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Monday, August 03, 2009

A word I am probably not the first to have coined:

Fauxbo (n.): one who likes to imagine that he is living the derelict, and therefore romantic, life of a vagabond or wandering street urchin, but who was by age of eight earning more for picking up pinecones in the back yard than millions of others earned through backbreaking labor, who has a lifetime of more or less stable employment guaranteed to him merely by virtue of being born a certain color in a certain place and time, and who still has an undeniable need for conveniences and creature comforts such as food that doesn’t look funny, periodic or even frequent warm showers, deodorant, gmail, and blogging.

That definition was written in order that you might understand the following statement: my 7-month-ish period of being a fauxbo has come to an end. This is not because I have given away my money and successfully shed my upper-middle class desires and prejudices, but rather because I have at long last become employed as a white guy who can dress up and speak English in front of pupils (who could probably care more or less) at an educational institution (which itself could probably also care more or less [insofar as institutions may be said to be capable of caring or not caring in the first place]).

The institution in question is 영진전문대학(Yeungjin Specialty University, or Yeungjin College), which happens to be located in Daegu, within about 15 kilometers of my previous job. As far as I can tell, Yeungjin is pretty much a junior college or vocational school. It hast departments of tourism, business, engineering, beauty, etc, and places little emphasis on the humanities. Which is fine, because if everyone were a fauxbo like me, there’d be nobody to actually accomplish anything. Though, of course, whether anything is actually worth accomplishing is a question only the humanities can pretend to be the only one to be able to answer. No, that wasn't a typo.

I wasn’t intending to come back so close to where I had been working and probably only about 5% of the positions I applied for were in the area. Nonetheless, of the 10 or so interviews I did, and the 5 or so positions I was offered, this one seems to have the longest non-teaching time (4 or 5 months!), though I’m not allowed to go abroad for all or even most of it. The kicker, though, is that THERE ARE NO FRIDAY CLASSES. 3-day weekends for an entire year. I am going to read so many linguistics books hat I’ll probably go totally solipsistic and get lost in minute self-analysis every time I attempt an utterance. Which will mean the end of the blog as you know it. But by that point, I won't care, now will I?

Last weekend, I met a {Scottish} fellow who’s been teaching at Yeungjin for a semester and he took me on a mini-tour of the campus. Everything seems pretty nice. The buildings have smooth, shiny, marbly floors with corridors that are creepily wide when bandoned, as during the summer months. One (Korean) friend has told me that the flower blooms brought on by spring are enough to make one intoxicated. There are tennis courts and badminton courts and a faculty cafeteria, and the foreign teachers (12 or so, 6 new like me) have an office together. There is apparently only 1 level of English class, and thus only one book, such that despite teaching 18 lessons a week I only have to plan for 3 or 4. And that’s if I don't bum a lesson plan off of a colleague. Not that I intend to do that.

The Scotsman also showed me his crib, which one assumes will be similar to mine. It was a little bigger than my old one, some 550 square feet, with a better veranda and a much-hyped and therefore moderately disappointing view of a river and some trees. Many, if not all, of the University’s English-teaching faculty are housed in the building, I think even on the same floor, so living will be very dormirific.

With the job search finished, I pretty much get to kick back and enjoy some downtime in which to read

(DFW-STYLE INTERPOLATION, THOUGH REALLY IT’S MORE OF AN ASIDE: I am currently reading Black English, an old book from ‘72 explaining why it's completely wrong to assume that standard Black dialect is basically just a version of Standard White/Written English with all the grammar removed. I will admit that even though the linguist in me has long prodded me to say thingsike “Black English isn't wrong, it's’s just different," the former was more or less in fact my underlying attitude. That is, if I had heard the phrases "I done go," I done gone” “I done went," "I done been gone," or "I been done gone," I would havand assumed the speaker meant “I went," but didn't know how to properly express verb tense and aspect. But apparently, if you know how to decode them, such sentences actually contain information about the act in question - in some cases, even, informaton that Standard White/Written English tends to leave out. There’s even a difference between "he sick" and "he be sick," both of which I would have assumed were simple cases of deciding to leave the copula uncojugated or even out in order to simplify thtence and get rid of redundancy. END INTERPOLATION)

, do a bit of extra planning for camp classes, run around Seoul with the other camp teachers (material for a future post), meet a few old friends living in the area, keep studying Chinese character, and worry about my new job, though by all accounts it ought to run smoothly.