Tuesday, June 25, 2013

My last week (or is it?) takes an unexpected twist

Jeju City at twilight

Last week took an unexpected turn when I asked my co-teacher to confirm that June 28th was my last day. Instead of confirming it, she asked if I would work through the beginning of August.  This caught me completely off guard and put me in a conundrum.  On the one hand, more money is always good.  On the other hand, so is more vacation.  Further complicating matters, is that fact that we'd be leaving after about a week in August and there is a ton to do to prepare for our departure, Europe trip and wedding.  So having more than one week off before we leave had much greater value to me than it would to most people in this situation.  And though we don't have a lot of money to spare, we have budgeted for all our expenses for the rest of the year with a comfortable cushion just in case.  So while the money would certainly be nice, it wasn't necessary to our survival.

After thinking about it, and getting some good advice, I opted to offer them a counter proposal.  I would work for two weeks in July for a small raise over my current salary.  I was in a strong negotiation position as I would be doing them a favor and I didn't mind using it.  My thinking was "either they accept my offer and I get more money and still get done early, or they reject it and I get even more vacation time.  I can't lose!"

I didn't hear back from my director until today (through my co-teacher since he speaks no English).  According to her he said that June 28th is my last day.  Don't know if he disliked the salary bump, the fact that I offered 2 weeks instead of almost 5 or if he was simply angry I didn't just say yes and do what he wanted me to do (as nearly all Korean workers would have done).

But, whatever the reason (his heart or his shoes), I get more vacation and I'm very enthused!

PS.  Bonus points to you if you recognize the reference in that last sentence.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Hiking Jeju Olle Trail 7 (or "about time the weather let us actually enjoy our island!")

The beginning of Olle 7. 

Last time I mentioned that I was going to look into the possibility of getting LASIK here.  After a couple appointments, I decided to wait to have LASIK done until we've moved to Taiwan (our probable next destination).  Since I would be having vision correction surgery for the second time, they wanted to do a procedure called LASEK which has a longer recovery time than LASIK and is a little more expensive.  I decided to wait mainly because I'd like to be able to go for followup visits and be close in case a touchup treatment is needed.  I doubt either is necessary but with my eyes, I'm taking no chances.

In the mean time, as some of you Eagle-eyed observers might have noticed in the photo above, I've started wearing glasses sometimes to help improve my distance vision.  They work well and are very cheap and easy to get here.

If you're curious about the picture above, we went out last Thursday (a holiday in Korea) and hiked the most famous Olle Trail on Jeju, Olle #7.  Parts of it are boring, flat walks through towns.  And the rest of it isn't much better, as you can tell from the pictures below.

See what I mean?  Boring huh?


We were hoping it would get better at the end.  As you can see, it didn't.

Ok so maybe it wasn't so bad.  We went with our good friend EJ and her secret boyfriend Charles (which was interesting since he speaks absolutely no English).  The trail covered around 12 miles, almost 15 counting the walks to and from the bus.  We were sore, tired, starving and happy at the end.

Charles and EJ

A little hazy but I wasn't complaining about the view

Without a doubt, the highlight for the girls was meeting a small puppy along the walk. I'll let the pictures explain.

All together now ladies.....  AAAWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!

Now i'm excited because I have less than two weeks left.  And once I'm done ... I've got a month and a half of holiday on Korea's most popular vacation island.  I intend to use it well.

Part of the time will be devoted to selling our stuff, getting the details of our trip finalized, doing prep work for the wedding, researching possible investments, getting ready to leave and other tasks.  But a bigger part of that time will be devoted to kicking back, relaxing, practicing my photography and golf, going to the beach and otherwise just enjoying the heck out of life.

Safe to say, I can't wait!

Our last view of Olle #7