After yesterday's depressing post, I have some good news to share! I might have finally made a friend.
Living in Korea hasn't been so bad at all--except that I haven't been able to make any friends. Part of this is because my husband and I have spend the past 10 months in three different parts of Korea (Pusan, Seoul, Incheon). Also, it isn't always easy to go out and meet people with a small child. Another part is that the potential friends I have met are just too busy and live far away. For example, my husband works with a few women I think I would get along with well--if we had time. They live about 1 1/2 hours away, work 8-10 hours per day, and also have children under the age of 5! Oh, and another reason is that I have been reluctant to make friends. Making friends takes work, and a lot of times I feel too tired, too grumpy, too poor in speaking Korean to be able to make a good first impression on anyone. Not being an extrovert has its downsides.
But last Friday, I might have made a friend, maybe two friends. In the past week, Buggy Boy has developed a passion for climbing. The few things to climb in our apartment aren't safe for him, so I took him to a nearby clothing store that has a little play ground inside. Did I mention my boy seems to be an extrovert? He is thrilled to go out, loves to meet new people, has no fear of seeing new things or playing with new people. So as he was gleefully and loudly playing, a little boy with light brown hair came along and was shyly watching us. I looked around to see who his parents might be. His mother started talking to me (in Korean) and I found out that she was married to a Canadian man. She had a personality that made me feel comfortable and I was able to carry on a conversation in Korean with her for about 30 minutes while our kids played.
This is probably the longest and smoothest conversation in Korean that I've ever had. She seemed to understand me and I understood a reasonable amount of what she said. This is so exciting! I've been hoping to make a non-English speaking Korean friend. Not that I have anything against English speaking people! But if I don't practice my Korean, I'll never get better and I'll never have any hope of being more free to interact in this society.
So we exchanged phone numbers and left. Buggy Boy and I went from the clothing store to a nearby park with fountains. He walked around joyfully for a while when I little girl riding a pink Barbie tricycle approached with her mother. They greeted me and Noah looked at the bike. Then a man came along and at first glace I thought he looked different somehow. But I didn't stare. Then he began speaking apparently fluent Korean to the woman and left. This woman ended up talking to me for some time. I found out that her husband is from Jordan but came to Korea 10 years ago and is now a Korean citizen.
I gave her my phone number but she wouldn't believe that it was correct. Later I found out from my husband that our number uses a new prefix for cell phones and that many people aren't familiar with it yet. So I don't know if I'll hear from her or not. We'll see.
The past few years have been filled with so many changes in my life that my friendships have felt the strain. Several friendships that were already very strained did not fare well. Others have barely hung on. Not many have flourished or improved. Several of my friends don't use their email much, and thus I can't stay in contact with them. Now might be my change to make a few new friends. That would be very good news for me.