A taste of how meeting a native Korean guy is like in NYC

Blood flows quicker, doesn’t it?

How about tummy acting weird?

Or the anxiety and imagination jumping around in your head?

Meeting new people for the first time is always like this.

With all the back and forth from days earlier, the day finally arrives to meet Hajun face to face, the native Korean that wants to be a friend of sutiben.

Waiting for someone else makes you extra sensitive

Wanting everything perfect, sutiben arrives at the plaza around 10:44am, roughly 16 minutes early, and sits down to wait. Maybe because it’s a Sunday morning but there are bums scattered all around the area.

As sutiben twiddles fingers, thoughts of the first Korean partner comes up and, to be honest, sutiben feels a pinch of sadness in how we used to hang out here.

“Sutiben?”, a tall Asian guy asks 20 feet away.

Our eyes meet and inspect each other as both unsure if the other is the right person.

When did he come in? Hajun appears out of thin air and catches sutiben typing on an iPad; didn’t think he would appear early so took it out to kill time and nervousness.

Stuffing computer inside the bag, sutiben quickly stands up for greeting. Didn’t have much expectations but he’s pretty tall.

(-_-) *crosses arms* Makes suti feel like midget…

Also looks masculine. No, that’s not the best word to describe him. Stable, would be better if that makes sense, like he has everything under fair control.

Actually the first impression that stands out above all else is the look of a serious person, stoic almost.

(^^;; No fun loving person? Eh… really hope suti wrong.

Other than what mentioned, no can read him beyond that.

Manhattan astounds foreigners & those living in the other 5 boroughs?

After confirming identity and shaking hands, we get up and walk the busy streets of Manhattan chatting lightly along the way. What catches sutiben off guard is him calling out nearby famous buildings.

Though body composed, his words reveals he’s like a wowed tourist. ^^ hehe. Guess living in NYC long time, no see this place as special anymore.

Hajun later explains he doesn’t travel outside Queens much which makes sense now.

Pushing forward, we reach the southern edge of Central Park where a line of horse carriages stand waiting for customers. Hajun can’t help but gush over them which makes for good talk.

*whispers* suti gushes too. What? Sutiben likes animals. How often do you see horsies in a city?

Though chatting and walking shoulder to shoulder like two old friends, both are a lil’ shy trying to feel each other out. Because we don’t know each other well, the surrounding scenery helps to ease nervousness and gives us something to talk about. Actually, it dominates our conversation especially upon entering the Central Park zoo.

Sutiben has passed through here before but when Hajun learns this is a zoo, he becomes highly interested stating this would be a great place to bring his Korean friend over. He shoots questions ranging from “what is the admission price?” to “is that a sea lion over there?”

(^ ^) It’s almost like he’s been looking for great places to visit.

Of course, the tables turn when sutiben spots a sign mentioning a polar bear.

“Polar bear? Where?”, sutiben asks while stretching neck. After all this time never knew a bear was stationed here. Now that’s something to see!

야! No laugh.

Be loyal to your Korean dog or it’ll return back to bite

As sutiben now leads the walk in the search of the bear, Hajun begins opening up. Apparently, he’s old. There’s at least an 8 year difference between us. He’s also served in the Korean military.

‘Tis all serious until he mentions his dog, which sutiben questions further.

^_^ Would’ve connected more if said kitty…

Biro is the dog’s name and is a special type of breed. He wanted one after leaving the military and so saved up money to finally afford the $600 price.

(・_・ Waaah, must be pretty pretty dog.

Forget what was the meaning of its name but somehow connected to his previous dog. He tells the story of being with a woman and receiving a phone call from his father one night. Not thinking much of it, he ignores the phone ring but later learns his father called him to visit his dying dog. He missed it and hurt him deeply.

With all the sad talk, sutiben suddenly realizes they’ve since left the zoo a long time ago and so gives up on finding the polar bear.

;_;

At this point, Hajun sees a public restroom up on the road and excuses himself while sutiben waits outside.

