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Finally a Millionaire

I got my first paycheque yesterday. I'm a millionaire. Just after 30, not bad. (although D kindly pointed out that he became a millionaire BEFORE he was 30 and I gave him a good glare to thank him for reminding me)

The Korean won is roughly 1000 to 1 US dollar. It's not exact but easy to translate how much money you are spending this way. I'm not one to go into salary ever but you'd have to be an idiot to do not be able to do the math and figure I'd need at least 1 million won to survive on a monthly basis.

Anyway, so it feels kinda cool to say that. And I suppose it's a right of passage joke for any new foreigner working in Korea - for those of you reading that have been doing this for awhile, I apologize for the cliche.

What was even crazier was the fact that I was handed a stack of bills. So not only am I a millionaire but I'm also a mobster hustler.

Amazing how Korea is managing to make dreams come true I never imagined even having.

Eventually we will be given bank accounts and it's fairly straightforward. You need a residence card to get a bank account. Our residence cards are not here yet but we're told all we do is take the card to the local bank. To get your residence card, you need your passport with your visa and a filled out form with relevant information.

( I say local bank but I mean the bank that all the other teachers bank at. There are many banks locally but Korea business works so much more on networking that even the North American culture does. I was alwasy astounded in Belfast how it seemed people never were hired because 'they knew someone' or at least not outwardly. Must have been a product of years of oppression of half the society that they went the opposite way and now didn't really value connections as important. In the south of Ireland, however...sorry, this is a totally different tangent)

Networking: Koreans all carry business cards, much like you would for a job and exchange them with whoever they meet. Jobs, food, medicine, services, any goods that can be purchased, are usually done so through 'connections'.

D got us hooked up with a pharmacy. Really glad I hauled all those vitamins from the UK since we get them FOR FREE now.

He also picked up a card from an eye guy. This will come in handy for when my last pair of contacts wears out.

So, once we get our residence cards, we will be giving our business to the guy that Big A gave his business to. And knowing Big A will help us because they know him etc etc

I like this society - it forces people to be social. It also forces them to have something valuable to trade. And forces people to be nice to each other, if only to make sure you continue to get free vitamins for the rest of your life.

Education is so valued here that that is our contribution. We teach their children and small people of their community. They give us good value prices for things we look to purchase.

And food. Always lots of different types of food and treats.

And generous respect. They take connections and friendships very seriously. Friendship are for life and are meant to be cherished and nurtured. It's not just about trading stuff.

I always like to take little pieces of places that I've lived.

From Leeds, it was a bit of the 'ta love' attitude. Life is not over if customer service is not stellar.

From Belfast it was 'the craic'. Having a laugh and enjoying people's company without thinking too much about what time you have to get up in the morning or how much money you're spending.

It may be too soon to tell but from Korea, perhaps it will be cherished friendships.

Hey, if I keep this up I can open up the Church of A and everyone can follow my rules.



Anonymous said…
So now that the whole world knows you've got a million stuffed in your mattress, let's hope they don't uncover your cover. How much Kimichi can you buy with a million?

Lots and lots of kimchi..I might even invest in my own kimchi refridgerator! that and another fantastic steak dinner from the Outback..sweet...

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