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7 March 2004
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Korea Life Blog - At The Hagwon (5)

I went at 2:25 today and prepared for my 2:30 class. At 2:30 I started teaching. A few minutes later, the Korean teacher of that class came in and said my schedule changed and I don't teach this class until Friday. It didn't bother me this time because had I come in a little earlier, she may have told me. She didn't see me come in, she said.

I checked my schedule. Now I have only 3 classes on Monday but 7 in a row on Friday. Monday is a pathetic breeze, Friday a total nightmare. I'd much rather have a balance of the two, if possible.

Today would be my pay day. With time to spare, my next class not until 4:10, I went up to the bank and sent home the remainder of last month's pay, about 1,400,000 which came out to be $1,180 US after the fee. The fee is a standard 13,000 Won at this bank. For the first year I was in Korea, I used another bank - the account of which was set up by my school for me - that charged a flat fee and a percentage of the amount being sent. It would cost me a total of 40-45,000 won to send home a thousand dollars. Plus my bank in the US charges a $15 fee for the transfer, a concept I still can't figure out. They charge you a fee to put money in their bank and then make more money off your deposit. A win-win situation for them and a loss for us.

I used to send home my money when I got it, keeping what I thought I'd need to get by for the month. Because I never actually had a lot of money around that way, I felt poor. Every time I got that huge chunk of money, right away 75% was gone. Now I keep all of my salary on hand and send whatever's left on the next pay day. I'm still spending and sending home about the same, but I feel much better psychologically having a mound of cash nearby. And instead of getting depressed on payday, I feel great. I'm able to send some decent cash home and I get another mound to replace it.

After I wired the money, I went back to the school to hang around until 4:10. My boss asked me for my bills, a good sign he remember my payday. I taught a class, then during another break, I strategically took the his two sons for ja ja myung and mandu down below.

Once again another easy class, three students. We played some games and then they did a puzzle. Then I had yet another break. What an easy day. I ran home and did as many curls as I could in 30 minutes then ran back for the adult class. As I waved goodbye to Windy and Stan, my boss handed me my pay and said, "Thank you." I bowed and thanked him too and joked that now I can buy a chair. Perhaps the gesture of taking his kids for dinner paid off. He stopped me and asked me again why I need one. I told him my friend's have to sit on the floor. He nodded and said he'll find me one. Whoo hoo!

I went into the office to get my coat. The Korean teachers and the boss's wife were having a meeting (keep in mind they arrive at 10:00 AM every day and it was now 8:00 PM). My schedule was sitting in front of them. I'm pretty sure at that moment they were figuring out a way to balance my Friday with the rest of the week. We'll see tomorrow. Either way, said goodbye and left feeling pretty good about things.

It's been awhile since I posted pics from around the school so here are a few new ones:

Several cute girls. The one to the left, Bonnie, is one of my favorites. She's very cute, quiet but smart - the perfect student. The girl in the middle is a handful.

Here is the new math class. You can see how it used to be a playroom for the kids. I guess it's still technically a playroom, but only when math class isn't in session. The big screen TV and DVD player are gone.

Here's the room where I teach the middle school kids on Friday and the adult class during the week. I sit at the end. Windy sits to my right and Stan to my left.

One of the three regular English classrooms. After playing with the kids for awhile then a brief lesson, I sit in that chair while they do their "assignment". If my butt gets soar, I walk around and tickle the kids for fun.

My boss picked up this ancient computer set for the other new math classroom. I'm not sure if it's just for decoration or what - nothings hooked up. Get a load of the printer. How old is that thing?


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