17 July 2008

further on up the road

I've moved into my new apartment in Naksongdae, not sure how long I'll be here for but at least until July 24th. I just spoke to the manager of the Sinchon branch who seems to think that I start work there on July 28th, this seems like the kind of information that should be perhaps be passed on to me... If he's correct I hope that I'm moving to Sinchon before then!

The actual moving part was somewhat hellish, mostly due to the idiocy of the head office- M told L2 to pick me up but didn't tell him what time to come, although M told me to expect to be picked up at 11:30am. Then he couldn't understand why this was stupid. It wouldn't have mattered too much but I kind of had to race the clock to be back at work on time for the evening shift. I decided to just have a nap on one of the staff room sofas (we tend to spend rather a lot of supposed teaching time asleep, it's fun having nap buddies again though). I was woken up by usually grumpy reception dude, who for some reason was being vaguely human, and led of by some guy. It wasn't until I was safely ensconced in the somewhat familiar station wagon (the one M and L2 picked me up from the bus station in) that my sleep addled brain decided to pay attention to the fact that I didn't know who he was. L2 turned out to be in the passenger seat though, so I figured it didn't really matter. Both of them were fairly uncommunicative, and didn't really bother to tell me what was going on and I tend to give up pretty easily at talking because a lot of the time even people who speak pretty good English have some problems with the English accent. Once Mr strangely-being-nice Receptionist hopped in we went to pick up my luggage and headed off to the new apartment... Where we waited around for a bloody long time for C (the guy who's going to be working in Yeouido now, and who was about to moved into my old apartment, it's all very symmetrical) to get his stuff together and vacate the apartment.

They did actually manage to get me into the new place on time, but I ended up being late to work because of door key issues. Basically the lock wasn't attached properly, and it made it pretty much impossible for me to remove my key once I'd locked the door. I called L2 (who didn't seem to understand I was saying), and luckily C was still with him and was at least able to give me the landlord's phone number. I hate that giving me information like that isn't part of this company's basic protocol... and even if I had thought to ask about it I probably wouldn't have been able to make myself understood. It was pretty hard to explain to the divisional manager of my branch that I was probably going to be late because of this, especially since her English isn't that great. I thought I was going to be in some trouble for being late to work, but instead the receptionists (still being uncharacteristically pleasant) shuffled around the schedule so I didn't have my first lesson, and my manager came and gave me a stirring speech about how stupid everyone else is, and bought me chocolate!

M and L2 were incredibly rude to her, which is just out of order. Apparently the people at HQ see as a bit of a 'traitor' because she's essentially moved to managing the Yeouido branch at a time when it's planning on breaking away from the parent company. I can understand why they're a bit upset, but they really ought to be more professional, and if they looked to some of the glaring problems with their company maybe this situation wouldn't have arisen.

Due to the fact that they're going out on their own the Yeouido branch has to come up with a new name (and possibly a new uniform, to the delight of all!) and are offering a prize to any member of staff who come up with a suitable new brand, sadly I don't think I count as staff anymore. I fully support the idea of a name change, English Channel is a rubbish name for a company, not least because it's ungoogleable. Yet another reason why I love A (asides from her awesome nap buddy skills): she suggested they drop an 'n' and become English Chanel, with stylish suits to match instead of polystyrene lab coats.

I was feeling fairly stressedmurderous after all these shenanigans, but in a way it was kind of comforting to be back at my ground state of incurable anger and hatred. However the other teachers (and the chocolate) had soon put me into a good mood, and walking around in my trainers instead of blister-inducing work shoes might have made me look ridiculous but probably also contributed to my cheer. I guess it is just nice to have that sense of camaraderie and empathy, everyone else has had to put up with nonsense like this, and it's nice to have people thinking that my indignation is fully justified! When I get this angry about superfluous belts or whistling people tend to treat me like a crazy person... Also trading trivia and West Wing quotes is pretty much a sure fire way to put me in a good mood in any circumstance. I also got treated to one of the most amazing segues ever...

Me: whinge, whinge, bitch, moan...
They: "So one of my students was asking me, "when it's someone's last day and they're leaving, and you think that you might not see them that much anymore... in English, what do you say?" "Ah!" I said, "You mean 'are you on Facebook?'..."

