Thursday, March 27, 2008

A Strange Week in Suwon, South Korea


I know, what is it?! It's a pair of Curt's jeans which I just leaned against the wall to show you how stiff our clothes are. No, there isn't any trick photography or that the jeans are supported in any way. This is after being laundered in our front loading washing machine with a half cup of softener and hung to dry. I think they put starch in the water here in South Korea. We don't have a dryer so everything is hung to dry. Curt was pretty impressed.
Now for the strange week. On Monday as I was walking to yoga class, I noticed that I was being followed by a van who was honking at me for about a block. The windows of the van were darkened so I had no idea who it was and if it was really me they wanted. I wasn't going to stop to find out. The van finally drove in front of me only to drive up into the sidewalk blocking my way. Okay, I started to freak thinking that somebody was going to rush out of the van and try to kidnap me which would be a natural thought living in the U.S.
All of the sudden a woman ran out of the driver's side and in broken English stated that she wanted to speak English with me. This isn't the first time a Korean has approached me with the same request but it was the first time that they approached me in a car. So I said, "okay," and she proceeded to ask the normal Korean to Westerner questions. Where are you from? Do you work? Does your husband work here? How long have you been here? She said she really liked my accent. I thanked her.
Then she asked me if I would teach kindergartens two days a week. I told her that I didn't have a work VISA and she said they would take care of it, no problem. I told her that I was not a teacher and never had been. Again, no problem. I would love to work with kids so I was sort of interested. It would be only two days a week, three hours total. I asked where the school was and she said it was just the next block from where I live. She wanted me to start Thursday and this was Monday. I told her I had to think about it. She really didn't understand so I told her my Korean friend would call her. She offered me 35,000 won ($35.00 US) an hour. She said that she ran a private school and it wasn't a hagwon. I told her I was late for yoga and had to go. She asked for my name card (business card) and I gave her my Korean card.
She wanted to meet with me the next day so I said that was fine just to get away from her and off the class I went. When I returned home, I called Hellena and told her the story. I told her I would be interested if she could get some more details. She called back shortly saying that the school was not close and a bus ride a way. She said that I would work Mondays for 1 hour and Thursdays for 2 hours. So I asked for 50,000 won ($50 US) and I told her that I had to think about it and I would let her know. Hellena called back to say that she could start me for 40,000 won ($40US).
Tuesday morning I get a call from the lady from the school and she wants to meet right away. I told her no and she wasn't taking no for an answer so I told her my friend would call her. I called Hellena and told her that I didn't want the position and to basically get rid of the woman for me. So there is another first for me in any country. I've never been offered a job just off the street. No resume, no credentials, no experience but she liked my Midwest accent.
The second strange thing happened today. Anyone who lives in Korea knows that buses, taxis and scooters don't obey stop lights for the most part. I was walking to yoga this morning with the pedestrian light green and had just made it about a third of the way across when I see a BIG GREEN BUS running the red light and honking his horn at me. I froze and put up my hands like to try and stop him (I can't believe I was that stupid). He was able to swerve around me and only came about 2 feet from hitting me. I was so shocked I just stood there in the intersection for a few seconds then continued on my way.
I was pretty shook up when I got to yoga and I was relaying the story to my yoga buddy. He asked if the bus number was 777 and I said, " It was a 777. How did you know?" He said that bus always has a schedule it must meet so it never obeys traffic lights. He warned me to watch out for them. No kidding!

4 comments:

Name said...

Hiii...
Am actually interested in teaching to kids...can u pass me the contact number of the person who approached u for teaching?
Also can u provide me abt the meadeup class in seoul as am very interested in leaning it....
Thanks...

Helena said...

Huh. I wonder how she was planning to "take care of it."

I think bus 777 needs a new schedule!

Becky said...

Hi Name: I already threw away her namecard but we have a ton of hagwons just in our area. I would just go into one and inquire. I've heard this happening to others, I just never thought it would happen to me.

Helena: I'm pretty sure it meant she didn't care and that I shouldn't. Right.

mississy said...

Scaryyy! Regarding both instances ...

Blog Archive

Clustrmap