Posted by: Juweon | April 16, 2009

“Testicle” Friend II – The Reunion

Last Sunday was the day when I met my best friend from preschool for the first time in 20 years.  (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out part I of this story here.)  We decided to meet in front of the Shinsegae department store in Banpo, partly because it was a big landmark that everyone knew and partly because my hair salon is located in the adjacent shopping center and my mop needed some tending to.  I swear everything I eat goes to two places in my body, my hair and my fingernails.

me on the far left and Daesung on the far right with our "Michael Knight" black jackets in Sunday school

me on the far left and Daesung on the far right with our "Michael Knight" black jackets in Sunday school

Daesung called me just as I was finishing up with my haircut and I rushed down to the main entrance of the department store.  The courtyard in the front looked larger than I remembered and there were more people outside than usual because of the pre-summer-like weather.  I scanned to the left, then to the right, then to the left again but the 7-year old boy that I remembered as my best friend was no where to be found.  Then, out of the corner of my eye, I caught a young man jumping up from one of the benches and walking towards me.  He was a complete stranger but there was an air of familiarity about him.  After a split second I recognized my best friend.  Everything about him was unrecognizable, except the one thing that gave him away, his eyes.  What is it about the human eyes?  The eyes can give up a lie but also show true love, they can reveal the caring heart of a mother but also instill spine-chilling fear with just one glance, and in this case, the eyes identified my BFF when every other feature I remembered was disguised with 20 years of time.

our first reunion in 20 years... remind me once again that he is the ying to my yang (i'm the loud one and he's the quiet one)

our first reunion in 20 years... I was reminded that he was the ying to my yang (i'm the loud one and he's the quiet one)

Daesung and his sister Jiwon had come out to meet me that day.  Jiwon wasn’t there in the courtyard when I first met Daesung because she had gone into the store to use the ladies room.  As Daesung and I walked into the store, I saw his sister and recognized her right away because she hadn’t changed a bit.

at Jiwon's birthday party many years ago.  Jiwon is on the far left with her arms around Daesung and I'm on the far right

at Jiwon's birthday party many years ago. Jiwon is on the far left with her arms around Daesung and I'm on the far right

Me, Daesung and Jiwon back then…

Juweon, Jiwon and Daesung now...

Juweon, Jiwon and Daesung now... Jiwon definitely changed the least all these years.

For the first couple of minutes in the car, all of us just let out sighs and comments of amazement between awkward silences.  We kept peeking glances at each other probably wondering what the other had been up to the past 20 years, what they do now and if we both share the same memories of our past years together…because those were the questions running through my head.

Our first choice for dinner, a small mom & pop sushi restaurant was closed.  Because the weather was so nice, we decided that an outdoor restaurant would be a good plan B, so we went to a Bo-Ssam (steamed pork) restaurant on the base of Cheongye Mountain.

tarting from the bottom left and going clockwise:  bo-ssam, kimchi (fermented spicy cabbage, probably the most famous Korean dish), dotori mook (acorn "jello" - that's the only way I can describe it), and spicy-seasoned fish

starting from the bottom left and going clockwise: bo-ssam, kimchi (fermented spicy cabbage, probably the most famous Korean dish), dotori mook (acorn "jello" - that's the only way I can describe it), and spicy-seasoned fish

Huae-mool jeon - Seafood & Vegetable Pancake (but don't think of the soft and sweet breakfast pancakes of the West)

Huae-mool jeon - Seafood & Vegetable Pancake (but don't think of the soft and sweet breakfast pancakes of the West)

Over dinner, we chatted and laughed over our versions of our history two decades ago.  We pieced together old Christmas plays, names of old classmates, memories of Sunday school and preschool functions.  Just like a big jigsaw puzzle, we sat around our plate of bo-ssam, huae-mool jeon (seafood pancake) and our bowls of dong-dong joo (Korean rice wine) piecing together old stories that were buried deep within our heads, each of us contributing a piece here and a piece there, till we made out a broad picture; rekindling a friendship that was separated by the Pacific Ocean and put on hold for nearly 2/3rds of our lives.

Turns out that Daesung and his family still live in the same exact town of Hongjae-dong.  They just moved around within the town about 6 times.  Jiwon is currently working in the import/export business at a company located 2 subway stations from where I work.  Daesung already completed his 2-year mandatory military service that all Korean males have to complete and he’s now taking some extra courses to bolster his computer science degree to better his chances of employment in these trying economic conditions.  The school he’s attending is actually about 10 minutes drive from my radio station and we get done around the same time, so now I have a buddy to have those late dinners with after my show each night.  It wouldn’t be that far fetched to think that we’ve actually crossed paths before here in Seoul, maybe even sat next to each other on the subway or had dinner in the same restaurant as the other.  As we said our goodbyes that night, we promised each other to stay in contact and meet up as often as we can, because we do have some catching up to do.  Daesung told me right before he closed the door to my car, that in a couple of month’s time, he hopes to be doing the catching up on the beautiful white beaches of the Whitsunday Islands (with a nice refreshing cocktail in hand).

the three of us agreed that our reunion was the stuff of Hollywood movies

the three of us agreed that our reunion was the stuff of Hollywood movies

Answer to the trivia question from the previous post:

What was MacGyver’s first name on the TV show?

Answer: Angus

Thank you to the 8 people who participated, wait, 7 because one of those answers came from me.

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Responses

  1. you go to a hair salon? wow, quite the princess, aren’t ya? 🙂 your blog reminds me of mine, taking photos of everything, like food and such.

  2. Thanks for sharing this monumental event of your life. It was indeed a memorable one after 20 years! On the other hand, I wanted to answer your trivia question and I cant stopped myself searching it on the web. Well, I did not give my answer but honestly, I loved the series very much and MacGyver always part of my teens and in a way reminds me that every problem has a solution.

  3. cute~post these pix on Facebook and cyworld too~ I know your fans will love to see this on cyworld.

  4. yes! im glad your story had a resolution! i was left hanging after part 1 … wondering how it would all go down. so are you totally off the western diet now that youre back, i never thought of that. “acorn jello” does not seem like it would hit the spot like some tater tots from Sonic, but to each their own.

  5. vsiting evening,,,,

  6. What a nice, heartfelt story! I recently connected with a friend I lost touch with after 7th grade. She found me on facebook. First meeting after 21 years resulted in a 5 hour dinner. It was as if time hadn’t passed! Sevilla es una de mis ciudades favoritas especialmente durante el tiempo de La Feria.

  7. glad to hear the CYworld is going…


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