When I was in elementary school, our music/art teacher one day had a book of names with the meaning behind every name. I was fascinated and excited, just as all of us were. Erin means Ireland, how sweet. Jessica means God’s grace (though there are other meanings according to Wikipedia and other sources but anyway…). Then my name… “Mary means… sea of bitterness.” Wow, what a stupid name! I’m so mad! And thus, proving the meaning behind my name. That moment, and meaning, has never left me, unfortunately.
I am a very outgoing person. But by outgoing I mean, I love being around people. I really need to be around people to thrive, to live, to do most things. Even if I’m starving, I won’t go out to get food. I have no motivation to do it. I mean, I’m not the skinniest person, I already have a bad relationship with food so I’m not gonna run to go eat it. And even in the U.S., I got very lonely and would call people or text people to hang out but they would be busy and couldn’t come hang out with me. And I kept myself busy by watching TV or watching Youtube videos. I also worked a ton so it helped that I didn’t have too too much time to hang around or if I did, I was too tired to go out so I would stay home. But also, my friends would invite me to hang out. They would message me randomly to talk about strange things or invite me to hang out. How nice it was of them! I really miss my friends from home because of that. Our relationship was so much fun. We would talk about really stupid and crazy things. Or about life and advice. It was some really good conversations and times hanging out.
Now that I’m in Korea, my relationship with my friends here is really different. It’s nothing like the ones I had at home. I have friends, but something feels slightly amiss. We don’t really have deep conversations. We don’t talk about much. We just shop or drink or eat. Nothing else really. As far as initiating a hangout, it’s usually me. I’m usually the first one to call/text/make the plan. Then my friends will usually cancel later, but not reschedule. It’s happened so frequently over my time here that it is starting to be expected anymore. I’m surprised I ever get to hang out with people. But because of this, I don’t trust anything anyone says anymore.
My friend wanted to cancel our plans today because she hurt her fingernail. Yes, her fingernail. I told her to make up a better excuse next time. It sounds mean but lately, my friends keep breaking plans for stupid reasons. Their period, They don’t feel well (that’s fine), they already have plans (they could’ve told me before making plans with me), they have to clean the house with their family, or they read the message too late. The list goes on and on. So when my friend tried to cancel because of her fingernail and I told her “Fine. Just go home and rest.” She changed her mind and said it would be fine. I couldn’t believe her and thought she was being passive-aggressive. We hung out and it was fine but I don’t know why I couldn’t believe her, especially after asking a thousand times. And when I ask my other friend about why she looked at my text but never answered, I got worried I did something wrong. I’m always worried I did something wrong to earn being hated. I don’t know why. I just feel like I don’t fit in with my friends here.
And it isn’t just with my Korean friends. I feel strange about my japanese friend Emi too. It’s not her fault. She didn’t do anything wrong. I feel like a bitch. She stayed over Monday night and I finished at 8pm. I told her we could hang out after that, and to meet me at my institute. But I get so tired and have to be up early so it’s really hard to be up late to hang out. I usually go to bed around 9:30 on nights that I don’t have to work the night shift. Early, I know, but I need the sleep. So Monday, Emi won’t come to the institute, instead I have to go to the corner because her and her boyfriend were hanging out at the coffee shop until I got done. I feel bad but I’m really jealous of her and her boyfriend. I take it out on him because he’s an extremely jealous boyfriend. Everytime I hang out with Emi, her boyfriend is always texting her. She gets texts all the time, either from him or someone else. The entire time. It’s annoying. I ignore people’s messages when I hang out with a friend. Why can’t she? She’s not the only one, my other friends do it too. And it just bothers me. I feel like I’m not being respected. I swear, if I didn’t text anyone, nobody would text me. At least for a few days until somebody needed something from me. That’s the only time someone actually texts me. “Can you email me this?” “When does the subway stop?” “What’s so-and-so’s phone number?” etc.
So for someone who needs people but people don’t need me, I am finding Korea to be extremely lonely. Lately, I’m doing more activities and hanging out with more people, but at a very slow rate. I hope it gets better. So when people ask me “When will you go back to the U.S.?”, I really don’t know what to answer. I’m not ready to go back home. I don’t feel like I’ve improved myself enough to go home. But, there isn’t much keeping me here. I was hoping my friends would give me strength and make me feel needed, wanted, loved, but I haven’t felt this yet.