MontanaRon

Just another ordinary English teacher eclectic expat blog about nothing in particular.

Tag: work (page 2 of 19)

Crunch Time, Again

The fall semester began at the university yesterday, so it’s crunch time. All of the English teachers are busy making lesson plans, meeting the fresh crop of students in our classes and getting used to the hustle and bustle around campus, but especially in our dormitory apartments.

It’s been peaceful and quiet at the dorm for about the past eleven weeks, since the only ones staying here during the summer break are the teachers, about 10 of us all together. But, now, all the dorm rooms are full again, so the noise level has gone up. So far, it isn’t too bad, but it seems that as the semester progresses, the students tend to stay up later and later at night, sometimes creating a bit of commotion into the wee hours. It usually doesn’t bother me, but I’m a light sleeper and sometimes I can hear them thumping around in the rooms above me at 2 or 3 in the morning. Nothing new, though; it happens every semester.

I’ve got the same work load and same classes I taught in the spring semester. I’ve got three freshman English classes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and three special English classes from Monday through Thursday, 6:30 to 9:20 at night. It keeps me busy. Not much time to play Lord of the Rings Online, but I’ll manage to squeeze in a few hours here and there. More later.

Drought Buster

July and August are the rainy season months in Korea, but in Yeosu, we’ve had very little rain since the beginning of July. Some of my students told me that Yeosu is in a drought, although other parts of Korea have had ample rainfall. The last two days, however, have seen an end to the dry situation. According to the KMA, we’ve gotten about 4 1/2 inches of rain since Friday. The rain has stopped and today has seen a little sunshine now and then, but it appears the drought has been broken.

The weather is looking nice for this coming week and that’s good, since we’re off until the fall semester begins on Sept. 2nd. I hope to do some hiking in the mountains, take the bicycle out for a spin or two and visit the Expo grounds to see if any changes have been made since I last visited in the first part of July.

I’d like to write a longer post, but I have to go to a ring-exchange ceremony between one of our teachers and his Korean wife. I’ve been invited to do the photography for the event and for the reception at one of the local buffet restaurants afterwards. Wish me luck with the photos!

End of the Semester

Well, it’s that time of the year. I’m pretty busy with end-of-the-semester exams, grading and paperwork, but the light at the end of the tunnel is that I’m taking off for Thailand and Laos on June 14th, returning on July 7th, a nice 3-week vacation of fun in the sun, I hope.

That’ll be a change of pace from the past few days, when we were drenched with 6 inches of rain from noon Monday until early Tuesday morning. Things are still pretty wet, and the students are attending and participating in the university’s annual 3-day festival down on the soaked, muddy grounds just below the campus. Just lucky it didn’t start Monday!

I’ve been going to the Expo site almost every weekend to check out any changes to the area, and I’m happy to report that a small Japanese restaurant, a mini-mart and a couple of outdoor food stands have opened. Hopefully, this is the beginning of bigger and better things for the area.

I’ll try to get some more posts and photos up before I go on vacation, but, as tardy as I’ve been lately (sorry ’bout that), I’m not gonna promise anything. But, I’ll try. More later.

A Long Week

This week’s going to be pretty tough and long for all the English teachers at the University. We’re hosting a kids’ camp today through Friday, with 110 children aged about 10-12 years old, split into 6 classes. The first class begins at 9 a.m. and and the last one finishes around 6:20 p.m., with a break for lunch and a few other short breaks sprinkled in. This is in addition to any other classes we’re teaching. I have another class from 10 to 11 a.m. and an evening class that runs from 7 to 8. Essentially, then, I (and a few of the other teachers) will be in class or prepping from about 8:30 in the morning until 8 at night. That makes for a long day and a long week. At least we get free breakfast, lunch and dinner.

