Shadows of people holding an umbrella in South Korea.

I have a new friend from yoga class. We’ve bonded since we’re usually the only men who attend. Park Deok Sung doesn’t speak much English, and my Korean skills haven’t improved a word since orientation. So, we usually just smile and laugh at each other. Sometimes I make eye contact with him in the mirrors, during some awkward yoga pose. He’s usually too focused to notice, but I like to try to distract.

Even though we can’t say much to each other, I know Deok Sung will save a spot for my yoga mat next to his if I’m late. And we wait for each other to walk out of the building together. We’ve grown especially close over the past few weeks. Earlier this week we strolled around Ochang’s Lake Park after class, relying on my iPhone to help translate our conversation.

Thanks to the help of said technology, we were able to clearly make plans to have dinner. We met for samgyeopsal at my favorite restaurant in Ochang this evening. Samgyeopsal is thick, marinated pork belly prepared on a grill. Of course I spilled all over myself, which is usually the case at any Korean BBQ sitting. We laughed away my mess by ordering a third helping of the fatty deliciousness.

After dinner we shared an umbrella on the way to have gelato and tea. The evening was topped off by making a trip to Homeplus, one of the largest department store chains in South Korea. I was in search of chickpeas. With Deok Sung’s help I ended up with canned tomatoes. I wonder what's in store for next time... I look forward to spending more time with my yoga man.


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