Everywhere in the world people live for the weekends. TGIF is universal (even the kids here say it!) But why do they have to go by so fast? Weekends in Seoul are always packed with events and now that spring is coming everyone is coming out of hibernation and ready to hit the streets again. This Saturday I had my first “blind friend date.” Basically, the 1st grade teacher at my school set me up on a play date with her 24 year old daughter. As awkward as this would be anywhere else, this is Korea and the rules of logic don’t usually apply here, and it was also exciting for me to make a Korean friend who is my age. Her daughter called me last week to make plans and I was relieved to find out that her English was perfectly fluent. On the phone she sounded like a typical American girl. She told me about all her plans to take me on a full day of touring many places in Seoul. I figured I had a free tour guide and potential friend so what could I have to lose?
We met on Saturday at noon. Of course there was no problem meeting me since she could easily pick out the lone white girl in the sea of Koreans. I noticed that she had the same contagious smile and laugh as her mother and I had a good feeling about the day ahead. Apparently she went to high school in the Philippines, college in America (Missouri), and she is a world traveler. We ended up eating some authentic Korean chicken soup (it’s a soup with an entire small chicken in it) for lunch. Then we saw two Korean palaces, the national museum of history, and went shopping in Myeong-dong. We finished off the day with some delicious dinner. It was a Japanese style meal, I forget what it was called, but it is rice wrapped in egg. It was actually really tasty. We spent 8 hours together full of interesting conversation, mostly about boys of course, but it was really nice to talk to a Korean girl my age with whom I can actually communicate. I think I found my new Korean best friend! We made plans to meet again. I can say that my first “blind friend date” went really well. Much better than any blind date with a guy has ever gone 😉
On Sunday I had another fun day. I went to see the ballet Don Quixote with my friend Mia. It was performed by the Universal Ballet Company, which includes Korean, Russian, and European dancers, but mostly Korean. Now I understand why the Korean ballet companies are mostly Korean dancers because the Western dancers look like giants next to them. It just doesn’t work that well because even the male Korean dancers are mostly short. The costumes and set designs were vibrant and authentically Spanish. I didn’t really know what to expect with Koreans doing a ballet with mostly character dancing with a Spanish flair, but they did an amazing job. The lead dancer was a fairly small Korean man, but he blew me away with his turns and lifts. Typically I go to the ballet myself because I don’t want to risk the other person being too bored or falling asleep, but my friend did a good job. She really liked it and was humming the music in her head later that night. She admitted to only nodding off a few times 😉 After the ballet we met with some of her friends for a pizza and movie night. We watched “Tropic Thunder,” which was funny even though Ben Stiller is not my favorite. I ended up making a whole new set of friends. I’m so glad to have met so many cool people here, but it makes the weekends very hectic. Gotta go! Places to go, people to see!