I have sad news. Well, sad news for me. You probably won’t care (who are you anyway, hello out there?). My dear friend Jiyong, whom I met via the Hello Talk language exchange app in 2019 – actually it was about three years ago to the date! – is moving back to Korea next week. We lost all of 2020 due to Covid obvi and my 한글 process suffered greatly but I mostly just missed seeing my friend every week, inevitably spilling my coffee, and just having really amazing conversations about cultural differences and getting to know each other.
I do not make true friends very easily (acquaintances, yes!) and she quickly became one of the VERY FEW people I had consistent contact with. So when she told me a few mths ago that she and her husband are leaving Pittsburgh, the tears squirted out. Still though, I am SO HAPPY for both of them!
Very grateful that we both had the incredible opportunity to receive the vaccination because that made it possible for us to safely have one last hang out (hopefully just here in PGH and not forever!). Jiyong asked me to take her someone cool and I couldn’t think of a better place than the Mattress Factory, which, in a way, reminds me of Korea because of the super outrageous and trendy sunglass company, Gentle Monster. Their flagship stores are basically Mattress Factory, but add sunglasses for sale.
Oh man, I had such a fun time sharing my favorite Pittsburgh place with her!
And if she hadn’t been there with me, I’d have never known that these are actually very old Korean coins!
It was also blessedly not crowded.
Afterward, we got some burritos at El Burro and ate them on a bench at a park across the street. It was a really great but extremely bittersweet day!
Oh! And I asked her if we ever make it back to Korea (henry says we will!), if we can go to the Han River and have a picnic because it’s something we always wanted to do but the process of ordering food (you can literally order ANYTHING and have it delivered right to you ANYWHERE, because Korea is the delivery capital of the world!) and she said YES OF COURSE and I am so excited to have a real life friend that I can visit if I ever make it back there.
Then her husband came to pick her up and he had a huge box of Korean snacks for me!!!! Omg what a beautiful day. I am going to miss Jiyong sooooo much, though. Who else will insist that I repeat the dreaded “려” sound over and over until I sound at least fairly coherent?! (That was not one of my favorite days with her, lol!)
Ugh goodbyes are literally the worst. I even let her hug me twice that’s how you know the sadness was real.