Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Death on the Installment Plan

Hey there. Not much to report. I'm in my last week of summer classes. We've been doing world travel this week, with class themes loosely based on English-speaking countries around the world. I'm thinking about wrapping it up with a Glastonbury Festival-themed UK lesson on Friday, but I'm not sure if I want to make my kids spend the class analyzing Radiohead lyrics. ("Teacher! Thom Yorke not happy!")

As far as I know all the other Western teachers in my town are away on vacation right now, so for the next week and a half I've pretty much got the place to myself as far as the English language is concerned. I plan to squander the peace and quiet on coursework, Starcraft II and the third season of Mad Men. I just finished the TEFL certificate I've been working on back on Monday, so that's one less course to deal with. Earning it doesn't really affect my pay since I have a Master's degree unrelated to English or teaching, but I thought it would help my teaching this year. But since we all know that, according to neoliberal thinking, money is the only thing in life that's worth anything, I guess I'll just toss it on the pile of useless degrees and certificates I've been building since undergrad. (Better save some space at the top for the accounting certificate...) Kind of amusing that right now the least expensive degree is the one that's most relevant to my career...

Speaking of money, finances have been on my mind this week since I've been budgeting for my trip to Jeju-do and figuring out how to have enough left over to pay the bills. I opened a new bank account here and I'm working on opening a new on in the States that together should save me at least $35 a pop on wire transfers. I also ended up making a spreadsheet of all my credit card balances since I landed here so I can track my progress towards paying them off. Happily the slope of the line on the graph is headed towards, zero, barely. (Guess those accounting classes are good for something...) Right now I'm just a little more that one payment behind schedule. I suppose that's not too bad with moving expenses and all that, but with compound interest the bigger the dent you can make in the beginning, the more it pays off in the long run. After Jeju-do I should be able to chill out on the spending and get back to making some serious progress on paying my bills, and I've started budgeting for vacations (and the eventual move back home) so I'm not caught by surprise again like I was in July. It's just so tough to be responsible when there's a new shiny thing around every corner. Like that bicycle I've been wanting. And there was that ₩100,000 desk chair that I saw at Costco, that sure would beat the kitchen table chair I'm sitting in right now... (I hate to buy furniture here that I know I'm only going to use for two or three years and then get rid of, but considering how much time I spend at the kitchen table at  my computer, a nice comfy chair would really be worth it.)

So I know I talk a lot of misery and gloom and doom in this blog, but that's mostly my gallows sense of humor coming though. I can't remember if I've said this before, but I really am having a good time here. It would be nice if it were easier to meet people and spend time with them here, and I definitely miss all my friends back home, but I'm in a stable job, I'm doing satisfying work that I enjoy, my stress level is down, I'm paying my bills, I've lost weight (still a few hundred grams away from getting back down below 200 pounds, grr...) and I'm seeing a lot of new and interesting places and experiencing a lot of new and different things. There's stuff I miss about LA (and there's stuff I absolutely don't miss in LA), but overall this has been a really rewarding experience so far. It's just kind of a shame in this modern age that a guy has to go halfway around the world to find a good job with decent pay and an affordable cost of living. That's globalization for ya, I guess.

Better wrap this up. Those Zerg aren't gonna splatter themselves...

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