Korea, Random Rambles
Comments 13

Season’s Greetings from Me & the Gals

It was minus 7 C this morning as I scurried, face half-paralysed with cold, towards coffee and life itself, prior to heading to N1 for the second-last time this year. An easy day, three classes, and I explicitly stated that there would be no learning whatsoever, which relaxed everyone immensely.

Two classes of likeable delinquent boys before lunch made a good start on the 3.5lb bag of Tootsie Pops (I swear that’s what they’re called) I lugged to school. At lunch, the monthly agony at the bank as I sent some money home, and then 1-6, my favourite class ever, this afternoon. You can see why it’s fun “teaching” these girls. The energy in that room could power a small Korean city, or a large western one:


It took little encouragement to have them assume photo stances

I only teach the “A” students at N1, and this class is the best of the first years. There are some real characters in there. The great thing about them is that you could go in there with nothing and it wouldn’t matter. As soon as I enter the room I am assailed with greetings, comments, questions, jokes, critiques of my fashion mistakes or triumphs, complaints and what we in Australia call sledges or payouts — good-natured put-downs of yours truly. My hair(-lessness) and my perpetual bachelor status fascinate them no end. They’re cheeky without ever being rude, and all in their second language.


Peace & goodwill to all

Terrible to admit that I can only name the four girls in the front row in the picture below, but I only see them once a week and have around 600 others. Anyways, looks like there’ll be time for me to learn a few more, as I recently signed a second contract, had another medical as ludicrous as the first — and now it’s official: I’ll be back in 2013.

You read it here first. As you’ll recall, I went through a few dark months earlier in the year, after the initial glow of novelty had subsided, but after that — my walk up the coast to Sokcho was the turning point — I reached a state of acceptance and realised how good I have it here. Most of the students and I get on pretty well now, my colleagues are great, and I like my lifestyle here a lot. It will give me another year to save up for the big multi-country trek I have in mind, and my music, books, walking and the most excellent MacBook on which I’m typing this keep me occupied, relatively sane and more than satisfied.


L-R: Da-eun, Hyo-seo, Hye-min and Min-ji

Oh, but there’s one more sweetener. Re-signing is rewarded with a month’s salary as a bonus and an extra 10 days of paid vacation. I sneaked out to the bank again this afternoon and returned with two envelopes, each stuffed with a different currency. You see, I’m leaving this weekend for…

Well, the gals know, but you’ll have to wait your turn.

Have a great one tomorrow!

~ An that’s all the Goat wrote


  1. Good to hear you’ve enjoying your work more. Sorry I’ve not been around for a while. I’ve only blogged in fits and starts that got more sporadic as term wore on!

    • Hey Dominic, you and me both. I just find I have decreasing time in the day to fill with blog perusal or writing — but I’m hoping that will change soon, especially as I get a bit more inspired.

      Yes, the work side of things has been a lot better. Once I realised that actually teaching anything was less useful and likely than just interacting and giving them some cultural exposure, I chilled out a lot.

      Speaking of chilling, I hope your Christmas is not too extreme. We’ve been freezing but on the plus side, it’s usually sunny. Shouldn’t speak too soon…

  2. Those girls are gorgeous… glad you are having a great end to the year … enjoy your mystery trip… we’ll look forward to the photos!! Merry Christmas/holidays xx

    • Ta, Sue, you too! Yup, they’re a great crew, I hope I get to teach them as a group again next year. Sure I will. Any EFL teacher will tell you what an enormous difference a group of students with the will to communicate makes. I’ve had countless students twice their age or more with tons more vocab and grammar who just can’t/won’t speak.

      Stay tuned for my trip details! I bought more tickets today…

    • Thanks, Roger, yes, as you know there are classes that are like walking to your own firing squad each week, and there are those where you actually enjoy entering the room and feel refreshed afterwards, not suicidal! I hope I have more of the former next year.

      My trip to… and … is getting close!

  3. Nice to see you so happy. Wishing you all the best for the Xmas period, and the New Year, and it looks like great things are round the corner! (Even romance, perhaps?)

    • Romance, yes — the romance of the road! Thanks and same to you, SW. Sorry I’ve been so quiet on your blog lately; hope to catch up soon. Just so absorbed in research and/or sloth. Bought another plane ticket today — two utterly different destinations to fill most of a month. About time I had something other than Korea to blog about!

  4. Super news! We get to continue reading about a part of the world I for one know little about! What a fun bunch of kids they seem. I am looking forward to finding out where you are going for your next trip. Back to Oz for a visit?

  5. a strawberry patch says

    Good to hear your news! I hope you have a wonderful vacation, cannot wait to see the photos!

  6. I’m a bit slow on the post catching up, so I missed Christmas and I already know where you’re going! Sounds great that you’ve settled in over there, although don’t get too ebullient as that could be a sure sign of blogging death!

    • It’s too fantastic for words over here, Greg. The best people ever, the loveliest landscape and I’m typing this in an ancient farmhouse with a roaring fire and snow in the fields and woods outside.But I’ll try not to let the blog suffer because of my ongoing good cheer!

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