enough oxygen. That's what I reckon anyway, but what do I know? I'm not a doctor. I just live with this body of mine 24/7.

I went back to the doctor on Wednesday, the morning of my first camp interview. She said if the meds worked, then it was probably an allergy. So I asked what I am allergic to and she said it could be the mould. Well, logic would dictate we test for allergies. But there I go expecting logic in Korea again. I have never had any allergies to this point in my life. I get conned into living in a mould infested apartment and suddenly I have an allergy that is restricting my breathing, costing me sleep, sapping my energy and may be causing the worst headaches of my life. Maybe, um, test for a mould allergy? Or black mould exposure?

Maybe this in combination with the most restrictive teaching environment of my career, and in turn the worst behaviour from any students I've ever had, added to the longest teaching workweek and the most prep time at any teaching job I've ever worked, throw in the neighbourhood noise, lack of social life, and all of the requisite stressors life throws at us all and maybe, just maybe this equals headaches that are so bad I sweat all over and even throw up. This would be a pretty safe assumption.

But I go to these doctors, tell them all the details, and I see what I have so often seen in my classrooms: "I know 9 of the 10 words in this sentence. The speaker's body language clearly indicates his meaning. The one word I don't understand doesn't seem to have any importance in the sentence. All the words preceding and following this sentence seem to indicate that it means what I think it means. NAH, I probably don't understand it." "Teacher, don't understand!"

I think the doctors are scared to take a chance. But meanwhile, I was sent to a specialist. He didn't seem all that special to me. He told me that cerebral aneurysms have no symptoms. It is only the rupture and the resulting blood in the subarachnoid space, (between your skill and brain), that can lead to headaches. So basically he was saying, "We've found some minor problems indicated by the one thing we have 100% trust in: technology. We have a picture that was generated using a magnetic field and radio waves to give us a map of the veins in your head and we've found a minor inconsistency on it. Although it could be a blip on the radar, a wart, a brain zit, who the hell knows?, and many people with incidentally discovered, small aneurysms do nothing at all and live full lives as normal, we are going to book you for another more expensive test that will leave you with less money and no closer to the cause or treatment of your problem, which, we have established, is unrelated to these proposed tests."

He wanted to do the thing right away! A transfemoral artery angiogram, he assured me, is needed to assess and confirm the causes, evaluate the risk and decide the treatment. It's another example of doctors with their toys methinks. Sounds expensive and is. It also comes with a one or two day stay in the hospital. As far as I can tell from my online research NObody knows the causes of aneurysms, so this will not confirm the causes. Again, I'm no doctor, but I have read that the only indication of risk of rupture is if the aneurysm grows. This TFCA test won't establish that. And treatment may be as simple as not changing anything. So basically, I think this guy is wasting my time. I wonder if he gets a cut of every TFCA performed.

We have to be careful of things like this. Doctors are not immune to the money sickness and, as yet, they haven't found ITS cure. Like these docs that have been prescribing chemotherapy over the years. HUGELY ineffective, but expensive and doctor's share in huge profits from it.

I arranged to have to appointment booked for July 15th but I think I'm going to cancel it. Why? Because, that interview I mentioned has lead to two offers of employment. First from the Sang Myung University kids camp. Secondly from the Seoul Club "Rumble in the Jungle" kids summer camp. The latter is the one I think I'll be accepting. It's three weeks of swimming with some kids for a couple hours a day. No weekends. I get 100,000 won a day. That's about 50 bucks an hour. I told the interviewer that I had Bronze Cross lifeguard training and CPR and he was sold. I just need permission from my employer to do the work while still under contract with them. And they're in Spain now so can't get that letter. That'll be July 18th to August 5th. I still haven't confirmed but I have been told that they want to hire me.

I also had an interview for a camp at Konkuk University. I also applied for a full time teaching job there. I think they will keep a close eye on me while I work at the camp, (if selected), to see if they want to hire me full time. So if I get that gig, I might do that in stead of the Seoul Club camp even though it's more work for less pay.

