Monday, June 15, 2009

Back into Routine

So, I made it through my first day of work at The Korea Times. It was pretty uneventful, other than accidentally walking in through the back door instead of the front. But it's okay. I think I did okay, but I haven't got any feedback from the guy in charge. Basically, I go in and I edit like crazy and hope that I don't make any mistakes. I think I'm going to like the job, but I do have to be careful because it does have potential to get monotonous. Luckily, they said that I would possibly have the opportunity to write for the foreign community page or at least contribute in some way.

But I think I'm going to like the schedule. It's not that far from my house (definitely closer than Hongdae) and I don't have to get up really early. My day starts at 10:3o am beginning on June 23. And I'm finishing around 5:30- 6 pm. Right now I'm just part-time, which I'm enjoying because I have my mornings to run errands and visit friends. Today I'm thinking about going and getting a haircut. Tomorrow morning I'm going hiking down in Yangjae with my friend Linda and Thursday I'm meeting Se Won and Yong Sang for lunch.

I find that I'm already getting into routine. I wake up around 7ish or 8:30ish even though I set my alarm for 9:30 am. Today, I was pretty productive and cleaned up the apartment. (Mainly because I was woken by my landlady having a heated argument outside my window and I couldn't go back to sleep. Probably because I feared she would come up to my apartment next for something and I at least wanted to greet her with a sparkling clean apartment. Luckily it never happened...)

So, life is okay for now. I'm glad I'm kind of easing into the job because I know once I go full-time, life will be a balancing act between work, studying Korean, keeping my apartment clean (which is really hard with my dysfunctional kitten), and my after-work appointments, not to mention keeping up with my friends. I can already tell that I'm not going to be able to see my friends a lot, but that's what you have to do when you work 7-days a week just to pay the bills and hopefully save up some.

But, yes, that's life as of now. On June 29 I get official word if the Times is going to officially hire me and have me sign a contract (which I'm not worried about). Cheers everyone and hopefully next time I'll have something a little more exciting to write about.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Nervous First Day

So...I leave for my first day of work at The Korea Times in about 30 minutes. I'm incredibly nervous because I have no idea what to expect. I was hired without an interview or editing test, so that has me a little worried. I'm not sure what they are expecting from me. All I can do is do my best and hope that it is enough. And hope that at the end of the week and a half of part-time work they want to keep me on full-time. I haven't heard anything from Arirang yet and I'm not sure if I will. Though, I think that after today I should hopefully have a better idea of what to do if Arirang offers me a job.

But yea, I'm really nervous so wish me luck!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Got a Job!

So, The Korea Times offered me a job today. I'm excited. It sounds nice. But I'm also torn because I really want to work for Arirang, and I'm still waiting to hear from them. If I get an offer from them too I don't know what I'll do. Here's a breakdown of the two jobs:

Korea Times:
- Full time job
- All benefits (healthcare, pension, etc.)
- I know what I'm doing.
- Salary is negotiable (but probably won't be that high)
- Hours are 10:30 am to 5:30 pm.
- 6-day work weeks (Sun-Fri)
- Three day weekends on rotation.
- Not many days of vacation.
- Large paper, but not the best English newspaper in Seoul.
- Would most likely have to quit my job in Bundang.
- Sponsors visas.

- Broadcast writing, which I'm not use to, but would be a welcomed challenge.
- The largest English channel in Korea and has offices in several countries.
- Has a great reputation.
- Part-time (work week rotates, Mon-Wed some weeks, Thurs-Sun others)
- Pays the equivalent of $20 an hour.
- Hours are 2pm to 10 pm.
- I have time for more privates, but schedule is constantly changing.
- Can probably only teach in Bundang 2 weeks a month.
- Sponsors visas.
- Probably no healthcare benefits.
- Probably easier to get time off for holidays.

So, I'm in quite a pickle if I get an offer from Arirang. I have to admit, I partially want to take the job because it would sound cooler to say I work at a television station. But I would probably make more at The Korea Times. And I like finishing at 5:30 pm. I don't know. We'll see. I might not even get an offer from Arirang. We'll see. Just keep praying that if it comes to that I'll make the right decision...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Get Healthy!

As of late, I've decided it's time to make some lifestyle changes in order to become healthier. I've been having trouble sleeping at night and I think some of that is due in part to my nighttime habits right before I go to bed. So, here are some of the things I'm planning to do...

1. No more soda!
I didn't realize until Monday, but I drank A LOT of soda. And most of it late at night, which most likely was causing me to stay up late. So I've completely cut it out. No more soda at home and no more while I'm out at dinner. It's water and juice from here on out. And surprisingly, it's been really easy to refrain.

