Thursday, February 18, 2010

meet up

When you find yourself in a new city, state or even country, after the initial excitement has died down and life placates to the normal hum drum of every day life, loneliness settles itself down in the couch near you. Sometimes loneliness can be welcome next to the buzz of always going, and never catching your breath. At first you and loneliness are buds snuggling under the blankets to watch yet another episode of Prison Break. "I am so glad we are getting to spend this time together." you say to each other.

When Kyle and I first arrived to South Korea, we arrived in our apartment in Yangpyeong, but were asked three days later if we wouldn't mind teaching at their sister school on the other side of Seoul for a month. As an added bonus, they dangled in front of our eyes an enormous carrot "you will be teaching adults" they said pushing us out the door encouragingly. Teaching adults is not a common gig in Korea. Most teachers end up teaching elementary school age children so the prospect of teaching adults was extremely intriguing. We packed our bags, said goodbye to the few teachers we had met in the few days we had lived in Yangpyeong and made our way to Ansan to teach on an island.

We made friends with several of the teachers at the school and were grateful for the companionship, but as their short contracts ended so did our instant friends and activities. Kyle and I can spend a lot of time together, more than most couples can tolerate, but when we are left alone without the companionship of others to at least add a little variety to our monotonous meal we get a little... edgy.. to put it nicely. To put it simply, some couples only need each other for entertainment. Kyle and I, well we are like praying mantises. He would be a headless husband after only a short duration if we are left alone for too long. For those of you who aren't familiar with praying mantises the female bites the head off her mate after they copulate.

A friend of mine told me about a website called Adventure Korea. They plan trips and provide a means for foreigners to experience different aspects of Korea. The only downside was that all of their trips although they were intriguing were also very expensive. Kyle and I are on a budget. We aren't notorious for being able to stick to our budgets, but we are at least going to feign an attempt. So we were torn. Stay at home every weekend or spend exuberant amounts of money. (Obviously those weren't our only choices but for arguments sake we will leave it at that.) However a friend introduced us to another site called Kyle likened it to Internet dating but with friends. But I would argue that it is much more and much better than that since I don't really like the idea of Internet dating. People design groups such as reading clubs or hiking clubs and organize events. You can choose to go or choose not to go. Either way, you are likely to meet some like minded people with similar interests. We have signed up for so many groups at this point we are having to set limits on ourselves on how many activities we will allow ourselves to do. It is all very exciting since it lends the opportunity of experiencing a side of Korea that I didn't experience last year. We have only attended on event so far, but we only learned about it seven days ago so expect many more blogs having to do activities on meet up. There are many cultural events that I always wanted to go to and never could find people who would come along. This website is not limited to Korea. On the contrary, it seems to be huge in cities all over the US. If you have been looking for people to go camping with or want to join a book club, you might fight your natural inclination to be wary of all people gathered by the Internet and check it out. I feel like an advertisement, but I really think it is helpful for those looking for an outlook and haven't yet found one.


Sandy said...

Sounds like a great idea. Anxious to keep reading to see how it worked out for you.

Nat Barnes said...

I stumbled across your blog this afternoon and have enjoyed reading a few of your posts. I moved to Seoul in October from Australia. You've inspired me to start my own blog as I see it doesn't just have to be self-referential dribble, but can actually be very interesting. I enjoy your observations and recommendations on life in Seoul, Korea. We live on the north side (near Jongno) and would enjoy meeting expats outside our tight lil group. In any case, I'll continue to enjoy reading your blog and maybe one day we'll cross paths. Cheers, Nat x