I came home on Friday after a relatively quiet, boring day, to find a package on the front porch. I thought it was probably another box of boringness for Amazon-addict Henry (j/k – everything he orders from Amazon is actually supplies we need for koi’s greeting card business but it’s still boring shit). When I got closer to the porch though, I SAW THAT THE BOX HAD A PICTURE OF WINNER ON IT!
It was from my Kpop-bestie Veronica! What a wonderfully unexpected surprise!
Veronica recently attended the Korea Times Music Festival in LA and got to swoon over Taemin for the both of us, and she picked up a t-shirt for me too! As of that wasn’t glorious enough, she even topped it off with an assortment of Kpop swag such as photocards, stand-up cut-outs, and postcards of some of my biases!
My fireplace mantel has so much beauty on it, I can’t even.
Henry tried to steal some of them for his desk at work, and Chooch tried to walk off with the TOP photocard. It’s hard being a Kpop family who hates sharing.
I love everything so much! I don’t have any other friends who are into Kpop so people are always sending me news articles and stuff on BTS because that’s all they know which is nice and I appreciate it, but to have a friend who actually knows which groups I’m bananas for feels like such a luxury!
Ugh, forever my ultimate. <3
Oh man, I am so grateful! Thank you so much, Veronica, if you are reading this! I have been re-looking at everything all weekend and giggling like a weirdo.
(As I’m typing this, Henry is watching Instagram videos of Taemin performing at the Dream Concert that happened this weekend in Seoul. Oh Henry.)
Then later that night, I splurged and bought Chooch and myself tickets to see GOT7 and Henry is too exhausted these days to even do the whole “shaking fist in the air” rigmarole that he used to when I had a impulsive ticket-buying spree. But I justified it by reminding him that this cost like, a quarter of what KCON tickets would have been had they actually released a lineup worthy of our money and travel this year but no, they didn’t. So now we will go see GOT7 in Toronto instead and Chooch is excited because this is his bias group and we missed them the last two times they were in the US because Kpop tickets are $$$$. Ugh.
The next day, I had a coffee date with a new friend I made on HelloTalk. If you’re not familiar, HelloTalk is a language-exchange app, where you befriend native speakers of the language you are trying to learn, and you help each other. It’s kind of frustrating though because even though there is a strict NOT A DATING APP policy, people are still trying to weasel their way in. This is actually how I made my first and only native Korea friend, Kyoung! We don’t use HelloTalk to chat anymore, just KakaoTalk, and he is very respectable and treats me as his noona (older sister).
However, just a week ago, some Korean man from Vancouver started sending me messages and I thought it was going OK but then he was like ADD ME ON KAKAO. I WANT TO CALL YOU. And that freaked me out.
Around the same time, I got a notification that someone named Jiyong added me on there. And then I saw that they live here in Pittsburgh! Finally, I thought, maybe I can make a Korean friend here who can help me learn Korean. Plus, Jiyong is also G-Dragon’s name so I felt like this was meant to be! The next day, we started to exchange messages and they asked, “So, you like Bigbang?” because I have that in my profile, lol #koreaboo.
Henry was like, “Please don’t embarrass yourself…”
(I was able to read this, because it’s Korean that’s relevant to my interests so I could figure it out, lol.)
But they seemed OK with chatting about kpop and they also weren’t asking me things like ARE YOU MARRIED ARE YOU SINGLE CAN I CALL YOU IMMEDIATELY SEND ME SELCAS so I felt good about this. I suggested that we meet up for coffee, because they were also looking for help with their English. Jiyong is from Jeonju, South Korea and moved to the US about 3 and a half years ago for work. Jiyong also lived in Hongdae, which is my favorite neighborhood in Seoul!
Henry kept joking that I was going to leave him, and I was like, “Hahaha, yeah but seriously will you drive me to the cafe and stay in the area in case things go awry?” And on the way there, I was starting to feel a bit of nerves and said, “I wish that it was a girl I was meeting. I would feel more comfortable if it was a girl, and this would feel less like a blind date.”
“You’re so awkward around girls, though,” Henry pointed out, BUT STILL, HENRY.
We had set 2:00pm as the meet-up time, and the cafe was only open until 5. I told Henry that I highly doubted we’d be there the whole time, probably just an hour, so he said he wouldn’t go far.
Anyway, he dropped me off and when I walked into the cafe, the first thing I noted was that there was a Korean woman sitting alone at a table. We made eye contact, but I started looking around for a Korean man when I realized that she was starting to stand up.
“Erin?” she asked, and that is how I found out that—PLOT TWIST—Jiyong is a girl!
YOU GUYS, I FELT SUCH RELIEF.
Anyway, I won’t bore you with the details of me interrogating her about the ins and outs of her native language (thank god she came prepared with a notebook because we used the hell out of it), but it was a really great time and I felt like it was hopefully the start of a new friendship! She was really surprised at how much I knew about the culture, like certain TV shows, food, locations of Seoul, and I tried to shrug it off like it was just a casual thing and not because I’m a fucking crazy lady who gets Korean news alerts on her work computer and watches about 90% full-Korean television programming.
She did mention at one point that her name is commonly only used for boys (NO KIDDING!) but that her grandma really wanted a grandson and already had the name picked out! It’s a good, strong name, though, and I think it’s beautiful either way.
The cafe we chose for our meeting was Arriviste and I had the most spectacular honey latte which honestly was just the cherry on top at this point.
The next thing I knew, it was nearly 5 and I had missed a text from Henry that said, “I guess it’s going well…?” Apparently, he was sitting in the parked car, watching The S.H.I.E.L.D. for three hours, LOL.
Jiyong took this picture of us, with evidence in the background that we were actually doing language things, lol. Also, #MyFakeSmile
We already have plans to hang out again in two Saturdays! I may be a lost cause when it comes to speaking Korean at this point in my life, but I’m hoping that I can get to the point where she can talk to me in Korean and I can at least understand her enough to answer her in English. I’m like, learning disabled in my old age.
What a great weekend so far! Hope Game of Thrones doesn’t completely ruin it tonight, haha.