2. Exercise
This one is a little harder. I tried running a couple weeks ago, but the weather is getting hotter which makes it difficult to get motivated. But I've started doing some little exercises around the house. Running up and down my stairs for cardio and my lower body (which I will have to watch because I don't want my thighs getting too big), daily push-ups, crunches, leg lifts (helps with abs), etc. My friend told me to join a gym and go once a day for an hour, but I can't really afford that. At this point, I don't want to lose weight, just maintain what I've lost and get toned.

3. Cut back on smoking
Yes, I know. I smoke way too much, so everyone can stop telling me. I think this is also what's keeping me up at night. So I'm cutting back and setting achievable goals (i.e. only allowing myself to buy one pack every 3 days, then once a week, etc. When I'm out, I'm out.) Hopefully soon I'll be able to cut it out completely but I don't think I can do the whole cold turkey thing. All my friends who have done cold turkey ended up starting again a month later.

4. No more naps!
I end up taking a couple hour-long or two-hour long naps because I don't sleep that well, which in turn makes me not tired at night. So no more naps.

5. No more snacking!
I don't keep snacks in my house. And I'm no longer buying ramen for dinner. If I want to eat a quick meal, it's going to be salad. Kimchi chigae is still in because it's healthy, but cutting down on the carb intake and sweet intake. No more chips, ice cream, candy, etc.

And I'm sure I'll think of some more things, but that's what I'm starting with for now. Yay!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Prejudice in Korea

So, for those of you reading this back home (which I think it is only those from back home are reading this...) there are a lot of complaints from foreigners about prejudice in Korea, especially against English teachers. Mostly in the form of visa regulations for the E-2 (English teaching visa). Last year they added a criminal background check, drug testing and HIV testing. This upset A LOT of people and they are still complaining about it today. Most call it an invasion of privacy. I have heard some legit complaints from a couple of my former co-workers, namely that when they brought in their medical test results, the envelope was unsealed and therefore anyone in the office was free to look at it. But for the most part, I don't see what the big deal is.

Criminal Background Checks: You have to do this for just about any job in the U.S. I did it for my job as a daily reporter. Whatever.

Drug Testing: Again, I think a lot of jobs in the U.S. require this. Most of these people in Korea are working with kids. While people argue that weed is harmless, the fact remains that it's a drug and it's illegal. Especially if you're in a foreign country. Parents in any country are paranoid about drug users, get over it.

HIV Testing: This I don't really have an opinion. I don't think people who have AIDS or HIV are bad people or they are going to "infect" everyone so it is a bit ridiculous that they are going to base an entire judgment of character on one medical problem. But, then again, I don't have HIV so naturally I have no problem taking this test.

I do agree that they should probably make these regulations for the F-4 and F-2 visa holders who are planning to teach children. It is a bit unfair that just because someone has Korean ancestry they are automatically exempt. Especially when I've heard some F-4 visa holders brag about it.

But I will argue that if you look at the U.S.'s regulations for foreign workers, the visas are much harder to get. I've had students who are high level executives for Microsoft and had to go through background checks, medical checks, etc. just to get a visa to work at Microsoft in the U.S. Hell, I've got a perfectly normal, educated, non-druggie, productive-to-society friend who was recently kicked out of the U.S. and told that the best way he could get a work visa was to marry an American.

So I don't really think that Americans have the right to complain about visa regulations when our own country has the same if not stronger regulations. They cry out for equality. Why not try making equality in our own country first before running off to a foreign country and demanding that they treat us the same or better? How do you think the immigrants from Latin America feel?

I've been in Korea for a year and a half and not once have I faced any sort of prejudice because I'm American, white or an English teacher. I got my E-2 visa without problems. And I got my E-7 visa without any problems. I did have some issues with my Korean company but that was because of cultural miscommunication. They just didn't know any better, and I didn't know any better, a problem easily fixed if we take the time to research and try to understand. (Probably won't happen, but whatever. It's not like I, the ever powerful American, will completely re-educate Korean culture or Korean business culture that's been around for thousands of years. Doesn't make it right, but does make it hard to undo. Trying never hurts though, just don't complain when you fail because it's an uphill battle the whole way.)

If foreigners are sick of the media attention, then maybe they should refrain from doing things that give you that attention, like oh...refraining from doing/selling drugs while in a foreign country? Or going to work with children when drunk or high? Stuff like that doesn't fly in the U.S. so why the hell would they think it flies in Korea? It's commonsense, people...

Sorry, I guess I kind of got on a soapbox there. I guess I don't really understand what all the fuss is. But then again, I've always been a law-abiding citizen (excluding some speeding tickets) so I've got nothing to worry about. gives me a headache, but it seems like the majority of people here disagree and tend to attack those with similar opinions to mine...Oi vey, just go back to the U.S. if you hate it here so much...