Having lived in a twenty mile radius the first thirty one years of my life, moving to South Korea has been quite an adjustment. I have never really had to start over in the friends department. But other than Tim and Clarissa, I only knew one family when we landed in the country (and they are Tim’s friends who live four hours away).
In the past, I made friends in my normal activities like work and church. But we haven’t really found a church home and I don’t plan to work in Korea. So I had to try some other ways to make friends.
The first place that Clarissa and I ventured to was story time at the base library. I wasn’t sure how it would go since Clarissa was only eighteen months old and has a hard time sitting. But her activity level wasn’t horribly out of place with the handful of children ages two to five. She liked seeing other children, playing with new toys, and listening to stories. We have consistently gone almost every Thursday for the past four months.
This has been the most fruitful way for me to make friends so far. One girl I met actually lives in my apartment building (a 15 minute bus ride to base). Now that her baby is a little older, she drives Clarissa and I to story time and we do a commissary run afterward. Clarissa and I really look forward to our Thursday mornings with my friend and her baby.
We have also started having weekly play dates with another little girl from story time. Her mom and I get along really well. In both instances, our husbands also get along. I have casual conversations with many of the other moms at story time and I think there are a few of the other regular attenders that I would like to get to know as well.
Most libraries in the United States have free programs and classes for parents to attend with their children. Before we moved, wanted to attend a babygarten class with Clarissa, but my work schedule didn’t allow it. Libraries are also great for summer reading programs and family book/movie activities during the school year.
Though we haven’t found a church service that we like yet, I did find a Bible Study on base. I enjoy the weekly worship and fellowship with other women. The group doesn’t meet in the summer, but I am hoping to make some friends when it resumes in the fall. We haven’t had any play dates from this group yet, but have been invited to two birthday parties so far.
Churches are a great way to meet likeminded women. See if your church has a mom’s group or even a women’s group. If they don’t, start one so you can make friends. It doesn’t have to be a stressful thing. There are a ton of studies available, and the fellowship will be encouraging.
I guess you could call my apartment building a complex? It has two towers with at total of 200 apartments. Our building has both an indoor and outdoor playground. Clarissa and I like to go and play several days each week. We consistently are playing at the same time as some of our neighbors. The American neighbors are a little easier to play with at this point because they have all been under five. It has been great for me to get to know some other moms. There are a few Korean preschoolers as well, so I am hoping that as my Korean vocabular increases, we can befriend them as well.
Taking a walk in the stroller around your neighborhood would be a great way to meet friends. Are there parks nearby? Are there kids down the street you can invite to play in your yard?
I have also made friends online recently. I am a part of an online bookclub on Facebook. It’s pretty informal but we usually read through a book in a month or two and there is discussion. I have also recently found a Facebook accountablity group through the Make Over Your Mornings course. Even though I am half a world away from most of these women, we have great conversations on social media.
Before we moved, I was looking forward to taking a few classes once Clarissa turned two. My friend teaches a mommy and me gymnastics class and there was also a mommy and me dance class at the rec center. The rec center catalog had several options of classes that parents could take with their preschool children for a great price.
Clarissa will have to wait until she is three to take ballet on base. There isn’t a mommy and me class for that. They do have a parent and child soccer class when she is three though, so we may have to check that out. There are probably more options available in the city. Maybe when I am a little more fluent in Korean we can check out some community classes here.
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