The cherry blossom trees are all in bloom.. they fill the city with so much beauty... Ahh... I love spring!!!
Four months left… gosh, the months are just flying by. Sometimes I wonder if my school is even going to make it that long. Yes, TN English has a lot of potential… excellent teachers, comfortable setting, fun activities, etc. but… the underlying issues are a bit shady at times. I don't understand why my managers are constantly trying to pull the wool over our eyes… the constant legal issues are absurd. After getting in trouble with the labor board for not giving pension and health insurance to a few people, you would think they would really watch themselves. No.. things were smooth for about a month but then things were back to chaos shortly after. Lately, they haven't been giving us our pay slips and I think it's because they are trying to screw us on pension again… they keep us busy with so many other things and hope we won't notice. It's so annoying that we all have to keep asking and asking and asking for our money, for our pension, for our health insurance. God good, I can't wait to be back in America where I know I won't have to fight for these things. Each month when I do get paid I say a little prayer in thanks because there are days when I think our school is just going to shut down and in that case, I'll never see any money I'm owed.
So, the school orders food from this big market that delivers monthly, sometimes weekly if need be. All this food is used for cooking class and of course, for lunch and snack everyday. The owner of the food company is friends with one of Korean assistants and because of this, the company lets the school order as much as they need and allows them to pay later. How nice of them right!? So, after several months of TN English not paying when asked, the food company had to cut them off. 8 million won in debt… that's about $7,300. To be quite honest, it's just down right embarrassing… I mean really, take care of your shit!
I'm currently in my new apartment, I've got two roommates now… my good friend Alicia (the lead teacher of TNE) and her adorable dog, Taco. It was so crazy trying to move in here. Since none of the teachers have a lease and since our apartments are paid for, the owner of the building (the big boss, Seth) can move us around just as much as he wants. I moved out of my one bedroom and Iian moved in. A Korean who works at the coffee shop on the first floor moved from what is now my two bedroom to Iian's two bedroom. Doesn't this all sound so silly. They make us move around like it's the easiest thing in the world and not only that but none of it makes sense. Iian didn't need to be apart of this move at all but they thought he should be. The Korean guy could have just moved in with Brian who has an empty room in his two bedroom…. but NO… that's just too simple. So no one could really go anywhere until Iian moved his stuff which he wouldn't until late last night. I don't blame him either… not only does he have a lot of things but this is his 5th time moving. AHHHH.. I know he's going crazy right now. The worst part of it all is that he has 40 days left on his contract. My guess is, they are trying to make him quit so they don't have to give him his pension and severance when he leaves. Who knows how they are going to treat me in my last month. On the plus side, I do like my new place. So my room is a lot smaller and my stuff is a little squished but I have great roommates, a big fridge, a huge flat screen TV, really comfortable furniture that Alicia brought, an extra comfy bed due to my new mattress and a great view of the mountains out my window. Once we get all settled in I'll take some pictures for you!
My parent teacher conferences went great this week. Since everything was translated I couldn't get a real feel for how the parents actually felt but apparently they are very pleased with me and my teaching. Their kids really enjoy my class and they love coming to school. This pleases me because I just adore my Kindergarteners. I am proud to say I got my students to read their first word this week.. 3 years old and reading a second language, now that's pretty good! The word was "run",(cvc- consonant, vowel, consonant are typically words that children learn to spell first…they are easy to tap/sound out) I say it so often, I figured I might as well see if we can sound it out together. Sure enough, Jason, my youngest was the first one to get it. Yay… proud Emilie Teacher!
Korean Facts/ Randomness:
-Koreans.. not just women, are obsessed with their appearance. One of the most popular lotions that is sold is a whitening lotion. No, not for teeth, for skin. I don't buy face lotion here because I found out that most of them have whitening in them (anything with the word "beauty" on it means it has whitening). Funny… we want to be tan and they are just the opposite. It's no wonder why tanning beds and outdoor pools don't exist here.
-When you're crossing the street there is usually a button that you can press that will alert the lights and eventually signal you to cross. Well, that button does exist but it's not for the same reason. It signals the police. My friend Katie found this out after pressing the button one day… after her Korean friend told her what it does, they ran!