My Korean Co-Teacher Accused By His Ex-Wife Of Burning Down His House

On my way to work one day I ran into a middle-aged Korean gentleman. He was staring at me as we walked parallel on the sidewalk, this was nothing knew for me so I didn’t think anything of it. As I got into the elevator at my academy, he was still with me. Fourth floor, we both got out and I began walking into the academy.Image

“I have a question,” he proclaimed. “Can you help me?” he then walked into the boss’ office and wrote two sentences on the board.

Your car will be running next week.

Your book will be published next week.

“Why can’t we say, “Your book will be publishing next week?’”

He went on and on and sighted numerous examples. All the while the rest of the Korean teachers were wondering what we were doing in the boss’ office debating in English. Finally the receptionist closed the door on us. That was our clue to wrap up our debate class. I still had no idea who this English-speaking Korean was. As we were walking out of the boss’ office, I sat down at my desk and the Korean guy sat next to me.

“My name is Kid, I hope to be working here soon. I have been teaching English in Korea for over 10 years. My last job was as a tour guide. I used to take Korean exchange students to Canada and teach them English. I got deported from Canada at the airport for talking too much. Have you been to Cancun?”

“Yes.”

“Is it nice? I was supposed to go last year but I had been drinking for two months and I was too weak to pick up my suitcase. My mother bought the ticket.” he said.

So far this was the longest conversation I’d ever had with a Korean at work.

“I have been to Florida, I like the beaches there but it’s nothing special. The first time I went to a strip club, a naked woman approached me and I fell out of my chair. I had never seen a naked woman walking around in a bar before,” Kid admitted.

By default this guy was going to be my best friend at work. He’s the only one I could actually have a conversation with. He interviewed a few minutes later, got the job and then invited me to a buffet that weekend.

I was curious to hear what other stories he had to tell. When I met him in front of the buffet restaurant, I was surprised to see we were dressed exactly alike. We were both wearing shorts, sandals, hats and sun glasses. Kid said that he hadn’t eaten at this buffet but for $6, we might as well try it.

“While I was in Florida, I was in a mental institution. I was on the second floor. The building had 7 floors. The higher the floor the more crazy a person is. I was just there for 24 hours. I was drinking too much,” Kid was on a roll. He then listed off the names of people who owed him money.

“What’s the chance you’ll get the money back?” I wondered.

“The guy who owes me the most money is my drinking buddy Roger, he stayed at my house in Jeju island for two months, and he never paid any rent. I figure he owes me $600. Jeju is more expensive than Mokpo. I’ve been in the news twice on Yahoo! Korea. The first time was for burning down my apartment. My ex-wife claims I was trying to commit suicide. Why would I do such a thing? I was making rent money from four university students who were living with me in the apartment.” Kid claimed. “The second time I was in the news in Yahoo! Korea was the time I had a few too many beers and decided to go for a swim across Mokpo bay in the Yellow Sea.”

“How far is that?” I asked.

“I don’t know, all I did was swim out past a navy ship and come back. When the Navy saw me they called the police. By the time the police got there I had already gotten back into my car and was halfway home.”

After lunch we decided to take a drive. I was hoping we weren’t going swimming. During the drive he started to talk about a Japanese woman who he met on the internet. After chatting with her for a few months, he invited her to come to Korea. She came a few months later.

“She was always complaining about Korean motorcyclists not wearing helmets,” reported Kid.

Apparently they decided to go to a nearby island together on what was “not a date” according to Kid. On the third day the Japanese woman asked Kid, “Do you like this island?”

“No, it’s nothing special,” he replied.

“I don’t feel comfortable with you, I want to go back to Japan,” she replied as she started to pack her clothes into her suitcase.

“Then she rented a car and went back to the airport, I offered to pay but she insisted,” reported Kid.

The guy seemed to be having the worst 20 years in human history.

“Do you know what ‘pulling a runner’ is?” Kid asked me.

I didn’t.

“At my last academy we had a teacher from Canada who really hated teaching small children. So, one day he grabbed a kid by his ankles and threw him out of the classroom,” Kid swore to the accuracy of this story.

“What happened to the teacher?” I asked, completely floored by what he said.

“The teacher left Korea the next day, before the academy could fire him. He packed up his things and left. Let’s go have some beers,” Kid suggested.

This guy was a pretty free spirit without drinking any alcohol, I wondered what would happen when I went drinking with the guy. We drove back to the downtown area and met a friend of mine Carmen. As we started talking, Kid fell in love with her.

“Would you like to have some beers with us?” Kid asked Carmen.

“Yes,” replied Carmen.

We ended up getting some tall cans and going to the batting cages. While at the batting cages we ran into the second weirdest person in Mokpo, Kevin. Kevin was a Korean-Hawaiian who had been teaching in Mokpo for five years. The only other time I had seen Kevin was at Moe’s Bar where he got angry with the bar tender for not opening up a tab for him, so he threw a handful of napkins at the bar tender and stormed out. Since then he’d been blacklisted by Moe’s bar and all the other foreigners in Mokpo. He basically had no friends in Korea.

