Where Should We Begin (Again)?

April 23, 2015 at 2:21 AM | Posted in (All Posts) | Leave a comment

It has been some time indeed. The last post I did was a review for 2014’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film from Michael Bay (which I seriously loved). But what has changed in my life from that point until now? Over the past few years, especially in 2012 and 2013, this site was a sort of blog for my journey in Korea, but I haven’t had many updates in that field recently.

Well, as of this post (February 2015), I am working for an international company in Daegu, South Korea. I still have one year left on my graduate school program — a semester of classes as well as my thesis defense in my final semester. Will I finish? A part of me does want to, but I feel like the decision isn’t entirely in my own hands.

I have worked with some incredible professors who have treated me very well thus far into my grad school program. Despite that I am a foreigner in a Korean university and my undergraduate course was a different major, they have been incredibly patient and kind to me, and I feel very grateful for that.

For two semesters, over 90% of all my classes and lab meetings were taught through Korean. So this was not only a new major coming at me, but this was being taught through a new language. And this was what I signed up for and what I worked hard for. And I enjoyed it. I truly did. I do — I should say.

But there were a number of factors that pushed me to make the decision I did. The biggest one being — how do you turn down an offer like the one I received? Most foreigners who step foot in Korea are limited to just teaching English or simply studying. But this was a chance where I could work for a company — a good, well known, international company with ties back to the US — in a field that largely was unrelated to anything I had studied before.

I wasn’t “unqualified” for the position, but considering my undergraduate degree was in Journalism and my master’s degree was to be in Physical Education, to be offered a job in a business related position (which is more diverse and potentially has more options), that seemed quite rare. It’s the biggest salary of any job I’ve ever had thus far. The working hours are very fair, considering the company is in Korea. I can continue to use my Korean language, but I was hired as a native English speaker with the intention of working with others while speaking in English and communicating in English.

In other words, this job didn’t have many negative elements. It was simply a choice of — do I keep studying in this laboratory and chipping away at a thesis — towards a master’s degree that would largely (possibly) be useless outside of Korea unless I complimented that with a doctorate? Or do I take this opportunity to work for a good company while still possibly finishing my degree on a part time basis? I thought and thought and thought about it, and I chose the company job.

I’m 26-years-old working for a well known company with international ties, using a second language which I feel comfortable with, and getting experience that could either help me here — or help me elsewhere in my career later.

I won’t go too much into specifics, but it’s a business related job in a company that isn’t my “dream job” by any means, but at the same time — is there really such a thing as a permanent dream job? Probably — but for the time being, this is serving its purpose well. I can save money, live comfortably, get good experience, and enjoy my life in a foreign country while I’m young.

Will I stay in Korea permanently? It seems unlikely. As I type this, I am aware I will be going home for a brief trip soon and be in the US for about 2 weeks. I really feel like my real “happiness” is there with my family there in my hometown. My friends and my old life — my comfortable, safe life — is all there. If I think about raising a family, I think my hometown is a very good option. It’s safe. The cost of living is low. The people are friendly. And I think it’s just a good place to be raised, but still have ambitions to step outside.

I really feel as though my family raised me well. My hometown, while in Virginia, is certainly closer to “Southern US” roots and cultures than that of the “Northern US” parts. My Korean colleagues always tell me that my manners resemble that of a Korean — but I realize now that my family really instilled in me this feeling that I should have a basic respect for everyone. Being polite and showing courtesy to others, even strangers, feels right to me.

I know lots of people from my hometown who don’t reflect that, but “southern hospitality” is a real thing, and I think my hometown is a great place to have a family.

But…that could be years away. I have to find the right person and to be honest, there are times when I feel like I could live forever alone. I don’t mean that in any depressing or negative way. Sometimes I just feel selfish enough that I can’t imagine giving up on my ambitions to be part of a “team” with my future wife. But I suppose when you meet the right person, it changes your mind.

As usual with my blogs, this post…is a bit all over the place.

I guess…I’m still just in this constant battle to be the best me I can be. I loved Matthew McConaughey’s speech from the Oscars a few years ago. When he spoke about his hero being himself…10 years in the future. Always. As if he would never be who he wanted to be, because the person he wanted to be was always 10 years ahead of him.

I think that’s a great outlook on life. It keeps you working towards bettering yourself, but keeping you humble as well. I would like that to be my outlook on life, and I think I’ve been unknowingly applying it for years.

I’m 26 now — about to be 27 in a couple weeks. I’ll be 27 years old. And to me, that still feels so young. But I see so many people at 37 years old who have accomplished so much, they take care of themselves, and they still work on improving who they are. Both physically, intellectually, mentally, and spiritually — I want to be a much better version of me 10 years from now. And I think that’s totally doable. No questions about it.


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