My first daylog (indeed, my first writeup) of the New Year. After a terribly long but otherwise unproblematic flight from Montreal to Seoul, via Vancouver, I'm back in South Korea. My two weeks back in my home and native land were great. Aside from my mother and my friend Eric, both of whom came to see me in the spring, everyone I saw there, I hadn't seen in about a year and a half. I even saw my friend Mark, who lives in Scotland. I met him at university, and haven't seen him in about 4 years, but he happened to be visiting Canada at the same time I was. The trip mostly consisted of drinking Alexander Keith's India Pale Ale and playing a variety of card and board games with my friends and family. There was also some drunken naked sledding done on New Year's Eve; I have the pictures (and the scars; it was really icy) to prove it. I also met my little sister's new boyfriend, Adam. He's the first guy she's had that I actually approve of.

Meanwhile, back in Korea, my English hagwon (private academy) has predictably decayed into chaos without me. Oh, wait. It was already a seething pool of the distilled essence of chaos before I left. Anyway, the big news I was faced with upon returning was that:

  • The vice principal has rewritten the curriculum I designed before I left. Somewhat surprisingly, his actually looks workable, so no problem there.
  • Bill and Maria, the annoying couple at our school, have given their notice that they'll be quitting in two months. Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out. The less whiny, incompetent teachers we have, the better.
  • My favorite student, Fred, has announced that he'll be leaving the school at the end of February, to move to Gwangju, so that he can attend a school for the gifted at Cheonnam University. This is great for him, although I'll miss teaching him.
  • We lost 35 students over Christmas break. My most hated student, Layo, was among them. Hallelujah.
  • One of my classes has ceased to exist. Now I'm teaching a reasonable 23 hours a week, instead of the 26 I was pulling before. This is a short-lived reprieve, though, because they're opening a new middle school class, and I guarantee they'll give it to me.
  • The computers haven't been fixed and they still haven't decided if and when we'll have a summer vacation. What else is new?
I'm currently halfway through my first day back and work, and it's been smooth sailing so far. The vacation really helped reduce my stress level. I haven't played much Go in the last two weeks, except against my friends who are all total beginners. I was worried that I'd be a bit out of practice, but the Go books I read over the vacation seem have made me be better than ever, having won 2 out of 3 games this morning, and the one I lost having been lost in a way typical of me: getting ahead and being careless at the end of the game. I'm writing this on the one hour break I now have, due to my no-longer-existing 5 o'clock class. I seem to not be affected by jet lag, at least not much. I'm now going to go eat some dinner at the school cafeteria, teach my last two classes, and then go out for Korean beer with my housemates. Life is good.