Pretty soon we started talking with Kevin and he joined the party. Kevin was in rare form that night. We started drinking more beers in front of a restaurant and Kid was really interested in getting to know Kevin.

“Kevin, I hear you’re from Hawaii, is it nice there?” Kid asked.

“Yeah,” Kevin replied.

“Kevin, do you have a girlfriend?”

“No,” replied Kevin.

“Kevin, do you like drinking beers?”

“Yes,” He answered.

This went on for another half hour. Kid would ask Kevin questions in rapid succession. And Kevin, still suspicious of us, would answer each question with one word.

“Kid, I think I’m going to go home, I’m tired.” I said.

“We’ll leave after you have one more beer. Kevin, I know you like to party, where do you party around here?”

“Well, I don’t know any…” Kevin trailed off.

“You know what I like about you Kevin, you’re not a kiss-ass. I don’t like hanging around people who are always telling me how great I am. I like guys like you who don’t say much,” declared Kid.

“Hey Kid, I think I want to go home,” I pleaded.

“Just have another beer and we’ll leave soon. Now, Kevin, if I wanted to call you sometime, is there a phone where I could reach you?” asked Kid.

Kevin started to pull his cell phone out of his pants pocket. But just as he started to open it up. He reminded himself he couldn’t trust anyone.

“Actually this phone is just for work,” Kevin said as he closed he phone back up and put it in his pocket.

“Kevin, are you sure you don’t know any place to party around here?” asked Kid for the second time.

“There’s one place we could go, if you want to dance,” Kevin offered.

I was too tired to go with them. So, as they were leaving to go dancing. I walked the other direction, going behind the restaurant. Just as I was crossing the street, my cell phone started to ring. It was Kid and he tried to convince me to come back. I ran home, afraid that I would get stuck drinking with those guys all night.


____________________________________________________________

 

Everything You Wanted To Know About Teaching English In Korea But Were Afraid To Ask

There has been an exploding demand for native English speakers to teach English in South Korea. English programs and English academies have been spreading like wildfire all over Korea. And, due to an unpredictable economy, many university graduates, travelers, and people from all walks of life are packing their bags and taking advantage of the English boom in Korea.

Korean institutions are paying good money ($2,000-$2,500USD a month) and offering excellent benefits (free housing, 30 hour work weeks) to Westerners who are willing to explore the unfamiliar, pack up their bags, and teach in thriving South Korea.Image

This is the complete guidebook on how to relocate to South Korea and become an English teacher. This book illustrates the many advantages (low taxes, high standard of living, friendly people, safe streets) and challenges (dating, language barriers, disciplining students, getting along with co-workers) that the first time teacher can expect to confront in Korea.

Funny, fact filled and always informative, “First Contact in Korea: A Native English Teacher’s Guide to South Korea” provides the necessary knowledge you need to make the most out of the experience. Jam packed with practical information, “First Contact in Korea: A Native English Teacher’s Guide to South Korea” addresses all of the topics and taboos a prospective English teacher needs to know, from finding the right job and negotiating a contract settlement to avoid eating dog while ordering food off of a menu.While other books focus solely on classroom experience, “First Contact in Korea: A Native English Teacher’s Guide to South Korea” explores life outside of the classroom, providing you with an in-depth and often hilarious guide to Korean culture, food, friendship, drinking, dating, religion, health and history are just some of the subjects discussed in detail.Last but not least, “First Contact in Korea: A Native English Teacher’s Guide to South Korea” looks at the embarrassing realities of life abroad, offering pause for thought on such issues as learning how to pronounce Korean students’ names, a 15-minute golf lesson I got in Korean that increased my driving distance 20%, my interactions with my Korean co-worker “Kid” who confesses to me that he was accused by his ex-wife of burning down her house and the cheapest and best eye surgery I’ve gotten in any country.  “First Contact in Korea: A Native English Teacher’s Guide to South Korea” will awaken readers to the transitional opportunities available in a place that shares few Western customs but many of the comforts of home.
Written by Brian Ward, a semi-qualified middle school teacher whose walked the fine line between sanity and a nervous breakdown in the classroom, “First Contact in Korea: A Native English Teacher’s Guide to South Korea” is an irreverent and insightful survival guide for anyone brave enough to try their hand at teaching English in South Korea or who just wants to have a laugh at author Brian Ward’s backwards approach to living in Korean culture.

This guidebook also compares teaching in the USA to teaching in Korea.

Country Salary
(Year)
Yearly Taxes Yearly Housing Expenses Total Remaining
Korea $26,000 + 50% of medical bills paid $780   $0 $25,220
USA   $35,000 $8,000 $8,400 $18,600

“First Contact in Korea: A Native English Teacher’s Guide to South Korea” by Brian Ward, can be found on Amazon.com

Here is a chapter by chapter synopsis of the book:

Chapter 1
Dreams vs. Getting a Paycheck

This chapter profiles author’s friend Nick Lee, the hedonistic boozer surrounded by books, half-finished paintings and an old LP player — speaks in English rather than Greek or Latin. Prodigious nose, has been retooled as a heroic pretty boy. As Nick Lee’s life finally falls apart due to alcohol and lack of physical contact with women, the author decides to get on a plane to Korea. Upon his arrival to South Korea, he is taken back when he learns the true meaning of “Hair Shops” in Korea.

