Tuesday, August 9, 2016

THE DIPLOMAT'S DAUGHTER

I met her at a Crossfit box where both of us were open day drop-ins. There were lots of people there as well so I didn't really talk to her before nor during the session.

We had a good WOD which consisted of box jumps, dumb bell clusters, tyre flips, and lunges. After that when we were lying on the floor sweaty and catching our breath, I learnt that she was Korean by nationality and here in KL on a work exchange programme.

She was in her late twenties and worked for a large international company. She had been the only participant in her company's annual work exchange programme for that year and would be staying in KL for 3 months.

I offered to show her around and along the way we struck up a friendship. 

We'd go for dinner and conversations would be

Me: Why are all Koreans so fair-skinned and thin and pretty and stylish?
Her: How do you imagine that all Koreans are fair-skinned and thin and pretty and stylish?
Me: Because all the Korean dramas / K-pop bands / seem that way.
Her: That's just what you see on the media. Trust me we have fat and ugly people in Korea just like every other country.

***
We'd go for night time walks and I showed her the lake I visited sometimes.

She told me that growing up, her father worked with the Korean embassy and was given a new placement every 2-4 years. She'd spent her childhood jetting about Taiwan, the Netherlands, Singapore, the States, and more. 

   " That's so cool " I breathed in envy.
   " Cool? I guess maybe it seems that way. " As she unenthusiastically shrugged her shoulders.

   " Isn't it? " I queried
   " When I was younger maybe I thought that too, but the truth is it's really not that great. " She answered. 

   " Now that I've matured and developed, I want something more stable and secure. I want familiar faces and places I can return to and call home. "
   " I've moved around too often and too far to have formed meaningful relationships and lasting friendships. Moving back to Korea in my mid-twenties after an international upbringing, I felt so foreign and out of place. Besides, it's also so difficult to meet and keep people when most of them have formed such familiar tight-knit circles. "

When I asked her what she wanted to do on her last night in KL, she told me she had yet to try bak kut teh - and how could I have let her leave without downing a bowl of soupy porky deliciousness?


(Image intentionally blurred for privacy purposes)

***

I hope life is being kind to her.

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