Thursday, December 17, 2009

How It's Been

Oh, hai! Iz on da innernets, updating mah blog. If I wrote this whole post in LOLcat speak, that would be annoying right? I'll spare you then.

In the last installment I was walking along crying, unsure of what was about to happen at my school. If you've been following along, bless you. I'm sorry I suck so thoroughly at updating regularly. Of you've been following along, you sort of know what happened on Monday but I'll fill in some details.

I didn't get to say an official goodbye to my boss on Monday. He had already come in and collected his things before I arrived at work. I was disappointed, but also relieved because I didn't want for the waterworks to start up again and I knew they would have if I'd have gotten to watch him walk away. As it was, I still had to hurry down the hall during a couple breaks to have a little boo-hoo in the washroom. I'm not a overly demonstrative person when it comes to sadness, really - but for a while there I was having trouble getting a grip. I know it was everything that was happening; I was sick and in pain, unhappy with my boyfriend, and just flattened by what was happening at school. My nerves were raw, both literally and figuratively - and yet I didn't really feel like talking about any of it. I just wanted to get back home and back in bed as quickly as possible. I'm taking an anti-depressant for the shingles complications, and I suppose it's working. I just cringe when I think of what a total bloody mess I'd have been left to my own devices.

So I didn't meet my boss that first day or the day after. It was mid-week before he appeared in the Teacher's Room and we had just enough time to greet each other before I had to go to my next class. I'd been told that he couldn't speak English well, and that's the truth and a half. My first grade students are able to speak better than him or his wife. That's fine. He's not teaching any English classes. Still, it's a bit odd to own an English school and have to struggle to recall the word for "goyani." (That'd be "cat.") But my new boss is a Math Man. He's owned three math schools and I believe he was far more interested in acquiring our fledgling, and frankly failing, math school.

He and his wife have since completely moved in. All their stuff and all their students have been incorporated into the fairly empty shell of a math academy my boss was running and now, like Frankenstein, "It LIVES!" Things are hopping over there, with each of the four classrooms now filled with students. They've brought over two more teachers as well, and our first hwe-shick, which happened a couple weeks ago was a good time. I spent most of that gathering in silence, as The Princess - who had been getting on my nerves - was seated at the opposite end of the table. My other co-worker sat beside me, but I've never had much to say to her. Otherwise I was surrounded by pleasant yet reserved people who don't speak English. And don't drink. It was a regular yawn-fest, and I fought hard just to stay awake. (Which is pretty much my standard M.O. these days anyways.)

There was some concern for a couple weeks after my former boss walked out the door. They hadn't changed bank account numbers quickly enough and tuition fees had been deposited into former boss's account. He was not answering his phone or responding to their messages. I'd sent him a couple messages that week as well, but didn't expect him to reply. All I had texted was, "I miss you." He called me on Friday night, drunk, to ask me if I wanted to take a drive across the country the following day to visit some pachinko parlour his friend was managing. I declined, telling him I was pretty sure he wouldn't want to see me cry all weekend. He then told me that if he had the power to, he would destroy the schools. I said I understood, and made him promise not to drink and drive. I didn't tell The Princess or my new boss I had spoken to him, but I hoped he hadn't gambled away all the money that had appeared in his account.

I had a conversation the following week with a very agitated Princess. The former boss was still ignoring them and the new boss was starting to consider staking out his apartment. They connected on Friday when the old boss finally called in. The Princess was irritated he wasn't returning the tuition fees pronto with a big red bow on them, but instead was requesting the cash ledger from the months before he'd sold the school. "Some parents were late with their fees in September and October," the Princess explained, "but he signed a contract that said he would get no more money after Novemeber 1st," she complained.
"But that's technically HIS money, those late payments - since they were covering periods when he owned the school," I pointed out.
"Yes, but he signed the contract that said,..."
"You know," I interrupted, "I hope you guys go easy on him, since he's had a hard time. How much money are we talking about anyhow?"
"Yes, but the contract says,..."
"Princess, I know about contracts here. My contract," I said, nodding my chin toward the book that houses it still says that I have medical insurance, and we both know that I don't. I know contracts here are bendable and breakable. I bet it wouldn't be worth the effort to take him to court over those fees, and the truth is that should be his money, since he owned the school during the time those fees are covering."

I don't know what the outcome was. I haven't seen my former boss since. We keep making plans that haven't worked out for some reason or another. I answered my phone one cold rainy Sunday a couple weekends ago and it was him, telling me to go check outside. I opened the door to discover a giant bag filled with cabbage and radishes and a huge container of his mother's kimchi, which is the most delicious kimchi I've ever had. There was one more present tucked inside a cardboard cylinder. His father sent a long scroll of calligraphy on beautiful deep blue handmade paper. The characters are painted in gold. It's easily the most precious and gorgeous souvenir I'll take home with me. I'll have it framed back in Canada.

Speaking of Canada, it's on my mind. Last Friday I began counting down as I passed the sixth month mark until my last contract will finish. When my former boss sold the school I called my family back home and said they'd probably see me at Christmas. I was hasty and reacting on my jagged nerves and hurt feelings. With some perspective, I've reminded myself to quit taking things so personally. It seems I've lucked out once again, and my new boss appears to be a really good guy. My co-workers are in agreement, and they're far more able to make that call since they can communicate with him. I've really been given a lot of freedom lately. My boss spends almost the whole day down the hall at the math school and I see him at some point during the day when I say hello, and usually at the end of the day when I bow and wave goodbye.

Slowly but steadily the number of students at our school is increasing. Most are math students who are migrating down the hall to us. I think a new teacher is going to start tomorrow at my school. The Princess is leaving us next week. I sense that she didn't really want to go, but she told me she must - because of what happened with the old boss. His decision to give up was a reaction to her declaring she was quitting.

I've got just a few small things to write about before this particular drama is wrapped up neatly and can be filed under "O" for "OVER." I'll try to get that done tomorrow, and hopefully we can return to some lightheartedness 'round here, just in time for the holidays.

When my old keyboard quit working I went shopping for a new one and picked out a fairly cheap model. I think I paid about fifteen dollars for it. It's a piece of poorly-made shit, and the letters have been steadily disappearing from the keys. Now only the ones in the middle can be faintly made out. The most commonly used ones, where you would rest your right and left hands, are completely gone. I've discovered it's very very difficult for me to type without being able to see the letters. I wrote my mom an e-mail over the weekend and she told me she was convinced I was drunk before she read my explanation at the end about the keyboard. I've got an early start tomorrow morning, so I'm not going to proof this properly, and there will surely be a lot of things that spell check misses. Forgive me, and I'll try to clean it up tomorrow. Until then, I'll just bow and wave goodbye.


Kevin Kim said...

Merry Christmas, J.

Jason said...

Holy cow....I hope 2010 is a million times better than 2009 for you!

Happy New Year,

John McCrarey said...

It was nice chatting with you on Facebook yesterday Jenn.

Good luck with your Caribbean adventures.