Although I said it already on facebook, I have to say it again here - my co-teacher Ms Shin rocks! She was awesome before this, but this news makes her super-co-teacher of the frickin' year!
Just to clarify what happened, holidays are kind of a big deal for us Guest English Teachers or Native English Speaking Teachers or whatever the hell we're supposed to be officially called over here, as we are supposed to get so much time off, but also do winter camps and extra classes. So the time we can get off is mostly dependent on the school's own timetable, and there is no country like Korea for instititutionalised last minute-ness so a lot of the time (or all the time according to the 'real situation' nightmare scenarios in our guide book) GETs try to be organised and apply for (and get) time off and book tickets waaaaay ahead of time only to find out closer to the date that the school's schedhule has changed (or actually been decided on) and conflicts with their plans which they now can't change. (Some very naughty people actually do this on purpose too.) So bascially holidays can be a big headache for both the GETs, their co-teachers and their schools. Now, as someone who is extending their contract (oh yeah, so I have decided to stay on for another year in Cheongju at the same school. I should really write something more about that later!), we are supposed to get 14 extra CALENDAR days holiday as well as the 10 WORKING days winter break in our contracts. There is also the week we are supposed to get off for Seolnal (the Lunar new year) but if you aren't careful and your school decides to stiff you, your extra calendar day leave might run into this, cheating you of a few of your precious days. Which is why we specifically get working days, as we don't work every 2nd Saturday like our Korean counterparts. There is also a week before the new school year starts in March that the teachers have to be back at work for admin stuff and to organise graduation for students that completed their last year, before you get another week off and then have to come back. Originally, I was very annoyed, because after asking about holidays a while back when I was still considering moving to a new area (which would mean a new contract and no extra holidays), I was told that yes, I do get two weeks, but depending on winter classes which might run until the end of January, it was entirely possible that these would be non-consecutive, and therefore I would only get to spend one week at home unless I wanted to buy two lots of plane tickets. And because of my contract running until February 25th here, but having to go to the new area's training session at the START of that week, I might in effect only get one week off because the second week would be taken up by moving and training. So not good. Nothing to do with my co-teacher or my school (although I did wonder at the time if this was part of the blackmail to try and make me stay with them), but if I wanted to be one of those jerks that made a bad name for GETs everywhere I could have kicked up a fuss and just bought my plane ticket for late January anyway and left a great school on a bad note.
BUT THEN! Flash forward a month and a half - having decided on patience and trusting in the eternal last minute serendipity of Korean planning, I asked Ms Shin again this week about the possibility of going home for Australia Day, since I won't be able to go home for Christmas. I had already told her a while back about how important Christmas was to my family and how we all get together and just kind of enjoy spending time together, and how we hadn't really had that many proper family Christmases over the last couple of years, what with people (ok, me and mum) being out of the country and then us all going to Canada and so not being able to spend Christmas with the rest of our family and so on, so she knew how important it is to me and what I meant when I told her that we would usually have a family dinner on Australia Day and especially that I would like to spend it with my grandparents, as I haven't been home this year since I left and they can't travel overseas. Once again, I have to state just how awesome Ms Shin is in that she actually tells me things BEFORE they happen sometimes, rather than AS they happen. She told me that actually, there was a possibility that my extra classes would only run for one week instead of two, so as well as my winter camp for a week, I might be able to come home as early as the third week of January! O_O!!
Needless to say, I was overjoyed! Even if it does turn out that I have three weeks of school over winter instead of two, I will still be home for Australia Day and eating delicious food with the people most precious to my heart :)
So in order to make the most of my time at home, I have decided to start a list of things I want to do/eat while I'm there. Let me know if there's anything I've missed or you have any suggestions!