As the days are starting to count down to my eventual departure, I am relieved at how much my work is nearly complete after 2 months of recruiters, job offers, and a never-ending amount of paperwork, not to mention my rigorous TEFL certification course I took the month before.
On the day of inauguration, my brother Tony called to inform me that my contract and my documents had arrived from Korea. Beaming with joy, I took the documents over to the Korean Consulate in downtown Chicago at the NBC Tower building to get my visa finalized on Thursday. I'll be picking up my visa either on Monday or Tuesday.
Speaking of inauguration, I was doing my volunteer work at the McCormick Freedom Museum (check out www.freedommuseum.us) that day, and spent the morning watching the inauguration parade & speech in the theater. Next to the Tribune building, there was a large gathering outside in the plaza. I must admit watching the speech did give me the goosebumps, however, as hopeful and excited as I am about the new direction, I am deeply concerned about our government's role in attempting to rescue our nation from the financial hell that has continued to plague us. Like most Americans, I still carry greater doubt about whether our US government is capable of providing relief from the credit market, and bring back the jobs that have been lost. However, I hope that those who showed their enthusiasm during the election and inauguration will keep a closer eye on the Obama administration as well as Congress to keep track of their progress, and have an input in their decision-making.
Rewinding back to my last subject:
My family's reaction to my decision to live in Korea was met with encouragement and support. I couldn't be any more grateful for it, as this will make the next few weeks of preparation be a little less stress-inducing. I have two farewell parties coming up, one this upcoming Friday, and the other on the following weekend. Both of which, I am definitely excited about. However, the last several days, I have finally started to realize the magnitude of my teaching decision. I realized that I'll be leaving behind the great city of Chicago, and even Westmont, but more importantly, my good friends and family. I'll miss my familiar surroundings, the food, Chicago baseball, the upcoming concerts and shows, not to mention Lollapalooza, and a plethora of other activities that I can only enjoy in the US.
However, I kindly remind myself daily of what the last few months were like trying to find a job, and not having any kind of reassurance of what tomorrow would bring. That usually does the trick ;). All I have left is purchasing my one-way ticket, picking up my visa, and getting the necessary items with me during my stay.
As far as location is concerned, I'll presumably be in the Busan area as I'm under the EPIK's Busan Metropolitan Board. Busan is in the Southeast coast of Korea, and many others have compared it to San Francisco, in terms of climate and it's thriving tourism industry and business growth. Busan (pronounced Pusan) is the second largest city in Korea, next to Seoul. It's a city that holds at least 3 million people, but many more in its province. Companies like Hyundai, Daewoo, Samsung are well represented in the city. It also has an American military base there, so the likelihood of having access to English-speaking Koreans and Westerners are favorable compared to other regions besides Seoul. Hopefully after my contract is done, I might be looking into the schools in the Chungnam Province as they are paid well there, and they have built a solid reputation in taking care of its English teachers, as well as their government's role in making Chungnam as a possible future capital of South Korea.
Right now, my concerns are having everything ready before I depart, but more importantly, being prepared to teach and motivate students to learn the English language. I am going to start look into different lesson plans, and other activities that will not only help students, but lessen the migraines of having to teach the irregular verbs, or explaining the use of idioms to students.
P.S. Is it just me, or is my governor Rod Blagojevich becoming more delusional? After getting caught on tape urging the firing of the Tribune's Editorial Board, the gov'nor is actually begging the board to help aid him in his fight against the corruption charges he is facing. Plus, he is scheduled to be on Good Morning America and The View to continue his fruitless fight against his impeachment. This man seems to know no boundaries, and is clearly beyond impaired to run my homestate. Sadly, I wished Illinois had already knew that about Blago years ago.