How long have you been in Cheongju, and what do you do here?
I have been in Cheongju for almost seven years now. Seems like it has been a lot longer and a lot shorter at the same time. I currently work at three different part-time jobs.
What did you do pre-Cheongju?
Before I came here, I lived in Seoul for about two months. It was a bit too busy for me, so I came here and set up shop.
What do you do for fun?
Well, I generally play a lot of board games and force others to play them with me.
-Board Games and Babies-
We know you for running the local gaming group. How did the group happen?
I just set up the group and posted it on WGOCJ. Kinda one of those if you build it, they will come scenarios. The summer months were a little tough, but we're hoping to get more people coming again now that the weather is cooling off. So far, it's been a great experience. Everyone gets along really well and we always have a good time. It's a nice way to kill a Sunday.
What were your first impressions of the board game scene in Cheongju, or Korea? Has it changed?
I don't think it has changed overall, other than the fact that you can actually find stuff these days. The game group changes as people come and go but the general atmosphere is pretty consistent.
Any hopes or expectations for the group in the future?
It would be nice to get some more players showing up regularly. At our last event, we had a few new faces. I think a lot of people are a bit intimidated or think they need to have a lot of experience in order to play the games, which really isn't the case. Most games can be picked up with a quick explanation of the rules, and the whole environment is very laid back.
(This interview was a while back... before his beautiful baby son was born. Joe, do you remember these feelings?)
How are you feeling about having your baby?
Ah! Getting excited! The time is flying by! We've been busy in general the last few months, so this is the first time we've been able to stop and take a breath. We've gotten an amazing amount of baby gifts. I don't think he'll be wanting for clothing or toys for a long while.
We're loving the doctors in Korea for the baby care! It seems like they really have that together. I was a bit worried about that at first after some of my encounters with doctors, but the baby ones are solid. Every time we go to the doctor they just keep being more and more surprised by how big he is.
It must be nerve-wracking to have a baby, and in Korea on top of that. But there are a bunch of young families here in Cheongju.
Yeah, pretty good timing on that as well. There is a few families having kids near the same time, so he'll have friends to play with. Hopefully, to speak English with as well.
What's your favorite time and place in Cheongju?
Is "my apartment on Sundays" too lame of an answer? (No, it's not!)
What's something in Cheongju that everyone should do at least once?
Hang out in Sannamdong! Go bowling, get some great Mexican food, hit the bar street, and that is all within the same block and a half.
It's a really nice, generally laid-back area with a decent variety of shopping, restaurants, and pubs. It has a balance that a lot of other areas don't.
Any advice for Cheongju-ers?
The best piece of advice I have gotten about teaching in Korea was from the boss of my first school on my first day here. He said, "Do what works for you." If you are just starting out or looking for advice in general, you will probably get 50 different comments from 50 different people and most of them will contradict one another. One teacher's tried and tested system is another teacher's living nightmare. Find what works for you, and you'll be set.
Again, congratulations on your baby boy! We wish your family the best of luck, abundant happiness and adequate sleep.