About Jeju Island > Work > Year One Impressions: The Good, The Bad, The Compromise > Looking Forward
About Jeju Island
Ah, Jeju. You’re like a cute, sweet girlfriend who doesn’t understand why I wouldn’t want garlic in my cornflakes every morning. That’s pretty much literal and a metaphor at the same time.
You can read the basic facts about Jeju here. This was our first impression before living here. The island has a long history, and a lot of rich local culture that is better explained on that page.
Jeju is widely known throughout Asia as a “honeymoon island.” Also sometimes called “The Hawaii of Korea,” though Hawaiians who live here tend to disagree. It is a frequent destination for newlyweds or vacationers from Japan and China, not only because of its scenery, but also because of its large golf culture and many courses. Jeju considers itself international, but they’re not quite there yet. I’ll elaborate later. Because of its status as a destination for honeymooners, there are many tourist-related museums, many of which are merely elaborate shops that call themselves museums. They range in everything from chocolate to film to teddy bears to sex. Jeju Loveland, a walk-through theme park, is famous for its suggestive statues and sexual imagery, and is a stark contrast to the otherwise extremely conservative Korean culture where showing even a little cleavage is frowned upon. From what younger locals tell me, this conservatism is especially predominant here on the island, and may change in a generation. Which rings true for locations the rest of the world over; areas more isolated from major cities tend to be more conservative and behind in ever-changing social customs.
If I had to compare Jeju to anywhere I’ve lived, I would say the closest fit is St. John’s, Newfoundland. Although there are more differences than similarities, both are on an island, both have fishing communities, and both are small enough to be comfortable, but small enough to lack certain things as well.
Maria and I live in Jeju-si, which means Jeju City. It is the main city on the island, and there is a smaller city on the south coast called Seogwipo (pronounced ‘soggy-poh’.) Both cities have their charm, though Seogwipo is considerably smaller. Jeju City has about 400,000 people, and Seogwipo has about 150,000. There are other smaller towns scattered around the island, notably in the East and West.
The island itself can be driven around easily in a day. The culture – language and food- varies from east to west, north to south, and there are even some places on the island where people live traditional lives, not unlike the Amish. We hope to visit this village sometime this summer if we get our own transportation.
The city of Jeju is broken into two parts (link to Jeju City on Google Maps) – the old city (“Gu-Jeju,”) and the new city (“Shin-Jeju.”) We live in Shin-Jeju, though most of the nightlife occurs in Gu-Jeju. To take a taxi from one to the other costs about the equivalent of 5 Canadian dollars. The cost of the same ride in Toronto would be about 15 dollars.
In the city there are a few places that foreigners like to hang out. The first, without question, is The Factory. Inspired by Andy Warhol’s NYC Factory art loft, the walls are decorated with Warhol-inspired artistic themes. The owner is a Korean woman about my age, who is originally from Jeju but has spent a considerable time off the island. Her English is great and she has no problem mingling with the many foreigners who hang out at The Factory. It’s a good venue for live music or DJ’s, and it’s always a good time. The only drawback, as anywhere, is the thick smoke that concentrates in the room by midnight.
There is also a newer place called Jane’s Groove (we call it Zain’s Groove, after Zain the guitarist in Dangerpants.) It’s also a cozy second-story bar/dance club with an owner that speaks great English. Equipped also with good sound and good DJ gear, the only problem (other than the smoke) is that the same DJ is always there, and he tends to play the same set night after night.
That reminds me of St. John’s.
Also, like in St. John’s, Koreans love to hear the songs that they know. They will listen to other things, but they won’t be that interested. If they hear fist-pumping pop jams like “Sex on the Beach” or that “I Got A Feeling” Black Eyed Peas song, or worst yet – Korean pop – they all jump up and dance. If you play anything just as dance worthy that they’re not familiar with, they don’t respond. It’s a challenge for any DJ to play anything other than the stock dozen songs that are popular at any given time.
Other hang outs include Club Ai, a proper all-night club in Shin-Jeju. Philip DJ’s there frequently, but it has been closed down for over a month now due to a landlord dispute. Bad, bad news for an island with little in the way of all-night dance clubs.
There is also a place right on the water called Haebyon Concert, which is an incredibly comfortable place with many couches, a stage, and a proper sound set up. It’s the most ideal place for live shows and we (the foreigners) have open mic shows there every couple of months. Due to its location on the coastal road, it’s not an “all-the-time” place to hang out. But I love going there, because when you’re onstage you have, behind the audience, a fully windowed wall that reveals the well-lit shoreline , and you can watch the tide crashing in on the black volcanic rocks while you’re rocking out onstage. It’s also fantastic because for some reason, everyone goes outside to smoke. The inside almost never gets too smoky.
