Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Devil Jacked My Money

So there has been a lot going on at work after I got my promotion as Head Instructor. After I got back from Thailand things have sucked! Where do I begin..

After having an amazing time in warm "sunny" Thailand I returned to cold ass Daegu! Monday came around and I went to work. I'm in my classroom and The Devil, I mean CEO of the company comes in to give me my paycheck stub. I can't wait to open it because my raise should be on there. I WAS WRONG! I asked her why she didn't pay me for last month and she said it was because I didn't watch any CCTV. I was confused because I worked more, trained teachers, conducted meetings and planned and event with the Korean staff. Apparently all of that work was for nothing because I didn't watch any CCTV. I let it go and don't say anything else.

A couple days later...
My manager who looks like she is always stoned walks into my classroom with this stupid smirk on her face and just stares at me...
Me: Just tell me already
Manger: Stoned confused look
Me: What do you need to tell me?
Manager: The Devil is not going to pay you for your vacation on your Head Instructor salary.
Me: I want to have a meeting with her so we can discuss my contract and pay.
Manager: But why? This is what she said and that is what is going to happen. You need to listen to what she says.
Me: NO! You need to tell her that she can't do this and I want to have a meeting with her.

Two days later... Still nothing! The Devil was either "out of town" or too busy to speak to me.
Keep in mind there were CCTV reports due on Friday. I tell my manager to tell her that I will not continue to do any work until I have spoken to her about my pay. My manager tells me that The Devil is available right now, so we go into her office.

As soon as I walked into her office she started going off in Korean! This is the first problem with this lady: She doesn't know how to communicate with people. For someone in a high position like hers, she is not very professional at all! She started yelling before I got the chance to tell her why I was there. So I sat there quietly waiting for her to shut up, but she never did! My manager started to "translate" what she was saying, but that was pointless because her English is as good as my Korean! Not to mention she is afraid of The Devil so she wasn't translating everything.

Me: Show me in my contract where it says that I will not get paid for my vacation on an HI salary.

The Devil sends the manager to get my contract. The manager returns and hands it to her. The Devil looks at it and skims through the pages. She couldn't find anything so she put it back in my folder.

Me: Can I see my contract please? Can I get a copy of it? So can you show me where it states that you will not pay me the full amount if I don't CCTV?

The Devil pretends she doesn't hear me and continues to yell and scream. Now it gets the attention of the Korean staff in the lobby and everyone is looking through the glass doors.
So my adrenaline starts going and and my claws came out too! She had to call another translator to explain to me why she wasn't paying me. Now she made me feel like I was an idiot who didn't understand something basic, so I started yelling too! I was trying to keep it together but she passed the line. I began yelling at her and telling her that she was taking advantage of people. I wasn't going to bring up not getting paid the full amount but she brought out the devil in me. So I asked her again where it said that I had to CCTV in order to get paid the full amount. She continues to yell for the next TWO hours and still couldn't show me any proof on paper.

I got tired of yelling and arguing over the same thing without getting any answers. The last thing I told her was that if I didn't get part of my money, I was resigning from being head instructor.

Another day passes and still no answer! However, I did get a call about having to attend a meeting the next day. WTF? After everything that we talked about, she still had the nerve to tell me to go to another school to observe other teachers. I refused to go until I got an answer. But I never did! I just kept getting threatening calls at 11:30 p.m. for about 20 minutes telling me that if I didn't go to the meeting, I wasn't going to get paid for this month either. The Devil was flexing her muscles to show me that she was the boss and that I had to do what she said.

I was determined to stick to my guns, but that would have made me miss out on a nice chunk of money, AGAIN! I ended up going to the meeting and completing the CCTV reports. My manager came into my classroom the next day and told me that The Devil agreed to give me half of the money. I guess that's better than nothing. If I was back home this would have never happened. After all that drama, I can't wait to get out of here and work in a country that has unions and where contracts mean something.

If you teach in Korea then you will understand this video if you haven't seen it.


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Spending the holidays away from the family for the first time!

It's that time of the year and I am thousands of miles away from my family. It's going to be hard to get through Christmas without my mom. I've
been here for the 4th of July, Memorial Day, Halloween, and Thanksgiving. Since Koreans don't celebrate any of those it didn't feel like I was missing out on anything.

