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"So I guess this is where I'm supposed to introduce myself. I'm a Canadian male teaching ESL in Seoul, Republic of Korea. This will be my second stint teaching ESL, only this time I'll be teaching at a High School, using my actual teaching experience to use. If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail me - no question's too small. Take care, and enjoy the ride."

Other Blogs of Note

  • Student in Korea
  • Seoul Man
  • The Daily Kimchi
  • Surviving South Korea
  • Books I'm Reading

  • "Colossus: The Rise and Fall of the American Empire" by Niall Ferguson
  • "Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World" by Haruki Murakami
  • "The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order" by Samuel P. Huntington
  • "The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth" by Benjamin M Friedman
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  • sniff....the last.... Monday, December 11, 2006 |

    my last post on Korean soil, for who knows how long.
    Well, I never thought that this day would finally come. From my first few months where I wanted to be anywhere but in Korea, to my last month or more where I wanted the time to go so slow that it seemed like time was standing still. This is a strange feeling, and its left me somewhat in a shock; I have nothing to compare this emotion to, except to say that it sucks, and I hope that I will never have to experience something like this for a long, long time. Sure, if I come back to Korea, like I keep telling people, then I will have the same similar feeling; but this is the first time, so its new; and new things right now suck.
    As I'm typing this, I remember times in Korea where I've wondered why I am here; why this institute, why this "house"- (if you could call that first place I stayed a house) But since then, I've been blessed with an amazing Korean room mate whose made my life so much enjoyable, and friends who have made me feel like I'm spoiled, even though I can't do as much for them as they do for me. I don't know how I'm going to leave - I'm meeting my friends this morning right before they start work, and then I've got to take the airport bus off to Incheon, to await my fourteen hour flight from here to Chicago, and then Chicago to Detroit. I'm not looking forward to it, although its still better than hopping all over the country, and visiting so many stopover cities, so I'm kinda glad that I've got a long flight.
    So how do you end one of these "story-blogs?" Being my first venture, I sure know that if i come back, I'll be doing a lot of web page things differently, but I must say, I'm going to miss writing and rambling on about all sorts of different things...
    Once I get home, and have some time to get settled, I'll write one more post to the blog, where I'll list anything that I want to put in conclusion. However, it will be from Canada, and it will certainly feel strange posting from a different place than my bedroom.
    Mostly because I'm in a thankful type of mood, I want to say thank you to all of you who have spent the time to read this blog- I know that their aren't many of you who actually read it, as opposed to just following the link from somewhere, but to those of you who do, thank you. Its been fun following my blog website statistics, and seeing where readers come from, what they read, etc. (you can get pages and pages of website statistics from just about anywhere these days)
    So the moment I finish this, I'll be closing my laptop. Its almost like I'm just finishing the last page of a good book, and I don't want the story to end. Sure, I hope that theirs a trilogy somewhere made (and I've only finished part one, or even part two of the book.) But theirs only one person (God) who knows what my future holds, and its going to be up to me to trust His plan.
    Take care all, and for those of you still in Korea, enjoy every minute of it that you can - before you know it, it will be time to go home, and you won't want to leave.
    God bless,

