Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Swine flu nearly cut my vacation (Part 1)

I planned to leave home at 3:30pm (my flight was at 7:45pm). My co-teacher called me. Here’s more-or-less what the conversation was like:

Me - Hello?

Ina - Hello, this is Ina
Me - Hi!
Me - I have to tell you something important.`

I had a feeling that I wasn’t going to like what I was about to hear.

* Before I go on, here’s a brief explanation of what’s going on.

My school will officially open for the second semester on (Wednesday) August 26. But that’s still my vacation day, so the principal said that I don’t have to come to work, and I should start on Thursday, August 27. That means I’ll only teach for 2 days that week (Thursday & Friday).

Initially I was only going to arrive back in Korea on Tuesday, August 25. But changed my ticket and will arrive a day earlier – Monday, August 24.

Back to the convo:

Ina - You will come back to Korea on Monday, August 24 right?
Me - Yes
Ina - Actually you have to come back a week earlier because of influenza (swine flu)

Me - I don’t understand.

Ina – There is a document from government. If you travel somewhere, you can’t come to work for a week after you come back.

Immediately I thought – Well, then …why not just NOT go to work that Thursday & Friday and then just start work the following Monday after I’d arrive back in Korea. Doesn’t that makes sense?

Me - Ina, I don’t understand. You want me to come back a week earlier so I can teach on those two days/

Ina - Yes. Can you change your ticket?

I tried coaxing myself into keeping my cool.

Me - Ina, this is big problem for me. I’ve already made plans at home with my family for other travel and now I must leave a whole week early? Why can’t I just not come to school on that Thursday & Friday?

It really felt like she was just not getting what I was saying.

Ina - So, if I tell you that you have to come back one week early, what can you do?

Me - Ina, I’m sorry but I cannot. I don’t care if I don’t get paid for those two days of not working, but it’s unfair to tell me to change my ticket now and pay the fee in to change it.

Ina - Actually, I also had to change my ticket (She’s going to the UK for a week). And I also had to pay money for that.

Me - When did you do that?

Ina - Last week.

Me - Last week? Ina, I’m leaving for the airport in 2 hours!!! This isn’t fair to tell me this on the day that I’m leaving.

Ina - I had to change my ticket and pay because I am a teacher. In Korea. And you area also a teacher in Korea.

Me - Ina, I understand all that. And I respect rules, but there have to be some exceptions. The school can’t be so inconsiderate about this.

Ina - I only heard about this today. So principal was concerned about your coming back day so she and Mr Oh suggest you come back one week early. (Mr Oh is my other co-teacher).

Me - Ina, this really isn’t fair.

She lowered her voice a bit.

Ina - Um, Sheetal – actually I’m OK about that. But it’s the school.

By now I was pacing up and down and getting noticeably upset.

Me - I’m sure the school can be a bit lenient about this.

Ina - So do you want me to tell your thoughts to the principal now or after the vacation.

Me - I really don’t know. … I think just please leave things the way you are.

Ina - Ok, please calm down. Forget everything I said and do anything you want. And when vacation is over, I will explain to principal the situation.

*When people tell me to calm down and to NOT stress, I could honestly scream.

Ina - Go and have a nice vacation and journey.

Me - Yes, ok. Thank you, Ina. You too.

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