Dedication to the art

Mon Nov 15, 2004

I always say I’m going to spend more time writing, but never do. Well, I mean it this time, and that means updating my journal more regularly. I’ll freely admit that life is tough right now, but isn’t it for everyone? I may as well share my angst. I wasn’t going to post that last entry, which I cut and pasted from another ‘secret’ journal, but I thought it was fittingly angst-ridden that I may as well go public with it.

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What’s happening? I recently turned 28 on the 11th, I had a nice birthday, the 11th is a public holiday in Canada (albeit a sombre one) which is great. My girlfriend took me out to dinner at the very popular Stepho’s on Davie street for Greek food, we braved the inevitable line-up and stormed in with our hunger blazing. Good times, I’m aging like fine wine over here.

It’s my job situation that’s been giving me the real ups and downs. About a week ago I was fired from my morning teaching job. The students didn’t like me so those back-stabbing bastards had me surreptitiously ousted in an act of clandestine mutiny. I really can’t tell you what went wrong because communication levels in the ESL biz are notoriously circumvented. The students, of course, never said a word to me. From what I was told by second hand sources, I lacked the “chemistry” and the “charisma”. From this I’ve concluded that I should never enter a beauty contest or run for office. Seriously though, what it came down to was just a bad fit. The students wanted to party and I wanted to teach and the whole thing failed miserably because I’m just not a party animal. They did harp on about how they wish Korean was the “world language” because they hate learning English and are only doing it to get a good job back home. Needless to say, a tough job to motivate those kids, but I bowed out gracefully and there are no ill feelings, despite the slightly bitter tone I take here.

Today I had a bizarre interview at another school nearby for just a couple of hours a week. I say bizarre because it turned out that the school was owned by the same guy who sent me to Korea in the first place. The same guy whose father I serendipitously met up on Bhukansan. Well, needless to say, I thought I was ‘in like Flynn’ with such a great networking connection. Well, I didn’t get the job but the director of the school spend a good hour dissuading me from pursuing the ESL thing, citing the declining market, the lack of benefits and full time hours and so forth. All things, I might add, I saw my mother vigourously nodding her head to in my mind’s eye as he went on about it. He was a very nice man and remarkably perceptive because he could gauge what type of person I was after just a few minutes. His suggestions were to go into business by myself as a tutor specializing in Grade 12 prep work or going back overseas to either Japan or Taiwan. For a Korean he seemed quite negative about Korea. He was saying something about the government encouraging young people to buy everything with credit a few years ago and only now discovering no-one could pay it back and losing lots of money caused an economic crisis. Huh? I can’t say I know much about it but that sounds a little off the wall. So basically I need to make some tough choices. Keep gunning for that non-existent full time teaching position? Buy a car, develop some business savvy and become a full time tutor? Branch out into other areas? Go back to school? Work at the mall? Put on my steel-toed boots and head back to the warehouse? It’s funny how time goes on the options get increasingly desperate until you’re on the streets begging for spare change. Well, it’s not quite that dramatic but I often question my ability to take an aggressive stance and initiate positive and constructive change in my life. I’m too passive, I’m a whiner, a daydreamer and I still have those anti-establishment sentiments I should have shed along with my university years where ‘sticking it to the man’ was liberating as long as we lived off our student loans. All I know is, deep down inside (Hell, it’s not even that deep down)I don’t want to teach anymore, I’m on the verge of hanging up my teacher’s hat and putting sunsangnim to bed. The passion is gone, it’s gone gone gone.

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