Thursday, 18 April 2013

Making Friends in Busan

girl friends

It's funny how I was so busy having an amazing time the last several months, that I totally forgot how I felt when we first got to Korea.

The first morning I woke up, I tried to ignore the question that begged to be answered, 'What have you gone and done this for?'. We'd arrived in Busan really late on Thursday night, we were ushered into our new homes for the year and left. I had a shower and my hairdryer blew instantly, I didn't have a towel so had to make do, and Tasha couldn't work the heating, so we both went to bed feeling cold and a bit sorry for ourselves. The next day we were told we should be in school for 8:30, and woken with a breakfast from Lotteria. A shrimp burger at 8am is not what you need to reassure you about your crazy life decisions. Those questions were whirring around my mind even faster the first time I tried school's gross kimchi, this was after taking ages to get the hang of chopsticks.

Tash and I didn't come through EPIK, so for those first few months we literally only had each other for company. We'd go wandering, hoping to walk into the epicentre of the waygook community. Our Korean teachers were lovely, but sometimes you just crave the company of someone that understands you the first time you say something, and someone that shares the same interests as you. We'd go to bars and nudge each other whenever we saw someone who wasn't Korean, my heart skipped a beat the first time we went to Thursday Party and there were at least 5 foreigners in there. There were nights where one of us wasn't feeling up to going out, so the other would stay in and talk to friends over Skype about what was going on at home.

Fast-forward to May and I'd rather eat my own arm off than spend more than 10 minutes in a Thursday Party. Instead I was enjoying myself with an amazing group of people at a festival. The friendship had stemmed from a chance encounter in a toilet. Tasha had gone home early as she wasn't feeling good, so I'd decided to stay out and see what this DJ was all about. I am so thankful everyday that I heard the lovely Becky's British accent in the bathroom, that I wrenched open the toilet door and immediately started speaking to her. That led to me meeting all of my closest friends here and making many great memories.

Now back in the present day, I'm in my second month of my second year, and I have to say that some of those questions from the start of last year do echo in my head. "What are you still doing here?" The majority of the girls in our friendship group have scattered across the globe to experience pastures new, and poor old Nick is having to double up as a boyfriend and a girl friend. The few of us that are left plan nights out, I go to get my phone out, and realise that there's no one else to invite! I feel like the same person in March 2012 who didn't know a soul in Busan.

Every time I start to feel down hearted about it, I try to remember the position we were in last year, and know that soon the situation will quickly change. We'll cross paths with new people who we really hit it off with, just like last year. It's also made me realise that I invested so much in the friendships I had, that maybe I missed the chance to get to know some other great people.

With these lessons learned, I feel the same friendship moves coming on that Tash and I used last year. These moves would make any guy with low confidence jealous, we'd walk up to a girl who looked like a potential friend, and within minutes, be trading numbers with them and agreeing to dinner dates.

This post could be read as a warning to Busanites that Tash and I are back on the prowl, but I hope it's reassuring to any new people that still don't feel 100% settled here. With time you'll find a whole pile of friends to hang around with. You might even develop a taste for kimchi and become a chopstick ninja, stranger things have happened!

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