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<I MISS KOREA>
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bcjinseoul



Joined: 13 Jan 2010
Location: Seoul, Korea

PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 10:12 pm    Post subject: <I MISS KOREA> Reply with quote

I feel like Iím taking the piss by just writing this bloody thing, but I guess all these British films on Netlfix Iíve been watching are affecting the way I talk and write lately. Funny how every other K-girl I met in K-land between 2006 and 2010 had a crush Jason Statham. Bugger. Meanwhile, Iíve been nearly two years back in States, and I feel as if this entire operation is about go *beep* up. Bloody hell, I think all bets are off, mate. A good job is like a good bird, and you donít what youíve got until youíve moved on.

There is something agonizing about living and working America. This is a nation of hard work, no doubt about. Not a lot of people work Monday through Friday, nine to five, and not a lot of people have any money to show for their work, let alone generous benefits, vacation time, or even a pensionÖor a job they actually like. This certainly is not a rant about class warfare. Itís about sticking to your guns, thick and thin. I guess I wouldnít mind working a lot if I was making a lot of money (billions, millions, or even hundreds of thousands), but working a lot just to sustain, sustain, sustain month after month has certainly taken its toll.

I certainly know the feeling of being a made man. Of not having to get up at 4 or 5 in the morning like high school teacher, construction worker, or soldier. Of not having to work late nights and weekends at a call center or restaurant. Of not being underpaid like an administrative assistant, bank teller, retail clerk, security guard, or janitor. Of not doing something boring like accounting. Of not having my hands covered in blood, vomit, or mucus like a nurse, doctor, or whatever. Of not working six days a week or worrying about sales quotas.

At my job today a coworker admitted she liked Korean movies. Another former coworker who I saw earlier in the day at the mall said he wants to teach English in Korea when he finishes his bachelorís degree. Meanwhile, Korean cars are giving Japanese cars a run for their money in the States, and Best Buyís TVs, cell phones, and other electronics are dominated by Samsung and LG Ė two of Koreaís largest conglomerates. Hulu TV and Netflix have plenty of Korean TV shows and films. I have an open mind, but somehow, I take these things as a SIGN of whatís to come, somehow. Korea wasnít so big on the map six years ago when I first flew over, and neither was the foreign ESL teacher population. Things have changed.

What can I say. I know what itís like to have an easy job. I know what itís like to have five figures in my checking account and be debt free. I know what itís like to have a job I love. I know what itís like to work Monday to Friday, nine to five, and be loaded, too, and to be totally free at 5pm-ish back at my own flat. I know what itís like to have several weeks paid vacation a year, full benefits, and a pension (good luck getting that stateside!). I know what its like to have no car payments, no car insurance payments, no rent, no mortgage, and no property taxes. I know what itís like to hop in a taxi and cross a city bigger than New York for around ten dollars.

Some nights, when Iím lying in bed, I find myself eyes wide open, staring at the ceiling, remembering all the fun I had at random bars, clubs, parties, poker games, and pool halls all over Gwangju, Busan, Bundang, and Seoul. Especially Seoul. Thatís where I gotta be, when or if I go back.

Iím a gangster, mate, and I can be any bloody thing I want, just as long as itís in Korea.

Itís the littlest things I miss the most, despite all. Certain friends and faces, playing pool or darts at certain bars and places, seeing beautiful girlish Korean figures and their beautiful Korean faces, taking a taxi or train to buy an accessory or game, giving some new foreign hobby or meal a turn or a feelÖother stuff, too, like having Turkish food in Itaewon before a round of drinks, or frequenting the hottest clubs in Hongdae.

I might sound like a newbie, but being early in my thirties, I guess I just havenít mentally shifted gears and moved on yet. Why should I? Itís not like Iím happy or well off in my own country. Oh, and I sure miss visiting foreign countries and traveling the world. Once you get the travel bug in you, you just canít shake it. Thereís no such thing as outgrowing the travel bug, thatís for sure!