There are also a couple of other bars that foreigners frequent, but I almost never go there. They are underground, so they are just about as polluted with cigarette smoke as you can possibly imagine.
Jeju is brilliant for its beaches. With about 13 main beaches around the island, you can take your pick on any given day where you might like to go. The closest one is about ten minutes away by cab (or an hour on foot,) but is still within the city and is known by Koreans as “the dirty beach.” Still, it’s nice enough visit for its proximity and it’s not that dirty by any standard. If anything, it’s just not as picturesque as the other beaches Jeju has to offer. Our favourite beach is about an hour away by bus, but if we get a scooter this year, that should cut the time in half.
The south side has surf beaches, though the surfing is heavily monitored and you can’t take too many chances. During beach season, Korean lifeguards are incessantly vigilant about not letting people go too far out into the water. Perhaps they know something about the currents that we don’t, but at some beaches, if the waves are hitting your waist, you’re in too deep and will get called out.
At our favourite beach, swimming is not a problem. The bottom tapers out for a long distance, so it’s often enjoyed by many families during beach season, which is basically July and part of August. Koreans will not go to the beach unless it is within the given weeks of beach season. And when it’s not designated beach season, why would anyone go to the beach? They also cover themselves head to toe, and will swim in wide visors and long-sleeved shirts to avoid even the slightest bit of a sun tan. Where in the West we want to be tanned, it is generally ideal all across Asia to be white as porcelain.
At many of the beaches you can snorkel and see many exotic fish. We haven’t done that yet, but will do it this summer. For a reasonable annual price you can also join the boating club, and use small 2-person boats or a catamaran to hang out with your friends all day on the water.
Hallasan (Mt. Halla)
Hallasan is the central peak of Jeju island. It’s the tallest peak in South Korea. It’s also a dead volcano. Jeju Island is a volcanic island about 2 million years old, so just about anywhere you go you can find the distinct bubble rock (porous basalt) associated with volcanoes. Most things here are made from this rock, just as many things in Greece are made from local marble. Sidewalks, street curbs, bricks, stone fences.
Hallasan has an elevation of almost 2,000 meters. It is a ubiquitous specter anywhere you go on the island, rising up in the haze or disappearing into thick layers of clouds. Last year during Cheusok (the Koran equivalent to Thanksgiving,) we decided to climb Halla. Knowing it would take a full day, we set out in the morning and took the eastern route up.
We got to the top by lunch time. It had only taken three hours. At this elevation, what had been a warm fall day below had turned into a cold, misty breeze up in the clouds. At times the fog was thick, making it almost impossible to catch a view of the crater and the lake that sits atop it. At one point we heard a massive rush and “AAAHHHS!” as the crowd sitting at the top ran to the fence to look down on the crater as the fog cleared for just a quick moment. Long enough to see the lake (er, pond,) but not long enough to get a photo.
After an hour or so we headed back down via the northern path. With much bravado and recalling regular jaunts up Signal Hill, I had tried to take Halla like it was just another 2,000 meter climb (I think Signal Hill might be a couple of hundred meters in comparison.) So the last quarter of the climb had become grueling. The descent was easier, but every step down send a jolt through my legs that kept me from going at any enthusiastic pace. What had taken a few hours to go up took another five hours to go down.
When we got back to the base we saw the last bus of the day sitting across the lot. We walked about as fast as we could, and I’m pretty sure the driver saw us. But then, as we got to about ten meters from the bus, he closed the door and drove off.
Dol hareubang (Stone Grandfathers)
Another thing that makes Jeju special are the stone statues that you will find all over the island. Exclusive to Jeju, they mean many things and you can read about them here.
Yes, they deserve caps. Because Jeju grows a lot of the food that you can get here, much of what is available in the market is seasonal. My favourite food season is orange season! It starts just before Christmas and goes up to the early spring.
Jeju has long been known for its native oranges, and most common are the delicious tangerines. You can buy about a dozen for two dollars Canadian, and the peel comes right off them like the wrapper off a candy. As you can also imagine, the local orange juice is inexpensive and way better than even Tropicana. I love the oranges here, and am currently in the process of trying to get all the ingredients to jar some for marmalade. It comes and goes too quickly, and Maria and I were hankering for them all last summer when the season ended.
