I had a housewarming party today.
The party consisted of my two closest co-teachers and myself. They pretty much invited themselves over, which is totally cool because they’re the best. I’m most comfortable with them out of any of my coworkers here.
I will say, though, that my apartment has never been cleaner.
(in the process I found a spider in the corner of my closet. 10 minutes, a rolled-up newspaper, and half a Kleenex box later, the issue was resolved but I spent the next 15 minutes googling and image searching “venomous spiders Korea” just in case. (it wasn’t deadly.) (regardless, I then had a case of the creepy crawlies for the next 20 minutes.))
Anyway, they arrived at 7 p.m. and brought gifts: dishes and tissues and laundry detergent (the latter two are traditional Korean housewarming gifts).
We ate jjimdak (which is NOT evil fish jjim, but a mildly spicy chicken, potato, carrot, and onion stew which is delicious – picture at link) and strawberries and cinnamon cake and chatted for over 3 hours. One of these two women no longer works at my school, so we caught up on her school and compared notes re: students, coworkers, schedules, principals and vice principals. We talked about how school went last year. About our stress. Our insecurities. Our future goals.
These women are 10+ years older than me, but somehow – and this is where the gratitude comes in – the three of us have formed this friendship of sorts.
[[In Korean culture, it is actually impossible to be “friends” with someone who is not the exact same age as you. You can be “close” with them, but the Korean word 친구 (chingu) is only for people born the same year as yourself. If there is an age difference, even of just a year, you have to use different titles to refer to them rather than the word “friend.”]]
But anyway, as we sat cross-legged on my floor eating strawberries and chatting up a storm, I just kept reflecting on how grateful I am for them. They are two amazing women: kind, strong, honest, smart, considerate, and very supportive of me in and out of school.
As the night came to an end, we shared mutual relief that tomorrow is Sunday, not Monday, and promised to try to meet once a month like this amid our busy schedules.
i am grateful.