The Fire Zone

Wow, hello there lovelies. It has been quite sometime since I last posted on here. I believe I left you all wondering what the next big steps would be and if everything worked out. Well, if you are determined enough to get something done, then you will succeed.

With that said, my daughter and I had returned to Korea in June of 2016. We lived in a town called Jeonju for all of 6 months. Funny enough, the job that I ended up getting was one that had turned me down in February and went with someone without a child. When I saw them again, my recruiter reminded me that I had already interviewed with them. I should have sensed that there was something wrong since they needed another teacher so quickly, but the first job I had signed a contract with (in Incheon) cancelled it and went with someone that already lived in Korea. Therefore, I went with the job in Jeonju just to get back to Korea.

Jeonju is a lovely place and the job COULD have been lovely if it wasn’t such a hostile environment. I don’t want to talk too much about it, but if you would like me to I can do another blog post on that. I could have stayed and finished out my one year contract, but the reason I didn’t wasn’t even due to the hostility. It was due to our living conditions. The apartment we were given was so filled with mold that the both of us got super sick. The worst part is that we later found out the bed too was full of mold. The teacher who ended up taking over said green goop leaked out of it when they replaced the bed.

I lived in that mess with my daughter for 6 months! I didn’t even know how badly it was until the 3rd month when I started having major breathing problems. When my daughter started to get very sick, that’s when I decided I would leave.

Actually, the big kick for me to leave was when three of us teacher’s went to the emergency room the same weekend since we were all dealing with sicknesses for weeks. Two of us were given a ton of antibiotics and one was held for two weeks!! Yes, two weeks because she had pneumonia in her left lung. When our job tried to get the doctor to let her go, that’s when I realized they really didn’t care about our livelihood and we were just dollar signs to them.

I had already expressed my concern and frustration with living in the mold. I asked to have my house moved and they refused, so I told them I would resign. Of course they didn’t take that too well. I had offered to stay until February which was the end of that school year, but I was then threatened by the supervisor and told that I had no cards on the table. That my only option was to finish the contract or she would make it to where I could never work in Korea again and that I would be blacklisted.

When a hostile environment reaches the “fire zone” as I call it it’s time to get out of the building as fast as possible, and that is what I did. I told her I would consider staying to finish the contract, but I would let them know Monday. Longer story shortened, Monday I found out that they had already hired a new teacher yet they told me that they still wanted to keep me until February.

That Tuesday I was called into the director’s office and he and the supervisor spoke to me. I had delivered him a letter in English and Korean so that he could not say that he “Couldn’t understand English” as he had on so many occasions said to me. In that meeting the supervisor lied about what was said during our meeting the previous Friday and I told her that I could not work with someone who is going to try to ruin my good name. I asked for a letter of release and the director told me that he would not give it to me unless I stayed until February and that just wasn’t what I wanted to do. I knew how toxic the environment was and how much worse it could get if I stayed.

December 16th 2016 was my last day of work there. I cried and cried. I really loved all of my student’s and didn’t want to leave them, but I had to take care of my and my daughter’s health first. I had no true plans after that, but I had a plethora of friends who offered assistance in my time of need. My coworkers were such a blessing to me. I stayed with two different ones for three weeks and then for two weeks respectively. Then, we headed to a friends house in the northern Seoul area of Namyangju. I believe we were there for two or three weeks.

After that I felt like a burden to everyone. I told my friend we would leave and I told her we had a place to stay…which wasn’t true. I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do. I just had my daughter, two suitcase bags, and prayer. We went into Seoul Centium station. I literally just sat there and searched for hotels and motels that were cheap for several hours. Then BAM! Something hit me. I remembered during college that one of my friends had stayed in a goshiwon. Little did I know that goshiwons were for single people and did not allow children because of how easily sound travels.

I took my chances anyway. I found a website called Goshipages (not sponsored) and literally sent messages to all of the ones that were in Seoul about my situation. Thankfully, I got a response from one and he asked me to call him immediately. Guys, this man…I just…wow. The kindness and compassion was overwhelming. He told me that they usually don’t allow children, but since it was winter and we had no where to go he would let us stay there as long as we needed.

When we arrived in Dongdaemun at Meridian Livingtel (shouting it out because I want him to get a ton of business) I was met by him. He helped with all of our bags and showed us around. He even held my daughter for a little bit. He told me that if I needed any assistance that he would be more than happy to help. We stayed there for a month and in that time were given so much love that it was hard to leave. Also, there was rice, kimchi, and ramen noodles included, which I was beyond grateful as I was practically broke.

So, what was I doing during this time of joblessness? Actually, I was doing a ton of research because I had to file a claim against the Jeonju school because of the violation of the labor standards act (aka they didn’t pay me my final pay, but deducted tons of fees) . Due to not receiving a letter of release, since they didn’t follow the LSA rules I was allowed to switch to a D-10 Visa (looking for work Visa). Prior to that I was on an E-2 Visa which is a teaching Visa. The E-2 visa’s are sponsored by your school so if you end the contract early you can only switch jobs if have a letter of release from that previous company, you leave the country and wait for the original contract to end, or if you did have a case and won, you could switch to a D-10.

I am so thankful that I was able to switch to the D-10 and get my money. Once that happened we left the goshiwon and moved to my friends guesthouse in Hongdae for several weeks while I was applying for jobs. I had an interview with two jobs. One was in Gangnam and the other was where I ended up, in Wonju, Gangwondo.

Even though I wanted a job in Seoul, that job just wouldn’t work for me and I’ll post about that experience interview/tour experience next.

Today, I am happy to say that this year will be my third and final year at this school in Wonju. I’m absolutely certain I made the corrrect decision in coming out here to Gangwondo again.

I’m nervous and excited for the next big move, but I know that all things will work out for us, as they always have. As we continually lean into God and his word, every step becomes less heavy.

Thank you for joining me and I’ll see you next time ~ 안녕