Many of you have never heard of "Annyong."
No doubt a good portion of you who have heard this word, know "Annyong" as the adopted Korean boy from TV's "Arrested Development", and hence know that it isn't really his name but rather the Korean word for "Hello" that the Bluth family ignorantly mistakes for his name, puzzled and annoyed when he repeats it back to them every time he's addressed.
Some of you are screaming indignantly at your computer because you don't like how I've underestimated your Korean ability. Of course you know what "Annyong" is! Yet, you might still be wondering "who the hell is the Bluth Family?" which is way worse.
Finally, there are those of you who don't know diddly-feces. The ones who are ashamed to ask which Korea is the "bad one." You know, the Korea from that "Team America" movie with that King named Kim John III. (You're thinking of West Korea)
It's impossible to be an expert on everything, even if you're Malcolm Gladwell. Knowing our limitations, we either choose specific fields of interest and expertise, a survey course of possible human knowledge and current events that's just enough to help us scrape by at dinner parties, or to surround ourselves with complete idiots. Most of us choose a little of each, and it's important to be discriminating in what and whom we invest our time in.
So why Korea? Wouldn't it make more sense to go teach English in China? There are a lot more Chinese people and more Chinese food, and it would sure be nice to speak Mandarin when they inevitably end up owning the world. Also, isn't it dangerous in Korea? War could break out! All valid points, but I say to you... whatever. if I was the practical plan-ahead type I wouldn't have left the U.S. I would be an accountant with Goldman-Sachs.
The truth is that Korea offers more money (I'm a millionaire in Won), a free apartment, and just as much adventure as anywhere. That's why I picked it. It's not as romantic a reason as the yarn I spun for the consulate when applying for my visa, but it's the truth. Now that I'm here though, I'm soaking up the culture of a country I may never have otherwise thought too much about, which would have been a shame. The R.O.K. has a rich history, unique and delicious cuisine, and warmhearted caring people. The world is the same size it's always been. We just have more access to it now, so I'm going to try to exploit that before I get a bad hip or a jaded soul. Maybe I'll be living here 50 years from now, or maybe I'll go back to Minnesota in a year and live out my days there. Who knows? Maybe I'll die before I finish this sentence. Nope. Made it. And I'm not only gonna keep trying to make it, but also to make it interesting along the way. So figuratively join me in my travels if you would be so kind. I promise you that you won't not not not not not not regret it.