I don't say this lightly. I spent years of college worrying that I wasn't "cool" because my alcohol consumption and penchant for ending up in stupid situations was well below your average co-ed. When I first moved to Korea, you may recall that I spent some time trying to right this imbalance. I discovered that while bars, clubs, and intoxication can have their moments of fun, I get little true satisfaction from these activities.
I've noticed that I'd rather meet a friend for an afternoon coffee than at a downtown party; I'd rather go swing dancing than clubbing; I'd rather read a book than get drunk. I'm just not a "party girl," and I don't really want to be. I've finally found a happy medium here... I can go out with some friends one or two nights a week and have fun, but spend most of my time doing daytime activities and relaxing. Actually, even though I had more friends in the U.S., the stress from my job prevented much partying. That means my social calendar here is way busier than it was back home and sometimes even gives me a little stress. I like this.
(Unfortunately, though, it seems like this is not a great way to meet new people. I think almost all the good friends I have in Korea I've met at bars, including Min Gi, though usually through some mutual acquaintance, not just random encounters. Notable exceptions are people I've met through the YMCA class, people I've met through work, and people I've met through swing dance. As I suspected when I was single, the social odds are stacked against the introvert.)
You may be asking yourself, "What's so great about being a fuddy-duddy?"
Well here's the thing. Fuddy-duddy life doesn't mean you are inactive. On the contrary. I go hiking and dancing, out to dinner or lunch with my boyfriend and other friends, enjoy hanging out or shopping downtown... I just don't do the regular "party" things that other 20somethings seem to enjoy so much.
Case-in-point: My weekend.
I love Halloween. But I think I love it for its positive associations with partying (American style, meaning at a private home) with friends and dressing up. This weekend I just did NOT want to go out to the BIG event on Friday. I felt like I should, as a good friend of mine was heavily involved with the preparations for this event, but it's just not my scene at all. And I'm a little sad because I missed Halloween, but this weekend was one of the best I've had in awhile.
I went to Korean class, which was interesting and fun. I ate Chinese food and introduced William to my favorite Italian restaurant downtown, Little Italya. I met friends for "coffee" (one needed lunch so it was at a restaurant) and lost my winter coat (oops!). I went to swing dance, where I had fun and convinced a swinging couple from Pohang to come to our big party next weekend.
Min Gi got free tickets to a show that was part of the Korea in Motion festival at Kyungbuk University, so after a lovely afternoon catching up with Gwen (at Little Italya, of course!), we met Iosha and some other swing club members (including Genie, the charming man who had obtained the tickets for all of us) to watch the show. It turned out to be a pretty awesome dance show that was extremely Korean in ways I cannot begin to explain. But then at the end, Iosha, being one of the representative foreigners, was pulled up on stage, so afterwards we got our photo taken with some of the dancers:
Then I went home and cleaned my house.
I felt completely happy and content. Nothing about this weekend was super-special, it was just nice.
After next weekend's huge party (the swing dance club's six year anniversary party), I think I'll take this lesson to heart and rest a bit.