Something else that should be noted that I have not a lot of time exploring is the Gotjawal Forest. Ever since one of the adults in my English class, a doctor, told me about a breed of venomous snakes on Jeju (she had to treat a bite once, the guy lost his leg,) I have been hesitant to go exploring the forest. People assure me that there are not many of these snakes left, but knowing my track record with dangerous animals, I’m not taking that chance.
In year one I have worked in two completely different settings. My first placement was at the Foreign Language Center, mentioned in the previous post. According to Ms. Kang, there was a lot to look forward to. In her words, “I think it’s better than working in a public school.” I wasn’t sure what that meant, but was soon to find out.
As mentioned in an earlier post, I was teaching kids in grades 1-3, 7-8, and an advanced adult class at night. I had three classes most days, with the adult class two nights a week. Mondays there were no classes, and they could be used to prepare lesson plans. Even on the days where I did have classes, we didn’t see any kids until 3pm, and were done by 6. That meant six hours of waiting for students to show up, so there was a lot of prep time, and a lot of nice, quiet privacy in my own classroom.
The prep time was great because each class had different skill levels. That meant even though I was only teaching about 14 hours a week (we are contracted for 22,) I still had to have about 14 lessons prepared per week. A lot of these lessons consisted of using games around a central lesson, but there was no set curriculum to be taught. For experienced teachers, that might have been a great deal, but at first it left me lost as to what I should even teach. There were some loose guidelines as to what each level should know, so I used those until I got to know the kids, and got a little more creative with my lessons.
During that time I made a few short videos.
Any teacher of children can tell you that they usually have the class trained to respond to some sort of key phrase or chant in case of too much talking, so that you can get the class back in order. In my case…
And although the educational value is questionable, it’s fun to sometimes teach them things just for your own amusement.
Can I get a what what? (video)
Some class assignments:
The job wasn’t without its headaches. When Kathryn and Jane left, we were short of teachers for some time, which meant that the other teachers had to pick up the slack. It was also a challenge at times to work with the administration in a logical manner. I won’t get into those details because it frustrates me recall them, but I remember one particular thing that sort of sealed my desire to switch positions.
Maria, being at a public school, had specific times to take her vacation, which unfortunately didn’t coincide with my schedule, since I worked at a special language center that didn’t adhere to the regular school schedule. So there was never a time that she and I could take vacation together. (Which baffled me as to why they’d do this. Maria and I applied together, as a couple on the same application, so it didn’t require any amount of thought to surmise that we might want a similar vacation schedule.) For so many weeks of the summer I was not permitted to take a week off because of something that was going on at the Center (even when there were no classes scheduled,) and quite often that something was having to show my face in an assembly for 15 minutes so that all the parents could get a brief look at the foreign teachers. On at least two occasions I had to sit in an empty classroom for 8 hours a day, all week, only to show my face for 15 minutes on a Friday morning. That’s why I couldn’t take vacation.
In the end, Maria and I got three days out of eight off together in the summer, so we went to Seoul because that’s about as far as we could go with the time.
Surprise! The Summer Contract Shakeup
In July we found out that due to the type of work visa each of us was working under, we were legally supposed to be working with a co-teacher. There were no co-teachers in our classrooms at the Center. So as a result, we would have to renew our contract immediately if we wanted to stay at the Language Center, and under the new contract, the administrative head would be serving as a “co-teacher.” It was just administrative hokey-pokey.
Since this was my first contract (as it was for the majority of those being given this ultimatum,) we would lose out on 6 months worth of severance pay (about $1000) and switch our annual contract period from March – February to September – August. This posed a few problems. In short:
– I would lose out on severance pay by abandoning any recognition of the first 6 months I had worked.
-It would put me on a completely alternate contract period from Maria, and effectively a different vacation schedule.
-I still had no guarantees (based on our previous ‘vacation’) that I was going to ever get time off with Maria if I stayed.
There is a lot more detail to what went on at this time, but I won’t bore you with it. At the end of the day, it was a messed up situation that offered the teachers nothing for all that they had to give, except for the ability to continue on in the same job. Despite having settled in, it hardly seemed worth it.
As it turned out, the decision to switch schools was the best decision I could have ever made.
Jung Ang Middle School
Any apprehension I may have felt about switching schools was quickly thrown aside. As I began to think about switching, I received word that a teacher was leaving (remember Maria’s capoeira instructor who left?) and that he had really enjoyed his school and working relationships. It sounded like a hot lead. I put the request in, and the POE graciously helped me get the position. I was one out of only two teachers who had decided to not take the new contract offer. All of the other teachers working at Foreign Language Centers around the island had just accepted the deal for the ease of staying in the same place.
