Sunday, June 8, 2008

Why travel so far?

A question often comes up in my mind when I find myself staring out the window or realizing I am all by myself. The question being "Why did I come here?" I think there are definitely certain reason as to why I pushed myself to live in Seoul. But now that I am here my purpose of living needs an answer.

In some ways it has to do with my perception and academic curiosity towards Globalism and what it is like to be an immigrant.

So I have finally started reading Pico Iyer's book "The Global Soul." And not even one chapter completed I found a few lines that echo out the feelings I have been getting while living here.

CNN, part of the new media conglomerate for which I work - forbids the use of the word foreign on its broadcasts, and IBM, be local everywhere, tells us in reassuring tones, "Somehow the word foreign seems foreign these days." Globalism has become the convenient way of saying that all the world's a single market.
When thinking of globalism my mind strikes first at when I see Baskin Robbins or McDonalds here. Yet, I am guilty in taking in the pleasures of globalism, I mostly eat bagels at Dunkin Donuts and seek eagerly a great tasting pizza. But this is only about 15% of my experience in Seoul. The rest is well - Seoul.

Right now I am an immigrant. This city and its people are not the same as back home (obviously). I have come here to work and earn money to pay off debt back home. Yet, beneath all that I came here to experience globalism, to see for myself what it actually means. Unfortunately, my point of view right now is that globalism is something that spreads from the west and meets up in the east. This is an Eurocentric way of thinking and is typically quite arrogant to assume that globalism only starts at one point and ends up in another.

I hope to see that globalism is a phenomenon that doesn't happen as an event that spreads around the world. Rather it is possible to be a process of life that occurs simultaneously together. I guess I want to think first of the Earth and the globe and that we are all here together, and with technology and the fact that man doesn't isolate their selves anymore, that the world wherever you could seem the same yet different simultaneously. OK! that was a long sentence.

Anyways, besides the hunt for pizza or my trips to Emart to satisfy my soul, it is these moments when I reflect on my position and reason for being here, that I find to be most significant. In some way I hope to reflect upon and document these feelings and sightings. ;)


  1. Geeeeeeee......rather "heady" may have too much time on your hands Joy! Get that dvd/tv cranked up!

    "But now that I am here my purpose of living needs an answer."

    Are you posing the "purpose" Q&A in an ultimate sense or "one day at a time" sense....or what?
    Cause that answer can be multi-faceted, multi-directional, simplistic or complicated.....
    AND....sometimes people live their whole life & never really know!

    You are not an immigrant!
    An immigrant is someone who typically arrives on foreign shores to start a whole new life!
    You are more an "itinerate/migrant worker" in my opinion! Tho not picking crops, you're picking young minds!

    Also, please consider that the "western" markets (USA, etc...) have been flooded w/"eastern products" from China,Japan, etc... for many many MANY years.......Toyota, Nissan, Honda,Acura, etc.... Electronics: Sony, Mitsubishi, Panasonic, etc... etc...
    Not to mention, fortune cookies & Sushi.......
    AND just about EVERYTHING else that's "Made in China" stuffing stores in the USA, etc...
    Give all that "market" stuff some more thought... re: the directionalism of globalism!

    And please save some of your energy for drawing/painting the sites & sensory experiences of living in Asia! We wouldn't want our world class artist to get rusty!

    Maybe just enJOY for awhile, w/o being so analytical.....coming up w/all those lesson plans & classroom behavior management is plenty for now!

    BIG was great to talk w/u last nite & I have really good news about job options for the fall that were revealed today... YEAH!!

  2. =) Costco has phenomenal pizza in Yangjae (kangnam).. and very inexpensive! If you were a member in the states i think you can use your card here as well.... cynthia

  3. thanks Cynthia.. I will remember that... I know it was true back in the states as well.


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