After traveling for close to 17 hours I was picked up by my girlfriend (Maxine) and some friends at the airport.
Stayed the first four days on the resort Island of Geoje. Elaborate hotels and neon-lit streets type of place. My girlfriend, Max for short, sings at the Samsung Hotel.
One of the nicer, if not the nicest, hotel on the island (google some pics). The first four days I mostly rested and caught up with some old friends. Managed to do a bit of site-seeing and bought some supplies I couldn't fit in my suitcase. Took a two hour bus ride to Jinju on Thursday to job shadow teaching English. I'm most definitely not going to be a teachers assistant. It's all me. I am temporarily covering for a teacher for 17 days. Starting Monday I will teach about seven classes a day, in a row, with only five minute breaks in between classes. The kids range from ages 7-15, every single class is different. Different books, different lessons, different levels of skills, a completely new experience. The classes rarely repeat as well, so everyday is completely unique. I sat in for two days and come Monday I show up with books and teach myself....well, how to teach.
The first night of the job shadow I had no where to stay, apparently no one thought about that. The head teacher, Sue, said I could stay with her family. She just so happened to live an hour from Jinju up in the mountains, in a Buddhist temple her family owns and operates.
I was exhausted and passed out in the first room she offered me. I was awakend by an older Korean lady who handed me a hot towel and lead me to the washroom. After cleaning myself up I found her outside again where she had me follow her into the main building and where breakfast was being served. I was alone and she kept bringing me oranges and rice cakes, telling me to eat as much as I possibly could. Sue finally showed up and translated that her Mom was worried that I couldn't handle Korean food for breakfast. She was asking if I wanted eggs and toast. Of course I told her Korean food was fine, to which her Mother brought out beef soup, rice, kimchi, pickled hot peppers, and an assortment of side dishes that seem to accompany every Korean meal. Sue's father also showed up for the feast. He was seemingly impressed when I devoured all the side dishes and soup without cramping up in pain (they must think American's can't handle anything different than their usual diet). Sue talked to her parents about me not having anywhere to stay for the 17 days, Sue's Mother quickly suggested I stay in the spare and fully furnished room at her friends house, within walking distance from the school. I'll be heading there Sunday to take a look.
The second night in Jinju was almost as eventful. As I haven't signed a contract or started any full time work, my friend Emcie setup a dinner with her friends. A Doctor and his wife, Mrs. Joe. Two extremely wealthy Koreans that own and run possibly the most prestigious school in Korea. They were looking to hire the first foreign teacher to teach at their school. We met at a Chinese restaurant, where every dish was between $70-$100. Between dining on jellyfish salad, shark-fin soup, and noodles drenched in a rich, thick black sauce we discussed my credentials. Oh boy, apparently a 25 year old guy moving to Korea on a whim with zero teaching experience and no degree to speak of isn't what Mrs. Joe had in mind. Her husband took an instant liking to me, something about reminding him of his son. He promptly ordered two clear bottles, 65% alcohol, and some shot glasses. I whispered to Emcie that I really shouldn't drink much if these people are important in her line of work. Yeah, that didn't last long. My shot glass never stayed empty, Mr. Joe was pretty damn red and I was walking pretty damn crooked. So though I didn't get the job, I had one amazing dinner and felt pretty good on my bus ride back to Geoje.
Staying in Geoje this weekend with Max, probably will be there every weekend. Going out drinking with my buddy Dominic and meeting the girls at the hotel to walk them home from work. Everything is going great, couldn't be happier. After my 17 day period it sounds like they wanna hire me full time. Work starts Monday,
wish me luck and hope all is going great for everyone.