Sunday, May 20, 2012

Creating Community

One of the local foreigners up here in the 'bu has managed to come in the way of some real estate, a hair salon turned Chinese delivery restaurant turned "community center" (for lack of better word): Don's Open Brain House. I think Don would use the term "hackerspace" himself, but I get the impression that the interest for the 'Bu Crew is much more about games, movies, and language exchanges than it is about techie stuff. At least for now.

This means the book exchanges can now move out of my apartment and into a more official, third-party public space. While I'm sad to see the books go, this change signals an increase of momentum and I'm excited about that. When you create events, you need to hit the Goldilocks zone of investment: enough to get it off the ground, but not so much that it becomes your thing and no one feels comfortable taking it over. I think moving it from my personal space into a neutral, public one is a step in the right direction. The next step will be to get someone else to start creating and running the event—again, much easier with an agreed-upon public location.

I'm really excited about the Open Brain House for a few reasons, not least of which is a chance to socialize and mix with people on a more cerebral level than dinner, drinks, and noraebang. I'm a big fan of those, don't get me wrong, but nights out like that can put a dent in your wallet as well as your life expectancy. Low-key movie and game nights are as essential for me as doing grave musical injustice to Bon Jovi.

This should be an interesting long-term experiment in expat socialization.

If you want to be a creeper, Don captured the whole day on webcam. It streamed live at the time, but you can still see the footage here:

Interesting not only because you get to SEE MY FAT ASS and HEAR MY OBNOXIOUS VOICE (I'm the only fat white girl in the whole thing), but for the two Korean ladies who wandered in and out periodically (I wish I could give you a time stamp to skip right to it). The best was a granny who stopped in not once but twice. The second time was many hours after the first one, and she was surprised that we were still sitting around and shooting the shit. "You're all going to get fat!" she told us in Korean, or maybe what she meant was, "This is why you're all fat!"

She also commented to me that one of the other women there—blonde and slim and very fair-skinned—was "so pretty." I agreed with her, but not without feeling a bit like a dried-up dog turd. Thanks, granny!

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