Wednesday, October 22, 2008


So I’m this guy. I grew up in Maryland, kinda got bored after college, and moved to LA. That’s where I met my wife, bought a house, did the white picket fence thing.. and got bored. So we moved to Las Vegas, punched out a daughter, bought another house.. and kinda got bored there too. So what the hell, we moved to Korea.

We are no longer bored.

We’ve been here about two months now, and I have been recently struck with a number of thoughts that I’d like to share with my friends and family. The wife (Kim) has her own blog, and now Ima gonna start mah own. She cannot stop me, she is powerless in the face of my.. typing. And stuff.

So actually I’ve been thinking about setting up a blog for awhile now, but the thing that really pushed me over the edge was this site. You’ve probably seen this guy’s “dancing” videos on the interwebs by now; if not, I highly recommend them. They’re basically pure joy, and really remind me how much I love travel, and why. It has been scientifically proven that nobody can watch these videos without smiling.

The wife and I had already resigned ourselves to the fact that we are not nesting types. We did make a serious go of things in Las Vegas; we bought a nice house, made friends.. Kim even started a business. As for me, I applied to and ultimately was hired by the Henderson Police Department. Being a cop is something I had dreamed about for a long time, and as I started the Police Academy, I thought I had finally made peace with staying in Las Vegas.

Of course, what better time for Kim to get a job offer in Seoul? All living expenses paid, a salary increase, and decent benefits to boot. At this point I had a lot emotionally invested in the cop thing, but ultimately we decided to that this was a better choice for our family.. so here we are.

Now I’ve only been at this expat thing for a few months now, but what I can tell you is that living in a foreign country opens your mind up in ways that are hard to imagine beforehand. Once you get past the tourist phase and start settling into a place, you start looking at the way another people live their lives. Enough of this and pretty much anyone is going to take another look at the assumptions that they’ve simply taken for granted. Astute readers may feel a “for instance” coming on.

Koreans view children as a treasure that belongs to an entire community, not just to their immediate family. Because of this, we have often encountered Ajummas (think grandmas in their 50s) who have scolded Emily for sucking her thumb, or picked her up to show her to some of their friends. To Americans, this sounds absurd and probably a little scary, but that’s just the way it is here. I’ve seen pairs of 5 year olds riding the subways on their own, and toddlers wandering 200 feet behind their parents on the street. Really puts this chick in perspective.

They simply don’t have the “culture of fear” thing going on that we have in the States, and when you think about it, that’s pretty awesome. Crime statistics in Korea back these practices up for them, and since it’s safe, well, I can’t really think of a reason not to do it. If you know your kids are going to be protected by strangers from getting into to trouble or being attacked by predators, then why wouldn’t you let them go out on their own? Of course, this is my daughter and my sensibilities are still informed by American paranoia, but I do feel a bit safer occasionally turning my back on her for a few seconds on the playground. When it comes to kids, it’s like the 1950s here.

Asian society is actually pretty alien to most Westerners, and Korea moreso than most. The above example is only scritchin' at the surface of the weird and awesome things we've run into here, and it's only been two months. We're probably going to be staying at least two years, and I wouldn't miss it for anything.

Well hell, that turned out to be longer than I had planned. Guess I’ve got a few more thoughts rolling around up there than I had anticipated, but I suppose that’ll do for a first entry.


Kim October 24, 2008 at 7:08 PM  

Welcome the world of blogging my love!

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