Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sparked But No Fire

This post is to follow up on the 2S2 group I created in my area. It flopped.

I advertised it on facebook and managed to get 56 people to join. Out of the 56 people who came to the first meeting were my coworker and her friends. They didn't even really know why they were there. I explained it to them and showed them a document with a list of ideas to do in the area. We sat around the cafe for a few hours and then they all decided to go to Seoul to eat Mexican food. Conclusion: they didn't really get that this group is meant to explore our area...not Seoul. I am grateful they came and despite the end result enjoyed meeting them.

The way I see it is that if I didn't tell my coworker about it and she didn't bring her pals than no one would have shown up at the first meeting.

Now I understand people don't have to come and that few could be skeptical about what this group is about. But I am not interested in organizing and caring for something if I have no audience. Sure perhaps if I organize something for the next few months more people will show up. However, I don't really care. I give up, see.

I have my friends in Seoul that I have made through getting to know their blogs, and if I miss out on their meeting then I miss out on seeing them. A part of me, therefore, would rather keep growing the relationships with my Seoul friends than try to make new pals down here.

Another reason I don't really care to start this group is that my ideals for the group aren't popular. I like art, nature and not drinking. That last part is the big sign that I am probably not a fun person. I can't drink for medical reasons and also I just don't like how I feel. Don't get me wrong, I love wine and would not mind enjoying a wine tasting day. But going to a bar or club is not my style. Therefore I feel I can't reach out to the expat community since my idea of fun is probably compatible with just 1 or 2% of my peers.

If I were to start a group in my area it would be an Artsy the one in Mokpo. They get together and create works of art...and go to galleries.

As you can see my ambitions have hit a wall and that is why I am not going to lead a 2S2 out here. Therefore if you do live in my area (Yongin / Bundang / Suji) and want to have a 2S2 here then you put it together. I would be more than happy to lend you the list of places I thought would be fun to explore and help you in other ways. Ok?~


  1. I'm sorry your meet didn't go as planned Joy. If it's any consolation the other three people who turned up to the Seoul 2S2 yesterday are all from the Suwon area and are interested in starting a group outside of Seoul. We talked enthusiastically about your attempts to set up something in Yongin and they too want to get do things in the Suwon/Yongin/South of Seoul area.

    I applaud your attempts to get things started and I'm sorry that you have hit a wall. Anytime you're up in Seoul you're always welcome!

  2. Ooo they can join my 2S2 down here and help plan. I don't plan on closing the group just would like to get it going when ppl reallllly want to come.

    I will work this out on the facebook page.

  3. Why don't you learn some more Korean and head to Daum cafe and find a group interested in art or exploring nature (and if, by that, you mean hiking, there are probably at least 15 clubs in your small city alone as Koreans ADORE hiking)? There are seriously thousands of locally-based interest groups on Daum. They're just run by Koreans.

    Or even get JH to help you find one and then go. There are probably people there who speak a little Korean.

  4. Ha... that last sentence should read "speak a little English". Whoops!

  5. The only thing 2S2 is supposed to be is a community. There are tons of community-minded people out there - but most of them aren't necessarily on Facebook or reading a blog (the more people I talk to, the fewer of them read any K-blogs). People get together for a specific purpose, but they rarely get together with people they don't know just to 'hang out'.

    This 2S2 idea might serve better as a Meetup group - or at least get some exposure from an established base of people already interested in meeting.

  6. How do I find such people if they are not on facebook or reading blogs???

  7. place an ad in the personals section of Groove Magazine, the same way other community groups find like-minded people in Seoul who don't use Facebook or read K-blogs

  8. Your expectations might have been a bit too high. I don't use Facebook as it might be a career killer in my old employment field (which I'll be back to in nine months if not sooner) and a few others, and I didn't even know Groove existed ( or 10 magazine for that matter until last week). But it seems to me that the numbers just aren't there for a very large number of like-minded English teaching expats to really get together if there are around 20,000 spread out over South Korea. I’ve been told that there are only about 400 of us spread out over the 1.5 million inhabitants of Daejeon.

    Let’s say you have 10,000ish living in the greater Seoul metro area. Now, in your area there are maybe a few hundred that all have different things going on each and every weekend. Also, take into consideration that E2's are constantly coming into the country and leaving as well, and they will use up a couple of weekends just getting acclimated and then a couple when they are getting ready to leave. Many may be into the bar/club scene and not interested in weekend activities that occur during daylight hours or even teaching on the weekends like I sometimes do. Others might be tied down with their significant others or trying to tie down someone to make into a significant other. Old timer’s are also hard to cajole into joining these types of groups as they find that most newbies are only here a year and aren’t really into setting down roots and really investing in the country like they have. So, all this eats into the overall population of those who might be inclined to join your group.

    Then, like Chris mentioned, many lead their own lives of discovery here and aren't using the local blogs. I didn't even start visiting any blog other than "The Marmot's Hole" for news of interest to an expat like me and "The Daily Kimchi" my whole first year here. I was too busy discovering my surroundings by riding around town on my bicycle and fishing in every stream, pond, and lake I could pedal to.

    If I were closer to Seoul, I might drop on by, but I can hike anywhere, and doing it with my boss would be of a greater importance in keeping up my working relationship. Luckily, he has taken to riding a bicycle and joins me several times a month on fishing excursions. However, you just posted a get idea in spending time with pets that a lot of expats might find that they are missing (I don’t care for cats except for good mousers), but I don’t know if the shop could accommodate a large number of foreigners at one time.

    A good idea might just be taking some newcomers around town to the sites that they might need to know about: English bookstores, shopping centers, movie theaters, supermarkets that have foreign food available, foreign food restaurants (Mexican, Indian, Chinese, etc.), etc. From a get together like this, maybe more intimate relationships can be formed that are open to some of the things you enjoy doing. It may involve the occasional trek to Caribbean Bay or Everland for every one trip to a museum or place of natural beauty though (It's almost cherry blossom time, so if you know a good location that might be a good idea).

    I don't know how many people come across your blog, but you might want to cross promote on others like Brian's or even start one up dealing with to do in Seoul every few weeks and take make a poll and then do the winning suggestions. Yeah, young people are going to want to enjoy life and party at night, but ask for suggestions as to what they'd care to do during the day.

    Hang in there. This might help: I think you have it in you, even if you have to start with only a few. :) Right now, I only have two guests lined-up for my first bike ride next month to chek out the blossoms in the area, but I know I will enjoy it anyway and I'm sure they will too.

  9. Well, try again I guess.

    The thing that gets lost in all this talk of "community building" is that communities already exist and already are built. 2S2 is just trying to build a new one, and that takes time.

    I know people in Gwangju/Jeollanam-do have looked at 2S2 with a little bit of interest but see it as kind of redundant, a Johnny-come-lately. And unlike Bundang/Yongin, that's an area where the average teacher isn't a one-year-and-done type, but one with loads of people already there three, five, 10+ years.

    2S2 smells a little like branding, like trying to force people into an umbrella organization (because it sort of is) and so you'll find some resistance there. Likewise, most teachers only know the people at their school and their local bar, so it takes some time.

    Try, and try again.


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