I won’t be eating breakfast with the kids, but I’ll definitely eat lunch and dinner. I’ll only have about 25 minutes for dinner until my 7 o’clock class, so I’ll have to wolf it down and run. We’ll be eating in the dormitory cafeteria, which, ordinarily, would be more like punishment. However, we’ve been informed that “special” food has been ordered up for the camp. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Anyway, yeah, we’ll probably all be relieved when the week is finished, but I think it’ll be OK. We’re not supposed to concentrate on “hard core” English teaching, but, instead, incorporate “fun” activities in the classroom. For example, one of my classes is Food and Cooking, so I’m going to devote one period to making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in class. (I’ll be sure to check if any of the kids are allergic to peanuts.) There’s even a half day (Thursday) devoted to sports activities in the gym. Although I was my junior high class dodge ball king, I can’t really see myself joining in. I will bring a camera and take some shots of the fun and games. More later (if I survive).

Like Sands Through the Hourglass . . .

Yes, it’s that unremarkable time of the year again at which I experience another birthday. How many? Who’s counting! Let’s just say that there are enough candles on the cake to create a fire hazard. So, this year I thought I’d have the cake outside. Well, quite a crowd showed up to keep warm after I lit the candles! A few folks even brought some marshmallows to toast. Here’s a shot I took of the crowd gathered around the cake.

My Birthday Cake

My Birthday Cake

We’re up to our eyeballs here with final exams and paperwork and reports to wrestle with. Luckily, all the teachers begin a 3-week vacation after next week. I’m going to hang around in Yeosu this winter; I just can’t afford to go anywhere else. I’m sure I’ll find plenty to do, including trying to keep this blog more up to date. So, stay tuned for more later. I’ve got quite a backlog of photos to post.

Expo 2012 Map

Hi, readers. One of you (thanks, Austin) suggested that I take a photo of the Expo map and post it here. I don’t know why I didn’t think of doing that, but here it is.

Sorry about the delay with the map, though, but I’ve been experiencing a perfect trifecta of events here in Yeosu. First, we’ve been having end-of-the-semester exams–grading, paperwork, etc.; that’s been keeping me pretty busy. Second, I’ve been preparing for my upcoming vacation to Thailand and Laos, cleaning the house and packing. Finally, and this kind of relates to the first item, I’ve been fighting a fierce cold, really bad. I picked it up from a student who coughed right in my face last week during final interview (speaking) exams. I knew it at the time that I was gonna get something; I could just feel that some kind of sickness was on its way. Sure enough, for the last week I’ve been coughing my lungs out and been experiencing fevers and chills and just generally been run down. I leave tomorrow night, Thursday, on the 11 p.m. bus to Incheon Airport, and then fly out of Incheon for Bangkok around 11 a.m. Friday. Geez, it’s gonna be a long day, and I sure as hell hope I’m feeling a bit better soon. It’s quite depressing, of course, to start a vacation feeling like this.

Anyway, here’s the map. The front side shows the Expo site and the back side gives some more useful information. The photo file sizes are quite large (around 900 Kb) in order to keep the resolution high enough to read the fine print. Click on the photo a couple of times to get the full view. They’re not my best effort, but I hope they help.

This will probably be my final post before I leave tomorrow, and I’ll be gone for a couple of weeks. Don’t expect anything before then, please. Once I return to Yeosu with my good friend Nai, we’ll be touring the Expo and probably be spending a few days up in Seoul. I’ll try to get a post or two up while we’re here, but no promises. Once I return for good from vacation, around July 8th, I’ll get going full time again. Please be patient for more later and have a great early summer.

Expo Map Front

Front of the Expo Map

Expo Map Back

Back of the Expo Map

Hang in There

I’m still quite busy with work. Although the new semester’s class workload seems to have settled down, I was offered a project, which I’ve been working on the last several days. I’ve been proofreading a rather long paper written in English by a couple of Chinese students here at the university, a paper about three early-20th century Chinese and Korean writers. I finally finished that today, though I may have to make a few other revisions to it.

The next few days I’ll be working on meeting the new requirements for English teachers to keep their visas (or in applying for new visas). Before, U.S. citizens used to be able to get a notarized criminal background check (cbc) from our home states. The law was changed a while back, so that now we have to get an FBI national cbc. Even though I’ve not been back to the ‘States since I arrived in Yeosu, I still have to get the FBI check. This involves getting a set of fingerprints, which I can do here, and sending those in with an application form to the FBI. They then send it back, at which time someone (the teacher, friends, or relatives) have to hand carry it to a State Department or Justice Department entity to get it notarized. Quite a process and one which I can’t easily do. Luckily, there are a few businesses that will do all the legwork in the U.S.; I’ll be using one of those.