So a word to the wise for all you future twenty-somethings about to dubbed F.O.B. (fresh off the boat) in Korea: ignore all the negativity on eslcafe.comís threads. The fact of the matter is if youíre in a big city like Seoul or Busan, and youíre young, and you make some great friends right off the bat, youíre going to have a BLAST, and ten times more fun than you did in college. Do yourself a favor, stay more than a year, and save some money, too.

Cheers!
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Dodge7



Joined: 21 Oct 2011

PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 10:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You sound like a very depressed person. Do you have any friends? I suggest going out with them.

And speak for yourself, I'd give anything to go back to the States where unfamiliar faces smile at me instead of scowl and where my wife and I can walk and be in peace instead of being scoffed at by strangers on the street and labeled dirty by the media. Where I can walk into any store and ask for help and understand everything everywhere I go.

Korea has some good things like good transportation and low crime, but there's no place like home, for me at least.
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Yaya



Joined: 25 Feb 2003
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 10:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dodge7 wrote:
You sound like a very depressed person. Do you have any friends? I suggest going out with them.

And speak for yourself, I'd give anything to go back to the States where unfamiliar faces smile at me instead of scowl and where my wife and I can walk and be in peace instead of being scoffed at by strangers on the street and labeled dirty by the media. Where I can walk into any store and ask for help and understand everything everywhere I go.

Korea has some good things like good transportation and low crime, but there's no place like home, for me at least.


I'm not a Korea hater or apologist but I'm sure you COULD go home if you really wanted to. Nobody's stopping you and this ain't NORTH Korea.
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Dodge7



Joined: 21 Oct 2011

PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 11:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yaya wrote:
Dodge7 wrote:
You sound like a very depressed person. Do you have any friends? I suggest going out with them.

And speak for yourself, I'd give anything to go back to the States where unfamiliar faces smile at me instead of scowl and where my wife and I can walk and be in peace instead of being scoffed at by strangers on the street and labeled dirty by the media. Where I can walk into any store and ask for help and understand everything everywhere I go.

Korea has some good things like good transportation and low crime, but there's no place like home, for me at least.


I'm not a Korea hater or apologist but I'm sure you COULD go home if you really wanted to. Nobody's stopping you and this ain't NORTH Korea.

My wife is paid really well at her job here and I doubt she could get the same in the States. So, money is "stopping" us from going UNTIL we can save enough to move back to America.
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joelove



Joined: 12 May 2011

PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 12:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought that was a brilliant post by the OP. Straightforward and easy to relate to. Life ain't roses anywhere. Find out where and how it can stink less. I thought he was being realistic about things. If ya get bummed out here or there, well, that will happen. China gets under your skin too. After a while. The easy money or whatever begins to pale against the day to day rubs. The little things, taken one by one, sound trivial right, but there are many of them, every damn day. After a while that builds up as we accumulate things in our heads. Doesn't matter much anymore if ya can save a grand each month or travel and even work just 4 hours a day, though these things are good, and sound awesome to most people. You are living in a foreign culture where people stare at you every day, where the language barrier is always a thing, where food you like is not easily obtained perhaps, and a bunch of other crap. That starts to weigh on a person.
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cheezsteakwit



Joined: 12 Oct 2011
Location: There & back again.

PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 2:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The OP's post struck a chord with me as well

I've only been here 3 months, but so far, life here has been a helluva lotta fun and a LOT less stressful than my life back in the states.

I was substitute teaching by day, & working in a call center at night selling Medicare supplements to senior citizens who couldn't afford to buy - NEITHER job offered health benefits to me - Life was a grind, working sun-up til sun-down 6-7 days a week & I remember thinking "there has GOT TO be more to life than this.!!!" .... It seemed like the only jobs advertised on the major job boards were thru temp agencies & I doubt things have changed much.

Granted , I'm still in my 'honeymoon stage' in Korea, & I realize Korea isn't perfect .... but its nice having free time in the evening, some money in my pocket each month ; a chance to explore someplace new every weekend & it's a good feeling to leave the " rat race " in my past. I've got no regrets coming here. The minor annoyances I've experienced thus far are just that ... MINOR.