Chapter 2
Academy Owners

This chapter discusses the 4 major types of academy owners as well as which category I was working for. This chapter also discusses my “first contact” with my boss and Korean co-workers. This chapter reveals what a failure I am at teaching and includes the letters I received from Seoul which explained where I should improve. Introduced in this chapter is Carlo, an English teacher famous for drinking with Russians, getting bit by his students and his travels throughout Morocco.

In this chapter I get fired from my first job and start a new job. I am also forced to learn a little bit about Korean culture in order to be able to converse better with my students. Also introduced in this chapter is Jackie and the story of his dog “Blackie.” Also discussed is the Korean co-worker culture and what that entails.

Chapter 3
First Non-Monopoly Month in Class

I learn which class tattled on me for playing Monopoly every day in class. I also try different techniques for disciplining my students. I also discuss the advantages of talking with the students versus making them do exercises and what makes talking to the students so difficult. Also discussed is more of Carlo’s antics outside of the classroom. I finally get the bright idea of discussing the rules in class. I meet Carlo again out of class and we discuss the problems of his life; mainly how to deal with a belligerent student who happens to be the boss’ daughter in class.

Chapter 4
Bars and Churches

There are two types of English teachers in Mokpo, those who hang out in the bars and the other who hang out in church. Frankly I was getting tired of hanging out with the English teachers in bars. I decide to go to church instead. On my first day of church I discover that there is free orange juice and cookies served after each session. I meet Ms. Jung who explains to me why the street in Korea are so clean and how it affects retired Korean people. I also get my first private English student. Jackie’s house becomes haunted by a ghost and he reveals how to chase ghosts away. I go to my first baseball game.

Chapter 5
Modem vs. Router

I have my first run in with Korean modems and their downfalls. Jackie comes to my rescue and gives me some much-needed internet advice.

Chapter 6
Golfing in Korea

I meet my first Korean golf instructor who gives me best golf lesson ever using no English. Using my new-found golf skills I decide to golf a few rounds of golf with my new co-teacher George and his brother.

Chapter 7
English Meetings at Angel-In-Us Café

In addition to going to church, I join another group in Korea. This one is and English group that is run by my Korean friend Jackie. This group becomes a great way to meet new friends and discuss current events in Korea. Next, my former roommate, Carlo, gets taken to the police station and I talk to him before he gets deported from Korea. I also meet my replacement who’s teaching at my previous academy.

Chapter 8
4th of July in Korea

Author goes to a 4th of July party with his new-found church friends. He meets another English teacher named Tareck. Tareck is famous for kicking chairs across the classroom to get his students’ attention as well as living in the same apartment as his nudist boss.

Chapter 9
Kidman

Brian meets his first English-speaking co-teacher who goes by the name “Kid.” During their first time out for a hike together Kid confesses to Brian that he was accused by his ex-wife of burning down her house and that he likes dating Japanese women.

Chapter 10
Modem vs. Router

I have my first run in with Korean modems and their downfalls. Jackie comes to my rescue and gives me some much-needed internet advice.

Chapter 11
Golfing in Korea

I meet my first Korean golf instructor who gives me best golf lesson ever using no English. Using my new-found golf skills I decide to golf a few rounds of golf with my new co-teacher George and his brother.

Chapter 12
English Meetings at Angel-In-Us Café

In addition to going to church, I join another group in Korea. This one is and English group and is run by Jackie. I find another way to meet new friends and discuss current events in Korea. Carlo gets taken to the police station and I talk to him before he gets deported from Korea. I also meet my replacement who’s teaching at my previous academy.

Chapter 13
Lesson Plans

Brian reveals the most effective way to plan for his classes; by downloading lessons plans off the internet. Included in these lesson plans is  sample menu that is used to help the students role-play the purchasing of a hamburger in class.

Chapter 14
Dating in Korea

Brian shares four case studies of native teachers (males) who are dating Korean women. Included in these case studies are the reactions of the host-woman’s friends, families and social network.

Chapter 15
Surgery on a Budget

Brian get learns the difference between hospitals in Seoul (where the rich Koreans go) and all other hospitals in Korea. Brian finds the best value in Korea which is eye surgery which is priced at $2,500 in Korea vs. $28,000 in the United States. While in the hospital Brian meets an American man named Roman who’s been living in Korea since the 1970′s and publishing a book about a Post-Apocalyptic New England town. When Brian asks Roman who his book publishing agent is Roman replies, “The guy’s an idiot, he’s 62 and has just had his 6th child with his 3rd wife. What kind of a life is that kid going to have?”

“First Contact in Korea: A Native English Teacher’s Guide to South Korea” by Brian Ward, can be found on Amazon.com

 

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