Seoulmates

Note: A special thanks to Facebook for the pictures. Another one to my friends for not minding that I stole your Facebook images. I love you all.

I cannot bid a final farewell to our Seoul Searching adventures without first sharing my deep appreciation for the people who filled our lives so very full while we were far away from home.

Without a doubt these folks have now become our friends for life. Somehow having them there with us made being in Asia seem normal – or if not normal they could at least confirm just how abnormal it all was.  The best part about the relationships we made is that they were sticky and they were fast. The circumstances that brought us all together bonded us so quickly it was as if we had been friends for years after just a few simple engagements. I didn’t realize how incredible it was when it was happening, but now that it’s over we couldn’t miss them more.

Without further ado, I give you our dearest Seoulmates…

Jon and Amber were the first to welcome us to Korea. We had met them in Chicago before we made the big move and they moved to Seoul 6 months before we arrived. I honestly don’t know what we would have done without them those first few weeks. They literally put us up while we waited for our furniture to arrive and made sure to share every last tip of just how to adjust to this crazy new city.

Just down the street they were such a big part of our time overseas. One of the best parts was getting to watch their family grow. Amber had 2 beautiful babies in the 2 years we spent as neighbors – Lincoln and Anora we love you.

The next couple we met was Lauren and Andrew. Lauren and I instantly connected. With same-named boyfriends how could we not?  So while the Andrews went to work (and developed their own special bromance) we explored the city and took one unforgettable roadtrip to the country. Always up for anything, I literally cannot count how many nights-that-eventually-became-early-mornings we spent together out and about in Seoul.

Alyssa was the next to share her Seoul with us. From the Midwest, she seriously made entertaining in Asia seem like it was no big thing (which trust me – it is not even close to easy). Single, sassy, and smart; she has a huge heart and had a beautiful apartment hosting several of the best parties – always with a spread that seemed like it should be impossible given our location on the map.

Just like Alyssa’s parties – and one of my favorites – our good friend Kelly was a one of a kind. Being a single American girl in Asia isn’t exactly like being a single American girl – in say – Italy or France. Kelly’s sense of humor and wit could keep you laughing for days and I admired her for making waves wherever she went. She brought the lovey-dovey drunk out of me almost every time.

Speaking of drunk – I’m pretty sure Sameer is in this picture (far right) hahaha – oh the fun we all had together at GSG events. Sameer was another addition that arrived in Seoul at the same time as we did and you could always count on him to have a smile on his face and something funny to say. Easy breezy Sameer-shi.

And then there is Carlos and sweet sweet Marina. From Europe, they brought sophistication and good manners to the group. Marina and I took unforgettable belly dancing classes (which really deserved its on post but I never got pictures!) together while Carlos and Andrew played a lot of screen golf. They really are one of the loveliest couples I have ever met. Really.

We also cannot forget Nana and Steve – Andrew’s work partners who 100% spent more time with him than me.  These guys made Choq’s insane schedule and workload a little easier to bare – not to mention they never blew my cover when I showed up for a top-secret visit. Friends for life.

Charu (Nana’s wife) cooked delicious Indian food on many occasions when we were all in town and she was my special friend who understood like no one else just how much my husband was away. We did hot-yoga-in-Korean-with- Koreans and stuck out like sore thumbs; the only girls in the room who couldn’t tie themselves in knots.

Speaking of co-workers we must not forget my very favorite friend Sue. Sue (who got her own post at least once) made a world of difference in my days at Samsung and the friendship we share is unlike any I’ve ever had. Very much alike from very different places, she taught me so much about what makes a friend a friend and was absolutely the best keepsake from Korea. XO.

Then there was Tom (he is on the stage in the picture – cannot believe this is the best I can do) who was my most prized colleague at Samsung. He was from France and together we made up the only foreigners on our team. He helped me make sense of the Korean work culture AND he made me laugh every single day.

Kathy and Eric and Ed and Jen.

These couples came to Seoul months and months after we arrived so we didn’t get to spend as much time with them but not for lack of wanting. It is rare as a couple to meet another couple and have everyone seem to click immediately as a team. We could have made it to the Olympics with these folks if we had more time, instead we settled for some really REALLY great nights together.

Ayelet and Gary were in the same crew and deserve the same love + a little extra. Ayelet was the last to arrive in Seoul and we barely had 9 months together, but she stole my heart on day one. We had a lot of free time together and some of my favorite 4 hour lunches ever. From our obsession with love of Oprah to our hard-to-control curls, we were simply meant to be. And Gary gets an extra shout out because being from Portland, he is now not only a good friend but one who has introduced us to some really great new friends in the Pacific NW. Amaze.

Last but not least, we have the Kadish Family. I’m not sure if it’s the way I came to know the Kadishes or the fact that Sarah was more like a guardian angel than a friend on several occasions, but I think it’s safe to say that Mike and Sarah define the word Seoulmates.  Connecting with me through reading my blog (steal my heart) for the months leading up to their big move to Korea, Sarah and I were somewhat like pen pals before we met. When we finally did, it took about an hour and a bottle of wine to know that we were a good fit. Sarah was the one who was with me when I was diagnosed with the brain tumor and she has been with me through so much of my fertility struggles. I honestly do not know what I would do without her – not then and not now. Words can’t quite cover it…

Big I-miss-you-all sigh.

Making friends is one of life’s greatest gifts and we were definitely spoiled in Korea. I just want to say to my dearest Seoulmates –  of all the places and all the faces, nothing will ever look quite like the time we shared in Asia together. Thanks for being such incredibly special human beings and for making our Seoul experience so rich. Know that each and every one of you has a place with the Choquettes whether you are near or far. Please visit. Stay in touch. And never forget all the fun we had.

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4 responses to “Seoulmates

  1. Mary,

    Great group of friends. Its good you record these for future.

    Ken

  2. Oh, good grief! Tears, tears… Miss you ever so. Xo S

  3. Mary you are loved all over the world! Friends are the best!

  4. Mary we miss you!! Thank you for our special mention, what an honor! Wishing you all the best. Love, xxx

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