The whole process takes anywhere from 3 to 4 months, and, since I’ll need the paperwork by the middle of August, I’d better complete my end of the procedure this week. I also need to have my diplomas from the University of Montana notarized. Luckily, the U of M offers this service, so I have to contact them for that stage of the process.

I also have to prepare my IRS tax form and send that in soon. Whew! I’m still fairly busy. Although rain is in the forecast for this coming weekend, I’m going to try to get down to the Expo site and shoot some photos of the ongoing progress.

The upshot is “Hang in there” while waiting for more posts on the blog. I’ll get ’em going sooner or later.

Springtime!

Well, we’re still a few weeks short of the official beginning of Spring, but the weather lately has been Spring-like. So, despite the possibility that I’m jinxing things, I’ve changed the header photos that appear at the top of the blog. I’ve put up the spring and summer photos that I took here in Yeosu and in Morocco several years ago. Here’s hoping that the cold weather and frigid winds are finished for the season.

Also, regular readers of the blog have probably noticed that my previous relatively frenetic posting has reverted back to my habit of several days between posts. No, I haven’t gotten lazy! It’s just that the Spring semester has started and I’ve been quite busy of late. In addition, one of our new teachers had visa problems and he had to make a visa run to Japan for several days. Some of the other teachers, including yours truly, volunteered to cover his classes until he returns, so that’s added to the workload and lack of time. Hopefully, I’ll be posting more often beginning soon. So, please be patient and I’ll have more later.

Nose to the Grindstone

Well, it’s back to work after the nice vacation. Unfortunately, I’m up to my eyeballs with classes and lesson planning for the next few weeks. After next week, my schedule becomes much more manageable, but until then I’ll probably post only on the weekend. I hope to get a few photos up of my trip to Thailand and Laos, so stay tuned for that. For now, though, I’ve gotta get ready for my early morning classes. More later.

Vacation Time

It’s the end of the fall semester, so, as usual, I’ve been busy with final assessments, grading, paperwork, meetings and other duties. But soon, however, I’ll be vacationing in Laos (mainly) to visit with my friend Nai and his family. Korea’s weather is starting to turn wintry cold, so spending some time in a more tropical clime is very appealing, of course.

I’m not going for a long time–just a bit more than a few weeks. My Air China flight to Bangkok leaves next Monday around noon, and I’ll be back in Yeosu on January 5th. I got a pretty good price on the flight about a month and a half ago, but that price came with some long layover times in Beijing, five or so hours going and more than seven hours coming back. Going to Bangkok will be the worst leg of the trip. I’ll be leaving Yeosu on the 11 p.m. bus to Incheon Airport, which arrives around 4:30 in the morning. Since my flight doesn’t take off until around noon, I’ll have a long wait. Incheon, however, is one of the top rated airports in the world, so I don’t mind hanging around there for that amount of time. Then, I go to Beijing and have a wait of about 5 hours until I go to Bangkok. I don’t arrive in the “City of Angels” until around midnight. From there, I’ll take a taxi to my hotel, probably not getting to sleep until 2 a.m. A long day, indeed.

After goofing around in Bangkok for an all-too-short while, I’ll take the overnight train to Nongkhai on the evening of the 21st, arriving there the next day around 8:30 in the morning. I’ll spend a few days in Nongkhai with Nai, then we’ll cross the Friendship Bridge into Laos, and . . . hmmm, not really sure. We might head up to Vang Vieng or Luang Prabang, or we might decide to stay at his family residence for Christmas and New Year. Christmas in a Buddhist, Communist country–an interesting place to spend the holidays, to say the least.

Finally, after whatever adventures and strange situations that occur in Laos, I’ll take the train back to Bangkok and take a flight back to Incheon on the 4th of January, including another long layover in Beijing. Such is the cost of cheap airline tickets.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep you posted about the trip, so stay tuned for more later.

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