Markus and I have been very lucky to meet some amazing people in Korea. We were worried that we would become hermits and never hang out with anyone. We, creative types, tend to get like that. It's very easy for Markus and I to spend all day at home working on our respective projects.
Early in our first year, I met Dae-hwannie while working at the library. He was doing a part time internship in his last semester of college. I actually thought he was one of the regular employees. Despite his short time at the library, we became fast friends. He taught me Busan dialect (Satoori), which is very different from a Seoul accent. Every day at work, we spent an hour or talking and he helped me learn a lot of Korean.
After a while, he stopped working at the library but he still wanted to hang out. He kept saying that he wanted to meet Markus and as soon as they met, they instantly became friends. He calls Markus hyung, which means older brother and he calls me noona, which means older sister. It's the cutest thing.
After that first dinner, we spent lots of time with Dae-hwannie. He became the epitome of a little brother for us. He introduced us to his older sister and many of his friends. It's because of him that we have another amazing Korean little brother. We went to movies and ate traditional Korean meals. I know a lot about Korean culture because of him. He came over to our house for Christmas and we showed him how we celebrate in America. We've even gone to his hometown of Gimhae a few times and went to his older sister's wedding.
In December of 2011, Dae-hwannie told us that he found a job. He had been searching since September. We were excited for him, but when he told us the job was in Seoul,we were heartbroken. We couldn't imagine Busan without him. It wouldn't be the same. We only spent five months with Dae-hwannie but he became like family to us.
After he moved away, we were sad, but alas life goes on. When he comes back to Busan, he always tries to make time to see us. Recently, he came down for Chuseok and we were able to have dinner with him. This time, it was like he was the foreigner and we were the locals. We took him to places he had never been. It still felt the same, but a little different.
We still really miss him, but we're glad that we were able to have that time with him. He helped make Korea feel like home. It wasn't just a place that we were temporarily, it was a place that we knew we had a little brother. Even though he's in Seoul, he will always be an important part of our lives and our time in Korea.