I really hate how group think everyone is here.  The concept of doing something by yourself is just so foreign to people here.  I’m sort of a loner and I’m totally comfortable doing something on my own, not here.  My latest point of contention is the rock climbing gym I went to.  Previous I went a lot and it was $70 a month.  Trips were fun, it was a smaller group of people, I had few friends to socialize with, and my love interest was there.  So it satisfied a lot of what I was looking for.  With my weight training, now dating said love interest and having lots of friends I have no reason to go, and it isn’t cheap.

So now the girlfriend can’t go to the gym without everyone asking where I am and why I don’t come to the gym, because I used to be part of the “group” and now I’m not really.  So like 2 months ago I quit going, but I foolishly paid for one month thinking it would stop them from asking questions.  It didn’t.  With Korean class now, more head teacher responsibilities, I have no time for it even if I wanted.  But I do enjoy weekend trips to go outside.

Me and Hyeon Mi went this weekend, it was fun, climbed some, but a lot of waiting around doing nothing while we waited for the gym leader to tell us what to do.  Or letting the older guys climb first.  All BS, just go climb and have fun.  Later another foreigner came with rope and we went off and did our own thing, much to the dismay of the rest of the group.  Like we are a team and the team stays one place, it’s totally mad.  Anyway so me and this other foreigner did some fun project and had a good time.  There was a break for lunch and I’m pretty sure Hyeon Mi was getting hazed for me not saying thank you for lunch.  Which consisted of part of a $1 brick of ramen.  Thank you so much.  This trip cost $25 for some reason.  I considered I could get a bus ride there for maybe $2 and I have all my own gear, paying $23 for a group of friends to climb with and membership to this social club seems pointless.

Explained my feelings to Hyeon Mi, she understood, but didn’t agree.  I said I probably wouldn’t climb with them again.  Considering about 30 people went, 10 of which ate ramen for lunch and we each paid $20-$25 the gym owner made roughly $1500 to drive us an hour a way and climb the routes he got to choose.  I really hate most Korean climbers.  They are unsafe, go hands free on the belay device all the time.  Run around sporting this $500 Arc’Teyrx jacket and new shiney gear and new tent and think that’s it.  Climbing here is a rich mans sport and it’s sick coming from the USA where the pioneers of the sport were dirtbags living out of their vans in ragged clothes.  One guy on the team was saying how he went out and bought jeans to climb in because that’s what American’s do.  In the 1980’s that’s what they did, but not now.  They are so focused on imitating and emulating the real thing they lose sight of having fun.

Once Hyeon Mi feels comfortable belaying we will have a blast.  The freedom to go where we want, when we want, climb what we want, how we want.  I can’t handle the suffocating lack of freedom in this community.

I’m all for respecting culture differences, and I sort of see my anger as a failure on my part in some small sense.  But I just can’t accept it anymore.  The people that I truly get along with here are all westernized Koreans that understand that Korean isn’t #1 best and have the open mind to consider other possibilities.