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24 February 2005
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KLB - The Good Gets Gooder

Bonnie, the boss, came in again today - surprise (after all it's been almost a week since the last visit) for the monthly birthday party ritual. I hate this day because the kids are distracted by the presence of cake and cola sitting in the back. The parties are only for 10 minutes at the end of each class (but of course run through every break time). Also I hate it because Bonnie sits there and watches me teach all day. Yay! Today I laughed a bit though. By coincidence the principal popped in (after all it's been a week since her last check too) with the Korean version of a superintendent of schools all suited up and official looking - just as the kids were noisily stuffing their faces with cake. I got a kick out of watching Bonnie and Cathy squirm at this.

Well, somewhere along the way Bonnie took me aside and urged me to reconsider the Board of Education job, telling me how easy it is for the money and how they really want me because of my degree/experience, etc. Apparently they can't find any teacher with the relevant degree. She got me thinking again, but I said no. Overall all it does sound like a good job - especially the pay, but I can't just can't take it without housing since I have a reponsibility to half the cost of the office-tel here in Songnae - not to mention poor Julie's broken heart. Living with me has been the joy of a lifetime!

Anyway, since I was adamant, she gave up and moved on to news about my current position. After the recent tribulations you've been reading about, I couldn't believe this luck. She said she knows I haven't put a lot of extra work into this job because it's part-time. Well, she's arranged an extra beginner-level class to start in March, making the job technically full-time, and will be upping my pay accordingly! That means I will make 2.2 million/ month for just 4 classes from 1-5 PM! Whoo hoo! However, she will expect me to arrive at least 15 minutes early now and she hopes this will be incentive to put a "little more effort" into preparation (not really but it will give me more incentive to make it seem like I'm preparing more! muhahah!).

All I could say is, sure, no problem! To think, if I had just accepted her original e-mail I'd be stuck with the same job/pay but with extra work and a feeling somewhere between contempt and worthless inferiority. Now look at the outcome! Someone give me a (delusions of grandeur) medal! The best part is I can continue to teach these great kids without feeling guilty I that should have a better job.

Then the good got even gooder. I picked up a newspaper on the way home and saw the headline: "980 Won Equals 1 Dollar." (See here). Sure, for the past several months the dollar has been falling, but this is better than I ever could have anticipated. If you haven't lived in Korea you have no idea what that means or why that is the best news you can read as a foreigner in Korea. To make it simple, for awhile last year I had to send home a disheartening 1,350,000 won to get home $1000. Now I only have to send 1,000,000 won since the dollar/won is about equal now. That is just awesome. Since the average teacher's salary is 2,000,000, that means we're all making around $600 more a month than just a year ago, that is if you think in USD send the money home like I do. If not, then it doesn't really matter.

I was a bit disappointed though. I just sent home $2000 last week. If I had waited until today, I would have made an extra $100. Oh well - you never know how it will work, but it made me think how easily rich people can get more rich. Simply buying a million dollars of Korean Won a year ago would net you a cool 300 grand now. Can you imagine making money that easily? Sigh.

Not only that, but the news went on to say the Korean currency is expected to get even stronger in coming months. What a great day!


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