Ever since I came back from Korea last year, I find myself more and more lacking the passion that got me into programming and computer science. Since I was 12 years old, all throughout high school and university I’d been designing and working on webpages and websites. After I graduated in 2011, I immediately found a job in San Francisco and was happy to live there and attend tech meetups and startups there until 2014 when I moved to Korea.
When I was in Korea I was also working though my enthusiasm was slightly diminished due to me focusing more on the goal of meeting someone there. When I failed that goal ultimately and was forced to come back to SF, I found myself even less eager to get back into programming and working a day job again. There’s nothing wrong with Spigit, the company that I work for, nor my coworkers who are pretty easy going, nor the salary or benefits (except I wish I had more PTO), nor the technology (I actually prefer Angular 2 to ReactJS) but its just the timing I guess.
I’m at a point in my life where I needed to find a partner, and being back in SF definitely does not help. It doesn’t help that SF has gotten a lot worse than before. There’s more homeless, more crazy people, prices have gone up, less women, less internationals, less Koreans and salary is the *exact same* as what I got from Walmart in 2014. So same salary, less PTO, and everything else in SF has become worse. I only have one friend left in SF now and he wants to leave here even more badly than I do! Coincidentally or not almost all my close male friends have chosen to be with Korean women.. and all of them have had more success than me, ironically, even though my Korean skill is probably the highest out of all of them. And not to mention that I have been focusing on Korea the longest, since 2012.
So yeah, I need a break from work, and I need a break from this city. SF while its still a tourist friendly city, has become a worse and worse place to live in. There’s less and less reason to stay here while the salaries are still stagnant.
These days I just hang out with my friend who constantly complains about life in SF and the lack of women here (doesn’t help my cause) and play video games all day. All my other friends are in Canada or Korea. What a life.
I really want to stay at my company at least one year though, since I’ve never worked for a company less than that and I want to make it seem that I’m somewhat loyal to the companies I go for. Plus I have a plan to sell my place next year and get out of the US, which means this could be potentially the last US job I work for. So why not make it last a little longer?
But yeah this is still next June, and surviving until that time is… difficult. Almost all of my friends from 2014, from before I left SF the first time, are no longer here. Making new friends is difficult; most of the internationals I’ve met this year have all been temporary couchsurfers who I only get to know for a few days before they take off again.
So yes that is my pitiful situation currently. I’m not enjoying my job, Its hard to make new friends here, my old friends have all gone, its impossible to make a girlfriend here due to lack of Koreans, and all this while all my friends and people I care about are next to North Korea, a country that Trump might decide to attack any day now. It is quite misery indeed. Even though 2013 and 2015 weren’t terrific years, in retrospect they were, and in addition to 2012, 2014 and 2016 (those which I always remember fondly), I even begin to miss my life in 2013 (in SF) and 2015 (in Seoul) too… compared to those times 2017 feels like being in a prison. I have to stay here to save money, but at the same time I feel no joy, depression comes fairly often, and I feel trapped in this place that I can’t escape until at least June 2018. I need a change in my life for sure.
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:
As much as I like living in both Korea and America, I have some complaints about both countries. Yes, I know no country is perfect, so here’s my biggest gripes about each.
5 things I don’t like about living in South Korea
I wish Koreans would stop worshipping white people and treating white people different than other foreigners. Black people, Hispanics, and other non-Korean Asians all get treated differently, or “lower” than white people get treated and this is an issue common to most Asian countries I think. Because of Hollywood and history, white people get looked up upon and Koreans think of themselves as “better” than other Asians.
Its very difficult for a foreigner to become a Korean citizen. There’s really only a few ways, either marry a Korean national, have Korean heritage but live abroad, invest $5m into the Korean economy, or become a Korean cultural ambassador. So for the majority of us foreigners the only reliable option is to marry a Korean, which I’m not opposed to, but its difficult meeting a girl to marry when you can’t live here permanently. And you have to marry to live here permanently. Working here for any amount of time doesn’t cut it.
3. Online security
Doing anything online, buying tickets for a movie, getting internet, going to naver cafes, online shopping, transferring money to a bank account, getting a cellphone contract etc all requires a Korean resident number (only Korean citizens have that), or requires an Foreigner ID card (only foreigners with a work permit have that). So if you are living in Korea short term like me, good luck getting those things online. Its a major headache and hassle.
4. Work culture
The work culture in Korea is very strict. You have to follow what your boss tells you do and can’t talk back. You can’t leave work until your boss does. You have to go drinking with your boss if he tells you do. Overtime and Weekend work is normal. That’s why I don’t to work for a Korean company. But they have to get with the times and change these rules. Its way too strict and hinders intellectual and career development. Also, you’re encouraged to stay with the same company to show your loyalty. These rules are pretty different than Chinese work culture where there is more freedom of movement.