    Korean dentists and auto-repair... Thursday, December 07, 2006 |

    Now what in the world might these two fine establishments have in common? Well, they're both running the same gig, if you get my drift.
    Today was the first day that I'd gone to the dentist since I'd come to Korea. Now, back in my hometown (a fine Korean expression that I'm now akin to saying far too frequently) my uncle is an amazing dentist. He's fixed me up more times than I wished he would have to, and because he is family, I trust him. Every eight months, like clockwork, I would get the call from his office, reminding me that it was time for my regular cleaning. I would go in, and he would tell me that I need to floss more, and everything would be fantastic. He made me promise to get my teeth cleaned while I was in South Korea. Time being off issue, I was never able to until today.
    Now, here's the connection...Dentists offices have been oft compared to auto-repair shops. Its your mouth; how much do you really know about what's really going on in there? It works, and that's all I need to know. As long as my teeth don't fall out, I'm happy. Same goes for cars; if it drives "me" from point A to B, then I'm happy. "I" don't care how it works, it just does. I had heard numerous reports from friends to make sure that the dentist office that you go to is trustworthy and highly recommended; who are you to know if they tell you that you have a cavity, when really you might not have anything close? Maybe business is not going so well, so a cavity gets "created"....so to speak.
    When I heard this suggestion, I was surprised, because by and large, Koreans are very trustworthy. However, business is business, and any way to get an upper hand is what the name of the game is...
    So today I made my somewhat scared trip to the dentist. I took the recommendation of my best friend, who told me that her cousin is the dental assistant at the office, and she does an excellent job. That was enough for me, and all in all, I was really happy. The whole process for cleaning took just over 35 minutes, and for a one-woman operation, it went quite smoothly. She said that my oral hygiene is excellent, and my teeth are in great condition. As usual, she apologized for her lack of English speaking ability, and slightly embarrassed, said "thank-you", and then let me know that she was my best friends cousin, and she had talked about me before, and I was just as my friend had described me. Very sweet and kind. So I head to the counter to pay my bill, and after waiting five minutes and watching the receptionist go back and forth everywhere the office, she tells me that the dental cleaning was SERVICE, in other words, FREE. Because I was a good friend of her cousin, she was giving me the cleaning free of charge; I was shocked. The fee wasn't cheap, and the whole office was a little excited that they had serviced a foreigner - something that doesn't happen often I presume^^
    Just another example of how endlessly Korean culture and niceness continues to surprise me; she doesn't even know my name and I get free dental service... If anyone is in Korea working and needs a dentist, send me an e-mail at my "Contact Me" link on the right side of the site, and I'd be glad to refer the office I went to as being more than reputable. Its located in Bundang, on the gold line. Its a cinch to get to; I just can't promise the service will be free^^
    God bless,

    Korean friends, falling in love 20x a day, and packing... Wednesday, December 06, 2006 |

    For those of you who have never experienced Korea before, you might not fully understand what I'm going to write. But for those lucky few, more specifically males who might read this, you'll know what I'm talking about....its the frustrating sensation of falling in love 20 times a day. How is this possible, you might ask? Its called the subway sensation (and I'm not talking about Jared and his subway diet...) Yesterday, after shopping for a nice professional winter coat, I decide to brave the 7pm "just-finished-rushing-to-the-subway-to-get-home" crowd; otherwise known as mayhem. However, on the subway, its nearly impossible NOT to fall in love with the women here. Sure, its a surface, appearance related type of "love", if you could call it that. But in reality, are not most relationships first based on this type of "appearance love?"
    Now, I know that the girls I work with have a different term for this type of "problem," as they put it....they call it "Asian Fever".....call it what you want, but whatever it is, when I'm "cured" after i go home, i dare say that in my small hometown, I'm going to miss riding the subway.... Oh, and by the way, I'm open to any criticism that will possibly arise from this; instead of seething and saying something to yourself, comment on it....^^
    Onto other less important issues.....
    Packing to go home after one year in Korea? It sucks. But what could be worse, you might say? Try packing after spending almost two years in Korea. If there were a dictionary type of book for all the words that are superlatives for "suck", then I'd be using it right now. For those of you coming to Korea, or who are here right now, I have a few tidbits of advice....in no order of importance.
    1) Don't buy books. I know this might be hard to accept, but if you buy books, don't get attached to them- you'll pay a minor fortune sending them home.
    2) For each article of clothing that you buy, find something that you don't want anymore, and find a clothing deposit box to dump it in, or better yet, give it to someone else. Nothings more impossible than staring at a closet of clothing, and trying to think of how to fit all of those clothes into what must certainly be shrunken luggage (I swear it wasn't that small when I came to Korea.)
    3) Start packing early. I didn't, and that's why I'm procrastinating my packing now....I'm scared it won't all fit^^
    Onto the last little tidbit of advice for those who are relatively new to Korea, or those thinking of coming. I've never had friends like Koreans. This is no shot against my Canadian or American friends, but Korean friends, at least the ones i have, seem to have something about them. If you're trying to make more Korean friends, keep with it; they're a hard nut to crack. However, once they trust you, you will be hard pressed to find more loyal friends who will give whatever they can to help you.
    Well, I really should get back to packing.....take care all,
    Oh - a handy post-script - I updated my book list and music on the side - I've been busy buying books (d'oh!) and reading a lot since I'm not working right now - feel free to check them out. As for the music, check out the "Rescue Me" original soundtrack; its quite enjoyable. Another favourite is the newest Snow Patrol album, "Eyes Open" - another solid listen. Enjoy^^