So how did I hang on so long? Because I've been cited and published in some places, I've been invited to some events and things? And been approached by people and organizations looking to reach out to others? Because I even met some famous people? No. That's cool, I guess, but if you said to me "Hey Rob. If you spend 3000 hours writing random thoughts about Korea for free, you'll get to shake Lee Myung-bak's hand." I'd say no. Even if it was Lee Hyori's hand, I'd say no. Or the nine left thighs of Girls' Generation. Tom Waits (his hand, not his thigh)? Even then, probably not. Still not worth the amount of time. And fame? Being Korea's most famous K-blogger is like being Denmark's best lasso twirler. I know that.
Outside of Scandanavian lasso-twirling circles... not... well... known.
And I'm not the most famous English Korea blogger, anyway. That's Burndog, now that The Stallion, Mr. Wonderful has retired. I'm New Zealand's fourth most popular folk-parody duo. At best. Not the first.
But here's why I've hung on so long - here's what's in it for me:
1. I have met some seriously, seriously awesome people, whom I'm happy, and even proud, to have in my circle of friends and acquaintances. Good for a beer, or a hike, or a walk, or a fantastic facebook chat or e-mail conversation. Especially in Korea, where people keep going home, that's really important. The people I've met have been smart, talented, thoughtful, funny, intriguing, entertaining, challenging, and even (from time to time) really, really, ridiculously good looking. They're also invested enough in Korea I can count on most of them regularly gravitating back here, so that I get to keep in touch, rather than drifting apart when they leave Korea for good.
2. I have learned so friggin' much from my commenters, from other bloggers, from the people who disagree with me, and from the people who point me towards sources for better information than I have yet.
3. Because what popularity my blog has found lets me imagine that my writing, and the information or thoughts I share here, have helped to enrich the Korea experiences of a bunch of people. I mean... maybe I'm wrong, and you read Roboseyo to scoff at a fool dressing in smart-people clothes (I know I frequent a few blogs for that reason.) But perhaps I flatter myself to think that's not why most of you visit.
So a little reader appreciation today:
For the entire life of my blog, near the top of the page, I've had these words from the German poet Rainer Maria Rilke, "If your everyday life seems poor, don't blame IT, blame yourself; admit to yourself that you are not enough of a poet to call forth its riches; because for the creator there is no poverty and no poor, indifferent place." (from "Letters to a Young Poet" translated by Stephen Mitchell) I still passionately believe that a person's experience of Korea, or anywhere, depends more on what one brings to it, than what's already there: that's why two people can live in the same neighborhood, and one will find their life endlessly fascinating, and the other will find it dull as flour paste. And by looking around for things to report back to you, my readers, you have helped me to call forth Korea's riches, and love my life here, rather than getting caught in a rut of apartment blocks, class bells and Itaewon piss-ups. Thank you for giving me a reason to dig deeper.
There are more blogs in Korea than ever before, which makes me all the more grateful to the readers I have: that somehow you found this blog in the noise, and found something here worth coming back for.
So readers: you are awesome! Here's possibly the favorite video I've ever posted at Roboseyo, introduced to me by my friend Tamie. Watch it. Because you are awesome, too.