Sunday, June 28, 2009


My boss bought me a shirt in America and gave it to me today. I was happy because I need a new summer polo shirt.

I opened the package. The shirt looked big. I unfurled the tag and read the three letters with a smile: XXL

I wear large.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Daily Life In Korea

I have lost all perspective of what I should or should not expect in life. Part of me says work hard and be thankful that I have a job in a down turned economy but another part of me says that my daily routine is absurd.


Wake up at 6am in a pool of my own sweat.
Walk to work at 7:30. Arrive at work with a red face and sweat dripping from every pore in my body. Fantasize about having talcum powder.
Teach my first class at 8 AM from a tiny TV studio in a 4 ft. by 5ft closet. (Door shut)
Walk home again at 9 AM and eat breakfast and use the restroom. 10 AM to 12:30 PM Teach in said closet.
12:30 to 1 PM eat good, but admittedly, strange food consisting mostly of fish and garlic for lunch. My workmates speaking Korean and me not participating in the conversation.
1PM to 2:30 PM. Get caught up on emails and class prep.
2:30-4:00 Teach in the closet.
4:00 to 7 PM teach at onsite center. 90 percent of that is just getting the kids to settle down and show me an ounce of respect.
8PM Finally get to go home, unless there is a meeting.
10PM: G chat with American Staff. Today I was guilted into signing up for an on line college course for an ESL certification that all our workers are participating in.
11PM Check face book every second hoping that I have a friend.
1 AM sleep.

Saturday and Sunday

Head to the office around 10 write text books until 8PM.


Learn today that I need to design a summer intensive course by next week.
Participate in meetings where there is a major major language barrier.
Get stared at constantly for being sweaty and red, not to mention a towering giant freak.
With less than one minute notice get called to an online presentation to show our product to people wearing ties.
Have students draw pictures of me as a bald man.
Worrying about a possible nuclear war.

I can't tell you how good I feel when I finish a task. I think, If I can survive this then I am the strongest person alive. And after locking myself in a tiny room at the office on the weekends and finishing my stories for our books, I feel so proud of myself. I enjoy being in the fantasy worlds I am creating for students, and I'm so proud also to have the opportunity to publish my work that will be read by thousands of people. That is a good feeling. But I just pray that there is a reward at the end. I know that is selfish but I hope there is a reward. I am tired of being alone, and tired of sweating, and tired of not being able to communicate...I am tired. I don't know if I am whinnying or doing something that few people ever do. I just am not sure.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


"Matthew, do you like ja-jen-myuen?"

"Is that the black noodle stuff? Yeah, why?"

"Ji-hyun is not here today, so we order food for lunch-a."

"Uh, so, no woman means no food?"

"Ha ha, that's right, we order today."

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Hypothetically Speaking

During lunch my workmates talk about a possible conflict with the North. I can't understand the language they are speaking but there is no mistaking their concern.

Today waking up to more bad news about the north I asked my American roommate, "Hypothetically speaking, what would we do if war broke out? How would we get out of here?" "I guess we'd have to wait it out on the military base and be evacuated from there."