Sunday, 7 September 2008

Nobody likes a quitter

Today is Sunday, and we've just been noraebanging for the past couple of hours. Which means lots of soju and shouting along to such classics as Wuthering Heights and Careless Whisper. Have to teach in the morning. Ow.

A week last Tuesday a new girl arrived at ECC to replace Rachel, the Teessider who went home this week. She'd been in contact with our co-worker and her fellow Canadian Laura for months, and she'd talked to everyone else on facebook prior to coming, so we expected her to slot into the ECC way nicely. On the Wednesday, the day after she arrived, I was out with a friend when Laura had a phone call from the new girl's mum, saying she'd had a bit of a freakout and could they go and see her.

She was staying in the same love motel as I did the first couple of nights, in Suyu, so a couple of guys went down to see her. They knocked, there was no answer, they went home. Apparently she was asleep - at half past 9? The next night we persuaded her to come to see us in Eunhaeng Sageori for some galbi, but she barely ate anything, didn't drink, and generally looked pretty fed up and it was more than clear then that she wasn't going be around much longer. We called our school's manager to tell her what was going on and the next day a replacement was actively sought.

Sure enough, she didn't stay. We invited her out at the weekend but she declined. We invited her out for dinner during the week - nope. She's made it clear that she hates Korea and wants to get back to Canada as soon as possible... and the reason for this? It's "too foreign" here. It's hard to get into her head to know what she must be thinking. I mean, If I'd decided to quit after two days here, my friends would ridicule me, I wouldn't be able to look my family in the eye, it'd just be embarrassing. Not only that but this contract termination means she has to pay for her flights, out and back, which is more than £1000. If she'd worked even for a month she'd have broken even. I can't fathom the mindlessness of deciding to live on the other side of the world for a year when you blatently don't want to. Yeah, if I sound a little bitter, here's the reason: we have to sub her classes until a replacement can be recruited. Which could be a while.

She's been teaching here since last Tuesday and will do tomorrow, we assume, but her flight is on Tuesday. The atmosphere in the office slightly sour, and obviously so. Like I say, if she'd stayed for a month not only would she be fine financially, a new teacher could be recruited, we'd be happy, and she might even have had a good time. But that won't happen when you lock yourself in your room at the weekend eating low fat Pringles, doing laundry and weeping. Which is what happened this weekend.

Let's hope the new new person isn't such a disastrously weak human being.

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