Should I stay or should I go…

This post is actually an old one that I found from a month ago. I was having an attack of wanting normalness. What you ask? I know that I am not entirely normal, and I admit that I have no idea how to be a regular 31 (almost 32 which is so bizarre that I don’t know what to say) year old. Most of my friends at home are married, some have their own homes, and most have regular, steady jobs – some have had them for years. Then there is me, I’m single, don’t have a permanent address, my stuff is all in storage, and I am on to my third career. While I enjoy it, it’s not something I can imagine doing forever. I am just enough of a romantic that I not only want to find that forever love (yep, I still think it exists) but also the forever job – one that is fun and fulfilling, that I can see myself doing 10 years from now.

So while I was having my attack of wanting normalness, I questioned whether I should come back to Korea for a second year. Here is what I wrote originally:

I’m still not sure what to do – whether to come back (to Korea) in January or to move back home permanently. It’s not that I don’t like it here or that I’m not enjoying myself (although the drinking culture isn’t entirely good for me). It’s more like I’m ready for the next step and it’s one that I can’t take here. My decision is basically whether to have one more fun, different and money-making (and saving) year. [Sidenote: I actually make slightly less but save so much more because my take-home pay is far greater and my expenses are way less.] or whether to go home and try to silence that one voice (not sure if it’s the angel or devil on my shoulder) that is telling me it’s time to grow up, that I will be 32 this year not 22. Don’t get me wrong, I know that I’ll never be conventional and I really don’t want to be but… Okay, since I started down this tangent, I should be honest. I really do want to come back to Korea. I’m having a great time and I think with the savings from one more year I will have a comfortable nest egg to go back to school (option 1) to get my Masters or to find an interesting job in Canada (option 2).

So why was I thinking about not coming back if I can honestly admit that I want to? Basically two reasons: I am hearing that mysterious voice that is whispering in my ear (and no, I’m not going crazy or really hearing voices) that perhaps I should act my age. The only problem is I have no idea how a 31 or 32-year-old is supposed to act and I am comfortable with who I am despite occasionally wondering what it would be like to be conventional. The second reason is that for the past couple of years I have been lonely. Don’t get me wrong, I have some great friends and actually coming here has alleviated most of the loneliness as my social life has definitely improved but I have started to think that while I enjoy being single, there is a piece missing. I am finally healed and ready to have a serious, adult relationship. For those of you who know me well, it’s true that I have always been a little (okay, a lot) boy crazy – and that didn’t change as I grew older – but long-term relationships were never my thing. I was kinda like a guy and the thrill of the chase was more exciting than the actual dating.

But to get back to the “should I stay or should I go” (great song by the way) question. As I thought about it, I realized two things. One: Job. I tried getting a normal 9-5 (or 9-6 or 7) job and actually worked it for two years but I wasn’t happy or challenged – two things that top my list of a job. Here, I like my job – see my next post for more info on the ups and downs of teaching English in Korea – I like teaching. Sure, I have some bad classes but many more good ones, plus I feel like I am helping – I can actually see the improvement in confidence and speaking ability. I am also saving a lot more money in Korea. That’s one point for staying in Korea.

Two: why should I be “an adult”? I don’t even know what that means or how to be one, plus my mom lived a good life as a kid so why not me. That’s one point for following my heart.

Three: Loneliness. Well, I was lonely in Canada but had little social life. Most of my friends lived in other cities and even the ones that lived close didn’t enjoy the nightlife like I do (some even implied that I should grow up, that I was too old for that, which isn’t true – there are clubs/bars for the 30-something set). What can I say, I love to dance. My social life was stagnated and there was little opportunity to meet new people, although I did pursue some fun, new ways just before I left like speed dating (for any singles reading this – it’s fun, you should try it). In Korea I have an active social life. I go out almost every Friday and Saturday night for dinner and drinks with friends. Saturdays we usually end up dancing and sometimes Fridays as well. Sometimes we go to another city for a change of scenery – there are some good clubs in both Busan and Seoul. Plus we do other things like go to the beach, go to the movies, go shopping, go see some culture or history, travel. Second point for Korea.

Four: Men. This point goes with the previous one but it’s also separate. I didn’t have any romantic possibilities at home although that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be able to find one, especially if I am open to exploring new ways of meeting people. In Korea, well, it’s difficult but not impossible for western women to date Korean guys, especially in Ulsan as they are often either a little intimidated by us or fascinated in a look-its-a-freak way. But in Seoul or Busan this is less of a problem as there are more foreigners so we are less exotic and therefore more approachable. Plus, there are three US military bases in Seoul which means lots of American guys. This one is a tie (if I were staying in Ulsan it would be a point for Canada but I am moving to Seoul).

So I have 2 points for Korea, one tie and one follow-my-heart which means I have decided to come back for another year. Yippee!

And on another note – I have a flight to Bangkok for October 6th!!

Cindy Zimmer

Live life to the fullest everyday – this is a the philosophy I try to live by and it’s taken me on many adventures. I write about Korean culture from a non-Korean perspective as the editor/founder of ATK Magazine and I’m the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Toronto Korean Film Festival (TKFF). Previously, I ran a Korean-English language exchange group (in Toronto) for 3 years to stay connected to my three years living in Korea as an English teacher. I love music, film, food and sports and write about 3 of the 4.

We want to hear what you think!

%d bloggers like this: