Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Black and white

It seems in a few short days, my entire life has flip-flopped. I've got from working in an oppressive, fascist workplace to being able to choose how I spend my time. My blood pressure is probably dangerously low after running dangerously high for the last 13 months, I'm well-rested, and I'm finding new things to love about Korea. 

It seems like I should have known that the people you surround yourself with will make or break your experience. I was too focused on starting the experience, that I didn't put too much thought into the people that would also be a part of it. To say I worked at a "nightmare hagwon" would definitely not be an overstatement or exaggeration. In addition to the frustrations I voiced here on this blog, there were a litany of things that i didn't--because of potential libel issues (freedom of speech isn't exactly a thing here), ongoing legal battles/long-awaited outcomes/closure, or I was just rather depressed about the whole thing and couldn't bring myself to voice the horrible truth. While I'm aware that people have had it worse here in Korea (an around the world), working at my school temporarily warped my view of Korea/Koreans, stripped me of my worker's rights and at times, my dignity. And I probably had a better experience than more than half of my coworkers. 

The difference is now night and day. I am my own boss and my interactions with Koreans are no longer fraught with drama. These interactions are friendly and pleasant. I feel free. 

Unfortunately, I'm not as free as I feel. I still haven't received my deposit nor my flight. Although this is frustrating, I'm still in a better situation than my former coworkers. In my absence, my boss has made numerous illegal moves and new requirements. This is the only platform I have to vent these issues, but I hope that anyone hoping to sign a contract with my former school will think twice. Once I have received my flight and my deposit, I will post their name here and on any other blacklist available so that others' experiences in Korea might be more positive and less dramatic than mine. 

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