Saturday, August 29, 2009

2009 SMOE August Orientation -- My new apartment . . . and yep, there's no gas, no power, and no furniture . . . lol, sigh.

My co-teacher and the office manager picked me up at the drop off point. They had brought the school van (cool) to pick me up and we loaded my luggage into the van.

I'll write more later about the chat I had with my co-teacher during the van ride to the apartment, and the ensuing haggling match the office manager had with the Korean ajumma owner and realtor guy she brought with her to get the highest price . . . my co-teacher and I got watch the manager and realtor duke it out verbally in Korean, each going for a TKO price win; meanwhile in the background this Korean grandfather security guy with Arnold Schwarzenegger arms toured around 'fixing' things in the apartment . . . and occassionally jumping in to the verbal firefight going on about the price of the apartment . . .

I really 'enjoyed' standing around listening and watch the price war.

Anyways, here are pics of my apartment. If I have time later today I'll revisit this post and add more commentary.

I count myself really lucky that I already have plates, silverware, some small appliances, a microwave, desk, and some other things . . . because . . . there's NOTHING in the apartment.

I think the school found out they'd be getting a new foreign teacher at the absolute last second because they hadn't even sorted out the contract and price for the apartment (THIS IS THE *THIRD TIME* I'VE HAD THIS HAPPEN out of 4 public school contracts, lol, sigh). I get that and have no problem with this cause if that's the situation THEY were put in by the powers that be at higher levels I'm totally 'understanding of that situation'--wink wink, expats will get the humor here.

What I'm struggling with is that my co-teacher told me they only have X-dollars left over because my apartment was so expensive to get a contract for. It sounds like I'm going to be 'lucky' to get a bed--and that's it. The real gem was when she told me they'd get me a hotel room, but then hinted it'd only be for a few nights, and then I'd have to be in my apartment with or without a bed and just wait for the bed to arrive. I looked at her then and delivered a few choice words,

"You know, you're lucky I've been here for nearly five years. If you had a new teacher right now they'd be pretty upset that you just said they'd have to stay in their apartment next week without a bed . . ."

I was kind and polite and patient, but even I have a breaking point. I didn't yell or get angry at all and I think she appreciated it. But I don't think she knows what to do with a foreign teacher and as usual I'm going to have to patiently teach and communiate the basics of working with a foreign teacher, sigh.

We'll see how all of this apartment stuff goes--for now I'm staying with Julianne in her apartment because she won the foreign teacher apartment lottery that everybody gets a ticket in when they arrive in Korea. I'll put up pics of her place later.

The one thing that makes all this other crap easy to deal with is the location of my apartment is amazing, and the overall conditions of the place are good (newness, cleanliness, everything seems to work). Even the fact that I have no power or gas because the building manager doesn't work on weekends and no one seemed to think it was necessary to call his butt into to turn it on isn't bothering me . . . lol.

Anyways . . . wish me luck,


Nicole & Adam said...

You have much more cabinet space then us and your place looks much newer!

Jason said...


Yes, it's new and wasn't filthy (often places are when expat teachers move in after the previous occupants vacate). And the location couldn't be better.

I just couldn't keep my mouth shut when I heard hints that I'd have to stay there with no bed if it doesn't arrive quickly.

Luckily, I can stay with Julianne in her place which is bigger anyways, and next to Namsan Tower--also central Seoul area.

I hope your place is good.

Do you have a pics of your place up on your blog? I'm gonna look now.

Take care,

chalica said...

New place looks VERY clean, which is great. I've seen teachers with dirty moldy places and feel so bad for them.

Now, did I miss the post where you said what exactly this new job is/what you will be doing? Because you are not teaching at your old school, right? And far away is Julianne? I thought yall used to be far out of Seoul. DId she get a new job and move too?

Now that you are in Seoul, we'll all have to meet up some time. We are near Ichon Station (blue line).

Jason said...

Julianne and I are both in Seoul now. She's at an all boys middle school, and I'm now at an all boys high school.

I might post the name and location with pics later . . . we'll see.

I heard from my co-teacher today that they re-wallpapered my apartment due to mold . . . I guess I'll just have to hope that the new wallpaper seals in the old crap cause the usual practice is not to clean off the old stuff and just cover it up--out of sight, out of mind . . .

Anyways, my apartment is about as dead-center Seoul as you could possibly wish for, so yeah, let's try and meet some time.


winterfall412 said...

Hey Jason,

This is Jason from SMOE. I'd just like to say thanks for all those lesson tips that you gave during orientation. I'm at a very low tech vocation high school. And I'd be more lost than I am now over how to prepare lessons without Power Point.

Have a great year. And another thanks for your recommended teaching book list.