Friday, May 11, 2007


I should really try to write something positive someday. I guess people don't carry their good days around like they do their bad ones. I've just been really frustrated and annoyed the past few days. Not a whole lot has happened to make me feel this way. I do know what some of it relates to but I should be less annoyed or not feel as bad as I do.

I was in the hospital last week for some minor procedure. Even though, I'd read the procedure was supposed to be relatively minor and quick healing, it hasn't been what I'd thought it would be. It was nothing life-threatening so no one needs to be worried not that anyone reads this thing on a regular basis anymore (or ever did). There's just been this consistent uncomfort from it for the past few week and it's been worse since Tuesday. I mean it's not like I'm in constant pain and even a day of it would be fine but it's just always there and doesn't feel right and I'm worried it's not going to feel right again. I don't know if this is the main cause of it all but it's definitely aggravating everything else.

Then there are issues with my job (not that there haven't always been issues). I quit my job 6 weeks ago today. I owed them 8 weeks notice and will be giving them about 9 to just end the month. The problem is that my replacement who was scheduled to come on June 1st, has suddenly decided she won't be coming until June 17th or something. So my school is pressuring me to stay until at least the 15th. I've considered it and the idea just sickens me. I don't think I should've had to give 11+ weeks notice for some crappy hagwon job. I thought 8 weeks was absurd enough. The only nice thing is that I had my departure date all lined up in advance. May 12th, I think it was. It was somehow pushed back (since I was procrastinating about it, plus I wanted them to fulfill their obligations to me before I told them I would be leaving in 8 weeks).

It's just all such fucking crap. The school is trying to convince me that it's my obligation to stay on until a replacement comes. My plans are still all up in the air so I don't actually know what I will do. It may come as a great surprise to some but I'm considering staying in Korea and signing yet another contract. There are a few reasons for it but I'll get to them later. Anyways, if I take one job they'd need me to start training on May 28th (they've actually delayed it by one week just for me) so I definitely couldn't stay until June 15th with that job. Another job, I'd told them I would start in July but I wanted to have a whole month off before I were to go there. So this would fuck that plan up. I'm just worried about what my boss will do if I continue to say no.

In order to get another job, I'd need a letter of release which I guess he isn't actually obligated to give me. So he could threaten to withhold that. His representative (he has a tenuous grasp of English at best) told me that since I won't be paid until the 10th anyways, I should just stay until the 15th to make sure I get it. I don't know if she was just unclear on things or whether that's what my boss actually told her. Anyways, there's probably a high likelihood that my replacement is going to flake out entirely. I don't know what it would be exactly but I wouldn't be at all surprised if she just delayed and delayed and then finally decided against it all. So should I agree to stay on until the replacement or a replacement finally got there, I may be waiting a long long time.

Probably most upsetting of all though is my impending birthday. It's not that I mind getting older. I've already begun thinking of myself as being 25 and have to remind myself that I am 24. It's more the fact that it's looking to be another crap birthday. I haven't really celebrated my birthday since 1992. I mean I've gone out for dinner with my parents or whatever but it was never an event and I never wanted it to be. I've also always kind of been in a transitory state. My birthday is 3 weeks away I guess and this time I don't know where I'll be the next day or what I will do the next month or week. If I leave Swaton when I want to leave, I'm probably not going to have a place to live (which is always fun). Most the other times, I've usually just arrived somewhere and am on that side of the transition.

It seems certain that I will spend a 3rd birthday in Daegu, a city where I was certain I'd only spend one. The first one, with less than 2 months here, with a visit from my parents and that was pretty much it. I don't remember if they even knew it was birthday at work. I would say probably not since I don't remember anything being done for me but had they known they probably wouldn't have done anything anyways.

The second one I spent with some friends who I thought knew me well enough to know when my birthday was. Luckily it came up somehow the night before so I knew better than to expect much from the next day. I'd also just returned to Korea maybe 5 days before. I wasn't really upset by it, I mean I was, but it was mostly just disappointment.

