Tuesday, September 7, 2010

New Direction, Same Place

I have decided to stay in Korea to the end of this year and not renew my contract with the university where I was teaching. That was easy to do since they laid off all of the women professors, both Korean and foreign, and hired men. The men all have four year college degrees. The professors who were there had masters and one was Korean and got his in the States and the other was Australian and he got it online. The women including myself all have masters' degrees in the field at regular universities. I knew I had good reports from the students that I did teach.

I was very angry at first, but then I saw the gift that it brought me. I had reached a level in which I was facing an overpayment of my Social Security in the United States and I wanted to work full time as a writer. I am currently working on a book of short stories. I have never done a book of short stories before as I have written only novels. Short stories gives me the chance to try and publish them in other markets before having them published in book form. It helps with the sale of the book. I am being optimistic here.

I also found a way of getting books in English and most of them are the classics. I have been reading them some for the second time and noticing how they are put together. Some of the books I have been able to get are no longer available in English anywhere even on Google Books and even on Amazon. I also read children chapter books since I write occasional books in that genre. I love to read them. I have discovered a writer by the name of Diana Wynne Jones. She is wonderful to read especially the book, "Howl's Moving Castle".

I have been able to make friends with some Koreans and Americans and attend church on Sunday as the meeting is in English. They know I am not a Christian and they don't seem to mind. I bought a Bible in English and read it occasionally as it is a way of understanding literature in English.

I will be going home as soon as my son books passage on a freighter as I am not flying home but going on a ship and taking a slow way home or at least that is the plan so far. I am very excited about this. It is a common way for people to travel in the Pacific area and booking one way is the way most people do it.

When I first started this blog, I had no idea things would turn out so exciting. Things seem to continue to do so. I take trips to different towns and cities in Korea and have a grand time. I spend the money I have made here. Since I don't have any bills, I can make my money stretch and my rent is very low. The lowest utility bills I have ever had in my life have been here in Korea. So far, I have not paid anything over $15.00 a month in gas or electricity.

What saves me money is I can't buy clothes since nothing is over size 10 here. Even if I was very skinny and somehow got shorter (I am 5'8"), I could never fit in the clothes. The smallest size I will ever wear will be size 12. You can't even buy nylons for people with size 12. I did buy some sandals but they were for men. In the States, they would have looked just fine for women but not here where most women wear very high heels. Their feet are very thin and my feet are broad. I would never wear heels anyhow. Men have the same problem.

Men get paid more to teach then women and they get their clothes tailor-made. They even get their shoes made. Most have families to support and it is very bad form for women to work if their husband is able to work. That is changing but not in great numbers as yet.

It is a man's world here in Korea. Korean men will not move for women if walking and certainly will not stop for them in crosswalks if driving. I have learned to move fast even if the light is green for me. In stores they will knock me over and I am a senior. I am taller than most Korean men and when I was teaching they did not do that as I was a professor, but I am now on the hit list.

The apartment house I live in is very small, only three stories and is owned by a woman so I am treated well. She and her husband tend a victory garden next to the apartment house and she gives away the produce to all of the people in her building. I am the only woman in the building and she is very nice to me.

I still walk a lot and eat well. I love to spend the day at a department store called Home Plus. When it was very hot, I would eat a rice burger and have coffee. My lack of Korean is not an issue. Everyone is very nice to me. I often see people I know and they invite me to eat in the Korean Restaurant upstairs which I never do because I can't order anything as the menu is for large families although the price is very cheap. I could never eat all that food. The Korean love their food very spicy and full of red paste and soy sauce which I can't eat because of gluten problems. Still it is nice to eat up there and talk with them and to drink the coffee that I can buy at a low price.

Things are going well. I am having a good time, much better than I expected. If I go home on a freighter I will see even more of the world. Wish me luck on that.

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