I ended up with a better deal by all accounts. My new co-teacher had worked at the POE and the Foreign Language Center, and knew her way around the administrations. Her English was great and she was incredibly reasonable. (In the last year I have found and learned from many others that reason and logic cannot be taken for granted in the work setting.) Having a great co-teacher in these positions can really make or break your experience. They can make your life pleasant, or they make your life very inconvenient. It is a huge factor when entering a new job, as most foreign teachers in Korea will agree.
By going to this new school, I only had to work in one school (many teachers work in 2 or 3 or more, and have to travel a lot.) The new school was a Middle School, meaning the kids were a little older and a little more relatable than the smaller kids I’d been teaching. And the icing on the cake; it was ten minutes walk from my apartment.
Almost every teacher working in Korea works with a co-teacher. And that can mean many different things.
Every co-teacher is different. Some want to share the teaching duties evenly. Some want to dominate the class and occasionally have you repeat something in your ‘ideal’ foreign English.
Some, as in my case, are happy with being present in the class while you do the instructing.
I had one main (takes care of the administration) co-teacher who was also named Ms. Kang, but could not be more different than the previous Ms. Kang. Same name, much different game. I really cannot give enough praise to adequately tell you how amazing she has been. My time at the new school has been fantastic thanks to her. She is reasonable, understanding, and takes foreign teachers’ needs and concerns into actual consideration. Not only that, she will actually give you what you need or want if it’s remotely possible, instead of just giving you some malarkey about how it’s just not possible to have vacation because… you have to show your face for 15 minutes on Friday morning or something.
The job of the co-teacher is to manage the class, to oversee the room and to provide any discipline necessary. It can be extremely helpful in classes that have 40+ students. And when they are young teenagers as in my classes, co-teachers can stem a lot of general chaos that can easily ensue. Until this year, teachers carried large wooden sticks, and might bash misbehaving students on the hand or backside. I have seen whole rows of boys be lined up and smacked down. You might think “what? That’s so arcane!” But if you have an image of Korean students being quiet and studious, you can forget it. A lot of the boys are extremely cocky and disrespectful, qualities that Korean teachers say have only become problems in recent years. I also work at a somewhat affluent school, so it’s possible that a lot of the boys are spoiled at home. Not all of them are misbehaved, but a surprising number are. (One student mistakenly said “Fuck You!” in my presence. The class quickly learned why it was a giant mistake.) In my opinion, it seems that a lot of it has to do with class size. There are 43 boys in one room, when you have 45 minutes to teach a lesson. Ten of them are five or more minutes late. Ten of them can’t say a word of English except “hello” (though they have been taught English in school for at least five years by this point.) Most of them have no interest in English. Many will not understand most things you say. You can see where the problems might start. It can be daunting until you get used to it, and teaching Middle School boys is not a job for the weak.
Middle School talent show – band (video)
Middle School talent show – don’t ask what this is because I have no idea (video)
For the most part, co-teachers are great. They are more like co-managers and can be a huge asset to the class if they are good teachers. I am very lucky. I have six (yes six) co-teachers, and there are only a couple of teachers for whom the students don’t seem to have respect or regard, and those classes can get way out of control. The two factors that control these large classes seem to be respect or fear. And while I always try to get their respect, I haven’t been afraid to use my lion voice when a certain contingent try to derail the class. You get to know the bad students pretty quickly, and I’ve gotten to simply removing them from the room and placing them in the main office when they get problematic. I don’t take guff from 14 year-olds.
It was always a challenge. Students and one co-teacher complained that my material was “too hard” (again I did not have a set curriculum, but could follow the text book to get some ideas,) and at times it was hard to tell what was too hard for students, and what was a general laziness or disinterest on their part. The first “too hard” lesson I had taught had come straight out of a bonus activity from the text book. When dealing with 43 boys, most things are going to be “too hard” for some. Some things will be “too easy” for a few. So continually creating lessons and materials that will be well suited for an entire class is a challenge. I lean toward not making things “too easy,” because I don’t want to play Power Point games every week and re-teach them everything they’ve been learning since the third grade. They expect simple “listen and repeat,” phrases, and to give one word answers. I expect more.
