Badabie, Sinchon, last Thursday. Wandering through a dark and quiet area of Sinchon at night, slightly lost, I walked past a door with music drifting up from the basement and out over the sidewalk; I stopped in and found what appeared to be an open mic night in a small venue called Badabie. I hadn't been to a live show since Seoul Fringe in the fall; the indie music scene here is still quite indie, and as someone who doesn't speak Korean, seemingly impenetrable. I was glad to stumble upon the place; I was pretty cold anyway, and sat on a bench near the space heater to warm up.
By the way:
Our school is struggling. As teachers, we can see this; over the course of the semester, kids have been dropping out, and our classes have become smaller. Some classes only have two or three kids in them, with perhaps only one showing up on any given day. On Tuesday, my director told me we're underenrolled for next semester (which starts in 5 weeks) and overstaffed. He's restructuring; my shift, a 1-9, will be eliminated. As I'm the only one working that shift, I can't say I'm surprised. He gave me the option of finishing the remaining four months of my contract on the same shift as the rest of the teachers, 9-7:30. But 52.5 hour weeks aren't what I came here for, and not what I signed for. So, my last day at my school will be February 26.
I don't know what I'll do after that. I may go home; I may go travel; I may stay here for a while until I hear back from the graduate schools I've applied to. I'm lucky to have friends and relatives here, and, as a former Korean citizen, to have an F-4 visa (if I had the standard E-2 work visa for foreigners, I would be kicked out of the country as soon as I lost my position). I could stay and teach privately until the summer, if I wanted. I definitely want to travel to Japan, if not extensively (for lack of funds), then at least to stop for a few days on my way back home (so if anyone has any travel advice or ideas, I'd be grateful!).
Regardless, I've reached a point where I feel quite settled in, which makes me both want to stay, but also feel satisfied to have reached that point if I should leave. In that respect, it should be an easy decision, as either works for me. We shall see..
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Saturday, January 23, 2010 | Posted by Mark Z at 12:28 PM |