Sun-duk and Daniel actually met through "sogyeting" - Konglish for a blind date. It wasn't as simple as that, however; just meeting proved to be an arduous task in itself.
Back in July 1998, Daniel was living and working in Taejon, a city of about one million 150 km south of Seoul, while Sun-duk had recently moved to the capital from Pusan. Both were a little lonely at the time - he weary of the all-male staff's antics at Taejon University, she finishing her first semester at Ewha Women's University's Graduate School of International Studies -, but had nothing but simple friendship in mind when a common friend suggested they get together in Seoul and discover that historic city's many beautiful sites and museums.
The idea was deemed acceptable (!) by both parties. E-mail addresses and phone numbers were exchanged through the third party, and contact was made. Daniel sent a scanned picture of himself to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where Sun-duk was doing a summer internship. She looked at it, and beard aside, found him somewhat good-looking; he called her the next day, and apart from the husky voice, considered her pleasantly outgoing. A day and time were agreed upon: six-thirty Friday evening, downtown, at the enrance to the Kyobo Bookstore.
Daniel took the express train from Taejon and arrived early to take advantage of a rare opportunity to go on a spree at a real bookstore. He spent a couple of hours with the friend who had "set" them up, then, at roughly 6:10, took his position outside the door facing the Burger King restaurant, and patiently waited... for the next fifty minutes. Now, Sun-duk had told him that she might be a little late, but he certainly didn't expect to be twiddling his thumbs until seven o'clock.
1998 being the year 1 B.C. (Before Cellphone mania) in Korean terms, Daniel dug into his pockets, pulled out Sun-duk's beeper number and left her a message from a phone booth, telling her that whatever she was up to, he would be at the McDonald's restaurant a block away until nine before retiring to the neighbourhood YMCA. With a shrug and a quickstep that would have made Chaplin proud, he set off for Fast Food Central.
Meanwhile, Sun-duk had also been waiting at the Kyobo entrance... the one just around the corner! She had tried to page him, but his beeper, he later found out, only worked in Taejon. She called up our friend, and was mystified to learn that she had left him at Kyobo. Miffed at being stood up, she went to the nearest subway station to go home. She was just about to walk through the turnstile when her beeper went off. She listened to the message and rushed to meet Daniel.
Well, they spent almost every waking hour together that weekend, going from one place to another - royal palaces and folk museums in Chongno, traditional tea houses in Insadong, shops and restaurants in the Shinchon, Kangnam and Itaewon areas - and it was with heavy hearts that they at last parted late Sunday night at the Seoul train station. From the outset, it was as though they had always known each other. There was none of that awkwardness which mars the beginning of a relationship as it lurches ever so haltingly toward friendship. Intimacy, intellectual and spiritual, was instant. That all sounds very trite, especially if you've never met the "love of your life"; but there it was, and they refuse to apologise for it. And the rest, as they say, is history...
|Sun-duk's Resume||Daniel's Biography||Daniel's Resume|