Sometimes I've thought about how Korea came into my life and why I feel so strongly about this spesific country. My story with Korea dates back to the beginning of the 1990s, when I was checking the pen pal ads from Finnish text TV at home.
Young people from Korea were looking for pen pals around the world to practice English through a pen pal club. I took the address and wrote a letter stating that I was interested in writing with someone. I didn't know anything about the country at that time.
And soon I got a letter from Si-Nae, my first foreign pen pal :) I guess I was around 12-13 years old at that time. We wrote letters very often and she sent me all kinds of guide books and photos about Korea and I was so fascinated. It was also interesting to know how her daily life was and how busy she was with studies... Maybe that's the reason why we stopped writing letters after 10 years of the first one.
After that I forgot about Korea and concentrated on my complicated life (like all lives are when you're a young student) :) But on one student party I met You-su, a sweet Korean girl who became my friend almost immediately. I guess we were the only ones who wanted to speak quietly when all the others, mostly Spanish exchange students were shouting their lungs out ;) It was 2003.
Once You-su invited me to her place for some Korean food (and wow, the first time was horrible as everything was so spicy!!) and there was also Hyeyeon. I talked a bit with her and we changed e-mail addresses as she was going back to Korea for half a year and planning on coming back in the autumn 2004. I didn't know that she was going to be one of my dearest friends <3
You-su left, but Hyeyeon came back with Seonggwan and Yong-uk, two extremely funny boys. In the autumn 2004 we did everything together, played card games, watched movies, got drunk on christmas, travelled to Ruka for some snowboarding. That was one of the greatest periods my life :)
The boys left, but Hyeyeon stayed for 2 ½ years. And when I'm thinking about going to Korea, travelling with her and getting to know her culture even better... I couldn't be happier.
During the years I've also got to know other Koreans and all of them have been very warm and friendly. That's why I know that I'm not going to get lost in Korea.