Teacher Me (About Time!)

Greetings gentle people,

All the dominos are falling into place. It’s wild, and it’s happening quickly.

I’ve had my heart set on teaching in Korea since we floated the idea of moving there last year – I feel it’s the best means of self-actualization I’ll find out there, and it gives me a chance to dip my toes in the water before I actually commit to a teaching career, which I’ve aspired to since I realized how deeply my high school teachers impacted me, way back when. (It also means I won’t have to work on post, but let’s stay positive in our reasoning, eh?)

Anyway, I was poking around on an ESL teacher blog the other week when I saw a link that caught my eye – apply today! I clicked on it, followed prompts, hastily updated my resume, uploaded said resume, and clicked ‘submit.’ The next day, I got a phone call to schedule an interview, which I had to return because I don’t answer my phone no more – darned robocallers. She was gracious in reply though, and I interviewed the following day. It was surprisingly easy – my interviewer even skipped the mini-lesson she’d had me prepare! But I learned a lot about Korean video game culture in my studies – that’ll come in handy. Google ‘PC Bang.’ Or the Korean ‘Cinderella Law.’ Crazy, huh?

Things have flown since then. This recruiter keeps me on a tight schedule, and that’s actually pretty awesome. It winnows the ill-committed, anyway – and I feel everything I’m going through is a test of commitment. I spent last weekend building an application packet to submit this past Monday – that’s that video that I posted to Facebook last Sunday. I submitted it and was told to wait 2-3 days for a response. I adjusted my expectations accordingly. The response came the next day – an offer. Under-promise, over-deliver – a sales tactic. Smart!

I signed a contract of sorts this past Wednesday, and that unleashed a quest – I’m now systematically destroying any chance I had at evading international law enforcement. Fingerprints, FBI background checks – the most entertaining thing is my diploma. A West Point diploma is huge, but they want (a copy of) that too. So, I’ll take it to a print shop, get it scanned and shrunk down, take both to a notary, then get the photocopy apostilled. I have to get a lot of things apostilled. Or should I say apo$tilled – that is not a cheap service!

Fortunately, my handler has given me adequate time to proactively pursue my quest, and I’ve got a public notary in-house at work. Two of them, actually. Just yesterday, I got fingerprinted at a drug test shop (as have 30 other aspirants, I was told). That feeds into the FBI background check; it’ll be notarized, and apostilled too. Apo$tilled, I mean – they’re chipping away at my donut fund! (N.B. I did purchase opera tickets on a whim last night – Verdi. Falstaff. I walked there. It was wonderful.)

…but I’ll gladly pay that price for a chance to immerse myself in Korean culture. I didn’t get to do that in Germany, save weekends, but I got just enough to love that country. My Deutsch ist Scheisse! My Korean is coming along quite nicely though – I can now express want, and I’m working towards conjugations. Intelligible by August!

We’re packing out of our house this month, and soon. I’ve been doing Kondo-lite, sorting through my items by type rather than room or whatever, and without the boot camp feel. I did books, papers, plants and seeds on Thursday, and Saturday was ‘scrub my flower pots’ day. We’re putting half of our stuff in a storage pod in the states while we’re abroad, going light- that means no flower pots. Or maybe just two. I have a lot of flower pots. 

Ooh – get this – the government will store our wine! We were afraid we’d have to have a really, really big block party. Now, we’ll just have a big party – we talked it up for a while, thinking we’d lose it all. We can still have fun. I hope our wine storage is temperature controlled – it would be sweet to age it without temptation. 

That about sums up major movements around here. 

Oh – I did put an armload of books in the little free library around the corner the other night. Somebody had left their entire collection of John Irving books there; I added my collection to hers and took one for my own perusal: The Cider House Rules. I grew up hearing about the movie (1999), so I figured I’ll read it. My exchange felt like a communion, though I know not with whom. How radical it’s become, to sit quietly and read. 

Speaking of radicals, I’ve been somewhat taken of late by Nathaniel Drew, and through him, by Matthew D’Avella – YouTubers, both. I’ve picked up bullet journaling, sort of, and a habit tracker for real. Matthew D’Avella did an interview with an essentialist the other day – Gregor McKeown – that was quite compelling. As one who is prone to spreading oneself too many ways, I appreciate a dedication to fewer things; it’s certainly less stress. The habit tracker is an intriguing way to look at my personal prejudices. It’s also quite the aspirational document. I’m… tempering my aspirations. 

If you’re in the market for a good memoir, I recommend The Tender Bar, by J.R. Moehringer. I picked it up on a lark; I love it. I’ve rationed myself to one chapter a day, at bedtime, to prolong my enjoyment. It’s a masterful coming-of-age tale, and its language and story arc is rich and supremely satisfying. I wish I had such characters as he depicts in my own narrative! But it’s nice to admire another. If you enjoy storytelling, you’ll love J.R. Moehringer.

What book have you loved lately?

I can’t wait to start teaching!

Anyeonhigaseyo! (Bye!)

James

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