Taking a Step toward Korea

I took the job.

New readers probably have no clue what I’m talking about, but some time ago, I wrote about an opportunity in Korea, which I finally decided to take. But before you threaten to boycott my blog, like what Lena did (just kidding), I’m still in Japan, will be based in Japan and do not expect to move in the near future.

The startup was very understanding of my situation, unlike a certain mega corporation who, when I asked if they could wait for my existing contract to end in three months, said no and wanted me to quit that job in 2 weeks because they “urgently need someone to fill the position.” Six months later, after I renewed my contract, they called again and said they haven’t found anyone and asked if I would be interested to take it. If they had just given me that three months in the beginning or contacted me before I renewed my contract, things might have been different. But I suppose a mega corporation of that scale would assume everyone in the world would give everything to work there.

When I told the Korean startup I couldn’t just abandon my current job and move to Korea, they offered the possibility of me working remotely on a contract basis. That was perfect for me. It’s a startup after all and it’s 2017, so cheers to the modern way of working.

The last time I wrote about my first trip to Korea last May, I mentioned how I thought it’s not a place I would want to live in. Among the few places I’ve been to, Japan and New York were the only ones that made me feel I could live there. To be exact, Japan made me feel like I want to live here. New York made me feel like I could live there. Interestingly Thailand and Korea made me feel like I couldn’t.

Backtrack a little: I lived in Thailand for two months for the CELTA back in 2009.

But after the recent trip to Korea, I felt like it’s a place I could live in and probably want to.
* I forgot to mention I just came back from training at the Korea office.

When I think about it, I realized how spending time with locals can make you fall in love with a country. I remember how I used to think I don’t want to live in Singapore again, but when a client hired me on an ad-hoc basis to work at their Singapore office for two weeks some few years ago, I felt like I didn’t mind moving back because the culture was good and I enjoyed working there. Interacting with people outside my circle of family and friends made me fall in love with Singapore again. Likewise, some 14 years ago when I first visited Japan, Tokyo made me feel like it was a fun place to visit and I wanted to visit it again as a tourist, but when I spent 4 days living at a Japanese friend’s place in Fukuoka experiencing their lifestyle, meeting her family and people around the area, I fell in love with Japan.

This trip to Korea, where I spent most of my time at work, made me feel the same. I was with the Korean people and I felt like I’m beginning to enjoy Korea getting to see the real side of the country, unlike a year ago when all I did was follow my friends to touristy places, hardly meeting any locals.

Perhaps everywhere is a beautiful place to live in if you would put down your tourist mindset and mingle with the locals.


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