Like Santa Claus, Dream Jobs Just Aren’t Real


I’m currently watching a Korean drama, The Queen of Office, that delves deep into what it means to graduate and struggle to get a job, to get a job and struggle to keep it, to lose a job and struggle to remember the true meaning of work and life when you finally find a new one– even if it’s just at an office.

What I’ve learned:

You might end up with a job instead of a career– with coworkers who aren’t peers, but work in and of itself isn’t what makes us happy and fulfills us. Despite what we’ve been told, it’s the people we work with and the people we work for– be it for ourselves, for our family and friends, or for others, that make us happy and fulfill us.

As one of my best friends, who is also in law school, said:

“Change your perspective instead waiting for something that won’t come. Ultimately, your ‘dream job’ is something you create or work your way up to.”

If you don’t believe that my friend or a Korean drama could ever be so profound, then take it from the words of Mike Rowe from the hit show Dirty Jobs right HERE!

Or, you could just take it from me…

I’m finally graduating from law school in less than two weeks. It’s been a rough and tumble, three-year long ride with many bumps along the way, but I’ve enjoyed getting the chance to make my dream of helping others– no, of helping the undeserved and underrepresented get access to justice come true.

From studying abroad at the Sungkyunkwan School of Law in South Korea to completing a human rights internship in South Korea to completing a legal internship at my school, The University of Texas at Austin, where I helped undergraduate and graduate students instead of North Korean refugees– I’ve found out that the reason I set out on this path is also the reason why I have stayed on it.

Like many others, I had a dream. Mine was simple: To help others. I knew that being a lawyer would help make my dream come true, but there was a difference between the dream that I wanted and the dream that I needed– between the lawyer that I wanted to be and the lawyer that I needed to be.

Yes, being a public service lawyer working in the nonprofit sector is my dream, but it was a dream that I didn’t know I had until I started and almost finished a ride that left me banged up and bruised, severely stressed and often depressed.

It was my family, friends, and a few professors who kept me from jumping out of a fast moving vehicle. They told me to keep my eyes on the road, to look ahead. They helped me remember my dream and to envision a future in which my dream was a reality– if I could just get there, with them.

Along the way I learned more life lessons than I have in my entire life– but of course, not all of them. Most importantly, I learned that dreams, like many things, are often what we want but not what we need.

No, it wasn’t and won’t be easy, but I’m slowly coming to terms with my dream as it meets reality. And, if you don’t want your dream to die, then you have to give it the shape, the structure, and the strength for it to fit into the world. Because, it’s easy to say that you want to be something– that you want to do something, but the world and the people in it don’t care unless you’re capable of being something, of doing something.

In the end, which is really only the beginning, I learned how to articulate my dream, and I just have, but only after it had already come true…

Come true?

I’m about to accept a job offer– not for my dream job, but for the job that will help me continue to make my dream of helping others come true.

We all have dreams, but until we’re ready to be who we need to be and not who we want to be– until we’re ready to do what we need to do and not what we want to do, then our dreams will stay dreams.

Finally, for my readers who dream of living and working in South Korea

Working in South Korea is very different from working in North America. In fact, even working with South Koreans– or any other culture of people, in North America is different from working with other Americans.

(Everything is always at the last minute, and once everything is said and done– wait, it never is, then you can finally relax and go out together where you’re definitely bound to eat, and drink… and drink… and drink… and sing…!)

When you can understand South Koreans’ occasional prejudice against and often total misunderstanding of foreigners, their eternal sense of hierarchy and never ending emphasis on social status– be it rich or poor, oppa or dongsaeng, sunbae or hoobae, and their love for life, liquor, and noraebang, then you might be ready to live and work in South Korea.

If you have no idea what I mean, then stay tuned for the long awaited and perhaps forgotten third part of The “Preparing for Life in Korea” Series, Working in Korea. Be sure to click the link to check out parts one and two along with a special post about when I was scouted by OnStyle Korea!

P.S.: Feeding Your KDrama Addiction will be back soon, maybe by tonight if not by tomorrow! I’m sure you’re hungry, but I’ve been too busy feeding my own KDrama addiction…


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The Traveling Kimchi

*Korean Culture: The Good, The Bad, &The Ugly*

Before The Traveling Kimchi was The Traveling Kimchi, she was just a girl named Jessica that I met in my first Korean class back in 2011. Little did I know that she would become a great friend AND fellow blogger years later.

We met again in 2013– when I went to Korea last winter. We had an amazing time at my favorite bar– Bunker, my last night there.

Recently, I found out that she’s been blogging about her adventures in South Korea, too, so I knew that I had to introduce her to you and share her adventures with you, too!^^

The Traveling Kimchi

The Traveling Kimchi~


“Who is the Traveling Kimchi?”

“Why, she’s a tiny half Korean-Irish American currently living in Seoul, South Korea! After graduating from the University of Texas at Austin the Traveling Kimchi decided it was time to explore her roots! Since her arrival in 2012 she has been blogging about her experiences not only in Korea but all of her adventures abroad. She hopes you will enjoy traveling along with her and are inspired to pick up your own passport and see a culture and world beyond your own.”

– From The Traveling Kimchi’s Facebook Page

In addition, The Traveling Kimchi and westerngirleasternboy might be two very different blogs by two very different people, but we share the same exact mission:

“… to encourage thinking openly, meeting new people, having lifetime experiences, and traveling abroad.”

The Traveling Kimchi is on Youtube, and I wanted to share this cover she did with you all since it IS Sunday morning!

By now, we probably all need a little pick me up before the week starts, so here it is:

She has a lot of other great videos on everything from her adventures in Korea and Thailand to her favorite beauty products to what to do BEFORE you come to Korea, so be sure to check them out!

