The QiRanger Adventures

Settling In…

with 3 comments

Dongtan

Dongtan

I’m writing this on 4th June, but I have no idea when it will be posted online. To start off with, I’m doing well, aside from missing Jo and the rest of my family. Dongtan is vastly different from Yongin or Suji, as it is very much still under construction. Part of what I plan on doing this weekend is walking around with my camera. This is to not only to further understand where I am living, but also to show you what a city under construction is really like. As I understand it, Dongtan is roughly a little under 2 years old and won’t be completely built out until another 2 years pass.

That is quite frustrating, as coming from another area of Korea that was complete is a bit hard. It’s made harder, since I’m not sure where anything is yet. Plus the wonderful sound of construction at 7am outside my window leaves a little to be desired about as well.

So what have I been up to?????

The flight over was uneventful, aside from Japan Airlines asking me at every transfer point if I still wanted my bags checked through to Korea. I really never understood why they were asking. I can’t fathom anyone deciding halfway through their trip to collect their bags, go through customs, recheck the bags, and then get on a plane… all in the span of 3 hours.

Unlike other trans-Pacific flights, I did not manage to sleep on the way over. There were simply too many good movies available: Gran Torino, Valkyrie, Confessions of a Shopaholic, and He’s Just Not That Into You are just a sampling. The films weren’t play on demand in the economy cabin, so I had to carefully watch them in sequence.

Once I got to Korea, I sailed through baggage and immigration to get my taxi here. As expected, it was about an hour’s drive and after being up for 24 hours; I started drifting off in the cab. When we got to the officetel, Megan, the other Native Teacher at the school, met me. She’s Canadian and a great sport. I got my keys and she showed me a little around before leaving me to crash.

The room is far superior to last year’s accommodation. While it is a bit smaller, the ceilings are huge! When looking at the room, it really doesn’t make any sense why this apartment has 15-foot ceilings… until now. Last night I was informed that the original plan for this place was to include a split-level floor plan. Essentially leaving the lower half the way it is now, but put a small loft in for sleeping. I like the idea so much; I might just have to make it happen.

Everything is brand new. In fact, the washing machine, stove, and refrigerator still had tape on them when I opened them up. I also have three closets and cupboards. The bathroom is spacious with a great shower that is partially divided from the sink and toilet.

Since arriving, I’ve made the trek out to E-Mart to get some supplies and I will be venturing out to Lotte Mart tomorrow to round out my supplies. I’ve walked around a bit and have found a few restaurants that look promising, but most are barbecue related. Not that there’s anything wrong with Korean BBQ (I love it!), I’d just like a little more variety.

I’m slated to go to training tomorrow and yesterday was more of an orientation to the premises. My teaching load is very light. I teach a total of twelve classes each week (by comparison, I taught 38 classes a week last year). The main difference is that the children only come once per week. That will be a little hard for me to get used to, but I’ll manage. So while I’m at the school for a total of 6 hours each day, I teach for less than half of it—thus resulting in a lot of down time.

I think I can manage.

The school is quite new. It’s been open for 3 months and they have already expanded to nearly 500 students. In fact, since my interview, they’ve hired 4 teachers and are continuing to grow. It’s nice to see!

Friday has me going to more training and then starting my weekend. I’m looking forward to jumping into the classroom on Monday and starting my job for real!

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Written by Steve Miller

June 4, 2009 at 6:43 pm

Posted in General Update, Korea, Travel

Tagged with , , ,

3 Responses

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  1. Hi Steve,

    I hope you’re well. I can imagine that it was/ is a bit hard to leave Jo and your family to start your new project. I hope you can focus quickly on your new job.
    Just from within I have 2 questions:
    1/ how long do you stay there
    2/ why in Korea? isn’t there any possibility to do the same work in America?

    Good Luck !
    greetings
    Frank

    frank vandenberghe

    June 5, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    • This is a one year contract Frank. So I’ll be here through next June.

      As for getting work in America… the economic downturn has really affected educational institutions. In fact, 4 positions that I applied for in the realm of Distance Learning were cut due to budget shortfalls. Asia continues to be in dire need of English instructors, so there is always work. The lower cost of living (and additional benefits) make it hard to pass up.

      I may be back in the States next year, but it just depends on the economy.

      Steve

      June 5, 2009 at 4:09 pm

  2. So ,One year you are working in Asia, it’s quite a Challenge I suppose… also for your partner.
    I hope you can see eachother on regular basis despite of the distance. (is that correct english?)

    yes that’s quite a Challenge isn’it…

    greetings
    Frank

    frank

    June 6, 2009 at 1:18 am


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