Travelling abroad was always something I'd do "someday" ... Well, "someday" is right here and now & I don't see me returning to the states any time soon. I'll give it a go for a few years in Korea ... maybe get a Uni job or International school job next year , & keep my eyes & ears open about jobs in other countries ... but for now , life is good & the livin' is easy.
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Privateer



Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Location: Easy Street.

PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 2:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The work here is too easy. It's a trap. You've got to set a financial goal and then get out of here.

Of course, if it's a choice between unfulfilling but easy work here and unfulfilling but hard work back home...but even then at least back home you're a part of the broader society with a chance to participate in it.

To the OP: do you have a skill? Or do you provide a product or service that most people can't? Train up in something. If I'm assuming too much and you already have some skill, sorry.
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qcat79



Joined: 18 Aug 2006
Location: ROK

PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 2:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This OP is ridiculous, but living in America isn't for the meek. American has underinvested in public transport, support for the average worker, quality educational attainment, safe living conditions , etc for a long, long time. Living in Korea has its ups and downs, but think about how many of us foreigners are living out here now. It's a given that the money and influence is/has already shifting/ed to this part of the world. I believe those in America that are stuck with liberal (f)arts degrees working at wally world have no one to blame but themselves. Bachelor's degrees are worth nothing anymore thanks to making college available to every Joe and Jane six pack. Not to mention, our government willy nilly let its companies to move our factories overseas to reap the profits with low wage labour and no limits on environmental regulations. It was bound to happen.

After all, we are pretty damn lucky to be able to travel and work anywhere in the world thanks to our strong influence of our mother tongue and the supposed wealth knowing our language brings.
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PatrickGHBusan



Joined: 24 Jun 2008
Location: Busan (1997-2008) Canada 2008 -

PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 2:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yaya wrote:
Dodge7 wrote:
You sound like a very depressed person. Do you have any friends? I suggest going out with them.

And speak for yourself, I'd give anything to go back to the States where unfamiliar faces smile at me instead of scowl and where my wife and I can walk and be in peace instead of being scoffed at by strangers on the street and labeled dirty by the media. Where I can walk into any store and ask for help and understand everything everywhere I go.

Korea has some good things like good transportation and low crime, but there's no place like home, for me at least.


I'm not a Korea hater or apologist but I'm sure you COULD go home if you really wanted to. Nobody's stopping you and this ain't NORTH Korea.


He and his Korean spouse have a baby on the way.....that may be why he "sticks it out"....I do wonder how his stance on Korea will go over with his MIXED kid however.
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PatrickGHBusan



Joined: 24 Jun 2008
Location: Busan (1997-2008) Canada 2008 -

PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 2:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Privateer wrote:
The work here is too easy. It's a trap. You've got to set a financial goal and then get out of here.

Of course, if it's a choice between unfulfilling but easy work here and unfulfilling but hard work back home...but even then at least back home you're a part of the broader society with a chance to participate in it.

To the OP: do you have a skill? Or do you provide a product or service that most people can't? Train up in something. If I'm assuming too much and you already have some skill, sorry.


That is so dependent on what you do in Korea.....you can indeed be cash merc in an unfulfilling job that is too easy but can be many other things. To reduce it to one possibility is innacurate sorry.
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Who's Your Daddy?



Joined: 30 May 2010
Location: Victoria, Canada.

PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 4:25 am    Post subject: Re: <I MISS KOREA> Reply with quote

bcjinseoul wrote:

I know what it's like to have a job I love.


There's your answer. The jobs are still here.
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Modernist



Joined: 23 Mar 2011
Location: The 90s

PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 5:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My question for you, OP, is:

Why'd you leave? If you had it so good when you were here and everything was great--women, public transport, 'free' apartment [actually, your pay was just allocated differently, but never mind], travel, money, friends--why would you drop all that to go to America?

There must have been SOMETHING, some problem or concern. Something that bothered you despite all of the good things. So what was it? You even claim you know 'what it's like to have a job [you] love', and it was 'easy' to boot!

So why'd you walk away? Are you sure it wasn't because you came to understand the meaninglessness and dead-endedness of teaching ESL? That no matter what you did here you would never escape the reality of this joke 'profession'? Did you maybe want to have a real career, a real calling that meant something, that gave you a feeling of satisfaction and challenge and mental stimulation?