Plus, J is being mildly stalked by one of her students (with crazily impressive advanced-ASCII style texts and an impressive collection of essays about how they're going to get married), and I got to spend a good long while laughing at the ensuing mess! I've managed to avoid such situations (I did have a female student trying to subtly ask me out to dinner on Friday night, but I managed to duck and weave my way out of it without appearing rude... I had important beer-related plans to attend to!) thus far. However, it's been pointed out to me that maybe that's largely because I don't have any business cards yet so my students don't have any of my contact information. Do I have plenty of awkward and unsubtle propositions and/or proposals to look forward to for the next year? Joy.

I did send an angry email to L (who is not to be confused with L2, L is the only person at head office who ever seems to know what's going on or be able to give a coherent answer to anything). I am also considering if there's some way I can make an actual formal complaint, it's not that I want to whinge about waiting around for a couple of hours, I'm just filled with incredulity that the company is run in this idiotic way...

When I got back to the apartment last night I got a call from my landlord about getting the lock fixed. This was a happy coincidence because I'd just finished buying snacks and had realised that I didn't actually know the way home. He gave me directions, and then spent ages trying to fix the problems...eventually sorting it by utilising a different lock, liberally applying WD40 and assuring me that my inability to use the key wasn't a product of insanity or stupidity. Lovely man. When I also pointed out that I didn't have a hotplate he got very concerned, and started searching for it in all the kitchen cupboards (I suppose it is plausible that it could have been shoved in one of them, although why?, but he just seemed a bit like an absent-minded elderly person looking for their glasses). He has assured me that he'll get it sorted out for me by tonight, so here's hoping. I want pasta.

Although it's a nice place I am really looking forward to finally moving to Sinchon and getting properly settled... I can't wait to be able to start nesting, and buy a frying pan! Also I think that Sinchon, both in terms of the area itself and the 'clinic' due to it's clientele, will suit me better than Yeouido. Sinchon is supposed to be quite a fun area, and it's the main student district. Although I got the odd small child or voice actor, most of my students in Yeouido were businessmen and women, I think I'll have more in common with the young folk and university students in Sinchon, and I also think I prefer teaching people who are around my age group to teaching 40 or 50 somethings. I've also been informed that I probably won't have to teach the business courses much at the Sinchon branch, which is a relief...

I'm sitting around in my pyjamas today, alternately lounging around on the sumptuous bedding and spinning around in my office chair. I know I should get up and do things, but I really can't be bothered. Maybe I ought to at least attempt to stock the fridge with something other than soju, wine and condiments... people seem to leave a lot of alcohol in the fridges of flats I'm moving into, what have they heard? At least I left C some ice cream and pasta, you could make a good meal out of that! For now though I think I deserve a day at least for some R&R, and I will try to get the certificate of business thing sorted out tomorrow, which leaves me plenty of time next week to get my ID card and bank account done in the daytime (as I will only be working the evening shift in Jongno next week Mon-Thurs).

I'm all up to date with Weeds episodes, and have to say that I'm enjoying season 4 immensely. It's definitely a show that I'd recommend if you haven't seen it. It has this brilliant dark humour to it, but it can be touching too. The acting is amazing, the eye candy is pleasantly abundant, the storyline is fantastical but the characters make it both believable and endearing and it's one of those shows which is in absolutely no danger of stagnating- it takes you down completely random paths and it's scope is constantly getting bigger (at times and in ways that you wouldn't suspect!).

I started watching Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog yesterday, and I'm so glad I did! It's seriously awesome! I have to say that my impersonation of a niche IMDb failed me, no matter how long I squinted at Neil Patrick Harris and Felicia Day I couldn't quite work out where I recognised them from, but no matter, it's all right in my head now. I just wish that more things in life involved Nathan Fillion singing (and inflaming my voicecrush), and making awful innuendos. Act II is up now, and III is going up on Saturday. If you're interested in checking it out do it soon, because it's only staying up til July 20th (I assume US time, which is a way behind my time) and the way things seem to be going with YouTube and EU downloading laws is making me do a frowny face.

I've got another link to share, and it's also Whedon related. In an episode of Buffy entitled Checkpoint there's a female Watcher called Lydia who informs a smug (and fairly lascivious) Spike that she wrote her thesis on him. Some wonderful people actually took the trouble to create said thesis. It's making for really fun reading thus far!

On another fandom-y note, I'd also like to point out that I finally got around to listening to The Ballad of Jensen and Jared It made me smile, and it's possible that there's Supernatural/Jsquared/shiny-pretty-fun stuff fans out there who haven't heard it, right? Right? Oh, well apparently no. Nonetheless.

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