One of my other projects for the new semester has been to obtain Korean friends my own age. As an elementary school teacher who hangs out a lot with her middle-aged host parents, my only friends and acquaintances are either little children or middle-aged adults. While they're all really, really great, I definitely felt the lack last semester of Korean people my own age to hang out with and learn about. Young Koreans don't even seem to exist on our side of the city, so I was pretty sure meeting them had no chance of happening organically. Even though it was a little weird, I decided I had no choice except to make flyers basically begging Korean people to make friends with me and hang them up around Gongju National University.
This turned out to be a genius plan.
Emails started pouring in almost immediately. Here is one from one of my favorite new Korean friends, Kibbeum:
I`m a student of Gongju University.
I read your paper.
My name is 최기쁨. And my major is Tourism. 21 years old now. Female.
Actually, I don`t have any experience teaching Korean.
But I could help you very well. Becasue! I`m Korean. :)
Well, I`m quite cheerful girl.
So you don`t have to worry about boring or something while study with me.
And ..... Even my major is Tourism, I`m thinking about my future. Other way from my major.
I want teaching Korean in other country. Teaching Korean, I could tell about Korea culture,,,
music... thinking... and so on. It would be very nice thing to tell about my country. It is so
worthful thing, I guess.
Anyway, If you want me to study with, please contact.
And! Even you don`t want, let`s be a pen-pal or key-pal friend. Using Korean or English.
especially sandy dust which blew here from the China Desert. It is not very good for health.
Kibbeum and another girl, Dahye, are probably my two best Korean friends so far. We hang out and talk about American and Korean fashion and boys and eat ice cream and hold hands and text each other constantly. I've never felt so girly in all my natural life. I've started making little Asian-style faces in my text messages ( ^^ for happy ㅠㅠ for sad) and wanting to buy clothing with ruffles and puffy sleeves. I often go over to Dahye's apartment before taekwondo to just chat and eat American food from Costco (well, I do...she's on a diet) while sitting on the floor of her room. While sometimes I have trouble figuring out what she and Kibbeum are trying to say, their English is worlds above that of anyone in my school or at my homestay, and it feels great to be able to have real conversations. They've also been helping me a bit with Korean--but we mostly stick to English since I can't really say anything interesting or abstract in Korean just yet.