4th of July was actually pretty fun and relaxing. Martell cooked delicious food on the roof of our apartment building. I contributed the most by bringing a bag of chips, wine and beer! I think that was the best thing at the barbecue. He cooked crab, shrimp, meat, corn, yams, and made a pasta salad which was off the hook! It's nice to have someone in the group who doesn't mind being responsible for all of the cooking. Martell put together some scrumptious meals. Thank you!

After dinner Stacey, Erna, and I headed to Camp Walker which is the American Military base about 1o minutes away. Our goal was to watch the firework show at a friends apartment near the base, but that didn't happen because we were in a cab when the show started. We got to see the end of the show from the cab!

Halloween was definitely not like like the Roosevelt in Hollywood. There were no skanky hot girls in lingerie and extremely built men with their shirts off. Obviously there are no costume shops with hundreds of outfits to choose from. So not that many people dressed up which kind of sucked. My coworkers and I decided to dress up as a Korean hip hop group 2NE1. I was a little embarrassed because I had to wear a red wig that made me look like a tranny! LOL My coworker Toni thought it would be a good idea to perform one of the songs for the students, so we did. We rehearsed about ten minutes everyday the week before and tried to memorize the dance, but that didn't happen. Toni and Bethany had most of the dance down, I just took up space. When I didn't know one of the steps I just busted out with the robot. That seemed to work out pretty well because the kids enjoyed it.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Another medal to add to my collection!

Its been a while since I've written anything because I have been busy and lazy. I guess I will just write about my half marathon. As you know, I am a workout freak and addicted to running, so I had to find something to keep me in shape. One of my coworkers asked me to run a half marathon with her so I agreed to do it. Since our agreement, I promised her that I would not leave her behind the day of the race (I kept my promise). We tried training together as much as possible, but with our conflicting schedules it was almost impossible! Our training began about two months before the race. We either ran on the treadmill or at the local elementary school down the street, where we became celebrities and the track team coaches!

On the weekends, we would go the elementary school and run before work. This happened to be at the same time that the track team ran. Lucky us! Now we had 20 little kids running behind us stepping on our feet! On top of that the track teacher stopped me one day to correct my running! Apparently I was moving my hands the wrong way!? Who knows what he said because it was all in Korean, which I can't understand!!! I just smiled and bowed my head thanking him for his wonderful advice. Now every time I see one of the kids on my way to work, he challenges me to a race. Of course I have to turn him down because he will probably beat me, but I just tell him I'm not wearing the right shoes! :)

The race was on the Korean military base in Pohon. We stayed at a love motel that was pretty modern. It had everything you needed: sex toys, lubrication, and of course condoms, cologne so men can spray some on before they go back home to their wives, face whitener, and last but not least ROPE! Just in case there's a fire!!! Before we checked in, we had to watch a 5 minute video on how to bust a Macgyver move from a window on the 10th floor. I'm just kidding they didn't show us a video. But seriously, I don't understand why they can't be like everyone else and add some stairs on the side of the building. Apparently they don't believe in fire escapes. It's a good think I went repealing in Australia! It was a lot of fun running with the Korean soldiers. Stacey on the other hand didn't feel the same way after the forth mile. I don't think that will be signing up for the next one! There were only about 6 foreigners and about 20 girls. I found it a little odd that the majority of the runners were men. Towards the end of the race, a few of our fans finished with us. People kept stopping us in the middle of the race to take pictures with us. I was waiting for one of them to ask for my autograph!

