30 Days of my new Korean-focussed blog and some major changes in my life!

Well, I said I’d give up all Social Media and focus solely on setting up this new blog for 30 days and I have done just that.  I also said that I would have one new post each day.  This was a little tougher than I thought but sometimes old habits of ‘being busy’ creep back.  Despite a 3-day lack, I made sure I made up for it and even wrote one post in advance!  So I consider that a win :)

Now that I have all my old and new content here, I can focus on expanding my connections and seeing where it will take me.  I still plan on being loosely affiliated with other social accounts but I no longer plan on utilizing them as much as I did.  To be honest, that one single revelation I had about “if you aren’t adding to humanity you are just part of the noise” made a big impact on me.  To this end, I have now enabled all kinds of social sharing, so that my posts can be read by those who don’t read a lot of blogs but I don’t plan on being on them extensively.

Now, that being said, time to update everyone on some changes that are happening very soon for me.  I am moving.  My wife accepted a contract in the very most southern part of South Korea (Sacheon).  This is going to be an awkward move.  Mostly because her current contract ends on the 23rd but the new one doesn’t start till the 1st.  That’s quite a gap of time where we are literally in limbo.  We are fortunate that the new contract recruiter has free storage for our belongings.  This alleviates some issues but the next question is, what about us and our cat?  Still working on this part.

Now, as for the place we are going, well not much can be said about it.  It only has a population of 114,000 and it on the southern coastal area of the country.  I had to go down to that area once and I did like it a lot.  People are significantly less in a rush compared to Seoul.  I would even consider driving there without too much worry.  Driving in Seoul?  Not without armor plating because I’d be sure to run the vast majority of idiots off the road.

I previously mentioned that I was considering University here.  This idea has been scrapped.  Korea has zero mechanisms for ‘adult admission’, especially adults with no prior university education, unlike Canada.  They will not budge on this and the Government has never considered this at all.  This is one, of many, areas where South Korea’s education system fails miserably.

So, I turned to online courses.  Of course, I will would like to attend KAIST.  Their course looks really good and they have a heck of a reputation, despite the number of suicides last year.  I found Open University in the UK.  They seemed to have a decent certificate course that was reasonable in fees as well as course material.  So I emailed them, told them of my situation (Being a Canadian who is currently in South Korea) and got told:

Due to government restrictions on higher education study in some countries, modules that have been approved for worldwide study are not necessarily available in all countries.  For example, in some countries students are not allowed any ‘contact’ with the distance learning provider during their studies; the definition of ‘contact’ taking any number of forms including online tuition.

The modules required for the T12 are not available to students resident in Canada.

Well, that just sucks.  Kinda defeats the purpose of calling yourself a ‘open’ university and brag about being ‘online’.  Yet another failing of educational advancement in modern times.  So, now I am hunting again to find someone to take my money(within a reasonable amount, not looking for some stupid $50k/year program) and be accredited.

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Some things I do to pass the time

Being in a country where you can’t legally ‘earn income’ does put some limits on my activities.  So, between looking for legal ways to be a productive and contributing member of Korean society, I also try to integrate creativity into my life.

First, I am a geek.  I spend a lot of time with my computer, specifically learning Linux.  I love the idea of free and the software is more than mature enough for anyone to use without much fuss.  I, of course, go further than just ‘browse the Internet and read email’, so that means I like to get frustrated a lot when things don’t do what I want them to do :)  It’s part of the fun of being a computer guy.

Second, I try to be social.  While this too can be hampered due to lack of funds, I utilize the goodwill I have built up and make use of a community space I have set up called Don’s Open Brain House.  Here I organize events and group meetings.  Currently the Uijeongbu Foreigner Book Club meets there and shortly we will have a Language Exchange group meeting there as well.  I am working hard at turning this into a creative space where people can express their imagination.

I also have volunteered at some Hogwans (private educational institutes).  This has been fun and I have met some pretty cool kids there.  I also help a friend with the kids she tutors a couple of times per month at the Open Brain House.  In turn, she has help with the club by donating a table and some other things.

At some point last year, I felt the urge to do some drawing.  Having no particular education in this skill, I just found some simple designs and expanded from there.  This lead to the creating of a stick-man comic idea of a Knight who constantly tries to save a Princess from the clutches of a Dragon.  I just put up the first comic online today, please take a gander over there and leave some feedback.  Sketchbook Scribbles.

Of course I like to read and with the Book Club at the Open Brain House, I have no limit on books to read from :)

I am also looking into going to a University here.  More on that as it develops but right now, I am considering Hankuk University of Foreign Studies and their Digital Information Engineering course.

Oh, and obviously studying Korean as well :)