Thursday, August 28, 2008

If it's Thursday, it must be Disney World :-)

Why don't work weeks go by this quickly? Needless to say, I'm having a great time and doing a lot of relaxing and not a lot of homework...
I've been home for a week now and am already at destination #2-- my Dad's in Florida. Tomorrow we are going to Epcot. Apparently there is a new ride that simulates a hurricane-- is that really necessary in these parts?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

World's Meanest Mom

That's how I felt when I took my cat, kicking and screaming every step of the way, to the vet, which, fortunately for me, was two blocks from my house. May I just say, that was the longest two blocks of my life. I did at least get some enjoyment from seeing how much he freaked out all of the Koreans we passed. :-) Watch out he might steal your soul! Actually, the sounds he was making did fit a soul-sucking demon...
When I got to the vet, there was a bit of a Korean moment, of course. Last week, I talked to the vet, made a reservation, if you will, to make sure they could take care of him for three weeks. I was quoted 300k, which was what I had expected. No problem. When he saw my "big cat" the price changed to 375. What, are they going to feed him more? I will just have to trust that the higher fee went to getting him a larger cage. I will also have to trust that they will let him out to exercise each day. I had to hit up the ATM, since I had been told 300, and when I came back, Kneivel was out of sight and silent. So, I am also trusting that they didn't drug him up to keep him quiet.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Koreans Can be White Trash, Too

While I was grocery shopping today, I saw a store employee doing inventory. No big deal, except he came across an open bottle of wine. Yes, some thirsty shopper uncorked a bottle of wine in the store and had a little drink. Were they carrying a corkscrew around with them? How did they do this surreptitiously, anyway?
I was finally able to get a ticket from New Orleans to Tampa with my inferior Korean credit card. Well, actually, I used Paypal. I heart Southwest. And Paypal.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Dear Sallie Mae, Please Pull Your head Out of Your Ass. Thanks, Jen

Around the beginning of the year, as you may recall, I paid off a student loan more befitting a doctor/ Harvard grad than a teacher/ state school grad. As you can imagine, I did a few happy dances and then forgot about it. Until today. When I got a nicely worded note letting me know that I was going to default on my loans. After I gave the nice (but clearly uninterested) customer service rep a piece of my mind, I was informed that I had not paid $300. Let me just back up and say that I called my student loan people and confirmed that everything was paid and they happily announced that I was debt free. How, I would like to know, can I pay money that I don't know is owed? The nice (but clearly uninterested) customer service rep insisted they had informed me and gave me the address they had been sending mail to, where I lived in 1996. Did they lose the five (six? ten?) addresses I've had since then? I would understand this if it were still state-run-- government workers aren't really known for getting off their asses for much of anything but a break, but Sallie Mae has been privatized. So, theoretically, this is a profit-seeking corporation. Were they hoping to cash in on the massive interest that has accrued to make a total of $300?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Out of the Mouths of Babes...Or Reason Korea is Not Great #1

As long as I have been here, I still am occasionally stopped in my tracks by my students' offhand remarks. Or writing.
Yesterday, I was given two college application essays to review for a student. Let me repeat: college application essays. You know, the ones that make you stand out as the perfect freshman that the school absolutely must accept. OK, just wanted to make that clear.
The topic of both essays was something along the lines of "Discuss some hardship you have overcome." Essay #1 was all about the "hardship" of sharing a room at boarding school with a girl that had multiple airplanes and homes around the world. The hardship? The roommate was messy. Really. Space devoted to said hardship and its resolution? One paragraph. Space devoted to telling about the girl's wealth? Three paragraphs. She actually said that their difference in socio-economic status was a cultural difference they had to deal with. You know, as opposed to the cultural difference of coming from different cultures. Which, BTW, she did not mention.
So, the first essay was basically crap. No problem, I thought, she has a second essay with basically the same topic. If necessary, she can revise the second one and use it for both schools. Then I read the second one. This one was about the hardship of staying with a black family for a fortnight in England. It was a hardship because of the stink of their weird food throughout the house. However, she found their hair very interesting to look at, even after she got used to the strange smells. Now, she proudly announced, she tells her friends that black people aren't scary and dirty. Really. I read the entire thing thinking it had to be a joke-- this girl lives in the US. But, no, no joke. So, I edited the grammar and vocab and put a nicely worded note suggesting she revise the overtly racist parts, without specifically stating that she would only be left with an introduction.

Monday, August 11, 2008

So Close I Can Taste It

One week from now, I will be getting on a plane for home. My first visit to BR in four years. I've only got a few classes this week, so I've got to do some shopping, packing, and arrange the kennel for my cat.

I'm not looking forward to that last one-- it took him a while to forgive me for the last time and that place had a huge cat area with floor to ceiling condos and room to run. Of course this is Korea, so that place is gone, so it looks like he's going to spend three weeks in a cage.
SAT classes mostly ended last week, which is why I have so few hours this week. They ended much better than I expected except for a few of my private tutors. My tutoring sessions weren't as popular as the ones with the young teachers that spent equal time chatting and teaching. I'll try not to take it personally. ;-) Now I have no excuse not to work on my CALL coursework and a couple other papers I've got ( long over-) due.

Well, while the soldier has been in the field for two weeks I have had plenty of time to "reflect" (obsess is such an ugly word) on things. I've decided not to see him any more. As nice as he is, I want to meet someone that I don't have to modify my vocabulary for, I do that all day at school. It's not like I'm some super-intellectual person, so I don't think that's unreasonable. I think things were really over when he was shocked to hear that I was (gasp!) reading one night when he called. Having two weeks to fixate on it sealed his fate. Onward and upward. :-)
I got some unhappily surprising news at work on Friday. Just last month, I signed a long contract in order to get this vacation and another month off in January. I did it not only to get the time off, but also because there are some developments going on at my school that, if they come to fruition, would be an excellent opportunity for me. Then, out of the blue, on Friday, one of my bosses (the one spearheading the project) announced that she and her (horrible, wretched) ex have reconciled and are talking about getting married in spring, but she wants to get married be the end of the year. After they get married, she is going to move to the US so he can go to dentistry school. Her plan when I met her was to become a dentist, BTW, but now she wants to be a wife. Only. I have to say, I'm really not pleased with this turn of events-- surely she knew this was a possibility last month. In fact, I may not finish my contract if she leaves.