The Winds of Change Blow Again

When Kris and I returned to Korea, we were simply expecting to have a relatively quiet couple of weeks, with Kris finishing off the last few weeks of her old school year and myself quietly waiting to start a full-time position at the academy that I was working at. All we were planning on doing was coasting until the new school year, where Kris would resume her position at her old school and I would move from part-time to full-time. That was the plan. That was not at all what happened.

In the days following our arrival, Kris did some serious thinking about her job at the time. She considered all of the extra hours and effort that she put in to her work, with no notice from the school. She was feeling unappreciated and undervalued. She expressed this to her liaison to the school, and even wrote and signed a letter saying that if the school continued to treat her merely as a resource, she would not re-sign her contract. The school accepted this decision. Kris was out of a job, and we thrust ourselves into the job market once more.

After frantically ravaging Facebook’s various Korean job boards and groups for a few days, a friend connected us with an employer that would offer Kristen shorter hours for higher pay than she received last year. She jumped at the opportunity. This meant that we were moving from Wonju to Seoul, Korea’s capital and largest city. As for myself, I followed a couple of leads towards a communications company where I might have a chance to do editing or writing work. Sadly, those opportunities didn’t work out. I was disappointed, but soldiered on. I decided to work with the same company that Kristen had signed on to. The shorter hours would mean that I would still have time to write and pursue my hobbies, while retaining a full-time paycheck and a visa.

Once our jobs were settled, we hunted for houses, settling on a slightly expensive but very modern and wonderful apartment. We are now two minutes away from two subway lines, with a 10-minute walk to a third. There is even a gym in the building, to help me work off the weight I put on eating all of the food in South Africa.

A slow running down of the clock may have turned into a panicked search for new opportunities, but Kris and I are optimistic about the change. It will be an experience to live in Seoul, and hopefully our positions work out for us. We start our contracts shortly, so we will soon see whether we jumped out of a cozy nest into the lion’s den, or whether we simply upgraded into a job that is better for both of us.

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So, I Have a New Job

After a week of unemployment, I managed to secure myself a job in Wonju. I count myself rather lucky indeed. Why? While I may still be teaching, I am doing so on much closer to my own terms than my last contract. My new job is far more suited to me for a number of reasons: it is a part-time job, I am generally teaching elementary students, and, unlike my previous contract, I will have the ability to take time off to go on holiday, cover Dota events, and generally be more flexible. Most importantly, the job will provide me with a visa to stay in Korea for another year. Having this job takes me one step closer to being able to write and create gaming content full-time. I hope that it is the next step down a road that I truly want to walk down. For now, it’s just another step.

I was put on to the job by a fellow South African who is now learning to play Ultimate in Wonju. Kris, ever concerned with my well-being and ability to be a funcitonal human being, managed to find out that the friend’s school was looking for a part-time employee to cover some classes that were currently being taught by Korean teachers. I later confirmed this with the friend, and messaged the head of the academy in hope.

I waited a few days. There was no reply. I spoke to the friend again, explaining that their boss had not got back to me. On the outside, I was playing it cool. On the inside, I was a molten, swirling mass of emotion. I really wanted the job. It sounded almost ideal for my needs. My friend politely explained that the boss was overwhelmed with the beginning of the school year, and that the boss was very keen to have me. Heartened by this news, my emotions cooled, and I began to wait once more.

A day or two later, the boss replied. She was sorry that she had not responded to me sooner, and arranged a meeting at a nearby coffee shop for the next day.

At this meeting, I was not sure who was more nervous – me or her. She seemed to be warm, kind, and thrilled at my interest to join her crew. We discussed details of the job. We drank our separate beverages. We shared a little bit of our respective life stories. After about half an hour, the meeting was done. I was to start work the next day! Whilst I was saddened that I could no longer spend my days entirely at a nearby PC room or in the house, I was happy to once again be earning an income. In my brief moment of unemployment, I felt deeply castrated by the fact that Kris would be working hard whilst I sat around in search of employment. Now, I will be able to work shorter hours without taking too much of a pay cut compared to my previous job. I am much more comfortable about the situation.

Kris and I are still in the early stages of our new start in Wonju. There are a number of significant events ahead. The Ultimate season starts soon. In about two months, the next Dota Major event will take place, which I am hoping to travel to and cover. Later today, I leave for Dubai to spend a weekend with my mother. All of these things are bright lights that we look to if we are having a mediocre, frustrating day. Around these events, we both need to work hard. And we will. We know the rewards that await us. We also know that there is one place in which we can find limitless energy – one another. Now, I must get off my lazy butt and pack. Thanks for listening. Chat again soon.