Tuesday, May 07, 2013


The interview is now over. It was supposed to be around 30 minutes long, but I think it took the better part of an hour. All in all, it was a pleasant conversation between me and two interlocutors: a quiet-but-kind gent from Fort Worth, Texas—whom I'll call J—and his tiny-but-cute administrator, Dr. C.

I arrived very early at the university, having taken a ride with a mumbling, grumbling old taxi driver who, despite his apparent bitterness at the world, proved very helpful when we got to the campus's front entrance: he stepped out of the cab with me to ask the gate guard how to reach Chonnam U.'s Language Education Center (LEC). We drove up to a pair of buildings, and the cabbie let me out. I called J, who had wisely emailed me his phone number, to determine which building, of the pair, I needed to enter: the red-brick building or the gray one attached to it. The gray one, as it turned out. I took the elevator to the third floor, paused for a moment to take in Yeosu from a breezeway (I took photos and will slap those up soon), then walked into the LEC.

J turned out to be a thin, quiet Texan, but without the twang. He led me to a side room for our interview. I asked him for a bit of paper to fan myself, and he obligingly brought me a few sheets. Not long after that, Dr. C came in, and the interview began. The questions—read off from a rather long and impressive list by J—dealt with things like my language-learning experience and how it informed my teaching, how to handle unmotivated students, whether I would be OK teaching children, and so on. The package that CNU was offering me was, to be frank, not the most appealing one, but if I had no other choice, I would probably accept this gig. In the end, I had a good impression of my interviewers, and I can only hope they had a good impression of me. I also had a good impression of Yeosu, where life moves at a somewhat slower pace than it does in Seoul, and where the people (especially the cabbies!) strike me as generally friendlier.

The cabbie who took me back from the university was incredible: super-friendly, impressed with my paltry Korean ability, and actively hopeful that my interview went well, and that I'd land a job in Yeosu, a city of which he seemed quite proud.

And now: I pack and leave this love hotel. One more cabbie to go, then I'm on the KTX and back to Seoul. I'd have liked to stay and see more of Yeosu. It really seems like a nice little city.