If you have been following this drama so far in my battle with Unnamed Hagwon, you would remember that we have been going through interpreters like Spinal Tap goes through drummers.Our first interpreter had to move to Australia. Our second interpreter, Yeong-jun, got hit by a motorcycle last weekend and was incapacitated in the hospital. Yeong-jun’s friend, Bo-seop, was willing to help us, but only half so. He didn’t feel his English was strong enough. That was sort of true, but he knew the case very well, and we like him a lot.

Yesterday, Chris Teacher was able to get a friend of his, “Friend Lee,” to help out. At first he said he couldn’t, but he then called back and changed his mind. In fact, Friend Lee (he prefers to be called that), volunteered to pick us up and drive us to the Labor Office.

On top of that, we had met Collin earlier that week after seeing a public attorney for consultation. The attorney said we had a pretty much slam dunk case if we could prove that I was manager of the school. Our meeting with Collin was to have him sign a new statement about me being manager. He said he’d do even better than that. He’d show up at the hearing in person.

That was great because Unnamed Hagwon Owner thought he was out of the country. It was a big unsettling surprise to her to see the teacher that disappeared on her sitting there testifying against her.

Poor Collin was bored most of the time because it again turned into a big circus led by Unnamed Hagwon Owner. She finally brought some evidence with her – some of the bills that I had been asking to see for almost a year. Even though she had brought more paperwork with her, it was not absent of weird stuff. For one thing, she was claiming I owed her 140,000 won for the 75,000 won sofas that I had returned to her.

She also was lying about the fact that my bills covered two family homes. In other words, when my electricity got turned off because she didn’t pay the bill, my next door neighbor’s electricity also got turned off. She expected me to pay for both apartments.

Friend Lee was phenomenal in keeping the case focused on the basics and parrying Unnamed Hagwon Owner’s looniness with logical statements.

The labor inspector then said that Unnamed Hagwon Owner no longer needed to be there. When she left, he had us put together our indictment. We stated every grievance we had with the option of adding more, like character defamation. We then organized and put forward our basic proofs to back our claims. When he had typed all this out, he asked me the question that made my jaw drop to the floor.

“Even after she pays you what she owes, do you still want her to go to jail?”

I didn’t know that Unnamed Hagwon Owner was facing jail for not paying me. I thought it was just fines. And it was my choice on whether I wanted to press for that.

I asked if I could answer that later, and he said I could.

What do you think? Should I insist she go to jail no matter what?

I think it’s a bit extreme, but then again, I also think about all the other employees she screwed over who didn’t make it this far.

Basically, the Labor Office phase of the case is almost over. I don’t have to go back there anymore. Now the Civil Suit phase begins. The labor inspector is going to have everything sent to the prosecutor.

You could say it was a good day. But still, this is just the beginning.

This week has been my vacation. And like most all my vacations, it’s not been too relaxing. I had started getting a head cold last week, and it got increasingly worse. I had been taking medicine for it, but it didn’t help. Then Eun Jeong had the idea of treating the head cold like an allergy. We got allergy medication from the pharmacist (NOTE: Korean pharmacies you just tell the pharmacist your symptoms, and she’ll give you drugs on the spot – no doctor’s prescription needed much of the time). It worked wonderfully. By then it was late Wednesday.

The rain has let up, and the heat has come on. I’m enjoying it, as of now. I’ve been drinking a lot of water and lounging on the balcony. I’ve also been sleeping on the balcony a lot, but when the sun rises, it makes me wake up in a small lake of sweat.

Chris, his daughter Rose, and I discovered a new stream to hang out at near my place and the new sculpture garden. I’ll have to go back, explore it more thoroughly, and report back.

We’ve also been making English education videos for the school. Thursday we got together to film our second set of four scenes. It’s great to get my old TV and video skills out of the attic and dusted off. We all hung out at the Dong Dong Ju Place after that. I haven’t been drinking much at all these days, and I also had been taking allergy medication. The dong dong ju and beer both hit me very hard – gave me a wonderful hangover for the Labor Board hearing.

Tomorrow, Eun Jeong and I are meeting with Brant to hang out and possibly have my first taste of durian fruit.


BOOK I’M READING: Still Eragon
UNIVERSITY LECTURE ON MY MP3 PLAYER: “From Yao to Mao: 5000 Years of Chinese History”
LATEST COOKING FAILURE: Focaccia that stuck to the parchment paper and Sourdough starter that ain’t startin’


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