Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Happy Birthday, David!

Wow—my little brother David turns 40 this year. He already has more gray hair than I do. (In fact, both of my brothers look grayer, for whatever reason.)

David's the last brother to stick around in our hometown of Alexandria, Virginia. Sean has moved to DC; I'm here in Seoul. Only David remains to hold the fort and represent our family in northern Virginia. He lives in a nice, big, suburban house, living a suburban life—mowing his lawn, pulling out weeds, knocking down wasp nests, watching fugitive deer cross through his fenceless back yard, taking his dog out to parks, and just generally chillin'.

David used to have a tenant who had been renting out the downstairs, but that ended several months back when the tenant's dog died. This worked out well for David, who had found the tenant rather unsavory (I did, too, when I met him). These days, David has the house to himself, but I think he likes the solitude.

Sometime next year, when I'm flush with cash, I want to visit the States and Europe during a two-week jaunt—a week in the US, then a week divided between France and Switzerland. I hope to catch up with both my little brothers then. I miss them. That's the one major problem with living in Korea: I can't see my oldest buddies, and I can't see my bros.


TheBigHenry said...


Would you care to share why you choose to live in Korea since you miss seeing your bros and old friends?

Kevin Kim said...


Interesting question. Part of it is that I've always enjoyed living the life of an expat, and one price that an expat pays is the necessary loosening of bonds with his home country—not the loosening of bonds of loyalty and love, to be sure, but a more practical loosening in terms of not being able to visit friends and loved ones as often as before.

Also, as I've blogged before, living in Korea tends to narrow one's skill sets into something increasingly Korea-specific. It's hard to leave the country after you've been here so long; what could I do in America that would be as lucrative as what I'm doing here? People in the States generally speak English, so the ESL market is much smaller than the EFL market in Korea; the Stateside need for editors and proofreaders to clean up unnatural, stilted, awkward English is also much less pronounced than it is in Korea (granted: proofers and editors often go unused in Korea, too, which is why "Konglish" is everywhere—on tee shirts, in brochures, on storefronts, etc.); with my skill set, I don't think there's much work I could pick up in the States—at least, not as fast and not as easily.

Plus, Korea has its own charms that keep me here. The people can drive me nuts, but there are things to do and places to visit and opportunities for self-development, and I've only tapped the surface of all that, even after 11 years here.

So despite how much I miss home, friends, and family, I'm basically happy to be where I am, and as my financial situation improves, I worry less and less about having the money to buy a plane ticket in case of sudden stateside emergencies, and soon I'll have the financial means to travel to the States on a more casual and regular basis.

TheBigHenry said...

Thanks for your honest response, Kevin. I wish you well.

Charles said...

Whatever path you choose in life, you are sacrificing one thing for another. That's just the way it is. The only real question is whether the sacrifices we make are worth it.

Kevin Kim said...

Thanks, Henry.


This is where I nod solemnly.