This year, all the people that I know, I've basically known for 5 months at the most. One guy I met over a year ago now but was basically just an IM buddy for most of that time. The person who's probably been there for me the most since I've come back to Korea will not be there. She's leaving the country for a year and she's leaving right on my birthday. So in all likelihood, I'm probably going to be sad on my birthday and if I have to go into work that day on top on that I just don't know what I'm going to do.

Then of course, the hot sticky summer is looming and the only heat relief my apartment has is to open the windows. They promised me an air conditioner but of course never delivered on it. Opening the windows however seems to just be an invitation for hundreds of gnats to come flying in. I could continue to ramble but don't have the energy for it. I don't really know how to end this so I guess I just will.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Latest Thoughts

I'd been working illegally for the past 2 months. I wasn't keen on the school but they said I could work there illegally since no one was able to give me a visa. It's a little complicated but anyways, I had a visa application approved and was pretty upset about the whole thing. Anyhow, I went to Japan for a last minute visa run. I was upset about most of that, too. They told us around 5pm the night before we left. I worked until 1030 and was expected to be ready to go by 5am. I went with my co-worker and the receptionist from the school because she knew some Japanese. It felt like we were being babysat for the most part. Like we wouldn't be able to handle going to Japan by ourselves. I was exhausted the whole time and didn't see anything. At least I got 2 days off work.

Work has been getting worse daily. I'm excited about quitting. I still don't know what I'm going to do afterwards. I was thinking about going to Africa but it doesn't really appeal to me anymore. I'm not in the mood to make new friends at all. I'm not in the mood for anything really. The prospect of vagabonding doesn't seem so bad to me anymore and I'm reconsidering moving to Sweden or France for awhile. I don't know why the prospect of staying in one place for an indefinite amount of time scares me so much. Seems really strange. I thought it was what I wanted but I'm reluctant to commit to the idea. I've also been avoiding thinking about it for the most part which is really strange considering how much I'm looking forward to leaving the ESL world behind. I guess it's in tune with my indecision and inconsistency at least.

My schedule is a bit strange now. I don't start work until 6pm twice a week. Maybe I'll have to go somewhere some afternoon and think about things.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


I've been thinking a lot about what to do with my life recently. Things in Daegu have changed a lot for me recently with my new job, new apartment, and living in a completely different part of the city. It's really not an ideal situation and were it not for the opportunity to earn some money and the need to hold Win School accountable I could almost certainly say that I would not be here. The answer to the question of where I would be is also a reason that I am still here because I really don't know.

I've probably said it a few times before but I really don't have much going on for me anywhere. I lived in Edmonton, well close to Edmonton, for 17 years and only have a couple of people that I am still friends with there and one of them lives in Florida. I lived in Newfoundland for a year and there's no one that I'm in contact with from there. I lived in Texas for about 3 years over a 4.5 year period and I'm not really in contact with anyone there either. I really don't know why all of my friends (with very few exceptions) seem to come from 10 months I spent in Denmark.

I suppose it has something to do with everyone going there and being in a foreign environment. No one really knowing anyone else. I don't know, I guess I'm just not very good at making new friends especially when people already have routines, which is why I may have decided to abandon my vagabond lifestyle. I mean I still want to be in different places and do different things but not with different people since evidently I'm quite bad at meeting people.

Ideally I would meet a group of people of 3-4 people maybe and we'd go around the world together but the chances of that happening are slim and the longterm prospects wouldn't be that great either. I mean I'm only 24 (though I'm beginning to think more along the lines of 25) but I'm really starting to think about the future a lot more. I think continuing the kind of life I'm leading is just going to result in a series of gains and losses. If I were more outgoing or better at meeting people it might not be such a problem. I could make a huge group of friends and people could come in and out of it easily. That's really not me though. I tend to have a small group of good friends, maybe even as few as 1 or 2. So then once it's time to move on the loss is felt more heavily. I'm tired of having just a series of losses when I'm not good at making gains. Even if I see these people again I know if won't be the same and they will never be in my daily life again.