I have almost the easiest PS job anyone could get. I have to work but a fraction of what most teachers do, especially compared to hagwons. My kids are basically decent. I have an easy and short commute. My city is a lot better than most non-metros I've compared it to. My apartment is nice and well-located. AND I make a good bit more than average for anyone here except Uni professors. But 2 years here will be damn pushing it for me. I don't deny the things you mention. In a lot of ways living in Korea is easier than living in America. I have a hard time thinking of a job I could do in America as 'easy' as the one I have here for the same income.

But life is about more than having it easy. At least it is for me. Every weekday morning I have to drag myself out of bed. I don't look forward to my days. I'm happy when I manage a good class that maybe actually taught a few of my kids something new for once; but there's no deeper satisfaction there. It's just going through the motions. I want to do better than a life where it's all about the evenings and weekends and just grit your teeth until you make it. Don't you?
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matty022



Joined: 05 Mar 2012

PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 5:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Flying over for my first gig in Korea this week (4 days to go!) and this OP is encouraging. I'm a big believer in not doing something you're unhappy with. It's part of the reason I don't understand the negativity found on this board so often. If you don't enjoy what you're doing, change your life instead of being bitter about your 'lot'.

I have a Master's degree in history. Yes, I was led astray by the "get your degree in whatever interests you and there will be a job for you when you finish" BS. I have 9 years experience in the Air Force and I've been in managerial positions several times. Since I finished school a year ago I've applied to hundreds of jobs and I've received 1 interview. I worked for a few months in a bar that specialized not in serving drinks, but tending slot machines. I made minimum wage and woke up with a sore throat every day from the cigarette smoke and had no benefits. I was unhappy with that place so I made a change.

I think my time in Korea will be life changing. Even if I only do one year which is unlikey. You just can't get a job with the same benefits here in the States unless you have a technical degree or join the military.

Your experiences anywhere are dependent on your own attitude. If you're always negative you're going to hate where you are. A change of environment isn't going to change that.
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Steelrails



Joined: 12 Mar 2009
Location: Earth, Solar System

PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 5:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Modernist wrote:
My question for you, OP, is:

Why'd you leave? If you had it so good when you were here and everything was great--women, public transport, 'free' apartment [actually, your pay was just allocated differently, but never mind], travel, money, friends--why would you drop all that to go to America?

There must have been SOMETHING, some problem or concern. Something that bothered you despite all of the good things. So what was it? You even claim you know 'what it's like to have a job [you] love', and it was 'easy' to boot!

So why'd you walk away? Are you sure it wasn't because you came to understand the meaninglessness and dead-endedness of teaching ESL? That no matter what you did here you would never escape the reality of this joke 'profession'? Did you maybe want to have a real career, a real calling that meant something, that gave you a feeling of satisfaction and challenge and mental stimulation?

I have almost the easiest PS job anyone could get. I have to work but a fraction of what most teachers do, especially compared to hagwons. My kids are basically decent. I have an easy and short commute. My city is a lot better than most non-metros I've compared it to. My apartment is nice and well-located. AND I make a good bit more than average for anyone here except Uni professors. But 2 years here will be damn pushing it for me. I don't deny the things you mention. In a lot of ways living in Korea is easier than living in America. I have a hard time thinking of a job I could do in America as 'easy' as the one I have here for the same income.

But life is about more than having it easy. At least it is for me. Every weekday morning I have to drag myself out of bed. I don't look forward to my days. I'm happy when I manage a good class that maybe actually taught a few of my kids something new for once; but there's no deeper satisfaction there. It's just going through the motions. I want to do better than a life where it's all about the evenings and weekends and just grit your teeth until you make it. Don't you?


Tis true.

But it beats unfulfilling job AND being too broke to do anything that would be much fun back home.

On the other hand, unless you are in Seoul, its really hard to find the civic groups that make evening life worthwhile and not a time for consumption. That's the great thing about back home.
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fustiancorduroy



Joined: 12 Jan 2007

PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 6:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

...

Last edited by fustiancorduroy on Sat Feb 21, 2015 6:11 am; edited 1 time in total
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