So, there are only 99 days left in our contract with Songwon Elementary School and boy are we glad to be near the home-stretch. Our time at the school has been less than pleasant, although we have enjoyed our time with friends and traveling.
In actuality it seems that there is less than 99 days to go. Unofficially so far, our classes end July 22 and we then have English Camp from July 25th - August 12th. (Our contract actually ends August 19th.) This means that we might be able to leave a week early and get a full 3 weeks at home to visit everyone.
On that note, we got a new job for next year! Neither of us knew how much longer we could take being here at Songwon and we both knew that we couldn't take another year of it. But this new job comes highly recommended by our good friends here who have said they enjoy their time at work.
Don't get us wrong. We aren't in the hardest jobs of our lives here at Songwon. The vacation is great and the hours aren't bad. It's really the people we work with that make this experience less than it could be. We are more or less ignored except for when the teachers want us to do something for them.
It's been a rough experience from the beginning. The first semester we got here we flew in on Sunday and were at work Monday morning without any regard to jet lag. We weren't even introduced to our students. We were shown a room to go to and were told to teach. On top of that, we weren't given books to teach from. It was a sour beginning and one that stuck with us through the year.
In the second semester, we were told to choose books from the bookstore, which was fine but we didn't know what to look for. (You can tell I'm ranting a little bit here.)
Throughout the year we have been so jealous when people would talk about their co-teachers taking them to eat and actually acting excited about them coming to school. Obviously this is nothing against those who have told us these stories, it's against the people at Songwon. Instead of being asked to do things with the co-teachers we are told of how much fun they had doing things with previous teachers.
I suppose the teachers just before us left a bitter taste in their mouths for leaving after only 2 weeks. The bitterness perhaps carried over to us. There are so many other annoyances and inconveniences that I don't have enough time to write it.
With that said: We are so happy to be going home for a few weeks and extremely glad to be getting a new job and an apartment in a different part of town. One HUGE downside to all of this is that the people's jobs we'll be taking in September have become close friends to us and we will miss them a bunch. It almost feels wrong to take their job and apartment because Gwangju just won't be the same without them.
Regardless of the annoyances of this school and the annoyances to come from any job in Korea, God has blessed us both tremendously. We'll have our loans paid off at the end of our second year where we can finally be able to start a career in the United States debt free. And that will be worth it all.
Anyway… hope things are going well back home.
-Jason & Emily