For more information on the Blaugust Initiative, you can click the link HERE and join in on the fun this month!
So that lady? THAT LADY RIGHT THERE? I call her my Hetero Life Mate, but you can call her Marissa, Riss, Riss Vandal, etc. We’ve been best friends for 20 years. We both moved to Pennsylvania around the same time, went to the same school, went to colleges that were blocks away from one another, and have been there for each other during pivotal moments in our lives. We’ve gone through the highs and lows together and regardless have managed to always be there for each other; even during the hardest time of our lives last year. I can safely say if platonic soulmates exist? She is it.
Around this time last year we went through the longest point of separation from one another. She accepted a position to teach English to children in Seoul, South Korea. So for a year we had an ocean and about 13 hours time difference between us. I’ll be honest— I was a wreck those first few weeks. I worried if she’d meet new folks there so she wasn’t alone, would she get around alright knowing minimal Korean, and most of all? Would she forget me?
We really dispelled all those fears and concerns quite quickly and even through that rough patch where a lot of bad juju went down? She was the first person to be there for me, and even more? The time zone difference worked to our benefit.
What do you do when your best friend is far away, and how do you guys keep in touch? Well here’s some things that worked for us!
Kakao Talk: A GODSEND
It REALLY is. Kakao Talk is basically the Korean version of LINE. It’s a messenger service that lets you text and IM each other, as well as make free phone calls on your smartphone with folks on your friends list. To make sure we managed to make time for phone dates and catch up, Riss and I would shoot to speak either around 2:00am EDT my time on the weekends, or 7:00pm EDT on the weekdays to catch her in a quick chat before she had to head into work. We learned a bit about timezones and it made things especially fun on New Years Eve when I spoke to her from the future!
Skype! For the OPPA Ceremonies!
Riss and I? To say we love K-Dramas is an understatement; we’re slightly infatuated with them along with Running Man. So while we tried our best to catch television shows together it would prove somewhat difficult. We managed to still chat over Kakao and text. To see each other face to face though? Skype came in on the assist. We even had a ceremony welcoming a new K-Pop band member into my harem as head Oppa. She bought a cake and everything for the occasion!
NENDOROIDS! (And photos really— BUT NENDOS)
Figures. Chibi figures was one of our saving graces. If you’re familiar with the toy line from Good Smile Company, they’re basically chibi figures from popular anime shows and games. Before she had left, we planned a mini Christmas / Farewell party where we dressed up as characters from assorted Macross shows, ate some cake, cooked and just enjoyed each other’s company before she left.
It wasn’t planned really, but those little toys proved an even bigger benefit in that it opened my eyes and showed me Riss’ world. Ever since we were kids Riss was adamant that before she turned 30 she would go to Asia in some capacity and see Japan. She wound up doing just that, and as a bonus she got to live in South Korea. I’m thankful that she let me into her world because she always found a way to remind me I was there with her in spirit, and it made the hard times comforting. She even trekked all the way to Namsan Tower so that I could see pictures of it for my birthday and be there in spirit! 🙂
Ok Ali… all this stuff is cute and great… but why post about all this stuff that happened last year?
Well reader, it’s going to happen again in just a few short weeks. Marissa accepted a position back in Seoul for another year so again? That damn Pacific Ocean will be between us. It’s okay though; we know how to keep in touch this second go round and even with the time zones and the miles? We know we’ll pick up right where we left off again.
I always miss you when you’re far, but I promise I’ll cry less this time when you’re gone. Keep Lynn Minmay close and be sure to show me all the fun places and adventures you wind up getting yourself into, okay? I’ll keep watch on the family while you’re gone, and I’m always here with an ear to listen and a heart to receive whenever you need support, always. I love you and can’t wait to see you when you get back. ❤
p.s. If you see Choi Minho from SHINee? You know what to do >_> (Commence Operation: Potato Sack)
p.p.s. Let’s really learn Korean together this time, kay? 🙂