Screw Homework, I'm off to the Tanning Salon

Over the course of the Fall Semester of 1986 I put a lot of thought into going to Korea to teach English. I needed to make some money and I needed a break from university. But, believe it or not, Al Gore hadn’t “created” the Internet yet so I had no online resource for travel to Korea. I didn’t even know anybody who had been to Korea before, let alone taught English there. I really wasn’t sure if it was the right move for me at the time. But wheels had been set in motion and I was about to be caught up in it all.

Spring semester 1987 came and I signed up for a Korean 101 class. One thing I have always really hated is feeling like I am the clueless one in the crowd. (I’m not sure if I was always that way or if being a foreigner in Korea made me that way.) I figured I should at least be able to read Korean and utter some basic greetings and what not.
“How much is this”?
“What is your name”?
“Where is the nearest bathroom”?

All the while I kept in contact with Shin. We talked about timing and other logistics. He told me what applications I needed to file. I sent him a copy of my transcript and a couple photos. At that time a 4-year degree was required to get a teaching Visa, but Shin told me it would not be a problem that I didn’t have one. (It wasn’t until I was over there and working that he came clean and told me that a few carefully placed envelopes of cash had cleared all obstacles to my Visa.)

Anyway, that Spring semester went by infernally slow. I filed my applications at the Consulate.
I tried to cram a bunch of basic Korean into my head while blowing off Pascal Computer Science class (in hindsight that was a great decision). By the time I finally got my Visa there wasn’t much time left to do anything but book my travel and pack my bags.

No comments: