26 May 2008

Things I am NOT worried about.

I always try not to worry about anything. There is, in my opinion, not much point. What is going to happen is going to happen and worrying is wasted energy. Prepare for what you can anticipate and leave the rest to fate. Often the things that you were worrying about work themselves out and the things you didn’t even think about whack you upside the head. That said…
Here are some of the things I am "not" worried about as I prepare to go to Korea to work and live for a year. I realize that most of this will be irrelevent and that something far worse will be the actual problem, but just so I can look back and make fun of myself later, here goes:

· Banking: There are apparently limits to the amount of money one can send back home. This, in addition to the exchange of currency and the actual apparatus of wire transfers, has caused me to wonder if I will be able to easily access my money and move around cash.

· Shopping: I wear a size of pants that will likely be very difficult to procure in Korea. Ditto underwear, shirts, socks, and etc. I have been informed that even getting sheets can be difficult. Apparently personal hygiene products, if available (deodorant’s not), tastes horrible (toothpaste). I have heard rumors that there are Walmarts in Korea. I have tried to boycott them as much as possible, but given the choice between supporting the great satan or going commando, well…sorry. They probably don’t even have 38-40 Hanes' Boxer Briefs.

· Transportation: When I originally saw the contract summary provided by the recruiter, it said that my apartment would be five minutes away from the school on foot. The school, when I spoke to them, said that it was actually fifteen minutes away by bus. We have all seen videos of people being literally crammed into public conveyance in Asian countries during rush hour. I no like. She said that most of the teachers had purchased a scooter. There was one in the classified section of pusanweb for 500000 won (about $500), so if this turns out to be the best solution, that isn’t so bad. Then there is the driver’s license (may be hard for me to get) and the driving conditions…

· Food: This worry has two separate components. A) How will I procure it?; and B) What will happen to me guts after I consume it? Language barrier: when I go out I may be able to get by with hand gestures and picture pointing, but they have a thriving home delivery system, and gesticulation and pointy-pointy isn’t going to work on the telephone. Must learn hangul! Second, the spicy. I have had kimchee. I will literally bleed out if I have to live on it. Note to self: procure and pack one year supply of Pepcid AC.

· Teaching: Never taught Kindygarten before. My ESL experience is limited to an Asian woman in an 099 class who, despite being able to speak and understand only a very limited amount of English, excelled at the written form. The contract mentioned again and again the desire on the school's part for innovative methodology. I have been looking at various ESL and linguistic sites to get a grasp of the milieu, but there will likely be a hard landing.

· Packing: My recruiter told me to get the Lonely Planet guide to Korea, in which there is apparently a thorough packing list. I will see when I get it. I have most of the expensive stuff already: new camera, new laptop, world band radio, mp3 player, internal framepack, luggage, guidebooks, phrasebooks. I still need to figure out if there are holes in my wardrobe due to climate differences. Not literal holes (of which there are many), but...oh, you know what I mean.

· Accommodations: This is really the big IF and probably my primary source of anxiety. I have seen quite a few "look at my new apartment" videos from Busan on YouTube, and the qualitative variance is extreme. If I end up in some windowless one room hovel I will literally die.

But, like I said, there is no sense in worrying too much about anything until I get there and find out what is up. I know there will be bumps. Positive attitude maintenance is the key. Starts now I think. I am not going to go into this with a sense of dread. I know it will be a great adventure, no matter what. Adversity is just a little extra wasabi.


Joe Carrier. said...
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