I was looking for pictures for the May 29th edition of Litratong Pinoy when I thought that it would be nice to post something about my friends here, after seeing all the pictures I’d taken with them.
I came to Korea on my own, i.e. not through a marriage nor an employment agency. I didn’t meet my husband through a match-making agency. He isn’t a farmer and he’s not 50 years older than me. 🙂 I wasn’t domesticated before I got married and I’m definitely not a bombshell. Before coming here, I often wondered if I’ll ever find friends. I was sure I’ll find some Filipinos here since we are everywhere — even in North Korea and Vladivostok. The question was how?
The first Filipino I met here lives in the province of Jeollabukdo, so far away from Seoul. Then I met Ate Rowena, who introduced me to other foreign spouses (i.e. non-Filipinos) here. I joined an email group of Filipinos living in Korea, most of them married to nationals here. I met some friends there but I didn’t expect I’ll experience something so negative from my own countrymen. When you move to a foreign land where you don’t speak the language, you want to have that sense of belongingness that you can only get from people who speak the same language as you. In short, I really wanted to meet and learn from my fellow Pinoys.
I’m not gonna talk about that bad experience I had with two Filipinas married to Koreans. The members of the email group know about it and I often tell newbies here to be wary of the oldtimers. I think I’m lucky to have met my group of friends here that I met through Anna Banana (whom I met through a blog). Four years and although we don’t see each other as often as we’d like to, the friendship is still the same. Three of the group’s members have left but we still communicate. Shey is now in California, Karen is in Italy while Banana has been in the Philippines for almost two years now.
We usually meet at someone’s house and prepare pinoy food (which almost always include spaghetti!). If not, we’d just go to a family restaurant that has a salad bar and stay there for four hours eating and catching up. Of course, a meeting in Korea isn’t complete without a trip to the noraebang (singing room).
We went out for a bowling once and had a blast! We all attended the “Parokya ni Edgar” concert in Hyehwa-dong too. (The band was TWO HOURS LATE!) We went out once to Nami Island and my husband even drove us to Dae Jang Geum theme park.
I remember missing a few gatherings that we had because family always comes first in Korea. I really wanted to attend a friend’s daughter’s first birthday but I couldn’t since my PILs wanted to travel down south. Nobody in the group wants to miss a party. That’s because we always talk about the person who’s absent! Yup, Anna Banana lagi ka naming pinag-uusapan 😉