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King of the castle

On Friday, I had an interview with the head foreign teacher, Jonathan, a Canadian, of a hagwon in Nowon, north Seoul. It seemed to go reasonably well. I didn’t know I was due to have one, although I thought I might.

I’d been due to have interviews the previous day, but one way or another they didn’t pan out. The e-mail from Mi Young, the Korean fiancée of my American friend had mentioned a couple of times, and mentioned Korean time. I managed to misunderstand this and expected calls at the wrong time of day. An e-mail later on told me I’d apparently got angry with the interviewers when they called. Even though I was in bed at the time.

So I thought that the call I got on Friday was one of those people calling back. But it was for a completely different hagwon. I found out they were based in Nowon, but I felt silly asking for the hagwon’s name – so I didn’t. An e-mail from Peter told me that Mi Young hadn’t been able to tell me about this interview beforetime.

Anyway, during the interview I asked Jonathan for and got a couple of e-mail addresses of other foreign teachers at the hagwon. After a message from Peter indicating that they’d offered me the job, I sent the same e-mail to both contacts asking about the management, working conditions and so on. I had a response from one, Todd, and American on his second contract, and finally discovered the hagwon’s name – E-Castle. He also gave a positive account of the school.

I’ve searched for references to E-Castle, but found nothing that seems relevant (it does, though, appear to be the name of an electronics company). I had further e-mails from Mi Young today – one of which was supposed to have a contract attached – but didn’t.

In the meantime, I’ve also registered with a couple of other websites/recruiters (well, one of each, I suppose). I had a total of 14 e-mails in my ‘official business’ e-mail inbox today. Most of them related to MyESLJob.com and ignorable.

So the E-Castle job is the only definite thing on the table, and, as there seems nothing wrong with it so far (apart from the fact that I can’t find any information about it on the internet) there’s a good chance this’ll be the one I plump for. Adventure Teaching has sent me a list of positions, but none of them are any better than this one.

I don’t feel entirely comfortable about accepting it, but only for pretty trivial reasons: this is the first offer I’ve had, so there might be better ones waiting; in terms of the hagwon’s size and location it sounds very similar to my previous job and I was thinking something a little different (either a larger hagwon, or maybe a public school job) would be more tempting; and finally accepting any job offer, and thus setting the course of your life for the next year, is a nervy experience.

Parallel to all this is the story of my notarised and apostilled police check letter. It didn’t arrive on Friday, nor during the day on Monday. I rang the notary at about 4:45 yesterday and he told me to see if it arrived the following morning. But it didn’t – because it arrived on Monday evening at about 8:30. I called him back this morning and he seemed surprised – he was under the impression that the Secure DX postal system only delivered during office hours.

The apostille is a sheet a little bigger than A5 glued to the back of the letter. At first I was concerned that it hadn’t been filled out completely, but having looked at pictures on the internet, that seems normal. So anyway, I now have all the documents I need for the visa process … well, no I don’t actually – I need some passport photos (and now I have a beard – darn) and a contract.

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