My Life is not a Jane Austen novel, but it might be a Korean drama

3/16/2014 The Romantic 3 Comments

I've been gearing up for the past few weeks to sit down and write about the destitute and miserable loneliness that has been my life this past month in Korea.

Ok, you got me. It hasn't been all that bad. But I ran away to Korea to escape the world of single's wards only to find myself in a country where the first two questions everyone asks you are: 1) how old are you? And 2) do you have a boyfriend? (As if I need reminding about the tick-tick-ticking of my biological clock, and let me check on the boyfriend thing. Hm, yes- just as I thought, answer is still no)

I did venture to Seoul several weeks ago to meet up with some Singles. It was delightful. I went in with no expectation for romance, and came out with new friendships built on intelligent conversation.

And yet...

And yet the couple culture in Korean is so pervasive that I find myself wishing to be a part of one, even with zero (we are talking absolutely zilch) prospects. So I began to fill my time in various ways; one of them being lessons with the sister missionaries.

Last Saturday night, as the sisters and I waited for their investigator to show up, a striking Korean man appeared in the hallway. Immediately I wanted to talk to him because I have been absolutely lonesome for someone my own age to talk to (that doesn't wear a black nametag). Don't misinterpret my true feelings. I love the people here, and I have made a few friends. But I didn't realize how much I truly crave and thrive on having a social life.

But back to the striking Korean man with the thick-rimmed glasses. He seemed to be looking for the Elders, but being unable to find them, he stopped to speak with us in terrifically funny English. Apparently he was an old investigator, just stopping through to see if the Elders happened to be at the church. The four of us spoke for a few minutes until the sisters' investigator arrived, and then it was just him and I. When I explained the current absence of friends in my life, he quickly offered to exchange numbers and then invited me to go with him to meet some friends at a restaurant in the local university district. I explained that I had promised the sisters I would help teach a lesson, but that I would give him a call afterwards. He acquiesced and we parted ways.

What followed seemed to be the longest missionary lesson of my life. I love the sisters in my ward, but when they decided it was a good idea to take turns reading 25 verses from the Book of Mormon in abysmally slow Korean (mostly on my end) after the meat of the lesson was already over, well....I thought I was going to claw my eyes out.

When the lesson was finally over, and at the behest of the sisters, I decided to go and meet The Korean.

What followed was the best and most natural date I've been on since I've been home from my mission. My lesson with the sisters had taken so long that his friends had moved on to another activity. So he waited for me, and we grabbed tea at a local café and just talk (in English). And then we just walked around the city.

And there was chemistry, ACTUAL PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY. As we walked through the busy university district, he kept pace with me, guiding my elbows here and there to make sure I was walking in the right direction. We stopped by a lake on the university campus after tea and just walked the perimeter.

And then we walked to a taxi and he sent me on my merry way home.

For a brief moment, I considered the Provo-bial "after date text" and then I realized that that probably doesn't even exist in Korea. So I didn't worry about it.

When I woke up in the morning, I almost didn't believe that it had actually happened. It had all felt like a scene from a Korean drama. I finally caved and texted him this evening. To which he almost immediately replied to ask me out for dinner.

Before I get a barrage of warnings from the people who know my true identity about the dangers of a non-member romance combined with the Korean/foreigner dynamic, I am fully aware of all the dangers.

But I am 24, single, living in Korea, and a man asked me out on a date. To the heck with everything else. I'm going.

-the Romantic

You Might Also Like


Anonymous said...

When I was in YW, my stake president said, "I could never tell you to never date a non-member. If I hadn't done so myself, I'd have never married my eternal companion." Of course caution should be used and certainly flirt to convert should not be the goal here, but I find it awesome/amusing/hopeful that you met him because HE was looking for the elders. Best wishes!

Amber said...

Oh, wow. The first part of this post was basically my life and reminds me of my own thoughts on the couply-ness of Korea. Also, I don't think many people understand what it's like to be a single, foreign, Mormon woman living in Korea (without being a missionary). It's nice to hear I'm not the only one who feels the need for some non-missionary friendship. :)

Kylie said...

K wait, I know exactly who you are and I don't know how I'm just barely hearing about this, but I love it so incredibly much. :) :) :)