Crowns, Cups and Contracts


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Asia » South Korea » Jeollabuk-do » Kunsan
June 27th 2010
Published: June 27th 2010EDIT THIS ENTRY

This week was all about getting stuff done. It was a wave of relief to get the contract I wanted from my boss. I was fairly uncertain I was not going to be able to negotiate what I wanted. The most important thing I think was that I was not overly confrontational. In the US this might work but it's not a good tactic when dealing with Koreans I don't think. They are looking for a win-win and value commitments far more than their Stateside counterparts. As of Monday I will officially end my teaching career in Gunsan on October 1st.

I pre-emptively went to the dentist last week not knowing how my contract talks would go. I was informed that my four back teeth are going to shit. The other 24 soldiers are tip top but the back guys need crowns. I researched online and got pricing from the dentist I visited here. It's less than half the cost to get the work done in Korea so I said sure, why not! I was late to class Monday because they took nearly two and a half hours working on me. The hygienists don't really speak any English. The dentist himself knows certain phrases I'm sure he was trained on. I had to get my friend QJ to go to bat for me when talking about pricing. He managed to save me 50,000 won, thanks man! I'll have the last round of work done on Wednesday. Not the most pleasant experience ever but they are very skilled and dirt cheap.

This week I went out with my OCI guys on Tuesday night. We went to a dok galbi restaurant. This food is super spicy squishy rice cakes with beef in a sweet flavored broth that is cooked at the table. We added a bunch of kimchi and other good stuff to the broth also. It was maybe one of the spiciest things I've eaten here so far. Pairing it with soju is a must. After that we went to a bar I'd never been to before. It catered to business men I think because we had our own private six-seat bar with our own bartender. We ordered a bottle of whiskey which is customarily drunk during the "second round". I really enjoy talking with my OCI students, their English is quite good and we can actually hold an intelligent conversation most of the time. The Korea World Cup game was broadcast at 3:30 a.m. here on Tuesday night. I wasn't able to stay up to watch but many people I talked to the next day did. They were all tired but not too grouchy because Korea got the draw they needed to move on to the second round.

Friday night I met up with many of my students. First three from my evening adult class. Then when two of them left we traded in two from my morning class. I was out from 8pm to 4a.m. I went to six different places including three bars, one restaurant, a noraebang and a pool hall. I could barely wake up yesterday and did almost nothing the entire afternoon. Today I could've done something but opted to stay home and do chores. I put in the work to scrub my bathroom top to bottom and tackled a mountain of dishes.

Both the USA and Korea lost in their final 16 match ups so World Cup mania is officially dead in Korea. They gave it a valiant effort but in the end it seems that less developed countries have more time to practice soccer than the youngsters here who go to school for 14 hours a day.


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