One of my favourite songs is called 'Again' by Lenny Kravitz. I don't know whether I like the song for how it actually sounds. I remember when I first heard it there were parts of it that I really didn't like but now I don't remember which parts of it. I think it's mostly because I can relate to it. There's a line in the song "I wonder if I'll ever see you again." Except my family, I guess, I could wonder that about far too many people, which I just think of as depressing.

I'm weighing 3 options right now. It's basically a given that I will leave Korea in about 3 months. That could change but I'm sick and tired of the ESL game. My father would be in India at that point, he'll probably be there sometime next week, so depending what month it is I may spend a few weeks there. After that though, I'm thinking of either going to Africa, Australia, or Vancouver. The A options would be a continuation of vagabonding and the last one would be me deciding to actually stay put for a while.

I was excited about Australia for awhile but that's been waning lately. I'm scared it'll just turn into another time where I'll start out lonely for a few months, then meet a couple of people if I'm lucky, and then be depressed for a few months afterwards. It just seems inevitable.

Africa would be a nice option I think. I would just travel around Africa for a few months. I've been psychoanalyzing myself much too much so I don't think I need to do that here. Anyways, it would be a nice way to end vagabonding, one last really good trip before I settle down. Maybe I could get some kind of internship there with a development agency or something for a few months. I don't know.

I'm thinking most seriously about Vancouver. I don't really know anyone there but I'd have to meet new people practically anywhere I went either and I really think I'd be able to live in Vancouver for awhile. Get a masters in some branch of economics maybe at UBC. Everyone says Vancouver is one of the best places to live. I could also easily move there, not have to worry about getting visas or anything. So maybe I'll do Africa for a few months and then move to Vancouver at the end of summer. Might be a good plan?

Friday, January 05, 2007

Bored at the Tokyo Airport

I have 4 hours at the airport left. I've already been here for an hour or so. I would walk around but I already toured the airport a week ago when I had a 7 hour layover. I took a shower then but I don't need one now.

I'm on my way back from Hawaii where I had a mediocre week. I felt like being depressed while I was there for whatever reason. Well actually, that wasn't how I went into it but my sister was there with her friend and it was annoying being around her again. It reminded me of high school and how depressed I was back then which made me think of how depressed I am now about everything now, which wasn't really a good thing.

I was going to write about how depressed I was while I was there but decided not to do that since that seems to be the only thing I write about these days. For some reason though, I don't feel quite as depressed right now and decided I would write something. Let's see. I don't really know where to start. I guess I will start with my dad's visit. He came and I met him in Seoul and we spent a few days there. Then we came back to Daegu and he saw all the things he saw last year. There's really not enough in town to keep a tourist busy for a week so it was pretty relaxed and we didn't do much. We went out with Young Mi and a friend of hers one night. We had makjang and went drinking until 3am. I think my dad was impressed with himself that he stayed up that late or at least that I kept him out that late. Then he left, and Young Mi left and I moved in with Young Mi's boss and had a small xmas dinner and had my chest x-rayed for a visa application. My Australian working holiday visa has been approved by the way. I have no idea when I'll use it but I have until January 2nd, 2008 to get in the country.

I won't really talk about Hawaii that much since I didn't find it that interesting. I spent a lot of time with my Korean book and went through 200 pages or something. I'd learn it all (more or less) before so it was easy to speed through. I think that might be part of the reason I'm not as depressed as I was before I left. Thinking about how "awesome" I am at Korean made me excited to learn more. I'm really not excited about my new job but it'll be a means to an end and give me enough money and free time. I can't say I have that many goals right now and it's a bit disappointing to say that money is a motivating factor for me. I guess it was before but I didn't think of teaching English as being a sacrifice before.

