Went climbing this weekend at Yeosu. Hyeon Mi drove her mom’s car and it was only a 2.5 hr ride. The hike up was pretty steep but there were some great views at the top of the ocean. The weather was a little hot, but still great. The strong autumn winds are blowing all the pollution back to China, maybe. It’s a real difference in what you see, the mountains are green now instead of grey silhouettes. It’s like HD vision. We climbed some easy 5.8 routes and took it slow and had fun.
We also started talking more seriously about moving back to the States. It’s sort of a bittersweet topic of conversation. Korea is a great place and I really like it here, I’ve never felt so safe, cheap healthcare is amazing, I work very little and live a stress free life in Korea, however it’s not all good. I feel trapped by a glass ceiling here, I feel like the only hole I can fill is English teacher and there isn’t a lot of room for self improvement or moving up. It is entirely too easy to live a safe lifestyle here without developing yourself and it is constricting me. I want to start a small garden, learn some carpentry, and learn other hands on skills.
There is another aspect about Korea that I never truly embraced, it is the unending competitiveness. The stress on people is palpable and more often or not it gets drowned in binge drinking or reflects itself in the happiness index and suicide statistics. Now the Korean government is calling for people to slow down and actually enjoy their leisure activities instead of racing to the top of mountains on the weekend days off. Even this weekend when me and Hyeon Mi drove 2.5 hours to go to this specific climbing place with the easiest routes in all of Korea, a passing climber told us that the wall had “no grade” (not categorized, ie. too low category) and suggested we go climb at a different nearby crag that was harder. The suggestion is nice and he was just being friendly, but most people can’t grasp that you simply want to climb for fun, and not out of need for competition, to show off, or train your body.
I don’t want to live in a place like that, and if it weren’t for my country of origin and skin color I would have a really tough time in Korea. When I consider staying here longer I come to the realization that I can’t hide behind those 2 facets forever, I do need to be part of society to be fully satisfied with my life.
So a big move to the US is probably in the works, maybe in a year and a half. Time will tell, we are of course just spit balling this far out.
Next blog post will include progress on my 3D modeling and another take on the refugee crisis. Watch out for the German power play of shutting down borders.