Sunday morning…

For some of us, “rain is falling.”

For some of us, it’s Easter, and we’re with our families– celebrating what should be a day that is less about hunting for eggs and more about hunting for something else.

For some of us, though, it’s just another Sunday– the Sunday before our last week of school… ever.

(That would be me!)

So, I’ll be watching Korean dramas and trying to write and edit my final papers! My last year of law school is coming to a close, and I can’t wait to start working, traveling, and living. I might even get to see The Traveling Kimchi again sooner than either of us thought…

The Traveling Kimchi, take me with you!~

The Traveling Kimchi, please take me with you!~

Where in the world is westerngirleasternboy?


Where in the world is Carmen San Diego westerngirleasternboy?

I’m actually at my internship right now. We had another “winter weather” warning in Texas last night, so our campus– The University of Texas at Austin, didn’t open until 11 A.M. today.

Of course, I got here a little after noon.

Anyway, I am in my last semester of law school, which is a three year “thing.”  I just realized what a blur these past three years have been now that I have time to slow down and do the things that I used to do BEFORE I got to law school– things like getting dinner with friends during the week, watching more than one Korean drama at a time, and even teaching myself new languages.

(I’m finally studying Japanese again!^^)

But, this semester I haven’t been busy because of my internship OR school but because of job applications and job interviews.

Last week I went to an interview for my “dream job,” which is basically international business transactions to help international students get access to higher education here in the United States, but I was a little underwhelmed once I got there. Now, I’m applying for more practical jobs– think estate planner or financial advisor, and I’m hoping to hear back from them soon.

Like, sometime this week, please…

However, there’s something else– or someone else, that’s been taking up a lot of my time, too.

Tao 2.

By now I’ve seen his nerdy side, and he’s seen my crazy side. We’ve both learned to always understand but sometimes ignore each other, which is definitely a Good Thing. More importantly and surprisingly, this weekend he made the first move and danced with me.

Not a big deal, except for the fact that he doesn’t dance with anyone.

Not even when my friend tried to push him on our other friend. Not even when I tried to push him on my friend– we both thought that he liked her, but more on this misunderstanding later. Not even when two lesbians grabbed him– that time he screamed for me to help him and then watched me dance with them instead.

He’s very conservative, so we’re taking things slow– like turtle slow.

I still get to touch his arms and abs but other than that it’s taken us two months(?) just to dance together. I think what helped was showing him different “levels,” which he actually made up while watching me and my friend dance together a weekend ago– yes, he’s a nerd.

Anyway, this past Friday night I asked him if he was ready, and then I TOLD him, “Level 0!,” but on Saturday night he came over, asked, “Level 0?,” and actually put his hands on my hips, which is NOT a part of Level 0! My friend and her boyfriend were so surprised when he grabbed me that they literally leaned back and made “O”s with their eyes and mouths.

(It was So funny– even though I was drunk and don’t remember much about that night, I can still remember their faces.)

 Of course, I went to “Level 3.”

(Level 0 is him standing there while I dance “on” him, face to face but not really touching. Level 3 is “gentle grinding.” Hey, you get what you grab for!)

Of course, on both nights he didn’t last very long– he’s a shy boy, but it’s a start.

But, we did have A LOT of misunderstandings pop up between us and not just because we are so different from each other. As I said, my friend thought that he liked her, and I agreed at first just because he was so nice to her. I mean, he’s not really nice to me! So, I finally asked him if he liked her, and he said no. 

What’s going on, right?

Well, he thinks that he’s being friendly with girls when he says or does certain things, but really– he’s being a flirtHe’s also really cute, so I think know that girls don’t see him as “just a friend,” which I explained to him and he already kind of knew. Then, he said something about wanting to “be ugly” and shaving his head…

*Rolls Eyes*

Shaving that precious, perfectly styled black hair? Over my dead body.

Almost everything he says is ridiculous or funny, like this past weekend on Saturday night when he complained about my “boobies” touching him when we hugged. Ugh, he probably thinks that I have cooties

He’s an interesting, rare mix of cute and sexy, boyish and manly, but more importantly I have the time of my life whenever he’s around because he’s funny.

As far as putting on my war paint and going to battle, I think this is more of a race:

“There once lived in a forest a hare and a tortoise. They were good friends. But the hare always boasted that he was able to move faster than the slow tortoise. At this, the tortoise felt humiliated in front of other animals. So one day he challenged the hare in a race. The fox was made the supervisor, and the lion the judge.I There was a starting point and a point marking the end, fixed by the fox.

Both the competitors started their race at the same time. The hare ran faster. He was naturally much ahead of his slow friend. Now on his way the hare wanted to take a little rest under a tree, because he was sure of his win. And he soon felt asleep.

On the other hand, the tortoise moved slowly but steadily without any rest. He reached the destination before the hare arrived. When the hare woke up, he found that he was defeated by his tortoise friend.”

The Moral of The Story:

Slow and steady wins the race.

So, this girl– a hare by nature, is going to turn into “a tortoise.”

In other news, I made some new Korean friends, which is refreshing after having so much trouble with Tao 2! We met them downtown, and then we all went to noraebang together. They were SO much fun, and they were  excited to meet us, and I was excited to meet them, too.

New friends~

New friends~

The one who took the picture is like a samchon, or uncle, and I’m sure you can tell since he is right in front! But, one of them didn’t make it into the selca, and he is the “funny one” who wants to get Korean BBQ later.

Anyway, spring break is next week!

I am going to RELAX alone, and when I’m not relaxing alone I’m going to PARTY with my friends– and try to get into the Kpop concert at SXSW featuring Jay Park and Hyuna.

So, stay tuned, since I AM still here on planet Earth– there are no Do Min Joons in my life, although Tao 2 is kind of like an alien sometimes…