So anyways, there's the money potential since I don't imagine myself spending much at all while I'm there this time. There's also the prospect of learning more Korean. It's easy to delude myself right now since I've just sped right through an introductory textbook with ease and feel semi-fluent because of it even though I know I should really doubt my abilities to have a real conversation. If I can keep up my current enthusiasm (which is certain to not last), I would be in good shape. Speaking of which, that is my other goal. There are a ton of gyms around my new job so it shouldn't be hard to find a decent one.

I'll have to say goodbye to my last one since it'll suddenly be very far away. So anyways, I guess I've resigned myself for the next few months and accepting it is a big step. Well maybe I haven't quite accepted it but I'm on the path towards acceptance. I think a week with my parents has made my realize that I'm willing to pay a higher price for independence that I previously thought.

Friday, December 08, 2006


I'm not sure what I will end up writing about so the title I've chosen could be inappropriate. I have something specific in mind but who knows where it will go.

I'm still in Korea putting up a fight. I have everything arranged basically. I've been running around to all kinds of government offices lately. The labour office, legal aid, and immigration mostly. Usually all on the same day. I know all the busses and how to get to all the offices. The tax office and pension office I've been to but not recently. Anyways, I have 3 friends at all 3 places. I call them my friends just because it makes it more humourous, less bureaucratic, and really they have been helpful.

One day, Young Mi and I got a call from a lawyer who wanted to discuss our case. Okay, I guess I started talking about this last time. Anyways, we had thought the lawyer was there to help us but he was actually representing Win School, kind of misrepresented himself or at least we were being too optimistic. Anyways, he gave me a most generous offer from Mr. Lee. 200,000 won when he owed me 3,000,000 won. It was pretty easy to turn that down. The lawyer seemed nice and Young Mi and I were a bit rude to him just because of who had been paying him. He explained that Mr. Lee would appeal every decision a court made and I wouldn't get any money for 2 or 3 years so I should just take $200 and be happy. This is money that he doesn't even dispute is mine. The money he owes minus all his baseless deductions. The offer was pretty easy to turn down and the lawyer seemed sympathetic and understood why I would be suing Mr. Lee.

So after that I went to the legal aid office. Met my new friend Mr. Noh. He calls himself Mr. Roh as most Noh's do since it doesn't have the best connotations inn English to be known as Mr. No. That's my theory, anyways. So Mr. Noh told me that it would probably take 5-6 months to get to court. Which was a relief after the years the other lawyer had tried to intimidate me with. It turns out that I had made a mistake before at the labour board not seeking punishment. That's why I'd heard nothing from my friend, Ms. Shim. So I had to go to the labour board and get a document to state that I had unpaid wages and would then have to go to immigration to change my visa status.

The next day, I went to immigration. Met my friend, Mr. Song. He said I wasn't the illegally yet but only had until the next Wednesday to sort everything out. He needed me to fill out 2 forms and come back. I went back to see Mr. Roh. He agreed to be my sponsor (my new visa required a Korean citizen to be held accountable for any criminal acts). Mr. Noh found got me a Korean stamp. Koreans don't use signatures for official forms, they use a little stamp (I'd had to use my thumbprint before this). I thought that was exciting. I then went back to see Mr. Song. Everything seemed okay but then it turned out I only had a preliminary certificate of unpaid wages. I then went to see Ms. Shim who told me she couldn't issue the final certificate until Friday. By that point in the day it was 5 so I gave up for the day. Actually this was all on a Friday so I saved it for the next week.

On Tuesday, I continued again. Monday I went and applied at a few schools and then felt thoroughly depressed by the time I got to Sangin to ask for jobs. I found one place that was hiring but they wanted me to work Saturdays and the hours and pay weren't that great. That's the point where I realized that I'd only be able to find work at desperate hagwons and didn't want to do that again.