After the race we picked up our medals and our goody bag. I was expecting a t-shirt and a sandwich, but instead I got something better: a huge bottle of mackli (alcohol), a gigantic bag of mushrooms, kimchi, rice, and sea weed soup! The mushrooms were a little random but they came in handy for a lot of meals. After the race we headed to the beach to relax and eat. Of course I was the only one in a bathing suit again. Koreans don't believe in showing skin so they go in the water fully clothed! Weird.
We ate at one of the many restaurants along the beach. The food was a little expensive but totally worth it. Everything was obviously fresh and came in big portions. I usually eat oysters with Tapatillo (Mexican hot sauce), lime, and one of my favorite things, salt! Out here, they cook them on a pan. Definitely a little different but still delicious!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Angry Neighbor

Alright, so last night Martell, Andy and I went out for dinner and drinks. We had a delicious dinner and a lot of beers! We left the bar nice and happy around 3 a.m. As Martell and I were walking down the street, I told him to touch my abs. LOL I'm not sure why, I guess I'm proud of my results from my dedication to the gym and wanted to show them off! LOL

Martell quickly responded, NO! I was surprised by his answer because who wouldn't want to touch ab muscles, right? So I slightly lift up my shirt and flex so it would be more appealing. But nope, that didn't work either. It just made him start running down the street. LOL Who runs away from sexy abs??? Of course someone who doesn't like females! At this point, I was determined to make a gay man touch my abs, so I started running after him! I caught up to him at our apt building so I blocked the doorway. Martell helplessly stood there and kept telling me that he was not going to touch them! My loud ass started laughing like a hyena because he was acting like a little girl. I kept yelling at him, "TOUCH MY ABS!" Still nothing!

Out of nowhere another voice joined our screaming, but it wasn't in English. Our neighbor in the next building, on the first floor went to her window and started yelling at us in Korean. I'm assuming she was telling us to shut up! Martell in a second turned into the diva he is and went up to the window and started waving his index finger at her as he yelled even louder, "Oh no, you are not telling us to shut up when you were probably the one screaming at your husband a few weeks ago while things were being broken all night!!!" LMAO

She is probably the crazy woman that I blogged about a couple of weeks ago. I still can't believe that she had the nerve to yell at us. I find it fascinating how quick Koreans are to tell Americans to shut up when we are being too loud. This is not the first time that this has happened. The first time was when we were at the park across the street. It was only around 12 a.m. and the cops (who you rarely see anywhere) showed up and told us that we had to go home because we were too loud. Seriously? Everyday, I can hear Koreans talking until 3 a.m. Where are the cops??? The second time also took place at the park. It was around 2 a.m. this time, so I can understand why someone would be upset if they were trying to sleep. Because they piss me off when they are loud as hell and I'm trying to sleep. But it's ok for them to do it because they are Korean! Anyways, a man walked up to us and told us to keep it down.

Someone please help me understand their "culture." This is my understanding of it so far...
It is ok to:
1. Hit your spouse
2. Scream at the top of your lungs at crazy hours
3. Drink until the sun goes up as you keep your neighbors up

This is accepted here, unless you're a foreigner!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

JeJu Island

Last week, I went on quick get away to Jeju Island. A new semester started this week, so I had to take advantage of my last week having two days off before they got taken away. Technically I'm still on call, so I never should have left Daegu, but I did anyways! It felt soooo good to tell my boss, "I'm sorry I'm not available for training tomorrow because I'll be out of town." LMAO If you know how "strict" CDI is then you understand that I probably shouldn't have said that.

So, I book my ticket but I don't make any reservations for a hotel. I hate planning things my mom usually is in charge of these things. Just tell me how much I need to pay you and what time I have to be there! I don't have time to be comparing prices and calling places. LOL Well, I guess it's time to learn because my stupid ass decided to go get my nails done before my flight! I thought I would have enough time, but I was wrong. There were two people ahead of me and I only had an hour and a half before my plane took off. The smart thing to do is get back in a cab and forget about having colorful pretty nails. Of course I did the opposite! I sat down and waited. And waited and waited. Finally it's my turn and I only have 15 minutes to spare. So I tell the lady to hurry it up because I had a plane to catch. The other ladies here me and they tell me that I'm crazy and that I should probably leave now because it's traffic hour. Do you think I got up and listened??? NOPE! LOL

I'm in the cab and my nails aren't dry! I tell the cab driver to hurry up! He steps on the gas and starts weaving in and out of lanes. I was optimistic until I looked down at my watch and realized it was time to depart and I was still sitting in the cab. All I can hear in my head is my mom saying, "I told you so! But you never listen." LOL Damn it! Here is something else for my family and friends to make fun of! I was 5 minutes late and there were no more flights on that airline. Just my luck.

