One of the great things about South Korea is not only are Korean people really nice*, but they love foreigners: They think foreigners are “very beautiful,” “so handsome,” and “look like movie star.” Koreans will also jump at the opportunity to hang out with/date a foreigner because it shows that they are cultured and speak English well– kind of like having a trophy or a status symbol.
Because of this mentality, my Korean friends are always inviting me to do things with them. Exhibit A: My co-worker, Mrs. Lee, has deemed herself as my official Korean tour guide; therefore, every other weekend she asks me if she and her husband can take me to see fun, interesting tourist-y places that I wouldn’t be able to find on my own. Um, YES PLEASE.
A couple weeks ago, Mrs. Lee and Mr. Kim took me to see a traditional Korean Folk Village located about 20 minutes away from where I live in Suwon. The folk village was awesome because it strongly exemplified the history of Korean culture: I was able to see exactly how Koreans lived centuries and centuries ago, and how they did everyday tasks, like prepare meals and iron their clothes. I even got to see how a traditional Korean wedding ceremony is performed!
This past Sunday, I met up with Mrs. Lee and Mr. Kim for another “Day o’ Fun” as I like to call it. This time they took me to a Buddhist temple also near Suwon. The temple was really beautiful, and even though I don’t consider myself religious, I still found the temple to have a sacred, spiritual feel to it. Mrs. Lee and Mr. Kim asked me if I wanted to pray in the room with the big Buddha statue in it, but I declined; I didn’t want to feel like a poser.
I really appreciate how warm and welcoming my Korean friends have been to me, especially Mrs. Lee and Mr. Kim. It’s kind people like them who make living here so much more awesome than it already is.
*Except for when they’re almost running me over on the sidewalk with their mopeds.