Saturday, November 10, 2007


Why is every single older man in Korea so desperately concerned about my lack of boyfriend? Seriously, from taxicab drivers to the retired school teachers I met on the subway today, everyone acts like it's the biggest problem in the world that I am single. Not that I'd mind meeting someone cool, but I'm really enjoying being on my own at the moment. It seems like that's just not allowed over here.

So strange.

Friday was pepero day (well, technically it's 11/11, since pepero candy is long and thin) and the secretary brought in this awesome homemade pumpkin rice cake thing, so I ate a lot of food that was free. It's nice to be appreciated. I think I've gotten more presents in my three months of teaching than I did in my three years stateside. Sure, I had a few students who were appreciative of my efforts over there, they just REALLY know how to treat teachers here.

But I think it's more than that. The hospitality and kindness of Korean people seems bottomless. While Americans are a more outwardly friendly lot, I have been shocked by the generosity of many people I've met here. It's odd because strangers (like on the subway and the street) are more rude than they are back home--no greetings, mostly just shoving and glares with the occasional spitting right in front of you--but the people I have any kind of relationship with--my landlord, Sa Beom Nim, the students' parents, other Korean teachers, friends I meet--go out of their way to help me enjoy my experience here. I can never hope to repay any of them, even if I am here for years. I try... but it's overwhelming.

I am so lucky sometimes. I live a pretty blessed existence.


  1. Because you're what, 27 Korean age? And single. You are very nearly an old maid. Once you hit 30, you're done for. The only reason you get the grace period of 30 instead of 25 is because you went to University. It used to be 25 and single was an old maid.

    I'm 28 and now when people find out I have a boyfriend, they want to know when we're going to get married. Hey, here's an idea--ask him! ^^~

    The opinion is changing, especially amongst younger people, but older people? Forget about it. My language exchange partner is 31 and single and this summer her parents finally let her move out because they've given up on her ever getting married.

  2. haha that's korean culture for you. it's like the whole "why don't you ahve double eyelid surgery" thing. u can either take it literally or have fun with it =)

  3. Yeah, it's not just older men who will ask you - it's everybody! Although, I've noticed that every black man in my neighborhood here in the ghetto who talks to me, asks me if i have a husband or boyfriend, followed by a completely serious, "Why not?" and the occasional proposition for sex. I wonder if the whole not asking someone if they're single is a white-culture thing?



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