One of my and Jamie’s friends is going to Korea (Seoul) for business this week. It’s his first trip to Korea. He goes to China for business about once/month or every other month. And to many other places around the world. (So many I can’t keep track.) But it’s his first time to Korea.
Jamie told me he wanted to meetup with me to talk about Seoul and he suggested I connect him with one of my friends in Korea. The suggestion never would’ve occurred to me. Don’t get me wrong, I love my friends in Korea, but Korean people don’t really do that. (Network; meet strangers.) In general it’s uncomfortable to meetup with people you don’t know, even friends of friends. (I’ve had a friend ask if another friend of mine was coming along to our plans. Then she’d ask me—“Why?”) So it would’ve felt weird to arrange that sort of meeting.
But Jamie pointed out that our friend works in the business world and so many Korean people want to get out of Korea (to go anywhere) to b-school, work at an international company, etc. My friend can ask about working in the U.S. and our friend can hear about working at an international Korean company. And with networking who knows what could happen?
Plus, both these friends speak Chinese and travel to China for business; they have things they can relate over, and if they’re perceptive, learn from one another. And, what Korean person doesn’t like working on/practicing his/her English? My friends really don’t get too many opportunities to practice with a native-English speaker.
(Actually, come to think of it he’s not a native speaker. Ha. When I talked to him he told me his wife wanted him to buy “I don’t know the English name for it—Jamie knows. . . it looks like a person and has roots.” Ginseng, Jamie said. Ginseng. Dunno why, but I love the “don’t-know-the-English-word-for-this” conversations. Sometimes there isn’t a word. The other day Jamie and I had one of those conversations and the concept he was thinking of was “retribution.”)
I connected them over email and they plan to meetup. My friend will take our friend shopping so he can get everything on the list his wife has given him. (These products are better in Korea!) I’m happy to be able to connect them and hope they’ll get along. (Not implying anything, btw.) I’m jealous and wish I could go.
I’ve realized for awhile now that in regards to Korea I’ve become a resource. Even to Korean-American friends who have Korean families and speak Korean fluently. When I was in Korea friends would send their friends to meetup with me, and back in the U.S. they ask me questions about Korea to find out about life and culture in general. (Going out, work/life balance, family, friendships–things you don’t learn in books, or shouldn’t.) It’s strange to become this cause it reminds me of what I’ve done when sometimes that stuff feels so far away.
And lately I’ve realized my resourcefulness runs even deeper. Friends have been asking me for advice and opinion on issues that involve the soul. Should I meet my birth mother? Should I quit my scholarship program, stop studying and get a job/earn an income? What makes you satisfied with life? Will I ever find someone who really loves me? And of course, the most important question of all: Should I call him? Do you think he likes me? What should I do? Life changing decisions. Searches for happiness and purpose and love.
It feels really good to be able to help people I love in such meaningful ways. Because of things I’ve done and things I’ve learned; to be able to connect people, point them in the right direction, and encourage them in ways that will help them live better lives.
It feels really good. For the time being I think I’m okay^^.