The fake monk who doesn’t mind eating meat and drinking beer

When he next reappears, topics change to a lighter mood. Not sure how we got into it but he speaks of how he studied up on Buddhism and Catholicism. 1

When asked if he’s a Buddhist, Hajun answers with, “just a slice” as he pinches his index finger and thumb in the air.

Hajun then recounts the story of a monk he once met who freely ate meat and alcohol with no shame.

This sounds like nothing but practicing monks in Buddhist temples aren’t supposed to eat meat. They’re long known to be vegetarians.

In fact, one of the rules of Buddhism is you can’t kill a living being, even tiny insects. This is why vegetarianism isn’t an entirely a new concept to Korea and why Koreans think you’re a monk if you say you don’t eat meat.

Anyway, this monk he met reasoned it wasn’t a problem for him to eat dishes with meat because he didn’t kill the animal. As for rice beer, well, it was originally rice, which is ok to consume. So when he drinks rice beer, he is really drinking rice.

^^) Monk sounds fun fun and someone who would know something like drunken martial arts. Hehe.

What do Chinese people go out of their way to watch?

With all the chatting, we finally reach the western side of Central Park. It catches suti by surprise how fast it took to cross that distance and without realizing it.

With the day getting colder, sutiben says ‘tis time to return back. Agreeing, both exit Central Park and begin walking back east on the streets.

But the conversation doesn’t stop there. Hajun asks along the way if seen Korean Shows before.

^^) hehe that’s a silly question to ask. ‘Tis all sutiben watches most of the time!

When explain suti watches lots of Korean dramas, he looks surprised, like didn’t expect sutiben to watch them too. When point out currently watching Empress Ki, Hajun lightens up like found something to connect with as he briefly gives background info on the historical drama.

Apparently, he hates one of the actors there, the one with oily face. 2

The one topic you can always talk to any Korean about

Suddenly, the Korean partner asks if have had any Korean food.

*nods*

“What foods?”, he asks.

The Korean sushi roll thingy and sort of recently, ddukbokki, that a Korean girl recommended. (Which itself is an interesting story but probably best didn’t say much about it to him)

“Who were you with when you ate it?”, he immediately presses with eagerness.

*scratches head* Maybe ‘tis suti but seemed almost like he feared the chance of sutiben dating the girl because when respond with no one, he backs done relieved. Maybe jealousy or something. Lil’ odd.

Anyhow, Hajun then offers to cook something up for our next meeting.

^_^) *pats belly*

Nearing closer to the point where the walk began, sutiben asks if he’s married. Didn’t want to but suti too curious not to.

No is his answer.

“If I was, I wouldn’t be spending time with you on a Sunday. I’d be with my family.”, he finally adds.

It’s weird that a Korean like him isn’t married. Based on kdramas, sutiben has impression that Korean parents bring up the issue a lot.

And sutiben tells him that but he doesn’t say much after that. Wonder if his parents are pushing him…

A day with a Korean guy ends

Now back where we started, the time arrives to leave and so Hajun asks where he can catch the N train. Sutiben unsure but points him in a certain direction.

The goodbye part a lil’ tricky. Think for both of us.

(^^;) Suti thinking handshake, hug, or wave but nothing comes out except the words.

And with that, both guys separate going in opposite directions.

It felt like half the day went by but turns out we hung out for roughly an hour walking around Central Park. No know what to think of new friend. ’Twas a good talk. At least he likes dramas.

Walking away some more distance, sutiben has a strange feeling come over; memories of another Korean.

However, those thoughts are quickly removed when sutiben passes by the subway station for the N train.

Uh oh. Did sutiben just send Hajun the wrong way? What will he say the next time we meet?


  1. think he mentions Catholicism thinking sutiben one. Or maybe to make sutiben feel comfortable? Least those were first thoughts. ↩︎

  2. No ask who that is. Still don’t know who still. He gives a name but sutiben doesn’t bother remembering names of Korean actors or actresses. Usually remember the first name of the character they played. Anyway, best guess is he is referring to “Donghae” from Smile Donghae but no sure. ↩︎

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