Back to Tuesday. I got up and went to immigration to see Mr. Song and explain that I couldn't get the certificate until Friday. I saw a different guy, Mr. Kang. He was nice enough and gave me a 30 day grace period to get the certificate and change my visa. He told me to go see Mr. Noh or Ms. Shin. He called me Mr. Noh. Mr. Noh and Ms. Shin have also called each other so it's like a circle of my bureaucratic friends. Mr. Kang was kind of discouraging and told me foreigners never get the money so I should basically give up. After, Mr. Kang (Mr. Song was out for lunch by the time my number came up), I went to see Ms. Shim. Actually, I was going to see Mr. Noh but I went past the bus stop where I got off before since it seemed like I got off early (I had to change busses). The bus then went much closer to Ms. Shim's so I went there instead. Low and behold, she was having her meeting with Mr. Lee so I had the unexpected pleasure of running into him there. I guess they just had one problem to sort out. My Saturday work. Mr. Lee had promised to pay me and I didn't get anything in writing. So I understood that given my lack of evidence that she couldn't force him to pay since he'd now changed his mind. I explained that it was my mistake to have taken Mr. Lee at his word. Ms. Shim's English is probably the poorest of all my friends so Mr. Lee explained to her what I had said, probably saying that I was mistaken about the whole issue. I talked to Mr. Seok on the phone there. He knew what Mr. Lee had said since he was the one who'd relayed it to me. Seok took Mr. Lee's side saying that there never was such an agreement and that I worked less than the overtime hours so I shouldn't be paid. I can understand why Seok said what he said but I've lost the last shreds of respect I had for him.

Mr. Lee agreed to pay the pension (since it was his legal responsibility to all along) but I owed the same amount so that was deducted from my last month's wages. Luckily though, Mr. Lee has to match it and I get it all back so I get an extra 500,000 won out of that deal. The labour inspector, Ms. Shim, ultimately decided that he owed me 2.2M won. Mr. Lee says he does but that I owe him 2.0M won for airfare, recruiting fees, and housing for 4 days that I stayed there after my last working day. So basically that's the issue. Ms. Shim was unimpressed by his argument for the deductions but he wants a judge to decide. So hopefully, I can revisit the overtime issue there too.

After this I went to see Mr. Noh with the certificate that Ms. Shim had now issued. Then I went back to see Mr. Song. So I'm now on a G-1 visa which is a miscellaneous visa, or a special case visa. So that's all taken care of and I just need to wait for Mr. Noh to tell me when I will be going to court.

So lately, I've just been involved with finding a new job and place to live. There hasn't been much promising. My two failed contracts make schools very leery of me. It's something that English teachers would understand if I explained but potential employers are sympathetic and then decide I'm too risky or not worth changing the contract for. The Saturday place was interested but I was interested. Another place interviewed me and things looked like they would go ahead. I was a bit apprehensive because of all this extra work I would have to do. Of course, during the interview I had just said that wouldn't be a problem. Then I get the contract and it says I'd be required to teach 180 - 40 minute classes before getting overtime. I don't want to work overtime but I'm not going to be in the classroom for 30 hours a week.

The other place I've been looking at (I had a real interview there yesterday as opposed to the phone interview) teaching adults. There are a few downsides to that job. Mostly the hours and the fact that housing isn't covered. Apparently, rent is only about 300,000 a month for a studio, even right downtown. I figure teaching adults would be much easier than trying to control children who don't want to be there and might be worth that bit of money. Plus, I'm getting a bit desperate and teaching adults would be a nice change of pace for me. The other thing is that I'd be able to choose my own apartment and the school is right downtown where both subway lines meet. They will let me know on Monday. The guy who interviewed me was British and had heard all the stories of bad kiddie hagwons so understood where I was coming from. As opposed to other kiddie hagwons that just think I must be a whiner and a quitter and would rather hire someone fresh off a plane with no idea what other hagwons are like. I'd always figured at Wonderland that all the other esl teachers were going through the same thing.

My dad has accepted the job in Mumbai and will be moving there for 2-3 years starting the middle of next month. He'll be stopping in Seoul on his way back to Canada. He's going to get a return ticket from Mumbai so when he flies from Seoul to Edmonton he'll get to go from Seoul to Mumbai to Frankfurt to Toronto to Edmonton. Anyways, seems a bit silly to me unless you really love airports and being on planes.

