How it all Began (Part 5)

So now that you have met Granger, I’ll return to May of 1996 and finish up how my wife at the time and I wound up in Gongju.

Hello Gongju


By mid-May, Better Resource had gotten us university jobs in the small town of Gongju which 2 hours by bus from Seoul and an hour from Daejeon another fairly large city. The job also was only 20 hours of teaching/week vs 30 in the hogwon and we thought we would be teaching university credit courses (that was a small lie). So, on June 24, 1996, 6 weeks after the wife had gotten her MA, we were off to South Korea. We would live in Korea until the end of 2013 working in a variety of jobs in a number of cities eventually settling in Seoul in 2004. 

Helping people

In the ensuing year, while we were in Gongju, we would wind up helping several people there who we having trouble with their working conditions. We would primarily help them do midnight runs (leaving a job without telling your employer you were quitting ) as what the US Embassy had said about hogwons was pretty much true. We would also sometimes provide financial help to people who have not gotten paid or needed a little help getting that plane ticket home. That help we provided people then would then become a part of our mantra there to help our fellow expats and return the help people provided us during the first few weeks which were very rough. 

We had run low on money, a neighbor loaned us some. I had gotten horribly sick with some sort of nasty cold or bronchitis after 2 weeks there our neighbor got me to a doctor just to name a few things. We both got terribly homesick and our fellow expat teacher showed us around and introduced us to people. We helped several expats in Gongju who were in horrible situations. For example, one person had been hit by her boss in front of me for calling in sick. We would continue to do this during our entire time there. Even now 5 years after leaving Korea, I stay in touch with people there and provide help to people in need. 

So there you go. The story about how a flyer on a bulletin board at a university in Alpine, Texas led me on a 20-year odyssey through Asia.