Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Internet

I've finally managed to get my hands on an internet connection which, by all normal standards, is quite quick. I can upload at a ridiculous 200k if I want, which means that I have a tor server running at all times (not an endpoint for http traffic of course, but I digress). It's taken my employer some four odd weeks to organize this deal, only (g)(G)od(s) knows why, but hopefully my updates will become slightly more frequent. In any case, i've opened an empty bank account, and i'm ready to settle in to my new life in Korea.
All I need now is a nice new keyboard with the Korean characters on the keys...

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Alive

I've miraculously endured 3 weeks in South Korea. My job is painfully thorough, and surprisingly difficult. I've managed to some how slip into a routine and have eaten at the same restaurants several times. I have a bizarre fear of frequenting eateries where I can't order by thrusting a finger toward a picture on the menu, so it has limited my options quite a bit. In addition, I haven't gotten paid a cent since I arrived which means that i'm bleeding money and counting the days until I get a paycheck.
I had been hoping to go abroad somewhere for my christmas break, but my lack of funds is making planning quite difficult. In addition, my bosses are severely disorganized and can't even properly tell me when my breaks are. I think there is a good chance that I will end up in Japan over the new year, it's simply the easiest option. I suppose the 7th time through Japanese immigration should make it easier, but I've yet to get inured to the process.
The weather has gotten slightly colder. It became quite a factor earlier today walking around Daegu with Noah who had been visiting from Seoul. We went to a few clubs, saw a few touristy spots, but mostly just enjoyed the company of fellow English speakers.
We're currently in the process of planning a brief jaunt to Beijing this summer to go to the Olympics. It really has potential to be quite an experience.
All in all, my complete lack of free time has been a bit frustrating, but the trip is a success in many ways. My studies of Korean are certainly not one of those ways, but at the very least I have enough Japanese speaking friends to maintain a semblance of Japanese ability while i'm here. Hopefully within a few months i'll be able to have some basic conversations in Korean, but i'm not holding my breath.
Cheers from Korea.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Teaching

It's been one week since I arrived in Korea. I haven't gotten a foreigner registration card yet, so i'm unable to get internet access in my room or a cell phone. The biggest thing on my mind lately are the discrepancies between my actual job and the contract that I signed..
Having been told we would be working 30 hour weeks, I was a bit surprised when the first week was easily over 40 hours of work. I can only hope this pattern subsides as the days flow by, but a part of me is worried that they just don't care.
In any case, I love being in South Korea. I went downtown to Rodeo street with my friends Matt and Rob who worked with me at the Expo in Japan in 2005. They've already been here for 8 months and seem to have quite a good understanding of everything that's going on. It's humbling not being able to speak the language, but I suppose only time will tell if I can overcome that hurdle. More updates as events warrant!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Progress?

The first and most frustrating aspect about the process of going to Korea, is the fact that my school will not send me any information about my living situation. I've already signed my contract, and as such the school drags their heels about sending me information or even responding to my emails.
Coupled with Korea's horrid reputation among email spam filters, and nothing gets through to my inbox. Sometimes I wonder if the school I selected even exists! The current teacher has only responded to one of my 3 or 4 emails, and i've yet to see the promised photos of my future apartment. In any case, I leave for Brazil next week Sunday so maybe my nerves will settle by the time I actually arrive in Korea.
I've made my pilgrimage to the Korean consulate in Chicago, received my E-2 visa and now all of my preparations are set. All I have to do is throw away all of my earthly possessions, pack my bags and enjoy the ride.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Visa Numbers

My Korean immigration Visa numbers have come, next step Chicago. Final step, living-spree.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Immigration

Keeping in mind my proclivity for complaining, I would like to delve into the world that is my hatred for GVSU. I received an email today from my recruiter informing me that my school in Daegu is reluctant to hand over my documents to Korean immigration, fearing that my diploma is a fake. Grand Valley, in their infinite wisdom, thought it appropriate to print my diploma on flimsy paper in a much smaller than expected form. My school apparently suspects that it is a fake, and I have no way to verify its authenticity without wasting precious time. I leave for South America in exactly 24 days, which means that I have roughly a week and a half to get this all worked out before it causes a serious problem with my schedule.

I would just like to thank GVSU for their continued ineptitude and seemingly boundless desire to muck things up.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Fruition

I've finally settled my teaching position business and now approach the departure date with trepidation. I sent a package of papers to my future employer in Daegu South Korea at quite a premium via FedEx and the next day sent my physical passport out to the Brazilian consulate to get a tourist visa. I fly out of Grand Rapids on September 30 to visit my friend Suzana in Sao Paulo Brazil, then return 3 weeks later on October 23 or so only to fly out on October 25th for Korea.
I'm hoping that any jet lag issues can be assuaged without destroying my health, but I have a feeling i'll end up catching a cold somewhere during transit. In any case, i'm quite excited about my first visit to Brazil. My passport will hopefully come back from the Brazilian consulate in time to send it back out to the Korean consulate and return with both visas in time to leave Sept 30. It's going to be extremely close, but it's out of my hands now. I can only sit back and trust the overwhelming efficiency of various national government agencies.
More importantly however, if I make it to Brazil I will be listening to the girl from Ipanema on my iPod while I walk down the beach in Ipanema. I can't help but break a smile just thinking about it! Assuming the timing works out and I don't lose all of my money, I will be in Brazil in a little less than a month! Finally, it's time for a living-spree.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

iPods and Macbooks

I finally ordered a new Macbook Pro from Apple.com. I would have bought it at the Apple store in Grand Rapids Michigan, but upon requesting one I was informed by the resident "genius" that they were out of stock. Yes, an Apple store with no macbook pros, likely their most popular laptop.


In any case, I ordered it online instead and received a $50 iPod as well, which has already arrived. I've gathered the troops, found a couple schools in Korea and now I stand facing nothing but the interview process and departure. Hopefully I'll end up in Yongin with Noah and Cyndi, but I'm not really holding my breath about it. More updates as events warrant!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Preparations In Progress

I've been trying to determine a course of action with some semblance of efficacy regarding computer use in South Korea. I'm planning on selling my G5 iMac for a fist full of bills which combined with my profits from passing on my PS2 should assist me in purchasing a beautiful new Macbook Pro. Toss in my new Canon SD800 IS and I'm a veritable mobile video and photo machine. I imagine with this sort of absurdly expensive mobile technology, this trip to Korea could quite possibly be the most thoroughly documented 12 months of my life.

This is of course assuming that my recruiter, bless her little Korean heart, can find me a job. I've been reluctant to switch to a new recruiter because of how nice she seems, but if I can't find a job all of my new computer hardware will go to waste; That's simply unacceptable. Technology wants to be used, wants to explore.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Korea Blog

It's August 8, 2007 and I've decided to create an online journal of my Korea experience. One might consider this initial post more than a bit fallacious, as I still reside in Michigan and still have no job, but I'm optimistic and feel documentation of the entire process from conception to completion is in order. I've hounded several different bloggers online, tracking them down like escaped convicts using every known search site on the internet. These nascent relationships generally spawn from polite greetings and develop later into interrogations worthy of bad cop movies.
I suppose my target departure date of September 4 may be a bit overly aggressive, but I've never been contained by reason, logic or common sense before. Here's hoping somebody out there is willing to give me a job!