So this morning I went to Starbucks to get a cup of the most glorious form of liquid to ever be a real thing and I read this article on Thought Catalog called, “27 Promises to my Best Friend” and it was definitely cute. I liked it, but I decided to write my own, and base it loosely on that article. Only because I loved the idea and it sounded super fun for a little morning proj, but I wanted to make a list that was really true, like so honest. I mean, without the cheesy “I’ll always hold your hair back when you’re throwing up” type stuff. Cause when people are sick, really they’re just like, get the fuck away from me and close the door. But I did keep a few of the same points, like my first one, which I thought was so brilliantly true.
1. I am the greatest version of myself when I am laughing in the passenger’s seat of your car.
This is my favorite type of statement. It’s so simple. That seat’s comfortable as hell cause you can say whatever you want and you laugh so hard there. You order iced coffees at a drive through and take a gander inside the glove compartment to see if there’s some car manual in there, like how there is in yours. You put the windows down or up or talk about the shape of a cloud or a decision that affects your entire future and you fucking try on glasses or something to decide together if they suit you. I don’t know, I just fucking love that spot.
2. I will babysit your future children if I have a job that allows me time for that, but I imagine I may be doing something that takes up a great deal of time, so you may need a babysitter. I’ll help you interview them (if I have time).
3. If you choose not to have children, I will never let you feel that the decision which made you happiest and is right for you, has deemed you any bit inferior, in any way, now or ever.
4. I will continue sending you selfies for help picking an outfit.
5. I’ll continue to tell you really personal shit and I will continue to sometimes do this in sketchy ways. So maybe I’ll be really serious when I’m revealing something really serious. Other times, it’ll be through a text followed by you calling and me not answering, and sometimes I’ll be sitting across from you, leaning back in my seat without so much as a change of tone, as if we’re discussing Pretty Little Liars or whatever.
6. I won’t ever expect a certain, correct reaction or perfectly arranged words from you after anything I say. Promise promise promise.
7. If you get arrested, that would be really fucking weird dude because I feel like we’re way too old for that. But, I’ll bail you out and then expect repayment ASAP, unless I have somehow become really rich by this point, and depending on how much bail would cost me. Also, I’d want to know who you were with and I promise I will never let you hang out with those tacky fuckers ever again.
8. You can continue explaining to me your personal stuff, without ever having to remind me not to tell anyone cause that shit is for seventh graders.
9. Discussing/ googling strange terms at an awkward age is not cute and is not meant for the interwebs, so I won’t write about it, or even bring it up in real life because we don’t want to reminisce about that.
9. I’d die if I saw you post an ambiguous, revengeful facebook status or a cheesy quote on instragram or something.
10. Distance will never matter so (insert really overused but very true sentences about how distance doesn’t matter) and let’s get ready for Friday nights with wine over skype if we’re in the same time zone.
11. I’ll continue to ask you questions and have wonderful conversations about the topics that mean a lot to you, but I will never pretend to be passionate about something just because you are, and I expect the same in return. Let’s continue being genuine regarding the causes that we care about, and never being showy about topics just to please other people, cause I think that’s how we know ourselves so well and I think that’s a big part of why we’re so happy all the time.
12. Usually I’ll come early to your get-togethers.
13. I don’t know what I’d do if you became one of those people who are too proud to ask questions when she has one or too cool to become excited about something that seems like old news to other people. Yes I do, I would die. I’d die. I wouldn’t even know you. Don’t let that happen and I promise I won’t either.
14. I’ll never be preachy or condescending to you because oh my god, there’s maybe nothing worse than that and you’d probably start avoiding me, and that would be TERRIBLE, but still not worse than preachy and condescending.
15. If you were planning on getting a really ugly haircut or something, I’d try to steer you away from the idea in the beginning, but if your heart was still set on it, I’d just be like, fuck it, whatever, yeah go for it, but still knowing that it will look shitty, cause there’s really only so much I’m gonna do in that situation, ya know.
16. You can ask me how your outfits look and I will be honest in the best way. By this I mean that I can tell you when something isn’t working and leave you feeling like a supermodel It’s a gift. I do this all the time, and I’m really good at it. Actually, always ask me how your clothes look because answering that question should be my profession. That is how perfectly I answer. And you can borrow my stuff if you want.