A New School Year
I have just found out that I will be splitting my time between the boy’s school and a girl’s Middle School this year. I found out from a little birdie, but the POE hasn’t actually yet told me. They will likely tell me on Monday morning, when I am supposed to be there. That’s how they often do things. Either way, I welcome the variety. Unfortunately, Ms. Kang is moving to third year (where I don’t teach) and so I will have a new administrative co-teacher. Things cannot get better than they have been, so I only hope they don’t get worse. The co-teacher that is replacing her has not been very talkative with me in the past.
I can tell you one thing, this job certainly keeps me on my toes. Trying to find creative ways to get kids interested in learning English never gets dull. In that sense, I really have a great job.
Here’s an entertaining video from Maria’s school:
This photo is from the Saturday school we both took on for a while (they got gingerbread men after reading the Gingerbread Man story):
The Gingerbread Man game (that’s a pretty damned cute video)
Year One Impressions: The Good, The Bad, The Compromise
Let’s try to keep this section simple. I could elaborate on a lot of what I will post here, but for the sake of brevity (ha!) I will try to keep it to point form.
-Starting a new career as a teacher. I love it.
-Being able to experience living in a foreign culture.
-Having a job during a global depression.
-Being able to save money.
-The new friends that we’ve made.
-The new interests we’ve developed.
-Being able to visit any number of beautiful beaches on the weekends, or even after work.
-Living on a sub-tropical island and everything that entails from mild winters to local fruit to beautiful summers.
-Fastest internet in the world.
-Restaurant food (though I can’t eat most of it due to garlic.) They bring you the raw, fresh food and grill it all in front of you. So delicious.
-Jeju pork. Sorry vegetarians, the black pig here is to die for.
-Jeju fish. Some of them are deeeeelicious.
-Being able to vacation twice (or three times) a year anywhere in Asia.
-Six weeks paid vacation a year.
-Contract finishing AND renewal bonuses.
-Rent is paid for by the government.
-Seoul’s subway system and price system makes Toronto’s an embarrassment.
-The cost of living is much lower than Canada:
|Goods/Service||Cost in Canada||Cost in Korea|
|Transit fare||(Toronto) $3 when we left||90 cents*|
|Cab fare||(Toronto) $20||$7** (no tipping in Korea)|
|Restaurant Meal||$20 (including tip?)||$10 (no tipping in Korea)|
|Haircut||$25 – $50||$7 – $11|
|Dry cleaning (pants)||$5 – $7||$2|
|Monthly internet||$60 (what I was paying)||$30 (unlimited bandwidth)|
|Monthly mobile phone||$50 – $60 (what I was paying)||$25|
*And you can use that fare for up to an hour in any direction.
**$2 start fee lasts for several km’s before it starts to rise in 10 cent increments.
Would you like some fresh octopus? (fish market video)
-Being a foreigner in a place that hasn’t quite adjusted to having foreigners yet. Jeju touts itself as an international tourist destination, but I don’t think they’re quite ready for the international community yet. Maybe in the next generation. English is not a problem in Seoul.
-Not speaking Korean (I will try to learn more this year. Though Jeju’s dialect is different than anywhere else in Korea.)
-As a result of both of the above, not receiving a lot of help or cooperation when you might need it in everyday life. Where can I get pectin to make some orange marmalade?!?! eBay I guess.
-Nothing really fits me or Maria on this island. We have to go to Seoul twice a year to shop.
-Garlic in everything, even breakfast. I went for dinner last night and out of every dish on the table, I could eat two. Even if you love garlic, that has to be a lot of garlic. And since it’s an oil and the smell of it comes out of your skin, Koreans frequently smell strongly of garlic. When I take the bus or walk into class it’s all I can smell, so much that sometimes my nostrils burn. What you might think is a lot of garlic there is only a little garlic here.
-The cost of luxury items. Koreans pay a lot for cell phones, TV’s, and hobby items (such as musical instruments.) These things can easily cost a minimum of 50% more than in Canada. If you thought, like me, Asia would be great for cheap electronics, you are wrong.
-Smoking in bars and just about everywhere else.
-Monoculture and the belief that the Korean way is the best way. This can lead to the rejection of outside influences, even if those influences are good. I also suspect it also has an effect on students’ ability/desire to learn English.
-K-Pop or Korean pop music. They have modeled the industry on the worst of Western pop music, and manage it tightly so that songs get a certain shelf life before the next songs and pop acts are brought in. This industry completely dominates the Korean music scene. And it is terrible.
-Missing the everyday things from home. Multiculturalism, movies, concerts, English, good beer. Korean beer tastes mainly like Coors Light, God help us all.