I guess, I'm about where I was before except that my visa situation is taken care of. I don't know when I'll get to see Ms. Shim or Mr. Song again since their jobs are pretty much done. Mr. Noh is really nice though and has been very helpful. I think he's my favourite of my bureaucrat buddies. He's even invited me to his house at some unspecified point in the future.

If the adult place with the bad hours doesn't give me the job on Monday I may have to consider relocating to a different city. I hope it doesn't come to that though. That seems to be enough for now.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

An Update

Well, my life is going pretty poorly at the moment. I have no job, I have no house, and apparently I'm in Korea illegally right now. I have to take my boss to court to get my last month's paycheque. It's really frustrating.

I don't like sharing an apartment, much less a bed. I want the money my boss owes me and in order to get it I need to sue him which I found out yesterday could take as long as 2-3 months. I really don't want to take another job in Korea but I may be forced to since it's the only way for me to get my own apartment. I'm living off my savings right now which isn't fun either.

In addition to this, I may be an illegal alien. Because my school didn't cancel my visa, I figured I was fine as far as immigration went. I guess I may have been wrong about that and that I should've gone to immigration to cancel the visa myself. Apparently, I could be fined some huge amount for staying here on a working visa while not working. I guess I'd been too busy feeling frustrated, depressed, angry, and lonely to bother going to a government office where no one can understand what I can say to ask about my immigration status.

I don't know where these problems keep coming from. I've also recently realized just how homeless I am. I have no place of my own right now and really I don't have a room to call my own anywhere in the world. I suppose I have one at my parent's house. I've never been to my parent's house though since they moved after I left. So there's a bedroom there but one of my sisters is living there now so it really doesn't make that much sense. My room in name only. Plus, they will be moving in May so it's really not much of a room anyway. I don't usually feel this way but right now I'm really envious of people whose parents have lived in the same house forever and whose bedrooms are basically the same as they left them when they moved out.

My parents by the way will likely be moving to Mumbai, India (formerly Bombay). It's pretty exciting really but just comes at a strange time for me. I guess their house isn't really my home and I'd much rather visit them in a strange city as opposed to one where I've become a stranger. Edmonton is such a distant thing for me. I mean I know it and there are many familiar things but it was never really my home. I'd always lived in Beaumont which has become hugely popular and has so many new developments and renovations that it's really not familiar to me. I guess I really just feel lost. I don't know where I should be or what I should be doing.

There's just nothing familiar about anything in my life right now. I'm staying in the apartment of some guy I barely know. My good friend is gone and I had very few of those here. I've seen his girlfriend, who has assumed the position of best friend in Korea, a few times. She and a few businesses are really the only things that are familiar to me. A little sad that I count my kimbap lady as a good friend of mine considering we've never really had a conversation given she doesn't speak English.

I really just want a place that's familiar to me and I can go there to be alone. That's all I want. I can't do that where I am now given that it's not my apartment and am completely reliant on others for everything at the moment. I've stayed at a few jjimjilbangs which was better than staying here actually since even though they've been full of Koreans they've pretty much left me alone aside from the odd, well not that uncommon, "waygook/miguk saram" (foreigner/American) that I hear there. Hotels are expensive and motels are dirty and not that cheap either.It's not really even the point. I can't feel sorry for myself in a new place. I really just need something.

For those of you who don't know, jjimjilbangs are pretty much 24 hour saunas. You go there and put on an orange shirt and orange shorts and go sit in dry saunas and can sleep on a hard floor for the night. It's kind of surreal since you are wearing the exact same thing as everyone else. It feels like a huge sleepover for you and hundreds of Korean strangers. I don't think many people go alone, usually family and couples. Anyways, they are cheap ($6-8).

