New Job and uncertain future…

Well, as a lot of my friends know now, I was laid off a month ago at my previous company Walmart Labs, and I’ve spent the last 2 weeks doing a lot of hectic interviewing. I enjoyed doing interviewing and coding exercises when I was young but now I am kind of annoyed of having to do them over and over. And companies judge you a lot based on how well you do on those, based on arbitrary parameters. I did get to learn a lot more ReactJS and Angular 2 / TypeScript and did get to compare the two a little. Its interesting that JS, once a language that was thought to be a ‘kiddie’ programming language, now can be considered more closer to Java than ever now, as we have ES6 and TypeScript and classes / static functions / constructors / type checking all coming into play now.

So after interviewing with a bunch of companies, I’ve settled on a small-medium sized company based in downtown SF called Spigit, which is an innovation management company. Part of the reason I chose them is because 1) they are in downtown SF and I hate commuting 2) the people and work environment reminds me of Switchfly the first company I worked at which is a good thing 3) they will work with Angular 2 which I did enjoy learning and feel its not a steep a learning curve as ReactJS.

Other than that, life is boring. I got homesick a lot when I was living in Korea, and now that I’ve been back for 2 months, I’ve missed Korea a lot too. I only have one good friend Ethan here, and we usually hang out at least once a week. My other good friend Tony moved down to Redwood City so its hard to see him, and my other good friend Patrick is pretty hard to get a hold of these days as well. So yeah its been hard making friends, and I find myself more and more missing my life back in 2011-2014. Those were the days when I could go to meetups, meet a lot of cool people, there were a lot of Korean international students back then, and I liked working at my company. That’s part of the reason why I chose this company is because it reminds me of my old one – but I know that times have changed, and the Meetups are definitely not the same as before and there’s definitely not as many Koreans in the city as before.

I used to meet Koreans a lot on the conversation exchange websites – now I am lucky to see even one new Korean on that website I haven’t seen before. I think its a combination of Trump’s anti-immigration policies + cost of living in SF going up that has driven away alot of international students.

I have pretty much given up hope of meeting the right girl now. I failed to bring a girl back from Korea – and now there’s 0% chance of meeting a Korean girl here that would be interested in me. Its hard to meet ANY Korean here, let a lone a cute girl who’s interested in me. And SF might be the worst place ever to meet a girl – not only is SF getting more and more gentrified – which means more engineers come here which are mostly men – but any decent looking girl who comes here automatically gets bombed / spammed by guys as soon as she comes here! There’s absolutely NO chance of meeting anyone on a dating site because almost guy here is on there and any cute girls get their inbox spammed after a few days – its not uncommon to see some Korean or Chinese girls with their inbox too full to even message on OKC! My friend’s current gf (who is Chinese so she doesn’t usually wear makeup or dress up that much) gets hit on constantly at her work and guys constantly compliment her and want to take her out and buy her stuff. And that’s without her putting that much time into her appearance! Imagine if the typical makeup / short-skirt wearing Korean girl comes here what would happen? I fear they might get stalked and/or raped.. I’ve had stories of some of my Korean friends going back to Korea and still being contacted by guys that they met in America a year before. Combine this with the fact that most girls in SF don’t pay attention to their appearance + are super feminist = you get tons of desperate horny guys here salivating for traditional Asian girls.

Adding onto those woes, my plan of going to Vancouver has been thwarted by my company suddenly letting me go – and remote jobs are really hard to find so my new plan is to stay with my new company for a year – I am a contractor now after all – and save up money to buy a place in Vancouver so I can move there in the future.

I also have some travel plans this year. First of all I should go to Vancouver next week so that I can renew my TN Visa with my new company (fingers crossed Trump won’t make any changes with the TN visa), then I will definitely go back to Korea sometime in the summer.
I have three girls who *might* be interested in me back in Korea – one of them is emotionally unstable, one of them is married and has an abusive controlling husband so I’m trying to convince her to divorce her husband, and the other one doesn’t speak english well and has never been to US or Canada before and doesn’t want to quit her job in Korea. So yeah -pretty grim choices I think, but I’m definitely more desperate now than before and really regret being as picky as I was back in 2015.
Finally – I want to go back to Canada and visit Toronto and Winnipeg again to meet my Korean/Chinese friends as well as my brother. Hoping to go sometime in the fall.

Right now, pretty depressing relationship-wise and trying to save up money..

Well, I started working again just 1 week ago, and as ever it feels so tiring commuting to the office everyday and working at a smaller company –
the demands are higher, that’s for sure, and I can’t coast like I did at Walmart anymore.

