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Friday, September 12, 2008

Materliazing plans

I mentioned previously that I was considering doing some traveling on the continent - hopefully starting in Singapore, then passing through Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam - after which I would go back to Thailand to get a CELTA teaching certification. The second part of the plan is now relatively in place. After sitting on the application form for about, I don't know, three or four months, mostly because of one bizarre question written in New Zealandese, and because the Brits apparently say "referee" instead of "reference," I finally got my act together, submitted the form, did a Skype interview, and was accepted into the program, all in a period of 2-3 days.

I was actually pretty pleased with myself, since I answered all the grammar and teaching methodology questions on the application form without recourse to any of the textbooks they said would almost certainly be necessary. I suppose I have Mrs. Turner, my 9th grade Latin teacher, to thank for that. When I submitted the application, I got a foreboding email about some 50 minute interview, but when I finally skyped with "Barry," after about 2 minutes he said my application was good enough that he wouldn't take more than 10 minutes to talk to me, and after about 7 minutes, he offered me a spot in the program. Pretty sweet, eh? On the other hand, I'm paying for the course, so I'm not too surprised that they want me and my $$$$$.

Details: The course will be held in Chiang Mai, Thailand. I think I'm going to do the "deluxe program," which means you pay some money on top of the tuition fee, in return for which you get to stay at the Nugent Waterside resort, with catered Thai food thrice a day, fice a week. The course actually happens at the seminar rooms at the resort, I'm told. I'm not sure what all to expect from the course - it has a reputation for being really intense, but then again, some 98% of people pass, and, then again again, whatever, I can handle it. I mean, I sit around and study Korean grammar just for fun (I'm now nearing halfway done with the Intermediate 2 book and am starting to have a little success with newspapers. I read my horoscope at dinner most days, and have the cooks clarify anything I don't understand), so how hard can it be to think about English? Maybe this cockiness will lead to comeuppance; we'll see.

I haven't paid the deposit for the course yet, since I got verbally accepted yesterday, got some paperwork today, and the banks are all closed for Chuseok, "a major harvest festival and a three-day holiday in Korea celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar Korean calendar." Sorry for the links, I just plagiarized that from wikipedia.

Speaking of the holiday, I have a nice 4-day weekend, but it's actually a little disappointing. Chuseok happens to fall on Sunday the 14th (so I don't know why the wiki article says 15th...), and traditionally, the days preceding and following the day are public holidays. Thus, optimally, Chuseok will fall on a Tuesday or Thursday, to maximize time off. In fact, if I ran the government, I would redefine Chuseok so that that would be the case. Unfortunately, we got boned this year and were granted holidays on...Saturday and Sunday. But the academy decided to give us Tuesday off, as well, so I can't complain too much.

What will I do during this holiday, you ask? Well, Friday night I met a friend. And Saturday (to) night, I am planning on meeting several friends. On Sunday, I will once more meet some (other) friends, who will bring some of their friends, and then, if all goes well, we will all become friends. On Monday, some other friends will come to my apartment, since I've promised to introduce them to burritos, as my local humongoid store has begun stocking tortillas and non-single cheddar cheese. (Still no cilantro, and Avocados are apprently out of season). I don't know exactly what I'll do on Tuesday, but I can guess.

The only other newsworthy item is that, for the past 3 weeks, I've been doing yoga. Or rather, I've been seated on a mat in a room while some lady does awesome yoga andsome other ladies do so-so to pretty-good yoga along with her. They are generally pretty encouraging, even though I am really terrible. They promise that I will quickly become fantastic, but...I mostly just get sweaty, which is a little embarassing, since there's no running or weightlifting involved.

Anyhow, once the banks open up next week, I'll probably send in my deposit money to the Thailand training center, after which I'll start hitting up the local travel agents and trying to get my visas for my trip all set up.

Oh yeah, the program is from February 6 (or so) to March 9th (or so). After I finish, I'll probably come back to Korea for about a week to pick up some junk (I'm planning on traveling as light as possible), and then I'll head back to the good old US of A for a bit.