-Missing friends from home.
-Not being able to stream many CBC shows because I’m outside of the country. (I love my CBC, okay?)
-Not being able to read any of the features on my cell phone. I just want a decent ringtone!
-Coffee shops are gaining popularity here, but the cost is about $3.00 for an Americano. And then you are rolling the dice because a lot of the coffee is pure crap.
-Sugar is in most foods and snacks except for…dessert.
-Being stared at, though I know it’s far worse for the foreign women than the men.
-No cheese! Well they have “cheese” but it’s all processed and usually contains sugar. They think real cheese is horrible.
Two weeks ago we signed our new contracts, and so we are here for at least one more year. I know the current plan is to stay for at least two more years, and who knows, maybe more. Life here gets easier with time, and they say that the second year is always much easier. We have some friends who have been here for 8 years, and plan to start their family here. Korea really is the place for children. Everybody has them, and everyone else is having them. Koreans who are not married or are without children can be looked at as social outsiders. Although things are changing, even today many young Koreans are under a lot of pressure to get married and have children.
The EPIK program for whom we work has started to phase out the hire of foreign English teachers. There are likely a couple of reasons for that – the first being that on the mainland, robots have been introduced to classrooms to teach the kids English. Yes, robots. I don’t know how effective that will be in teaching an entire nation of children functional English, but that’s not up to me. Will “Listen and Repeat” teach a nation how to speak English? It should be an interesting experiment.
The second reason, as word has it, is that some in the administration feel that Korean teachers are now qualified and bilingual enough to teach English without a foreign teacher. I have mixed feelings. While some teachers truly are exceptional English speakers, the majority are questionable. Most foreign teachers will tell you that their co-teachers are coming to them with questions about English grammar and rules on a daily basis, and cannot rely entirely on what they know or what they are expected to be teaching from the text books. Which brings me to another thing – the text books. I have no idea what they think these books are teaching kids, but they seem to lack a focused, comprehensible and tangible approach to English. They focus intensely on some things (“Listen” and “Repeat” again,) but completely ignore more tactile approaches to the English language. Maybe this is why so many of them do not learn English, and don’t like it. Time will tell how effective this is, and how much of a lasting impression it makes. But ultimately, I’m not in control of Korea’s English program, and am in fact just along for the ride. I try to get away from that text book and teach them practical, survivable English in as many engaging ways as I can.
If for any reason the EPIK jobs disappear, there are always Hagwan jobs. Hagwans are private English institutions that run after-school programs, and many of our friends work at them.
This summer we are planning to travel to Indonesia, and next winter we are considering Thailand. If we get split vacations (the two separate weeks for renewing our contracts) then it’s possible we may use that to head to Russia to visit Maria’s grandmother. I keep encouraging her to visit, since I still think about my own grandparents frequently, years after they have passed on.
I would love to visit Canada again, but the distance and cost are considerable factors. If everything stays on course, the earliest I see myself visiting is the winter of early 2013. I don’t really want to visit Canada in the winter, but it is the only conceivable time that I will have any stretch of days to make such a journey worthwhile. Our summer vacations are too short to make the trip, since the Korean school year is opposite of the Western one, and summer is right in the middle of the school year.
In the meantime, I miss everyone and everything back there. I do not miss the political climate and am greatly saddened and annoyed by what has been going on since we left. I watch CBC’s The National daily, and still read Canadian news every morning and night. Based on what Stephen Harper is saying, the Canadian economy is the world’s example of success. Based on what my friends tell me, they are struggling for work and looking for any path they can take, and don’t feel like they have a lot of prospects. Where is this disparity coming from?
Stephen Harper is riding an economy that is afloat on a giant oil bubble. He champions the business of Alberta oil because it looks great on paper and masquerades his shrouded economy as a giant success. It keeps the Canadian dollar artificially high as it’s attached to oil rates, and enables him to keep his foot on the neck of serious and immediate environmental concerns. He flaunts employment rates as though his government has mended everything, when in fact full-time jobs are dying and Tim Horton’s in Alberta is hiring. I can’t even continue on the politics of Stephen Harper and what he has been up to without making an entirely different post about it. But what I see is that there is nothing for me (or many) at this moment in Canada. So here I stay with steady employment for now.
And that concludes my lengthy entry. I have many other things to be working on (another children’s story is forming in the back of the head, and I still mean to get started on the novel form of City of Necropolis,) so I am not likely to make another entry until our trip to Indonesia this summer. You can always reach me by Facebook or email… so bye for now.