Luckily, there was another flight from another airline in the next hour. So I had to purchase another ticket! :( But I got all of my money back from the other ticket! WOOOOO That was a close one! LOL

Just my luck, I am on the SAME plane as the CEO of the company I work at!!! Not to mention the SAME row!!! Keep in mind, I am supposed to be available to go back to work if they call me on my day off. Can anything else go wrong? I am shitting my pants the entire way there. I avoid eye contact, lower my fedora, and put my sunglasses on as soon as I get off of the plane and run to the opposite side of the shuttle. I don't think she saw me because she didn't say anything to me at work. Wooooo I avoided another confrontation!

Now I was ready to relax. I get to the hotel that my friends stayed at the week before and walk up to the front desk. "I would like a room for two nights please." The girl looks up and answers with a smile, "Sorry we are booked the rest of the week." Of course they are! Now what was I going to do??? I couldn't even think about that because my mom's voice was back in my head reminding me of how she told me to plan ahead!!! Luckily there was a motel across the street! :( Do you think I will plan ahead for my next trip???? Stay tuned! ;)
After a long day, I freshen up in the beautiful 5 star motel and head to Love Land. I never thought I would see a theme park like this in Korea. Koreans are known to be conservative, shy, and reserved right? So you would never think that they would have a park full of statues of "inappropriate" things like sexual positions, penises, boobs, vaginas, dildos and porn, right?
WRONG!!!!!!! Koreans are undercover FREAKS! When I went to Amsterdam and walked through the Red Light District, I was not surprised by the naked women in the windows or the endless amount of sex stores. But when I saw penises and boobs out in the open here, I was taken away! I still can't believe they would have a park like this even if they are just statutes. Like I said, undercover FREAKS!
The next day, I did some more exploring around the island.
Jeju was created from volcanic irruptions about 2 million years ago. I unfortunetly did not get to see Halla-Sana, a volcano 1,950 meters high, which is also the highest mountain in South Korea. However, I did visit one of the three largest waterfalls in Jeju, Cheonjiyeon Waterfall.

Before getting to the waterfall you have to cross a raft that represents Korean culture. As you walk on the trail to get the waterfall there are koi fish and ducks all around!!! Not to mention the beautiful tress and plants surrounding you. The walk only takes about 5 minutes, which I was a little disappointed in. I would of enjoyed a 3o minute hike. When I got to the waterfall it was not what I expected. I thought it was going to be HUGE and it wasn't. It's only 22 meters high. I also thought I would be able to dive off of the top like I did in Cancun so I could get another scar over my other eyebrow to match the one I already have. But nope that is not allowed. All I was able to do was take pictures. Actually, I couldn't even do that because I had to ask people to take my picture! LOL
After riding the public bus for an hour and a half to g
et there, I got back on after staring at the waterfall for ten minutes. Now I had to get back on the bus for another miserable two hours just to get to Hyeopjae Beach.

Finally, I see emerald water and white sand surrounded by massive lava rocks! ahhhh I was in paradise. Before sitting my things down, I went straight to the store and stocked up on some beer and soju. It was time to enjoy my vacation. I was WRONG AGAIN!
Ring ring ring ring went my cell phone. Damn it, who is bothering me? I told everyone I was going on vacation. Shit it was work.

Me: Hello?
Work: Hi Araceli are you busy?
Me: Ummm not really just relaxing
Work: So you are at home, right?
Me: No, actually I'm in Jeju.
Work: What? Where? Why? We need you to come in right NOW.
Me: Yea that isn't possible, I won't be back until tomorrow afternoon.

This slowly began to sink in to her and she realized there was nothing she could do. LOL I worried about not having a job when I got back but that quickly ended after I finished my first beer!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Domestic Violence in Korea

I have to blog about this because a couple next door kept me up the other night. It is very common for men to beat their wives and children. I have heard three couples arguing around my building in the middle of the night.

The first couple was fighting in the middle of the street. They were both screaming at each other for about an hour! In the states that would not last longer than 5 minutes! The cops would be there telling you to take that shit in the house. Or the cops would take the woman's side and tell the man to calm down and leave. Not in Korea! You can yell and hit your significant other as much as you like.

