No Blank Check With My Time

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Okay, some details updates:

  • When I lived in Prague there were some amazing street foods that I became quite addicted to… street sausage (no, that wasn’t my actual nick-name), Christmas Carp, smazney cyr and other assorted goodies. Korea has some good street food too! See the picture above… yes… street fire roasted sweet potatoes!
  • I’ve been sick a good portion of the time I’ve been here. I think I got the flu my first week and then got a cold a couple weeks later that hasn’t let up. I got an ear infection yesterday which prompted me to have my boss bring me to a clinic today for some antibiotics. Luckily they are already working and my ear doesn’t feel like there’s a drill bit stuck in it anymore.
  • I’ve traveled almost every weekend that I wasn’t sick. I’ve been to Seoul (the Itaewon area) twice already and went to a poetry open mic in Ulsan last weekend. I’m not sure if I’ll be up to traveling this weekend as I’m still feeling crappy, but we’ll see. I have a long list of places I want to go.
  • Things are still good with the job and the kids. They challenge me, are wicked cute and it’s a massive learning experience that is invaluable.
  • Still hoping to make some more friends to do stuff with that doesn’t involve a ton of drinking. People love to drink here… it reminds me of how I was when I was in my 20’s. I have some fun memories, but not looking to get sucked back into that lifestyle. I’ll keep putting myself out there in those regards.
  • My apartment is pretty much all squared away. I convinced my boss to loan me an extra TV of his and my clothes are all put away. I’m living a minimalist’s wet dream right now. A true bachelor pad.

Coming to teach ESL in Korea I sort of wrote myself a blank check for figuring out what my “next” step would be. I was not sure if teaching would be my end-goal or if I’d find something else out of left field that would inspire me to rush back to the United States to continue on my career development journey. After being here for about a month I’m feeling it’s a bit of column A and column B.

I want to enjoy my time here without putting too much pressure on myself to decide my long-term goals in a specific time frame. Luckily for me, inspiration hits when the pressure is off. Considering I’m an unattached, single 30 year old man, I have the ability to take a lot of different paths of interest.

Within about a week of getting to Korea I stumbled across an NPR episode on the growth of wind energy technician jobs and how there are only about half as many candidates with the necessary skills to fill jobs right now. I’ve wanted to work in renewable energy for a long time, but never quite made it happen. Not for lack of effort, but I’ve always had a distinct shortage of education and experience when it comes to technical skills and renewable energy in particular. That, matched with the fact that every job I’ve had as an adult has been as a white collar marketing guy, lent zero credibility to my desire to work in an industry that was physically demanding and blue-collar-ish.

So, it slowly started to dawn on me that if I really wanted to take this path and if it was still burning a considerably large hole in my chest, I should give my best effort to see it through. Granted, there will be boundaries and challenges to making a career in wind energy possible. First is, as always, money. I’ll have to go back to school for at least a year, maybe two. This isn’t some super expensive degree from a four year university, luckily, but it will still require I put a significant amount of money aside while I’m working in Korea for the next year (or two) to be able to afford this type of degree. I doubt I’ll want to or be able to take another student loan to get this certificate or degree so we’ll see how that part pans out.

Also, there’s always the wild card. Will I discover some unknown passion or love here in Korea that will make me say “fuck-it-all” and choose another path? I’ve done that before, so I won’t write myself off yet.

Regardless, I think it’s important that I didn’t write myself a blank check with my time. I came here to enjoy, but to also learn about myself and make some decisions at this pivotal point in my life so that I don’t wake up one day when I’m older and say that I let opportunities slip by while I wandered aimlessly.

I’m looking forward to seeing what unfolds from this whole experience.

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