The one thing that I have the hardest time with – other than finding enough time to devote to learning Korean – is boredom. I hate being bored! Seriously, this is definitely my greatest fault. I have to be doing something all the time. Now that something can be something quiet and solitary like reading or writing – both of which I spend a large portion of time doing – but I can’t just be solitary. I’m a horrible introvert (in fact, I think I’m a quiet extrovert but that’s a totally different topic).
I need to be social. I need to hang out with other people regularly. And if I don’t or can’t for a period of time, I get bored. And if I’m bored too long, I start going slightly crazy. The social activity can be something simple and low-key like dinner with friends or family, going to an art gallery or museum with someone, or simply shopping with friends. Of course, I love all social events and am always up for going dancing, hanging out on a patio with a few beers & great conversation, or watching a game (hockey or baseball) together. Playing sports together is cool too.
It’s one of the reasons I loved Korea so much and felt so comfortable and at home there. Koreans are a social people – just about everything is done together. 같이 (together) was one of the first Korean words I learned because I heard it so often. The lack of that trait has been one of the most difficult things for me to adjust to now that I’m back in Canada. I’ve been back for almost 3½ years and I still miss always having someone to shop with, eat with, hang out with or dance with.
But most of my long-term friends in Toronto – those from high school, university or college – are married and many have kids so they don’t have as much time anymore. Okay, the same problem was bound to occur in Korea too. But recent events – mainly not being able to find anyone to attend a couple of events with me – has made me rethink my strategy for dealing with my inability to cope with boredom and lack of social activity.
I joined Say Kimchi when I moved to Toronto because I wanted to continue to study Korean. And I took over as the acting Organizer a year ago (and officially as Organizer a little more than six months ago) because it was a fun group and a way for me to be social on a regular basis. Unfortunately, when I stepped up from being a regular member to the organizer, I became too concerned with everyone else having a great learning experience and haven’t really studied Korean with the group in months. It’s why I now have a language exchange partner (and sometimes two) to practice and why I attend Korean classes at the Korean Consulate. I was okay with it not being my learning environment because I could see how others were benefiting and I could still enjoy the social aspect.
Unfortunately, the fun social aspect is starting to diminish and it’s starting to just seem like work. But don’t worry, I’m not ready to give up on it yet but I do need to rethink how I get my social fix. And I probably should take a page out of a volunteer manager’s playbook and start recording how much time I spend organizing Say Kimchi. Ballpark guess – 5-20 hours a week depending on how many events there are that week.
What’s my solution? I don’t know yet. But I’m going to take a step back from Say Kimchi, okay a half of a step back. I’ll continue to organize the language exchanges that are at the core of our group and a few of our social events but I really need to find help with those. And I’ll take that extra time to put towards… dating. Perhaps dating will cure me from my lack-of-a-social-life blahs… or at least give me some semblance of one.
Don’t laugh! I did want to start dating again but really haven’t put any effort into it. And unlike for my Korean friends, blind dates just aren’t that common in Canada. My work is predominately female and my writing – fun as it is – is predominately a solo occupation. I’m not in school and can’t/won’t date anyone from Say Kimchi (it would just be wrong as the organizer). Plus, none of my friends have any single male friends that they would recommend to me (another reason to miss Korea… blind dates by friends and co-workers). So my biggest challenge is finding a date.
Where to find a date when all the traditional/normal avenues are dead ends? Online! Yep, I’ve jumped into another foray into online dating. I say “another” because I actually did try it for about six months after I first moved to Toronto but then I found my ex-boyfriend through a friend so obviously stopped looking online. And when that relationship didn’t work out, I needed some time to move on before re-entering the dating world. But it’s time again. And since there are no prospects in the “real” world… it’s time to move online. I’ll just think of online dating as the Canadian version of blind dates!
Wish me luck!