17. I usually won’t ask you to share drinks, because germs.
18. I will borrow your make up as much as possible because mine sucks.
19. I’ll be the person who tries really hard to stop your inevitable negative body talk and together we will try to remember how studies/important people say those conversations are totally bad for us, and we will try to redirect it.
20. When I come over to visit, I’ll secretly hope that you have lots of extra pillows because I sleep with so many, but I won’t be like, devastated, if you don’t.
My friends were talking about this on Facebook: if you could spend a night with any three public figures.
I’d drink a little before meeting up with them, but not too much because I have lots of questions and stuff. We’d go to a restaurant. I picture it being just a normal place, like nothing fancy and expensive. No tablecloths or anything. We’d sit at a booth.
It would have a really long bar and lots of beer on tap. I think that for this occasion, I’d drink a really delicious beer, like black & tan, or the kind with floating blueberries, or anything dark, maybe a cinnamon rim. I know I’d be too excited to eat. Actually, I wouldn’t even want the night to be labeled “going out for dinner.” It’d be more like one of those times when you call your friends about ‘”getting drinks later.”
I know that I’d want to wear my favorite dress and headband and stuff, but I wouldn’t even pretend to know a lot about wine, and cocktails and all that, because I’d just really want to be genuinely enjoying the experience. Since we’d only have one night, I’d make sure that every single thing I did or said was to make those fleeting moments the most delightful for me as possible, and not an attempt to appear some certain way in front of three famous people. That would be really important to me, but I think I’d have to remind myself of it a few times because I imagine that in that situation, your natural instinct is to try to fit in.
But you know that idea everyone has about the way girls treat each other, being kind of spiteful and backhanded, sort of driven by jealousy? It’s not something I’ve learned to be true. Maybe it’s a theory that makes movies and books more interesting, but doesn’t tend to happen all that often in real life. That’s why I think all of us would have so much fun on this night.
I have no idea how our personalities compare, but four girls sitting in a booth, drinking their own personal favorite choice of beverage, wearing their best headbands will talk and talk and laugh and accidentally become way too loud, then realize it, and laugh and talk and talk until last call. I’d probably do the most question asking. Who knows though because I’d bet we’d all have curiosities about one another’s lives. I think girls love girls. They especially love highlighting each other’s finest qualities in really honest ways. They love hushing their voices to tell stories that probably wouldn’t be appropriate in another setting. And I think the three I chose would end up loving my company.
There’s a song called “Short Skirt/Long Jacket”. I changed the lyrics. My version is called “Two Tickets to see Louis C.K.”
I want a guy with a mind stunning like bioluminescent phytoplankton
I want a guy who knows how to drive a stick
I want a guy with extra sweats for me to spend the night in
And eyes so familiar that from a large crowd, he I can right away pick
I want a guy with one tangible thing in his top drawer that’s sentimental
Who’s fast and furtively gentle
And candid as a sailor
He’s playing pickup games on unofficial pavement
He’s absorbing my vulnerable statements
He’s joking with our waiter
I want a guy with two tickets to see Louis C.K.
I want a guy who likes talking over the crickets when it’s almost dark in July
I want a guy who I can lay beside when his plans have gone awry
I want a guy with playlists for the highway, the brains to appreciate innocence
Who uses heady words from the driver’s seat to corrupt me in an instance
With laughter that’s refreshing like when waves wash away
And a voice that’s warm when the sky starts tinting blue, early on a winter day
He is faster than I am and he is forgiving
And sometimes he doodles on a leaflet
I put my face really close to his during a commercial
And explain to him a secret
I want a guy with two tickets to see Louis C.K.
I want a guy who will get up to turn off the light when we ought to get some shut eye
I want a guy who will pipe down during Special Victims CSI
At a cab stand we will meet, of which city I’m not sure
We’ll start to talk when he believes a comment on the Pats game will help him score
He wears a white t-shirt when he sleeps, talks about visiting San Francisco
He wants a ride that will get him there
He’s into video games, says he’s experienced a silent disco
He’s the type to play fair
I want a guy with two tickets to see Louis C.K.
I’ve been living in Korea for 430 days and I’m not suggesting that my hometown of Boston massively sucks at existing during the winter, but like people constantly say when they’re trying to dance around a cringingly obvious shortcoming, there’s always room improvement.
