Thursday, February 17: My two closest Korean friends are two women I see regularly at Byeokjin Elementary School in Seongju.
Kim Dong Hee is a 40-something woman who has never been married. She teaches first grade. Her English is the best I have ever heard in Korea, with virtually no trace of the typical Korean pronunciation problems. She has lived abroad and takes a great interest in the outside world; this is very unusual in Korea. She is also one of the kindest and most gentle souls I have ever met. Outside of school, about once a month, or sometimes more, we go out near my home in Daegu, either to Sydney Street Pub or to an Italian restaurant for pasta. Unlike most Koreans, she isn’t attached to her mobile phone; she doesn’t even have text messaging enabled. She doesn’t use Facebook and she barely uses email. She’s an old-fashioned lady, but one with a huge heart and great generosity.
Julie Moon is married with two children and is the English teacher at both schools where I teach. Like me, she travels between both Byeokjin Elementary and Chojeon Elementary, so I see her in both places. When I first meet her, she invites me to attend church with her, but with over an hour commute by train and bus to her church each way, I find it simply will not work. Besides, I’m not that much of a church-goer anyway. I love it on the days she comes to Chojeon especially, since I hardly have anyone to speak with there; hardly anyone at Chojeon speaks English except for Coffee-J. She’s a wonderful teacher, lively and fun and able to motivate her students with fun games and songs.
I have been so blessed in Korea to have these two amazing women as friends. 🙂