Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Friends! Korean Edition!

I have made some incredible friends during our three year stay in South Korea. One of them is Mi-Sun from Nolboo. Every Sunday was budae jjigae at Nolboo and grocery shopping at Home Plus next door if I needed anything. Rocketman drove to Home Plus and that is where we parked since there is nowhere to park at Nolboo.
We usually arrived at 11 am on the dot and we were almost always the first ones. We had our favorite table looking over the huge intersection where we would people watch while waiting for the budae jjigae to cook. We became well known to the staff and especially one gal, Mi-Sun. She was the manager and she would always bring us special side dishes. Her smile was contagious and it as impossible to be unhappy in her presence.
It was so hard to leave her and the nolboo budae jjigae. We would make sure to visit her every time we visited. We didn't know how to let her know we were coming but she was always there, including this time. She doesn't speak any English but she had a sister who lived in Daegu and she would call her sister who would act as interpreter for us. She told us how much Mi-Sun loved us and thought we were so very kind to her. I responded that she had always been so kind to us and we really appreciated it.
We were so happy that she was working when we stopped by in September. But it was the first time she showed so much emotion. She was shocked to see us, grabbed me and hugged me as the tears fell from her eyes. It went on and on as the tears filled my eyes also. In the past, it had always been me that hugged her. It was unbelievable.
Of course, we ordered what we always did and she called her sister and I caught her up on everything in our life. It was so good to see her and it made me homesick for our old neighborhood. We saw that the big construction hole next to our apartment complex from the 2008 recession was finally being developed and they are putting in a huge apartment complex like ours. 
   Rocketman and I also had lunch with my hanji teacher, her daughter (Hannah) and my hanji friend.
Then it was coffee afterwards. My hanji teacher allowed her daughter to attend. I had met Hannah the last time we lived in Korea.  She had just returned from living a year in Canada learning English. She was studying 24/7 for the Korean Scholastic Ability Test which will determine which college she can attend. It all depends on how well she scores. Of course, all Korean parents want their children to attend Seoul National University. She was studying from morning till late at night, plus going to hagwon (Korean private schools) for extra schooling.

She was having a hard time with all the studying. She was really feeling especially bad since her friends have their mothers home and they cook for them. Hannah's mom (my hanji teacher) is gone all day working, so Hannah has to take care of herself. Her mother is pretty tough and my heart went out to all the pressure Hannah was under. I keep in touch with her through Kakao Talk and the test is next week.

Here is a video Eat Your Kimchi did about the test day a few years ago.

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