1. Nore Bang
There are so many cool things about me, and it’s just really difficult constantly finding ways to casually drop those things into conversation for a little spotlighting, but I, for example, can read Korean. I’m linking the relevance of this back to my very first point because when I’m just, ya know, promenading down a Seoul side street, I can indeed sound-out a sign that reads, say, “Nore Bang” and quite effortlessly, to boot. (Can you do that?) Imagine you’re looking up from inside a tunnel of buildings all wrapped in foreign characters that light up a bunch of neat colors and you can’t even stop staring because you’re thinking that astronauts can probably see this road from space.
Within one section of one layer of those parallel walls that surround you, there’s a guy sitting at a front desk, which is sitting next to a cooler packed with 2 dollar beers, which is sitting just ahead of some dimly lit rooms lined with couches, each containing two microphones, two tambourines, two thick books listing song titles, one complicated remote, a screen hanging from the wall, and a table in the center. Like almost everything in Korea that is not coffee, a karaoke room for all your friends is superbly cheap and open ‘til it’s light outside. We Nore to Beyonce, Little Mermaid, and I’ve noticed we Nore a lot to a song about doing it “my way.” We adore the Nore. We have such a love affair with Nore, but especially during the months when your breath makes a little cloud that you always take a second to watch get bigger then fade away. Anywho, Korea’s got a whole lot of nifty tidbits when it comes to those special iPhone -fingertip-equipped-glove months, I’ll have you know, like for the times you’re left with an icy feeling because it’s too frigid to chill at the cool park in Hongdae, and for the times when all the wetness soaks up even a slight drizzle of joy from every second until you’re drowning in boredom.
2. Umbrella Holders
Every so often your eyes flicker in the morning because there’s a pattering on the roof or passing car tires are making that watery sound and before you even grab your phone by only moving an arm and no other part of your body, you’ve realized that today you will need to carry around a mobile steel rod. In some places, I guess this sucks more than in others.
I know what you’re thinking, and if you believe that you cannot possibly be interested in hearing all that much about an umbrella holder, then I guess you don’t know about all the really cool aspects of me as well as I do. Cause actually, I could write an entire jaw-dropping, heart wrenching, eye-widening article about one spot on a single window pane in a room I’ve never seen that would render you enchanted by every word, have you hopelessly tapping the down arrow key for more, and then leave you forever changed, if I so fancied it. In fact, sometimes the magic happens on top of my pink sheets, under a striped comforter, after doing the dishes.
But most times you can find me located beneath a quite long, quite warm North Face parka en route to a hip little coffee shop with my sidekick, the laptop. Today was one of those times when I had to also carry around a transportable metal pole.
It’s been 430 days since I’ve had to endure the rain in a city where umbrella holders do not exist, but I remember like it was yesterday. Soaked, patterned material mushroomed over my eye-catching self. Reaching a square of sidewalk just adjacent to the door I was meant to be entering in a few seconds. Clicking a button and shaking out aforementioned material, while both myself and previously stated material are being poured on, because that is the umbrella routine, and really you cannot stray from the routine without being scorned at. I mean, imagine if I had just simply turned that doorknob and trotted on inside without performing the umbrella routine, how rude I would look for not having attempted to jiggle off the water from abovementioned material.
And what about all the times you’re riding the train, focusing on keeping your moveable metallic stick pointed down to the one square inch of non-occupied floor space, as to not piss everyone off, and then you go to switch your song and accidentally drip on a bystander, or even worse your portable platinum bar’s water lands on an empty seat and then people are grunting because you broke, shattered, annihilated the very first, most important, most basic rule of riding the train on a rainy day.
Thank heavens Korea has abolished these means of social suicide with the use of a dazzling appliance, strategically placed at every narrow merging of exposure and refuge (doorway) for optimum usage. The umbrella holder uses a fan for precise placement, plastic bags for covers, and is dually operated to fit any size. It means I don’t need to concern my genius mind with gravity’s pull of drops from aforesaid material. That’s because it’s covered in a perfectly fitted holder for the time I spend gracing everyone with my presence indoors. Unless I’m in my own apartment, then I’m probably alone and cozy on the floor.
3. Heated floors
I was thrilled to move into my little Korean studio apartment, but after about six months, my flat lost all its flatness when one portion of my floor began to rise into an elevated bubble, while the rest experienced some ugly discoloration. From time to time I’d poke at this paneled capsule of air and stare curiously, floored by all the changes happening below me. Eventually though, our building’s maintenance guy explained in three English words that a water pipe burst.
