Entrance Strategies

OK. Anyone who knows me knows I at least temper my moaning with trying damned hard.

I have:

  • contacted two people from Dave’s ESL Teacher Board, met one of them, and will meet another one who has been very supportive and nice, as soon as I can afford to even get on a freaking subway and go one stop away…
  • created a profile for a language exchange site and contacted a couple of people
  • will call the first volunteer I had from Koroot, I think her name was Mi Young (what a sweetheart) to see if she would like to hang out – as soon as I can afford subway fare.
  • I’ve emailed G.O.A.L. asking if I can still have volunteer access, even though I have no specific needs and am not staying at Koroot.
  • I think some of the teachers at school would like to play matchmaker – they always ask if I have a boyfriend, and I have to remind them I’ve only been her a couple of weeks. One guy was joking about dating but he has a wife. Some guys are the same everywhere, it seems…
  • I will try to find out where the local YMCA is and see what services they have for immigrants.
  • Must learn how to ride the buses. The subway is great, because the fare from the satellite cities is 900 won no matter how far you go or how many transfers you make. It is also great because there is constantly a new train every three to five minutes. BUT it is also 900 won if you are only going one stop away. The buses are supposed to be really comfortable – they just take longer because sometimes there is gridlock during rush hour. Nicer because you can get a sense of the city, and the fare is not as expensive.
  • The problem with anything is always costs. For example, Sebastien of GOAL took me out for lunch after the KBS show, and that cost about 14,000 won. ($9.33 and he wouldn’t let me pay) So you know how it is Seattle American culture to at least make everything as dutch as possible, so I offered to get some after dinner coffee. Well, that ended up costing 9,000 won. ($6) Transportation for the day was 900 subway x 2, plus 2,000 taxi. So even with a free lunch, it ended up costing me about 13,000 won.

    Anytime you leave the house for Seoul, it takes about an hour minimum. Then you have to eat. It’s way too easy for each trip to rack up to about $10. Especially, if it’s a social situation such as language exchange. It’s also why I can’t hang out with my fellow English teachers even if I wanted to. They think nothing of dropping twice that in an evening. More like quadruple that, because they like to drink and eat at foreigner bars where the prices are jacked up. I thought students were poor? Come to think of it, I think all the students I trained with had different ideas about what poor is. They were all from fairly comfortable backgrounds.

    Somehow, I’ve got to figure out what my expenses are. For example, I know the Emart foods are pretty expensive. It’s like equivalent to buying the packaged gourmet foods from QFC. Because I live in a high rent town, close to a high rent area, there are no cozy street markets here like I’ve seen in Seoul. There only seem to be a couple restaurants where I can eat by myself – all the others cater to two or more because of the way they are cooked. If I can find a real market nearby, will I be able to cook any of the kinds of food they sell? The meals at these restaurants where I can eat are reasonably priced – 4,000 to 5,000 won. Super cheap, actually. But I can’t read anything on the menus and don’t know what to order. Maybe I’ll just have to go every day and order a different thing each day for three months. If I go to the grocery store, I have no idea what I’m purchasing. I really need a volunteer to help me. That, or I need a native-speaker to live with.

    Maybe I should just quit eating and just smoke cigarettes at 2,000 won = $1.33 / pack) and drink soju, which I got at one place for 1,500 won = $1 – and one bottle is enough to make one person feel no pain.

    That sounds like a really nice plan.

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