I had hoped that working at Spigit would bring me back to my glory days working at Switchfly, 2011-2013 where I had the best time of my life both
with cool coworkers and with meeting cool friends at language exchange meetup after work everyday.
But times change, and those days are gone now. Meetups aren’t the same anymore. SF became way more gentrified now, there’s way more guys here than girls, and very few Korean students are here compared to before. Yeah, I’m working at a small tech company downtown again, but everything else has changed.

All my friends went back to Korea or Taiwan or Japan. One of my best friends in SF moved down to Redwood City and he works in Mountain View so I can’t see him that often anymore. I only have one good friend left in SF now and I hang out with him so much that I feel like I really need
to get away and have another friend to hang out with cause hanging out too much with just one guy isn’t good for me. I need some variety.

In Korea I was homesick about SF, but mostly homesick about going back to working a normal schedule again and not having to sleep in the daytime and live like a vampire anymore. In Korea, it was terrible for my health. Everyday I woke up at 5pm or 6pm, then went to some meetup, met some people
I probably never talk to more than once or twice, go home, I would eat fast food or instant ramen or pasta or rice at 12am and then start work at 2am, then eat again at 5am then sleep at 10am. I maintained this schedule for TWO freaking years. And never went to the doctor or hospital because I was afraid of my Korean ability and also did not have health insurance. As you can imagine, it took a toll on my health. I am definitely not as healthy as I was back in 2014.

But I knew that as lonely as I was living in Korea like a vampire, living in SF was just as lonely. It’s soul-less here. I feel like since I started working my life has become totally robotic. Every day, wake up, go to work, eat, finish work, then meet my friend for gaming or eating. On weekends its the same, gaming or eating with my one friend. And he has a gf so its not THAT bad for him, but for me its far worse since I know I have NO chance to meet a girl here this year.

When me and my friend went to Vancouver we saw a place where there was an even ratio between guys and girls, a place where Koreans actually stayed long term to work, etc. SF is different. There’s way more males here than females due to a concentration of engineers. It’s like in China, where guys outnumber girls and as you expect that kind of ratio favors women way more, making SF a much better place for girls than for guys. Whether for pricing reasons or visa difficulties or Trump or everything, there’s almost no Koreans that stay in San Francisco long term. Almost every Korean here is a student or a traveler. I hosted several Koreans and other Asians at my house as a Couchsurfing host much as I did in 2014 since I enjoyed meeting new people, but sooner or later they eventually leave since they are temporary, and once again I become lonely. There’s very few options for me anymore other than to just tough it out this year and save money to go to Vancouver next year or year after. There’s no way I can move back to Canada right now since the American dollar is so strong and I can earn literally double what I can make in Canada.

I also don’t think I’ll ever move back to Korea again. And unfortunately for Korean girls, most Korean girls that I like either have a bf already, or live/work in Korea, and don’t want to move abroad or are not interested in me or all three. Since they are so conservative especially compared to Chinese, Koreans usually stay within their own country and date their own race. This makes it very difficult for a foreigner like me. Working in Korea is so hard and most Koreans are incredibly busy due to how much they have to work, and they make very little money on top of that. So there’s pretty much no point to try to work in Korea if I can get an American job.

I can try to find a remote job again, but then I would have to risk the time difference problem and thus my health again, which I don’t want to do. What if I was a freelancer and could work my own hours in Korea? Well, that would be better, but there’s still a fundamental problem… in Korea most girls meet guys through blind dating. In Korea I never had many friends that would introduce me to girls. The main reason I believe (since I can speak Korean fairly ok for conversation) is because I couldn’t stay in Korea long term, and eventually I would go back to Canada or US. And that will always hold true. I don’t think I would ever live in Korea long term… its very difficult for me to do so since I don’t have a house or family there. And since Koreans are so conversative about moving or living abroad, basically this narrows my chances to women who: 1) I can meet either at meetup or online 2) keeps in contact with me (very difficult since in my experience 90% of girls I meet online and meetup eventually stop contacting me or become too busy or get a bf) 3) speaks decent enough English to live abroad 4) has a desire to take a risk and live abroad particularly in Vancouver/SF 5) is open minded enough and has parents that are open minded enough to date foreigners 6) has good compatibility with my interests 7) is cute/slim/feminine enough for me (most Korean girls satisfy this but just putting it out there) 8) Is interested in me enough to start a long term relationship with me
As you can imagine it is VERY difficult to find a girl that meets all those requirements, even in Korea during the 2 years I was there it was very difficult to find a girl who can satisfy all that. That’s why even if I could find a remote job, I don’t think I would live in Korea again… there’s too many challenges still meeting the right girl there. That’s why Vancouver or even Toronto are far better places for me since I wouldn’t have to change my schedule around, I eventually will have to move back there anyway since I only have a US work visa and not a green card, the Koreans there are not as busy as they are in their home country, and the Korean girls there are already “pre-filtered” in a sense (they already have a desire to live abroad since they are already there, and probably have a desire to meet foreigners as well). Of course, the downside is I would still have to find the “right” girl but I think my chances are as good as it can get if I move back to Canada. It’s not like I had good chances getting girls to like me in Korea, their home country anyways.

