Holy cow its September 2015 already. I barely even remember the new year has passed and already the year is almost finished. Crazy. I’ve been in Korea for 9 months now and its just flew by. I guess when you stay at home most of the time, that tends to happen. Ugh…
Anyways what have been my thoughts about living in Korea so far? I love living here, I love how fast things get done here, like getting a pair of glasses took just 30 minutes (it would be 2 weeks in the US), getting a bank card is instant (in the US it takes 2 weeks+ to mail it to you), getting contact lenses took me just 5 minutes, I just bring the prescription and they immediately give it to you. It’s so fast, so efficient, I love that aspect of Korea. There’s just too much bureaucracy in Western countries to get things done fast.
The aspect I don’t like about Korea? How everyone is so busy all the time. I know, its Korean society and they have alot of pressure to work hard. Their whole life is set out for them, study hard, graduate from good university, find a good job, and then impress your boss. It’s not much of a life. There’s alot of things in Seoul to do, but its hard to find people to do them with. Everyone has a lot of pressure and has to study or work overtime. That’s the main reason why I don’t want to work in Korea.
Other things, well despite some embarrassing moments, my Korean has improved alot. When I first came to Korea in Aug 2013 I could barely hold a 20 minute conversation in Korean. Now, I can spend an entire day with someone speaking just Korean. Listening still needs alot of improvement though. As for getting a gf, well I found that much like a job, you can’t just go for the best right away. You have to get some experience first. I couldn’t have gotten my job at Walmart if I didn’t work at BitTorrent, and I couldn’t have gotten BitTorrent if I didn’t work at Switchfly, and I couldn’t get a job in the USA if I didn’t do an internship in Canada. And so on.
A relationship is similar. I’m kind of too picky, and I have to start somewhere first. I realize now that I can’t just go for the prettiest girl all the time, having very little relationship experience, and expect that girl to like me. Girls can detect whether or not a guy has a lot of experience, especially pretty ones. So, I have to lower my standards and start from somewhere first. If I keep waiting for the perfect girl, it would take forever, because its a catch 22, just like getting a job.
My parents want me to come back home to live with them in Canada. I think thats pretty much a death sentence for me. Going from the busy nightlife of Seoul to a place where there is basically nothing, no friends, no girls to meet, nothing to do.. I would probably die. My parents think that I would be more happy in Canada (I have no idea why they think that). I would still be working from home, except in a much more desolate place in that small country town in the middle of Ontario.
People here like to dress up, and that makes sense to me. Why not try to look good all the time? Why only look good on special occasions? The only real excuse is laziness. I know that appearance doesn’t matter as much in Canada/US, but the truth is, it does, just people don’t say anything about it. If an average girl always puts on makeup and dresses up in Canada/US she would get much more attention than if she didn’t. When you’re young in you’re 20s and 30s, you should make good use of your time, and I definitely don’t want to look back on that time in my life and say, wow I was much better looking back then, but I didn’t make good use of my looks. I like to dress up and look good everyday. There’s no downsides to it. Why only look good sometimes?
So yeah, I plan to stay in Korea as long as I can work remotely. As long as I can keep doing my work. My place in Seoul is kind of expensive right now ($900 a month), and I can definitely find a cheaper place, so as soon as my lease expires in Dec 2015, I’m moving to a different, smaller place. Maybe around $500-600 a month would be good.
I’m fine in Seoul. I might not be really happy, but I wouldn’t be happy anywhere else either. I’m trying to find happiness here, that’s my goal. I wish I could go back to 2012 and 2013 life back in San Francisco, I was really happy back then, but times change and I can’t go back. People change, people got older, my friends got married and had babies, and I got older. And now I’m here, and thats my future I think.
In other news, I met some Chinese people at different meetups and its interesting to hear their take on the differences between Korean culture or American culture with their culture. I agree that China is very different than Korea and America in a lot of ways. A lot of that is due to the size of the population in China, the socialist government there, and the amount of diversity there in China, compared to Korea. I have always got the feeling that Koreans are less open, more xenophobic and more racist than Chinese people are in general. That comes from living in a small country that is 99% Korean. For the comparison with USA, I found this book an interesting read. It compares China’s meritocracy to the USA’s democracy system. I think both have their advantages and disadvantages but one thing that everyone seems to agree on is that both systems are corrupt and no system is perfect. (Not trying to be overly patriotic here, but I think Canada has the ideal system with a mix of capitalism and socialism).
One thing Chinese people are right on is that they don’t attempt to force others to believe in their ideology the way Americans seem to force on other countries.
Speaking of great books to read, here’s another one I read recently and it was a pretty great read that shone alot of computing history to me: Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution. If you’re a techie like me, its right up your alley. And written by the same guy that wrote the Steve Jobs biography, another great book.
Other books I’ve read: Becoming Steve Jobs was an interesting take on Steve Jobs. And American Born Chinese is a book that while short, hits pretty close to home for me. The Kennedy Half-Century was one of the better books about JFK that I’ve read. And The Book of Basketball, The Dream Team, The Showtime Lakers, and When the Game Was Ours are absolutely fantastic reads for any NBA basketball fan like me. Highly recommend these books.