A deeper look into the plight of two once upon teachers...
The teachers’ room was adorned with our usual school colors, bright greens, light yellow gold strips, blues, and whites. Our desks were a cacophony of class materials, language books, novels… the usual paraphernalia expected for an English teacher. The two Korean Teachers had already arrived preparing their class’s lessons and organizing the report cards that our limited Korean could not contribute to. Even our third Korean teacher had arrived early, supposedly getting in hours to avoid staying late. The only thing missing - us the two native English speakers.
Oh yes, on this beautiful spring day – we were in a meeting. It was not the typical meet with the director pep talk, nor was it this is how you need to improve. This meeting was something else. With an artificial calm and transparent composure our director confronted us with a situation. He said, “I think we have a problem. Immigration needs to talk to you.”
Wait a second Jon, take a breath things are ok. Well, I guess he is calm should I be? I wondered to myself: how soon will we need to see them? After all, we have class in 15 minutes; maybe tonight after work or probably tomorrow.
As if reading my mind the director said, we must go… NOW. That’s when it hit me. Something was wrong, terribly wrong. Suddenly all the horror stories of "Locked up Abroad" flickered through my mind like a whorl wind. I would not end up like that… or at the very least, I’ll have a book, my cell phone tucked away, and my I-pod with me.
With little time, Aileen and I went to our apartment grabbed our essentials, a book, a change of clothes, tooth paste, toilet paper, the usual things one might require if thrown in jail. Oh yeah, and we empted out our entire Korean bank accounts just in case we needed to show we meant business - and by business, we meant the ability to purchase a ticket outta there, and by the ability to get outta there, we really meant bribery if it came to it.
Now we were set. We had our supplies, we had our money… nothing else in the room were REALLY necessary. We had practice thinking this through just in case the nuclear threats from Kim Jong-il ever came to fruition. Yes, we were as ready as one could expect from a 15 minute notice. We were officially wanted by the South Korean government, we were renegades, outlaws. I felt like Robin Hood, wanted by the state, and a hero to the people… and I still didn’t know why we were headed to immigration. All I knew; this was going to be one hell of a bumpy ride.
to be continued…