Sunday, November 25, 2007


I haven't posted for a while (at least not in English). There's a good reason for that: I'm busy--really busy. Of course the year is divided into two semester: spring and fall. Spring semester was my first semester, and it was a breeze. It was all conversation classes. All my grading was done in class, because you can't really grade talking when the student isn't there. Great. Easy stuff.

This semester, however, was a little tougher. I'm teaching 4 writing classes. This means I have 120 students handing me in two drafts of 3 different papers (ranging in length from 3-6 pages). That's a lot of reading and a lot of grading--overwhelmingly so. It means I haven't had a lot of time--for blogging or anything really.

In any case, I've found out the department will be hiring another person, and my position will be split in two next year. This is great for two reasons. One, I won't have another insane semester like this one. Two, I'll actually be opened up for teaching some more specialized classes than just the general "writing" and "conversation" classes I'm teaching now. I'm not sure what I'll get to teach yet. We'll see.

During the same time, Hye Sook has been a bit busy herself. She got a new job last July teaching English in a specialized private school. She taught from 2:30 to 10:30 Monday through Friday, but her hours certainly didn't stop there. She was dedicating every waking hour to class prep. I'd get to see her in the apartment a lot during the mornings and weekends, but I wouldn't say we really got to spend any time together. She was on the computer writing notes and preparing lessons that whole time.

Of course, this wore her down. If teaching was the profession she wanted to get into, I'd tell her to tough through it. Every new teacher goes through that stage until they get their sea legs. But Hye Sook doesn't want to be a teacher--not at all. By the time her sea legs would come in the mail she'd be quitting the profession anyway. C'est vrai. C'est la vie.

Speaking of which, I've been learning French. Remember me mentioning that Hye Sook and I planned to move to France in a couple years? No? Well, we are. So we're learning French, for me relearning, for her from scratch.

Anyway, with French and teaching and all, Hye Sook was worn down to a quivering nub. She'd had enough, and I encouraged her to move on. She found a new job after just a few days of looking but hit a roadblock. In Korea, there isn't a two-week-notice system. Instead, you tell your employer that you intend to leave, and the two of you work out the details. Hye Sook's employer wouldn't let her go until a replacement was found. Two weeks later, they started looking. Five weeks down the line, they finally suckered someone into the job.

Hye Sook started her new job the following Monday. It was at a small cooking school in town here. It was just starting up and looked promising. Hye Sook would be working fairly long hours, 9-9 on MWF and 9-7 on TTH, but she would get breaks, and there was no out of class prep time. This was all the tale she was told. Reality was a tad different.

On her first day, they kept her from 9-11. She didn't even get a lunch break. In fact, she got to sit down a total of about 30 minutes the whole day. To make matters worse, the owner of the school didn't really seem to understand cooking at all. He had made this little school but hadn't bothered to install ventilation. Now think of this: it's a cooking school. Even good cooks need some ventilation, but if you have dozens of fledgling cooks around, there's going to be smoke. Hye Sook spent 13 hours on her feet in the stuff. She came home from her first day crying and puking and smelling like a McDonalds--a particularly greasy McDonalds. There wasn't a day two.

Well, this led to what we'll call a much needed vacation for her. She got two weeks of job hunting before she found her new job. Hardly a vacation, but certainly a break, comparatively speaking. She'll be teaching at the same cooking school she attended when she was a student, which she knows has reasonable cooking conditions. Better yet, her hours are much shorter, just 9-6 with a one hour lunch break and no prep outside of work hours. Good stuff. The pay isn't great, but it's well worth it for the peace of mind and the experience she'll get. After all, we're still planning that whole France thing in a couple years, and the whole purpose of that is for her to go to cooking school over there. In any case, she starts the job Monday.

All of this is a very roundabout way of saying she had the weekend off this week: no job and no job hunting. And as luck would have it, I actually miraculously got caught up on my grading this week, so I had the weekend off as well.

This means I could write on my blog, but it also means that Hye Sook and I got to have dinner with some friends yesterday, spend some time lazing around, and also go on a little trek this afternoon.

We weren't planning on going anywhere really. We went out to get some lunch, stopped off to buys some juice I like, and then were going to wing it from there. There's a cable car going all the way up the mountain behind our apartment. I've lived in Busan over two years now, looked at that thing hundreds of times, but somehow have never taken it up. Hye Sook had the bright idea to try it out today, so on a whim, we did.

The pictures below are the excursion. You'll notice they're far poorer quality than usual. That's because I wasn't planning on this little trip, so I didn't have my regular camera with me, only my cell phone. I suppose you'll have to make do with what I gives ya. In any case, enjoy. They're the first mountain pictures I've posted in a while.

Toodles, au revoir, and 안녕 to you all.



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