On a positive side note.. I did a brief overview of all my UMPC collection / gadgets! here they are:

Life update… I’ve been in Korea for 9 months already!

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.

Thoughts about introversion, leaving BT, Ladies Code, Tech

Work
Today is my last day at BitTorrent. I enjoyed working there, I had a cool manager, smart co-workers, I learned a lot of technologies like NodeJS, EpoxyJS, more Backbone and especially payments systems like Paypal and StripeJS, but in the end I guess I was still tired of the monotony. I needed something new and invigorating, I needed to move someplace new. It’s been 4 months already since I was in Korea, and I’m dying to go back already. 2 weeks a year of vacation simply wasn’t enough. It was like being in jail for 50 weeks and having freedom the other 2 weeks.

Tragedy
The tragedy that happened to Korean pop group Ladies Code deeply disturbed me. Two members died in a car accident, the other 3 have to undergo surgery. Still, the fact that they were so young, just beginning their careers and with so much hope to the future, and their sudden death made me realize how fragile life is, that anyone can die at anytime, and I hope we can learn to cherish our loved ones knowing this in the future. Yes, people die all the time, even young people, but the fact is these were celebrities and they were Korean, which hit me hard. Parents should never have to bury their children.

Smartwatches and Smartphones
The Apple Watch finally came out, and as always my opinion on smart watches are, if they have a long lasting battery (> 2 weeks) and is waterproof then I’ll buy it. If not, then they aren’t better than my current watch (a Seiko Kinetic), which charges automatically and is 100m waterproof. Also, I prefer round to square faces. My opinion is that smart watches should only do basic functionality, like show notifications and basic PIM-like functions. Anything more than PDA-like functionality is too much. We use smartphones to do complicated tasks, we’re not using to interacting with a watch other than just looking at it, so anything more than a glance is overdoing it. The only area where I think complicated functionality might be good on a watch is a voice assistant (Siri/Google Now/Cortana) but it shouldn’t respond with more than just the basic answer. The Apple Watch is an example of doing too much (viewing photos on a watch is just ridiculous), but the Meta watch gets it right. Looks good, with basic functionality at a glance. Anything more, just pull out your phone from your pocket.

As for smartphones, I wish more manufacturers would make two sizes, a smaller size and a bigger size. I think 4.7″ is a little bit big for me, coming from a 4″ iPhone 5S, but right now there’s no more options for smaller sizes. Every manufacturer now including Apple has moved to making phones at least 4.7″ in size, and that’s too bad. That’s like saying, lets only make laptops with 15″ screens and discontinue smaller screens because most people don’t like smaller screens. Some people do want smaller screens (either for portability or battery life) and we don’t need the bigger screen.

Introversion
I have always been an introverted person. It’s just built into my DNA. From a young age, I had a hard time making friends. In high school, sometimes I would hide in the school bathroom just to avoid talking to people. I am very awkward in social situations. I don’t like to start conversations. I purposely take longer routes sometimes to avoid meeting people. Sometimes I just like to stay at home and not talk to anyone. I am very much a loner, close friendships are hard to make, and long lasting romantic relationships have never existed for me.

That said, this sort of changed in 2010 when I joined AIESEC. Since then, I’ve been involved in meet ups, couchsurfing, and conversation clubs to meet people. But that’s more or less because I am forced to. In America/Canada, it’s very hard to meet someone unless you actively make an effort. You have to actively join clubs and meet ups and network with people. This is in contrast to Asia, where most people meet from introductions or services.
I am Asian to my core. I dislike having to make an active effort to meet people, and it feels very forced to do that. I’d rather have my friends introduce me to someone, but that culture doesn’t exist here. What’s more, I’m not a very good conversationalist, I don’t know how to keep conversations going. This is something most Americans are good at, and I’m not. I’m very good at following orders, and not very good at leading. I’m very good at listening, but not talking. All this just means, I’m probably a better fit for Asian society (where I was born) than Western society. I just feel like a fish out of water in a society where people constantly reference pop culture, makes jokes, come up with random topics, etc. This has always been the case for me. That’s why most of my friends are Asian or international students.

Pictures
I try to take more pictures these days, because I regret not taking more pictures before. Its sad that I can’t remember anything that happened 4-5 years ago because I have no pictures. Also I have no pictures with my good friends back in Toronto, which is kind of sad. It’s regretful, but better start logging these later rather than never.