Living in Wonju South Korea, These Many Long Years

Living in Wonju South Korea, These Many Long Years: Version 2.0!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Locked In!

Way back in the bronze age of my tenure in Korea, I had one of those great college jobs that are near non existent now: 12 hours a week, 5 months vacation, 2.8 million a month as base.  When I told one of my Korean coworkers that I was getting married to June, they laughed and said I'd be here forever.  

I remember at the time it pissed me off.  Yeah, how about you go fuck yourself I thought, not so much because of the staying in Korea part, but of the condescending haha you're totally fucked now dude attitude of the speaker.  Back then I still looked rather positively at the idea of marriage, what can I say.  Of course I merely smiled and jokingly asked where a good plot of land would be for my burial mound.

This came back to me yesterday while chatting with a bud over convenience store beers, and he started into the going home talk.

This is a conversation I've heard often from long term expats over the years.  In a vast majority of cases, it ends up being all talk, or at the very least takes years to come to fruition.  It isn't uncommon to see some of them come back to Korea after trying to make the jump, sometimes since they missed the life, the Korean spouse missed home too much, or they simply didn't sufficiently plan out the finances required to get resettled.

What's my long term plan?  Well, I do have a job I dig, and for it to see a good payout I need to put another 4-5 years in at least.  I'll send the girls home to study for 6 months to a year at a go until they hit middle school.  Once they hit that age, it's time for them to stay home for good.  I need to make sure I've got a solid nest egg, since by the time I go back the only real option for me will be as an entrepreneur.  I'll be too old to look for a regular nine to five.

So locked in?  Maybe, maybe not.  But my advice now to newly wed waeg / Korean couples who are considering leaving this fine peninsula is to get out sooner rather than later.  The longer you stay, the more it gets in your blood and the harder it will be to get things started back home.

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