5. Gender equality the recent murder of a girl in Gangnam by a guy who hated women prompted some people to talk about gender equality and misogynists in Korea. But unlike in America, where girls complain about sexism in every single thing imaginable, in Korea its very real.
There is a 30% work pay gap between Korean women and men, and that is the highest gap in the OECD. Korean women are pressured to look pretty all the time, and some have to get plastic surgery to find a job. They are discriminated against if they get pregnant while on the job and can be dismissed. In America, people can sue for this, but in Korea women are too afraid of retaliation to even try. In fact, online Korean bloggers even trying to talk about women’s rights get attacked viciously online by Korean males who don’t want women to have more rights.
In the US, there is the benefit of American males who have sympathy for feminists, but the reason why you don’t see many feminists in Korea is because its a patriarchal society, and people are afraid of retaliation and backlash, where Korean men don’t have that much sympathy for the women.
America has a gun problem. They think more guns is the solution, not the cause. They have 310 million of them and its impossible to take them away. Pro-guns people usually say banning guns won’t keep criminals from killing people, they will find ways to get guns or other weapons.
I don’t disagree with that, but I think the reason how they can get other guns in a city like Chicago for instance, which has a lot of murders but strict gun laws, is because they can always get it from states or cities with more loose gun restrictions. Because in America every state is different, people can just buy guns without a background check from a private gun dealer or gun show in a state with loose gun laws and take them to a state with strong gun laws and shoot people.
The solution is ban guns everywhere like in Canada/Europe/Australia/Korea/Japan/most of the developed world.
As for criminals finding other weapons, well a knife is quite less lethal than a gun. A knife is a short range weapon and multiple stabbings are required, whereas for a gun its long range, and multiple shots can kill multiple people at once. A gun is far more deadly than a knife is, so if a criminal uses a knife, a lot less deaths will happen. The time it takes for a person to stab someone fatally versus a fatal gunshot. You can’t say that stabbing someone is faster. A bullet travels way faster than a hand does. In a mass shooting situation, that happens a lot faster than a mass stabbing situation.
Plus, a lot of these mass shootings happen not from criminals, but from ordinary citizens with mental health problems. They aren’t criminals until they commit the act. Which means, banning guns 100% from every state is the right choice so that common citizens can’t get access to them easily.
Another argument people make for guns is that they need them for self defense (against intruders or the government) or for hunting purposes. My response is, in 2016 why do you need to hunt, since fresh meat is widely available, and why is a gun necessary for self defense when a knife will do? The same people who say that knives are just as deadly as guns (foolishly arguing against my point above) will defend this point in pure contradiction and say that no, knives are not as deadly as guns are. And what chance do you stand against a military that has access to choppers, tanks, bazookas, stealth jets etc. This ain’t the 18th century anymore.
2. People think socialism is evil
We all know that there is a lot of uneducated people in the US, which is how Trump became the Republican nominee for President. 70% of them don’t have a university degree. So unfortunately a lot of them don’t understand exactly what democratic socialism is. They hear socialism, and they equate that to communism which equals Soviet Union/Red China/Cuba/Vietnam for them, and they hate it. They think that Obama or Bernie Sanders are communists. Which is blatantly ridiculous.
Canada/Europe/Korea/Japan/Taiwan/Australia/Scandinavia/etc a great majority of developed countries in the world practice democratic socialism, basically its the idea that the people pay more taxes and in return the government provides more welfare. The US is already like this in some sense because of Medicare/Medicaid/Social Security. The problem is Americans are selfish and don’t want to pay more taxes to help their kids get better education, or themselves to get easier access to healthcare. When they are already paying taxes to help the US military invade other countries. So very ironic.
3. People care more about fetuses / animals than other human beings
the shooting of a gorilla because a family’s 4 year old son went into the cage prompts people to care more about the gorilla than the child. In Hollywood movies, you are more likely to see an adult get killed than a dog or a cat.
Conservatives are fine with lax gun laws that facilitate mass shootings of fully developed human beings but are against abortion, which is a pre-developed human being.
I don’t get it.
4. Politically correct bullshit
When I go to IGN or PC Gamer I don’t expect to see article about body shaming or fat shaming. I expect to see articles about gaming. I don’t want to see 50% of the news coming from formerly respected magazines like Economist and BBC and TIME and websites like Verge or Techcrunch or Engadget constantly post crap about feminist / gender / equality bullshit. I want to see actual news about what they are supposed to talk about! World events! Tech news!
People care too much about being politically correct. calling someone fat will likely result in your getting ostracized for it “body shaming”. Complimenting a girl too much is “sexual harassement” and “objectifying”. You can’t make any comment that can me misconstrued as racist, sexist, stereotyping, etc if you don’t have enough diversity in your company or game or movie, then you get criticized “not enough girls”, “not enough gays”, “not enough blacks”, “not enough transgenders” etc. Everyone is offended by everything. In short, I hate the politically correct “progressive” society that we live in today.
