Come to Anguk Station Seoul, exit 1, and turn right when you come out of the station. Almost right there, you'll see the Twosome Place coffee shop. You can come and hang out with us in the first chapter of 2S2. If you have a deck of cards, or even better, a set of Gostop cards, bring it: one thing we're going to do is try and figure out how to play that classic Korean card game, Gostop.
For more about 2S2, here's the 2S2 manifesto I wrote last month, edited a bit for brevity:
You know how everybody knows that the fourth Friday of every month is club night in Hongdae? You don't have to check local listings -- you just have to show up, and people begin to plan part of their weekends around it, because they know it's gonna happen -- every fourth Friday, like clockwork, it's there.See you on Saturday! And if you're thinking about starting a pocket, DO! It's only one Saturday a month, and who knows how much good it could do for the community, once this thing gets rolling.
It occured to me that expats ought to be planning out things other than "get blitzed and dance like mad night" in a similar way, in order to establish a more integrated network of expats here in Korea, in order to provide opportunities for socializing with people other than coworkers (nothing against them, but still), at other places than the neighborhood bar (nothing against it either, but still...). It's time for us to take all the online connections we have, and get them into real life!
It's called 2S2 -- it's symmetrical, it's memorable, hopefully somebody with some graphic design skill will make it into a simple, recognizable logo sometime, and it contains the information you need.
2S2 stands for "Second Saturdays at 2" or every second Saturday at 2pm. This 2S2 would be a regular get-together where people can meet, network, and then from there, head out and participate in other activities.
It's my dream that 2S2 grow to become a decentralized get-together with numerous agreed-upon meetup locations where expats can meet all over Seoul and Korea, in order to build and strengthen connections, and in order to provide a context in which expats in Korea can help each other learn about Korea and integrate better with their host-country, as well as to provide a gathering of people ready to participate in a tangible community, and give something back to Korea. At this point, the people scapegoating foreigners and English teachers are well-mobilized and well-organized, but we English teachers and expats aren't doing a whole lot to provide a different image of ourselves than the dirty, unqualified, etcetera. Once it gains steam, 2S2 meetings could be an opportunity to get expats out in the community, picking up trash, volunteering at different places, taking part in cultural events, and who knows what else -- really, the imaginations of the organizers is the limit, and anybody can pick up the ball, and become the organizer of a chapter. Including you.
Here's the best thing about it: all it takes is a couple of people to organize a 2S2 Pocket. Basically, we already have the main info: 2S2 means every Second Saturday of the month, at 2pm. From there, all an organizer needs to do is send me a message and say "Hey. I'm going to start a 2S2 pocket at ___" and name a location. I'll publish the location, here, at The Hub of Sparkle, and if somebody has the web skills, we might even put it up on its own website, at some other easy to find location.
Well-known, or at least easy-to-find locations are probably best; I'd suggest coffee shops rather than bars, because part of the purpose of forming a more tangible community is to break OUT of the stereotype of English teachers in Korea to extend frat/sorority life. From there, it's just a matter of showing up at that spot, every second Saturday at 2, and to meet whoever else is looking to connect, and to have an activity ready to go for whoever does show up. Hopefully, we'll start hearing from people with information like "Hey. I know an orphanage in this area where they'd love to have volunteers..." "I know a church that runs a Saturday soup kitchen..." or, for that matter, "why don't we all bring our used books to the meetup and pass them around?" and who knows what other ideas people might have, so that we can start reaching out to the community, and also connecting with each other.
Bring your friends: it's an open invitation. Pick a different location every month if you're just attending -- but if you're an organizer, once you've named a location, be there every second Saturday, or find someone to fill the post in your absence, so that it's consistent. And that's it.
Like Club Night, it would take some time, I imagine, for the grassroots meetups to gain steam, and membership, but the nice thing about this is that it's decentralized, which means that each group can take ownership of their own pocket, and decide what their 2S2 Pocket is about, and how they're going to run things, and what kinds of activities they're going to do. If you want to open a pocket, I'm asking you to be patient, and be committed, during the beginning stages, when things never look very impressive. Maybe it's just you and your three coworkers for the first four months... well, OK. But this is something that could eventually build up to something a lot bigger, and meaningful for a lot of people, so, yeah, encourage people you meet to join, and stick with it, eh?
So I'm naming a location for the first, pilot 2S2 Pocket: The second floor of Twosome Place, at the top of Insa-dong street. If you want to find it, go to Anguk Station, exit 1, and turn right when you come out of the gate. Twosome Place will be on your right, just before the big intersection. Go there, and look for me, tomorrow at 2pm.
If you're thinking about starting your own pocket, send me an e-mail at roboseyo at gmail dot com, ask me any questions I haven't already answered here, and I'll spread word about it. Seoul's a big city, so I'd be happy if pockets opened in other areas, like Kangnam, Bucheon, Ilsan, or Bundang, but I'd especially love it if 2S2 pockets started up in the other major cities of Korea: anybody willing to start one in Daegu? In Busan? in Daejeon? in Gwangju? let's get our network properly networked, rather than just being isolated packets of foreigners who don't much know that each-other are doing.
This is not an exclusive effort -- the invitation's open to anyone, so bring your Korean, Brazilian, or Martian friend if you want, and let's try to get the expat community in Korea amounting to more than the sum of its parts, instead of significantly less, as it stands right now.
Be in touch.