The second couple woke me up at 4 a.m. At first I thought they were having sex because the woman sounded like she was moaning. I thought nothing of it so I tried to go back to sleep. The moaning got louder and louder so now I was wide awake and waiting for her to finish so I wouldn't have to hear her anymore. 45 minutes go by she still not done. I begin to think damn Koreans can last. I was jealous! The moaning started sounding more like sobbing and then picked up into screaming. Now I heard a second voice for the first time. It was a man screaming. This went on for about two hours. You can imagine how grumpy I was the next day!

I heard the third couple around the same time. I was woken up by another woman screaming AGAIN! This time there was glass being broken. I have lived here for three months now, so I decided to do what Koreans do and go back to sleep.

After listening to my students tell me about their parents hitting them if they get bad grades, I reconsider the grades I give them before I log them into the computer. In the states, if the child tells you they are being abused you immediately have to report it or else you can get in huge trouble. Not in Korea! The kids come in with bruises and the teachers just ignore them because it so common and there is nothing that we can do about it.

The kids have also told me that when their dads come home from work drunk and angry they hit them. They laugh about it because they are used to it! One of them told me, "When my dad drinks soju, he starts off happy, then he gets sad, then he gets angry and hits me." What was I suppose to say after hearing that?

I suppose this happens everywhere in the world. As a teacher, I am not used to hearing my students talk about abuse so freely in a normal conversation.

The next type of abuse happens in the classroom! Korean teachers are allowed to hit the students!!!! Not at private English academies! Although some kids annoy me sometimes and it would be nice to discipline some of them when they get out of hand, I can't touch them. :( LOL JK I can't see myself disciplining someone's kid with physical abuse anyways. I'll leave that up to the parents.

One of my students told me about this ancient teacher that hits the kids on a daily basis for NO REASON. This is ridiculous. I understand pulling a kid by the ear to scare him a little for not following directions or for not following along during guided reading. LOL JK But dragging a student by the hair because they didn't answer a question correctly is a little absurd. I asked my student if she reported it to her parents and she said she did. Her parents and other parents have complained about this teacher, but there is nothing they can do because it is allowed in Korea!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Mud Fest

Who said mud was for kids??? The Boryeong Mud Festival is a annual festival that takes place in Boryeong, South Korea. It took about two hours for us to get there from Daegu. Unfortunately, my coworkers and I couldn't go until the second weekend because of our work schedule. I heard the first weekend had a couple of thousand of people maybe even more! There was still a signficant amount of people that went the second weekend, but I'm sure it doesn't compare to the first weekend when all of the forenigers went.

One of the first things that we did was wait in line to get body painted. They have huge buckets filled with various colors. You can pick your colors and create a design on your body. I chose blue because I wanted to look like a smurf, which I think I achieved! LOL What is the point of getting painted? I have no idea! But I couldn't wait to get paint on me. After the paint, the paparazzi followed us all day. Photographers from local magazines loved snapping pictures of foreigners. For all I know, they were just regular Koreans doing what they do best, taking pictures! LOL JK They had professional cameras! LOL

So where does the mud come from? It is dug up near Boryeong, trucked to Daecheon beach, and dumped at Mud Experience Land. The mud is suppose to be really good for your skin! The mud is considered rich in minerals and used to manufacture cosmetics. Honestly, I was expecting my skin to feel like it does after a day at the Glen Ivy Spa, but it didn't! The only thing that I came back with was a dozen mosquito bites ALL over my body! I guess that is a lot better than Ally's painful sunburn. Ally thought he was too old for the mud so he decided to stay away. As a result, he came back with a lobster face! LOL Actually, he put sunscreen on every part of his body EXCEPT his face?!?! I don't understand either. I feel really bad for him, because his face is SWOLLEN!!! It looks like he got stung by a bee. So if you're planning on going out in the sun wear sunblock!!!

There were about 7 different slides and pools to play in! The lines were not that long, we probably waited about 20 minutes at each location. Which isn't bad compared to the wait the first weekend.

Mud Fest was a blast and I can't wait to do it again!