Two copies, because I keep one, and have to give the other one to the Immigration Office as part of my proof of employment before I get my "sojourn extended", aka, renew my visa. When I had a look at the "chop" or signature stamp I noticed that unlike past years, it is not an individual's--the individual who is the Chief Superintendent of SMOE. The chop, curiously, just translates as "Seoul Special City Education Main Office Person", but there is no actual signature.
Not to worry, Gentle Readers, I gathered my other required documents and made my way to Omokyo, a few stops away on Seoul's impressive subway system. Those docs? My passport. My ARC, alien resident card. The contract. The school's business license. My apartment contract (it's not my contract, actually, but the school's). My work timetable. 60,000 W.
They only started requiring a housing contract two years ago, and the "timetable" thing is brand new--the officer even asked me what my work hours are today. I just don't see what that has to do with anything. Furthermore, as recently as two years ago, the fee (with unlimited exits and entries) was 30,000 W. Doubled!
The money isn't all that important, but if Korea is really serious about joining the world community, it should not be making this process more difficult. If my visa sponsor wants me to work one hour a week and is still willing to sponsor me, what business is it of theirs? (This is a rhetorical question.)
On the plus side, they have again rearranged the Immigration Office at Omokyo, significantly, separating Chinese immigrants from the other foreigners. In the past, the visa-renewal process has run me about two to three hours. Today, I arrived at 2:30, waited 10 minutes for the "interview", and was walking out with my updated ARC by three o'clock!
2) Today being Wednesday, I have finished three days of summer camp. From 9 AM to 10:30, I have a handful of 5th and 6th graders for "Myths, Monsters & Magic". Yesterday, we learned about the ancient Greeks, focusing on Jason and Hercules, with their attendant monsters. Today was all about dragons, and tomorrow we're mainly going to watch the Disney classic The Sword and the Stone.
From 10:40 to lunchtime, 3rd and 4th graders are learning about Space. Supposedly, we have a camp rule limiting campers to 15, but there are 20 of them! Today was the solar system, and our key activity was making the "Saturn's Ring Game". Each kid had to bring in an empty water bottle yesterday. I prepped by popping off the cap's lock ring and popping it into the bottle. Students cut out a piece of paper on which they draw a space-like or planet-like design, about two to three inches wide. This is rolled up and then I hot-glue it into the neck of the bottle so it sticks up into the bottle. They seal it with the cap (I should have taken a picture). It's like a recycled hand-held game--the player inverts the bottle so the cap and "post" are down, and tries by shaking and twisting the bottle to get the ring onto the post. They loved it!
Tomorrow's topic is the moon. I'm going to try to get them to write an acrostic poem on the MOON. Then, they will make the phases of the moon (eight of them) using Oreo cookies: twist it open, then scrape the creme filling into the proper shape, and finally, lay them all out onto a labeled diagram. After they get a 'stamp", they can eat their moons. It'll ruin their lunch, but I don't really give a damn!
3) So that's tomorrow, which is Thursday. Friday has been declared a government holiday, so schools will be closed. My school actually wanted me to make up this "missed" holiday next Saturday, August 22nd. I made it clear they were out of their ever-lovin' minds--the contract is very specific about work being Monday to Friday, period. Oh, I had to do 10 days of camp, they said. No, I have to do "two weeks" of camp--if one of the days is a holiday, so be it. Furthermore, I pointed out, the school chose to have me do two weeks, when according to new rules announced this spring, I could do only one week--as many others are doing. Damned if I'll make up a day I don't even have to do on a Saturday.
I told them this makes me feel the school does not respect me or appreciate me, if they want me to make up a day like this on a Saturday in clear violation of my contract! Call the SMOE office ... Well, the VP apparently called another school and conceded I was right. I would like an apology for hurting my feelings and disrespecting me, but I doubt I'll get one. (I guess I should make it clear that all concerned except me seemed to forget I did three weeks of winter camp, and thus only owed one more week. Still, that's their fucking job to keep up with shit like that!) Anyway, I won't be working on Saturday--unless that sweet Nambu District public speaking gig comes back!
4) Next week, I will have five days of camp, the likelihood of an additional holiday being announced being a remote possibility, and then the next week we go back to school full-time as second semester begins on August 24th.
5) There is no #5.
6) I have returned from 16 days of vacation in Cambodia, having been to Siem Reap, Otres Beach at Sihanoukville, Kampot and Phenom Penh. So, over the next couple of weeks, I'll be uploading some amount of pictures and personal observations about my trip. I am sure you are agog, Dear Reader, with anticipation. Here's a glimpse to get you going. The paintings cost me $25 total, and I saw similar at the airport duty-free for $150 each: