Tag Archives: Korea

2 Years Later…Thoughts on Engagement and Our Journey

So it’s been a little over 2 years since Hyo and I have been together. Time really does fly when you’re having fun and when I first came to Korea in 2009, I never thought I would meet such an amazing woman.

As I posted briefly last month, I proposed to her on our trip to Jeju and she said yes πŸ™‚

Now begin the preparations for marriage and a wedding next year some time (no definite date set yet). Anyways, I’m sitting here at work with no classes for the day and just wanna write some thoughts about our journey so far.

Like I said above, when I first came to Korea in April of 2009, I thought it would pretty much be a one year thing, then I would go back home. I decided to come because even though I was applying for graphic design jobs, I felt like I needed a change and I wanted see other places than just “Detroit”.

So I ended up in Korea, finished my first year, and wanted to come back. Unfortunately, life had other plans. I didn’t get renewed at my first public school like I wanted (looking back, I really was a bad teacher although the school wasn’t very good), and I ended up having to come back home.

Getting Back to Korea

Thinking I could find another job in Korea as easily as I did the first time was very naive of me. There was a huge influx of teachers coming to Korea during this time as more and more people were finding out about it. My previous school was also giving me bad recommendations and although I hate playing the race card, many schools definitely passed over me because of it.

I came back to to the states from Korea in April 2010, took a trip to California and applied for job in Korea again. I waited…May passes…nothing. June passes…nothing. July passes…nothing, and I’m getting frustrated. Before I knew it, the summer had passed, and it was October. I began to give up on coming back to Korea and just accept that I may have to change my plan. I started to look into teaching in China or Taiwan, but the pay wasn’t nearly as much as Korea, and I didn’t want to put in the time to learn Chinese.

By now, it’s the end of November, and I start looking back into graphic design jobs while still occasionally sending resumes out for teaching jobs in Korea. Then all of a sudden, I had 2 job offers. Even though they were at hagwons, I was interested in anything at this point.

I had 2 choices…a hagwon in Icheon, Gyeonngi-do…or a hagwon in Incheon (similar names so it was a bit confusing)

I ended up taking the offer in Incheon even though the other one offered more money (but no health insurance or pension) and at the end of December 2010, I was on my way back to Korea.

The job started off fine and although relationships had pretty much been off my mind the whole year, all of a sudden, I thought I was a little tired of being a single guy. I didn’t really date anyone during this time, but had lots of outings with different girls in an attempt to maybe find someone. Nothing ever came of anything of those interactions though.

By May 2011, after lots of situations not working out (I’m also very picky), I just pretty much said screw it, I’ll be fine and just decided to enjoy the rest of my time in Korea with the great friends I already had. I also decided to start focusing on learning Korean more.

Meeting Hyo

I remembered a language exchange site that I used during my first year in Korea, signed back up and received a “Hi” from a girl. If you read the first episode, you will know that it was Hyo. We exchanged a few emails and setup a meeting time for about 2 weeks later.

The day before we were set to meet for the first time, I headed down to a friends wedding in Daegu, and got back home late. I was tired and did not sleep well that Saturday night. I was very close to cancelling out meetup but decided to go out and meet her anyways.

One of the best decisions I ever made. We studied, laughed, she spilled hot green tea on me, and from then on, it just clicked. It just felt natural.

We found out that we are both introverted, which meant we understood each other a bit more than others could. I’m a little more extroverted than she is, which means that I do like to go out from time to time to enjoy big groups where I don’t know many people (I still prefer one on one and small groups though as I get drained to quickly). She really doesn’t like these kinds of settings, and I have no problems now if she doesn’t want to go.

One thing that has annoyed me is that people almost seemed offended if we aren’t together at EVERY SINGLE OUTING. I had to learn to ignore these people and realize that I’m not going to force her to go to something that makes her uncomfortable just to please others. She accompanies me with my close friends and that’s good enough for me.

The Future

ButΒ yeah honestly it’s been an amazing ride. I don’t think I could’ve found a more caring person and she really amazes me everyday with it. Actually before this relationship, I didn’t think it was possible to find someone like this. We were both picky people when it came to dating and were not going to settle for anything less.

We love sharing our cultures with each other and we still learn new things about each other daily. Pretty cool.

And oh…I still would like to tell the story of how I proposed, but I still want Hyo to make a guest post about it :p

I look back at all the decisions I made, and had I not made them, I would not be in this positions right now. I could have easily stayed home in Detroit. I could’ve easily taken the other hagwon job (which was too far from Hyo’s hometown to meet her). And I could have cancelled our first meetup.

Looking forward to a next year date for a wedding ceremony but we are going to start working through the paperwork for my visa now and try to get it done by the end of this year.

Timing and decisions. I think if you follow what you truly desire in life, you can put yourself in a better position to experience the things you want and increase your luck. Just my 2 cents.

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Episode #36: Basketball Couple

 

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So yea…I lost the bet. I was really trying to give her some incentive to try harder but honestly I didn’t think she would make the shot (sorry Hyo! lol). Just goes to show you to never underestimate anyone. It was actually my first time shooting since I dislocated my left ring finger over a year ago and I felt pretty good.

We had a good laugh afterward and I tried to win my money back by making a half court shot…which I failed to do. I will get my revenge!

Hyo Driblling the basketball

Hyo Driblling the basketball

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Episode #35: Hyo’s Revenge

 

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So this is how Hyo gets her payback on me for pulling the trick in the last episode. It’s a back and forth war that will probably never end.

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Episode #31: The Wrong Hand

 

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This was quite embarrassing for me. When I reached for what I thought was Hyo’s hand, I noticed the hand felt different and was confused. Then Hyo’s mom let me know that no, it is not Hyo’s hand. Embarrassed, but it was funny, and we all laughed about it later.

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8 Great Things About Dating Someone From Another Culture

Dating someone from another culture can present its own special set of challenges especially with communication and misunderstandings. But what relationship doesn’t? Even people in a relationship from the same country will face these same challenges. So what’ so awesome about this type of relationship?

1. Cute Mistakes are Cute

I remember when we first dating how I made so many mistakes while trying to speak Korean. Hell, I still do! But the way I said certain things made me look (cuter) in her eyes so we often joke that I should never become fluent in Korean so I can keep making the same mistakes. I would often find myself speaking in honorifics with her which was strange since well…she is my girlfriend. She also makes some cute mistakes as well. One of my favorites is pronouncing the candy “Halls” as “Horse” (the way it Β it spelled in Korean really does sound like “horse” though)

2. Picking up a New Language

Gotta love being able to study language with your significant other. Learning Korean and English has become easier for both of us. Sometimes it’s too easy to get “distracted” though.

3. You get a real insight into another culture

Sure I lived in Korea prior to meeting Hyo, but I got to see even deeper into Korean Culture after meeting her and meeting her fam. She was also able to see my culture back in the states too. It’s a real pleasure to show the one you love, things that you have known all your life. It’s normal to you, but a whole new and exciting experience for your SO. I remember one time I took a trip with Hyo’s fam, and we went out into the river to catch some snails…snails! I had never done anything like that and it was quite fun.

4. Both find each other exotic and even more unique

I don’t care for anyone who calls out a person for having a “fetish” because they find particular features about someone from another race attractive. I never cared about race when it came to dating, and I think every race has different and unique features that are attractive. Me growing up with predominantly black people, I never met many Asians. But when I came to Korea, I did find certain features about Korean women attractive. I don’t know why so many get the eyelid surgery because I find the eyes unique and attractive. Hyo in turn, was very intrigued by my “Broccoli Hair”. And how could I forgot the “nun” mistake in Episode #3.

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5. Cooking

Oh yeah! We love food. I seem to love cooking chicken for her though so I have to find some new dishes. She has showed me how to cook a few of her favorite foods in Korea and I have done the same. She had never tried a grilled cheese sandwich before, so I made some. I actually thought they were pretty awful, but she really liked them. Still working on getting her to like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

6. Free translator!

I’m kind of joking, but serious. If we are out somewhere, or if I need some help with something in Korean, I can always count on her to help me out. It makes finding cheap plane tickets on Korean websites much easier lol.

7. New holidays!

I love Chuseok and Lunar New Year even more now because Hyo’s mom sends me tons of food to eat haha. I hope Hyo can experience my Thanksgiving, 4th of July, and Christmas back in the states one day.

8. It seems like you’re always doing something new

There are so many things to show each other from your respective cultures that you can always find something new to experience together.

So does anyone else think they could date a foreigner? If you have, or are right now, what are/were the biggest challenges and rewards of it?

 

 

 

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Episode #29: Long Legs

 

 

In these situations, I sometimes envy her short legs :p

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