Thursday, April 14, 2005


I visited the Smoo campus on Wednesday to meet with the teacher I'll be replacing. He reminds me a lot of my French "brother" Xavier (whom the Maximum Leader met years ago)-- interesting sense of humor, a serious stare, and a need to be on the move. This guy, M, runs a couple websites, is the founder of a group that publishes English learning materials for Koreans, has published a textbook or two, appeared on Korean radio and TV, teaches at Smoo, and has a wife whom he adores. A kid is on the way as well, and that's one of the reasons he's quitting. I wish him good luck.

The dude is Canadian, but he studied at the Sorbonne and at Yonsei University. His Korean is definitely better than mine, though I have no clue about his French skills-- we spoke only a couple modest phrases to each other, each deprecating our own French ability, which we both claimed has deteriorated faute de pratique. M joked at one point, "I saw your resume and photo. It looks like you've put on a little weight since that picture was taken." He's gone native, bless him-- joking about my fat like a real Korean.

It's amazing how things are relative, though, because he's right: the photo I sent Smoo was from about 2002, and although I wasn't slim then, I was probably less porky than I am now. The other thing, though, is that I was doing that double-chin-hiding technique used to such good effect in the final photo of my recent Namsan post. However, if you compare the current Kevin to the Kevin of about a month ago, there's definite weight loss. I feel it in my belt and in my increased energy level.

M showed me the huge pile of supplementary handouts he'd made over the course of two years, all of which I plan to put to good use. He schooled me on using the AV facilities in class, and he's to email me a few templates so I can write up syllabi in the next few days.

Speaking of syllabi and lesson planning, it looks like I'll be teaching my English Through Drama course this term! They've got me scheduled for 90-minute classes, five days a week. This pushes me over the contracted 18 hours to about about 20.5 hours-- 2.5 hours' overtime, baby. I'm not sure how much the hourly rate is for overtime pay (in Korea, it's almost never "time-and-a-half" like in the States), but if it's around W20,000/hour, that would do me just fine. An extra W50,000 a week comes to roughly W220,000 a month (assuming slightly more than 4 weeks in a month), which means my take-home pay for June, all things considered, will be about W2.6 million. That's about W700,000 better than what I was getting from EC. And June's a paid vacation month: I'll be earning W1.6 million for doing nothing, plus another W800,000 or so for privates. W2.4 million-- net-- in July isn't too bad. Could be better, I suppose, but again, we have to consider schedule. This isn't going to run me ragged, unlike EC's insane 44-hours-a-week routine.

Smoo is adamant about not paying me for my Osaka trip, but the office staffer I spoke with, KL, will ask the program director what our options are. She (the staffer) seemed somewhat exasperated with me, but I don't exactly have many options at this point, unless they're willing to let me teach illegally until I get my large payment in June, at which point I can hit Osaka at my leisure. I doubt, however, that a large, famous university like Smoo would want to live in fear of La Migra for the next 45 days, so I'm predicting a cash windfall in the next week or so.

I caught a glimpse of a tall, elegant, beautiful lady peeking at me from inside the teacher's lounge. Wow. She was a reminder that, yes, there are other beautiful women out there. Hopefully as beautiful on the inside as on the outside.

I suspect she was wondering who the hell that poorly-dressed fat guy was. I wasn't dressed for work: I was wearing my standard blue button-down APIC denim shirt-- untucked and with the sleeves rolled up-- plus wrinkled black pants and dirty black shoes. Wasn't exactly presentable. Will probably dress like that for drama class, though. Drama can be a dirty, crawling-on-the-floor kind of business.

But damn, she was cute, that lady. I'll have to find out who she is.

a man's heart
is like a zombie in a horror movie
you can shoot it
or lop off its head with a machete
or chop it up with a cleaver
or nail it with the spear gun you keep under your sofa
or even eat part of it
but in the end
that heart's gonna regenerate
and keep on a-beatin'
and right as you're rounding that corner
it's gonna jump out
and eat your brain
that's what a man's heart is like
it never gives up
it never stops
it's scary as hell
because love is scary as hell
not just any YEAH, but a Howard Dean-style

Now if that's not a romantic poem, I don't know what is.


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