Here’s an example of how much ridiculous politically correct shit get into my newsfeed, this is just in the last 15 days from my Facebook wall:
Now lets look at these sources… CNET, Economist, Eurogamer, BBC, TIME, etc. Wow thats a lot of feminist/diversity agenda being pushed down our throats every day. Now you know why I’m annoyed by this.
5. Gender Equality
I think Gender Equality is BS, and I’m probably the first to go ahead and openly say this. Go ahead mock me and hate on me all you want. I have my reasons. Feminists complain about small trivial things that they think are owed to them and hate on men without thinking about how much opportunity they have in the world compared to other women in the world.
They don’t think about the fact that men and women were born unequal, are biologically unequal, mentally unequal, have done different roles in society for millennia, and should continue to do so because they are good at different tasks. Women are better at taking care of kids, dealing with people etc thats why a lot of women are receptionists, service people, etc Men are better at dealing with physical labor, being scientists/engineers, fighting in battles etc and thats what they have traditionally done. One of the points I love about Korea is that the gender roles are very divided and separated and the guys do what the guys do best and the girls do what the girls do best. And there’s no complaining from either side. And look how much faster Korean life operates as a result! Its more optimal, more efficient that way.
I hate that everything a guy says in western society can be misconstrued as sexist or misogynist by today’s feminists and its just insane to think that. And not only that its a double standard against men. For example, you can have a movie that promotes feminist values and in the same movie you have girls ogling over a buff guy with his shirt off for half the movie. What kind of double standard is that? So girls can say sexist things and objectify men but guys can’t? That’s the definition of gender inequality. The same thing with that X-men article I linked earlier. So feminists want a strong woman to be a superhero and fight the bad guy but cry misogyny when the main villain chokes her? You can’t pick and choose which things are equal for you!
That’s why gender equality is complete BS, at least the way I’ve seen it played out online.
Edit: 6. Stereotypes/Racism
I don’t like how Americans have these stereotypes about non-whites, especially when it comes to mass shootings and mass killings. The recent Orlando shooting was a great example. That guy never said he was a Muslim and automatically all the media outlets reported that he was a Mulism and terrorist and pledged to ISIS because of his name! Despite all his family and friends saying its a hate crime. Just a few weeks later, a Texas mom shoots two of her daughters. I’m going to let you guess, do you think she was labeled a terrorist? Oh of course not, because she was white, so she had mental issues. A week after that, a Palestinian boy killed an American girl in her sleep in Israel. I’m going to let you guess again, do you think he was labeled a terrorist even though the situation is not that different than the other one? Of course! he was labeled a terrorist. Because he was of middle eastern background.
There you go people, now we know how the media reports things. White = mental issues. Middle east background/Muslim = terrorist. Black = gang related violence. This just feeds into peoples stereotypes and hate which is also exactly where Trump is getting his supporters.
On a side note, how about these ISIS attacks eh? There’s been ISIS attacks everywhere, in Istanbul, in Brussels, in Paris, in Tunisia, in Syria, in Iraq, in India, in Afghanistan, in Pakistan, in Lebanon, etc but just take a wild guess which attacks got the most media coverage? That’s right! The attacks that happened in Western countries! I know some people might be saying, well of course Western media will report on Western attacks the most, but thats simply not true. In fact, media outlets around the world devoted much more attention to the Brussels/Paris attacks than to any other ISIS related attack. In fact did you know that a tornado happened in Jiangsu, China just a few days ago? No? Well I guess you wouldn’t, because Western media outlets never reported it. On the other hand, Chinese and Korean media outlets very widely reported the Paris attacks and Orlando shootings. In fact, I believe the Paris and Orlando attacks got more coverage in China than their own tornado disaster which killed 99 Chinese! How messed up is that.
Facebook made their famous profile generator tool in support of Paris victims. I’m sure you’ve seen it, since almost everyone on Facebook and social media started changing their profile pictures to support Paris victims. But the Beirut attack that happened around the same time? The Istanbul attack that happened a few days ago? Nope. No Facebook profile generator tool. Not many people on social media even said much about it. On Kakaotalk, a Korean application, I saw many “pray for Paris” messages on there but not a single “pray for Istanbul”, “pray for Baghdad”. Nope. This just reinforces the issue that Western societies seem to get the most coverage out of any society in the world. The world is Western centric, and has been throughout history. In fact, who are the most famous people in history? The most famous scientists, conquerors, discoverers, kings etc? All Westerners right? Newton, Einstein, Shakespeare, Lincoln, Washington, Columbus, we all know these people. Do we know their Asian equivalents? Do we know their Persian equivalents? No, of course not! The great navigator Zheng He is far less known than Columbus. Shen Kuo, a famous Chinese polymath who made many important discoveries long before Europeans did, is far less known than Leonard da Vinci is.
So yes there’s another issue I have with the world, is that its based around Western society.