Family (Posting Frenzy)

I been on a posting frenzy the last couple of days. What can I say. I've only seen my girlfriend for two and a half hours in the past week. I need some place to put my energy.

Anyway, I should have said this before, but I'm glad I didn't because now I have the pictures. I'd like to welcome to the world the newest member of my family. Nathan Nicholas Stoff was born March 21st.

Congratulations to my sister and her family. I can't wait to come and spoil Nate like I have Abs.

Crazy bitch

I work with a guy who I'll call 'Jeff'. Jeff is a Korean who spent his high school and college years in the States and speaks perfect English. He is an attractive guy who, by the look in his eyes, you can tell is not very confident. Nevertheless, he's a great guy and we've developed a friendship both at work and over numerous shots of tequila at Gold Bar in Hongdae.

But, he has a girlfriend. Jeff is 26 years old. The first story he every told me about this girl is how when he met her she told him she was 23, but several weeks later he discovered she was actually 34. This should have been the first sign the girl was psychotic. However, and I've seen her in pictures and in person, she's really hot, so he let it slide.

Over time he'd tell me stories how she called him hundreds of times a day demanding to know where he was and who he was with. He told me she'd show up at his apartment at all hours of the night expecting to find him with other girls. She even called our school numerous times a day wanting to speak to him when he was in class, suspecting he was off in a private room with one of our female co-workers. This continued to the point that she was told not to call again.

Things reached the boiling point for me, however, two weeks ago when Jeff showed up to work on a Monday looking dejected. After asking him what the problem was he informed me that over the weekend his girlfriend's jealousy had reached such a level that she'd driven her car into his in a fit of rage. I was flabbergasted. I told him this was way out of line and it was time to break it off for good. He agreed.

The following Monday I arrived at work to find Jeff, yet again, dejected. He'd taken the girl, over the weekend, to an amusement park. I was outrage. I asked him very sternly how he could do such a thing after what she'd done. I also commented that I'd noticed his car in the parking lot and it seemed to be back in working order.

"She's coming here now." he said. A little confused, I asked him to clarify. He wasn't sure if she was bluffing, but had threatened to come to his work. I, assuming she was bluffing, went down to the computer room. Fifteen minutes later and the whole ordeal out of my head I was interrupted in the computer room buy someone looking for Jeff. Reminded I headed upstairs to see if anything had developed.

When I stepped outside I heard the distinct screaming of a Korean girl. I looked over just in time to see Jeff's girlfriend pick up a large piece of concrete and hurl it into his driver's side window. By this time a crowd of co-workers and pedestrians had gathered to watch as she took out her keys and scratched them all across the hood of Jeff's car, still screaming. I watched for a few minutes as she hurled rocks at the windows and scratched the paint.

Feeling a bit excited and disgusted by the event I called a friend to give the play-by-play. As I'm telling my friend what is going on and laughing out loud I turn to see Jeff returning to the scene. A little embarrassed about laughing at my friend's misfortune, I was happy to see the police come and take her off to jail.

Now, however, she had pressed some sort of charges against Jeff and he has been in jail for two days. I don't know the exact details of the charges are, but I hope he is released soon.


Sick Update

I returned to teaching today and my concerns about the doctor's notice were completely useless. I should have expected it considering my past experiences in Korea in these situations. The director's assistant only asked me how I was feeling and relayed to me the reasons for calling. I told her she woke me up after I had fought to fall asleep and she apologized.

Later, my manager told me she had heard I needed a doctor's note. However, once I told her it was not in my contract she dropped it and also apologized.

See, Korean people aren't so bad.


Sick part 2

Aside from being physically sick I'm beginning to get sick of Korea. I've been here almost two and half years and it's starting to lose its appeal. I think back to the days when I first arrived in Korea and the first year or so of living here and I remember an excitement, a newness to it. I felt as if I was doing something interesting, something most people will never get a chance to do. I was exploring, having adventures, meeting new people from all over the world and generally just having a really great time. In fact, it was one of the best times of my life.

That feeling, however, has gone away. As I mentioned in a previous post Korea now feels like a place where I live rather than an exotic place to explore. Now, I'm starting to resent Korea as a result. I'm sick of the blandness of the food. I'm sick of the rudeness of the people. The drunk ajjossis harassing you or wanting to practice English. The way too cute, princess-disease laden young girls. The deceptiveness that is so rampant here. The young men who are either intimidated because I'm a western person or, alternatively, want to be my friend for the same reason. The lack of anything beautiful or even mildly visually interesting. In general, I'm sick of Korea and Koreans and everything associated with them.

However, I say that to say this. I know these things that I point to as being annoying or the cause of my bitterness aren't really the cause at all. All, of the things that I listed and numerous others have, at one time or another, been part of what I loved so much about Korea. I can remember enjoying the drunken old men and their screaming at each other over countless bottles of soju. I remember finally giving in to "cuteness" of Asia and putting a Winnie the Pooh charm on my cell phone (I know. Forgive me.).

I know the problem isn't Korea or Korean people. The problem is that I'm bored. I've always had to do new things, go to new places, try things I'd never tried before. And frankly, I've sampled most of what Korea has to offer. The first year or so I spent a lot of time partying and meeting new people and I loved it. But, even that has lost it's appeal to me because it's the same thing rehashed continuously.

I don't know what the solution is and I don't mean to come off as whinny. These are just the thoughts that have been running through my head lately. I've thought that maybe, once this contract is finished, it's time to head for a different country and try teaching there, but I can't decide on a location and I am not entirely sure it won't just be same shit-different country.

There was a lot more I wanted to put in this post, but being as I'm sick and on very little sleep I'm having a hard time putting the words together. So, I'll leave it at that for now.


I stayed home from work today because I'm sick and, as a result, couldn't get any sleep last night. My work day begins at one o'clock in the afternoon, so I sent my manager a text message at 8:30a.m. and followed up with a phone call an hour later. "No problem." she said, "Take a rest."

So I did. After being up the entire night I was finally able to fall asleep around 10:30. Two hours later my phone rings, waking me up. It's my director's assistant (I essentially have three bosses: manager, director's assistant and director) telling me that the director says I'll need a doctors notice for taking the day off. I'm annoyed because after fighting all night I'd finally managed to fall asleep. She insists to me that it's in my contract that I have to supply a doctor's notice. So, I tell her I'll take care of it and begrudgingly get out of bed.

The first thing I do is go to my computer, open my copy of the contract and read through it. No mention of needing a doctor's note, only that I am entitled three sick days. This being the first. So, now I'm more annoyed because I know they didn't bother to look at the contract and check for this. They just assumed the threat of it would be enough to motivate me. Also, I'm angry because, clearly, they don't trust me.

Anyway, I decide I might as well just go to the doctor and avoid any problems. Again, I sit down to the computer to find English-speaking doctors in Seoul. Then I remember that last week my laptop died and I'd been forced to buy a new computer over the weekend. Needless to say, the unexpected expenditure left me with very little money. W50,000 ($50) for a week to be exact. Doctors in Korea are relatively cheap and I do have insurance provided through my work. Nevertheless, the fee would be at least W30,000 ($30), leaving me with next to nothing.

So, I'm angry, annoyed, sick and broke. I think about calling the school and telling them, but decided I'll just deal with it tomorrow. After all, it's not in the contract.