Then I went for a visit with the Peet/Spiwak clan. I went to Itaewon after the interview at Konkuk. Nobody was home at the house on the hill so I had a late lunch at Sam Ryan's Sports Pub. I was the first one there at 3 PM. I got a Kozel beer, (with cinnamon around the edge of the glass), and some REALLY great mac and cheese. I watched some UFC and some Rugby League while having lunch. Just as I finished, two Korean ladies and a foreign gal sat at the bar close by. They ordered Kozels and mac and cheese. I gave them the cinnamon around the edge tip and I guess the non-Korean gal heard my accent. She asked where I'm from. Her name was Sabrina, Selena, Sophia or something like that and she was from Nova Scotia. So we started talking about Kraft Dinner and Canadian stuff. She told me she was just visiting Korea on holiday. She introduced me to the two Korean ladies, friends she had met the day before who were taking her rafting in the northeast. I said, "Hey, wait a minute, that's where I live!" So we started talking about Gangneung and Sokcho and mountains, hiking, food. THIS is the kind of stuff I don't get here in Gangneung. For half a year I have met nobody. Well, I guess you could say I know some people who were introduced to me by Anne, the former teacher where I work. But other than them I suppose the only person I've met was the drunken Korean lady who sort of crashed our outing to the "Talk Show" bar one night. Kelly, Dave and I went there for a beer or two and she came over and started speaking to us in slurred Korean. Her friends were apologetically trying to drag her back but she was determined to get her point across. She said the same things several times. Kelly recorded her and asked a Korean what she was saying. I forget what it was but it was pretty funny. We all got a kick out of her. My only OTHER acquaintance here in Gangneung.

So I'm hoping to find some work in or near Seoul so that I can do things like this more often. And so I can visit my friends in Seoul more often. I watched the Tigers game at Sam Ryans and met a Korean fella named Mr. Jo. He is a retired optometrist and he kept buying me beer. He was impressed at my Korean baseball knowledge. Being from Mokpo, he was also a Kia Tiger supporter. And one of the bartenders was too! So we all enjoyed watching Kia beat the 2nd place team that night. NC Dinos are dangerous this year and I wasn't expecting a win but we got one! By the end of the game, Heather and Mike had made their way to Kraft Hans. We stood outside at the usual table and had beer with the usual folks. Cigars were smoked and a good time was had by all. I'm told. heh heh.

THEN we went to Min's. Min is a great dude and he always plays our old time music requests. We were dancing and talking and meeting other people. I was wearing a shirt my brother Rob had given me a long time ago. It was from Monarch Roofing where he works. They were 20 years old at the time so on the back of the shirt it says, "Thanks for 20 years!" A young, attractive, Korean girl, in English, asked me what my shirt meant so I said to her, "Oh, they gave me this when I got out of prison." She said nothing and just disappeared into the crowd like Homer Simpson into the hedges. It was quite funny. Then I walked home a la John Cleese as the Minister of Silly Walks. It made Heather laugh a lot.

We spent the weekend together. Not doing anything really special, just hanging out. I miss that. It's time for me to get a social life. We DID watch the Big Lebowski for the umpteenth time, but this time Reilly and Roman watched with us. It was their initiation into Dudism. The next day was filled with fledgling Dudist quotes from the movie and smiles of pride from veteran Dudist parents.

Now I'm back home. I have paid the rent, I think, for July. I say, "I think," because I paid it to my boss by depositing it into his account. But we talked about this and I said I wanted to pay rent for July so as to give the landlords time to find a new tenant. And it would give me time to find a new job. So that's what I'm up to now. Throwing around resumes and hoping for the best. Like before, if I have to I'll take a job at a hagwon but I would just expect exactly what happened here. Hagwons are the same all over. It's not easy to find a good one. But that goes for university and college jobs too. Those are the ones I'm trying for and with my experience, I should be able to land one. Till then it'll be swimming with kids and going to interviews. I prefer that to fighting with employers and yelling at students.

As for the headaches, I haven't had one for weeks even though I've done all the things that triggered them. The biggest change has been not working so I'm pretty sure the headaches had something to do with the job. Everybody thought so. Even my employers.

So it's on to a new chapter. I'll give it a title when it happens.