I'm going to meet some lawyer with Young Mi, my friend's Korean girlfriend, tomorrow afternoon. Hopefully, he'll be able to tell me what I should do or give me a better time frame. We don't even know who he is. He just called Young Mi and told her he wanted to meet to go over my case. He's either been assigned by the courts or else is Young Mi's boss' friend. Or in a glimpse at where my mind has gone, some kind of Win School operative sent to take my evidence and burn it. Mind you, last year on my way to the immigration office (when my boss cancelled my visa the proper way), I had images of him driving me to some remote area and butchering me.

I really almost feel like giving up. I've fighting with my boss since the beginning of September really and now that I basically have nothing going on here it feels strange to stay. I really just can't let my boss keep that money after everything. I can't let him win but my victory seems so distant.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Uncertainty Abounds

I'm not sure the last time I wrote. I could look it up I guess but I'm a bit lazy. Anyways, since then a lot has happened. Nothing really exciting, well not in a good way at least, but definitely life-altering.

On October 30th, at the end of the day, I see a note on my desk. The vice-director is not happy with me. I didn't teach the class she told me to teach at 3:25. I had told her the Wednesday before that I wouldn't teach them since my contract says I start work at 4. The note tells me she wants to see me before I leave. It's 10:05. The vice-director is busy talking to the assistant teachers, giving them directions. I wait until 10:25 and then I make towards the door. The vice-director stops me and tells me she needs to see me. I blurt out that I wasn't going to wait forever. I decide to give her 5 more minutes. Finally, at 10:28, she is ready to speak to me. She leads me into the little conference room, hands me a letter, and says "There are no words."

I know what the letter says already. I run into the assistant teachers on the way out. They confirm what I thought, that the vice-director was just telling them the same things again and again. I really can't believe that the vice-director was so immature as to make me wait for no reason except to inflate her ego and make herself feel powerful.

Within the envelope is a formal notice. I've been fired. I'd been expecting it. I'd gone to the labour board to sort out a few things in my contract like the tax rate, not being paid overtime, and a few other pieces of nonsense. After going the first time, the labour board said they would call the school and try to resolve things that way. Following this I get a letter. The letter says that they don't owe me anything and also that I'm a terrible teacher and should only ask for things once I'm doing "perfect teaching." So, a thinly veiled threat not to take things further or I'll be canned. I could've really cared less about my job. I was planning on quitting the end of November anyway. I took things further. I went back to the labour board to file a formal complaint. It was a Thursday. I'm sure they drafted my notice over the weekend since there wasn't even mention of me not teaching the first class on Monday. There was, however, mention of me not going to work on a Saturday when I had already told them I wouldn't work any more Saturdays.

That's really not the worst part though. They gave me only 7 days notice since the scheduled labour board mediation was in 8. They really didn't want to go to that meeting. I stayed in my apartment until the day of the meeting and refused to leave since even by the worthless contract they owed me 15 days. The meeting comes and Young Mi decides to come with me (the labour inspection speaks no English). My boss shows up 45 minutes late telling everyone what an important, rich, respectable person he was. He decides that he's not going to give me my last month's pay since I betrayed him by taking him to the labour board and also that I should repay him for the airfare and recruiting fees (even though the contract says I only need to pay him for that if I break the contract). Also, he says he's going to charge me rent for the apartment 40,000 won a day. There's no way my apartment is worth 1.2 million won a month.

So now, I'm unemployed and homeless in Korea and am owed something like 3 million won. Luckily, my boss hasn't cancelled my visa so I don't have to leave the country or anything. He has until the 24th of this month to pay me. If he doesn't, then I need to take him to court. So until I get my money, I am stuck in Korea just waiting it out.

Then there are a few other things to make me feel all the more uncertain about life and everything. Aside from having no job, no home, and being involved in a labour dispute, my parents may be moving to India if my dad accepts a job there, my best friend in Korea is leaving this weekend, I don't know where I'm going after Korea, and the younger brother of a good friend of mine (who I'd met)died accidentally. Uncertainty indeed.