Oh, the People You'll Meet

May 21, 2013

Meeting people abroad is somewhat of a unique experience in itself. I have so many ideas of where to go with the post, so I'll divide it into three:

1. The Amazing People Who Aid in Your Survival
2. The People You Can Do Without
3. The Weirdos

And, because I fit loosely within the third category, I'm going to address them in reverse order.

3. The Weirdos

It should go without saying that international jobs attract vastly different people from all over the world, and each person comes to Korea with their own background, intentions, and goals. With these differences come an array of personalities that I wouldn't have otherwise stumbled upon. I've met people from various countries, with various career paths, who will eventually go various directions. I've stuck with my philosophy that "all people come to Korea for a reason" and I'm not going to delve too deeply into the specifics aside from the obvious fact that each person is unique. Many of them are weird. Some of these weirdos have become my greatest friends, others not, but all of whom I've learned from. 

2. The People You Can Do Without

When I first came to Korea, I was up for being friends with anyone who spoke English. The more friends the better, right? I came to the country with a group of about 60 foreigners, and branched out from there. As time progressed and I got more comfortable in my new country, I realized that "the more the merrier" wasn't always the case. It became clear how toxic negative people can be, and how deep negative attitudes can run. Living in a foreign country can be difficult at times and it definitely helps to have good people around who have the ability to overlook certain annoyances. This perspective definitely applies to all/most circumstances, not only to living abroad. 

1. The Amazing People Who Aid in Your Survival

To be quite honest, I came to Korea with the attitude that I wasn't here to make friends. That isn't meant to sound as "America's Next Top Model" as it does, because I didn't pull anyone's hair nor did I actively avoid making friends. Thinking back now, I'm not sure exactly what I expected in the way of friendships when I decided to come here, but I sure am happy how things have turned out. I'm going to save the cheese and just say that I am fortunate to have met some of the most amazing people during my time here (and if you've hung out with me lately, you'll know how much I am dreading August when most of these great people ship off). Again, some of them are weirdos who I otherwise wouldn't have crossed social circles with. Luckily for me, many of my closest friends are within reach of Toronto so "goodbye"s won't be forever ones. As for the others, it means that I now have a place to stay in various countries/states/provinces. Sweet. With these amazing people, I've been able to share magnificent experiences as well as hardships we're bound to run into.

***

So, there you have it. As I said earlier, this experience has allowed me to see that, regardless of whether they are weird/toxic/amazing, there is so much we can learn from our fellow humans.

Disclaimer: These thoughts apply predominantly to my foreign friends, although there are weird/toxic/amazing Koreans as well. These categories are also in no way meant to be mutually exclusive; I've been a combination of all/some of them at multiple points throughout my time in Korea and I have the amazing people to thank for helping me to keep my sanity (relatively) intact.


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