Taxing my level of patience, he worked levelly to cut away the mound and level it with a mismatched surface, leaving the base of my abode looking foul to the naked or lensed eye. Nevertheless, I am arguably the most easy-going being that’s ever transformed oxygen to carbon dioxide and certainly I would not allow myself to dwell on the mere appearance of my dwelling. That’s just another attribute on the mental list I keep of my very own endlessly cool traits. You see, I’m so coolly laid back, I’ve just been super grateful that when I wake up in the morning, my floor is still warm as Hell.
Life on the Korean peninsula has meant a different sort of heating system. And in a world where warm change is the best kind of change, my quarters are now heated by high temperatures seeping through every floorboard. I exist atop some hot, inviting strips of linoleum every morning while outside my window, hostile sheets of cold stack up from the ground to the white, fluffy gigantic Q-tip-ends in the air. At night, I arrive home from work, after sliding over ice patches and being beaten by frigidness, to this type of thawing, snug, happiness-triggering foundation that I never before knew was even a thing. Now it’s a thing I look forward to reuniting with every day, similar to the way I am, at all times, looking forward to anything that has something to do with food or eating or taste buds in any way.
Shockingly, this very topic reminds me of one really cool thing about myself, in that I am unquestionably not a picky eater. What I mean is, a cool feature I’ve picked up over the years is to be angelically pleased with whatever is put down on the table in front of me, minus a string of impolite examinations, if you’re picking up what I’m putting down. Where I’m going with this is that Korean restaurants are a perfect match for the girl behind these computer words, because over here in the country of chin bone decor, the food industry gets it right throughout all four seasons.
Miraculously, in a land 6,795 miles away from here, inhabitants are still served ice water during all 8,765.81 hours of the year, which is perhaps a bit bogus. In the East, I shake my fortunate-looking head at this sham. For, when the weather is glacial enough that your mouth breeze creates a tiny transparent sphere of miniature pillow fillings at eye level, maybe only a moron would agree to consume something even chillier. These days, I’m part of the club that knows all about warm liquids at the dinner table. We’re supplied hot water or tea while waiting for the divine nourishment that is Korean food. See, dee tea’s a wee key to please me, you need agree.
Onions are way better, though. I want to eat all the onions. In Korea, servers cover your whole entire table with food. This always includes onions and never includes just a single basket of lousy bread. I mean this literally. Honestly, you can hardly see anything that is not food because there are plates of tasty Korean side dishes on top of every single piece of matter that is part of the table in front of you.
You must move your wallet because it cannot fit due to all the food. Also, you must stretch your hand and chopsticks really far to reach the edible yumminess that lies just ahead on the other side of the table, because you need to be very careful not to knock over all the other huge amounts of food that surrounds it. Finally, you must help the servers by squishing all the side dishes together so the edges of the plates are touching to make room for everyone’s rice, and if you want to capture this, you must stand on your cushion to even just fit most of it into the picture, which is fine because your shoes are already off and in a designated shoe area with everyone else’s from the restaurant, anyway.
Some of the most delicious foods are found in Korean restaurants, but on the other hand, some are found when you’re just prancing adorably down chaotic, brightly lit streets after doing some Tuesday night grocery shopping, and are paid for with just one sky-blue bill called a chun won.
5. Red Beans
Red beans are the way Koreans do dessert, and being an avid dessert person myself, the fact that my life has been void of this sweet creation until 430 days ago, leaves me pretty annoyed. (I am pretty and I am annoyed.)
Red beans come heated inside some sort of pastry. The best times, it’s inside bread shaped as a fish. Mediocre but still delightful times, it’s inside a big puffy, soft, white ball. Also, they put this mixture on top of their iced green teas in the summer at Starbucks. I guess it’s just really good everywhere. And I’m just really good at requesting it. That’s because I’m charming, which is a cool thing about me. There are a few ways to go about ordering stuff. You could say that my way is extra sweet and lovely, but oddly unattainable to anyone who is not me.
Red bean snacks are sold up and down the street all winter. A guy sits off to the side in his cart with ear muffs, gloves, a mini restaurant and a tent all around him. That’s when you pop over with some colorful paper for the switcheroo. A chun won gets you three, warm red bean fish breads.
I love Korea. I love it. I love it. I love it. And like anyone or anything in which I’ve ever crossed paths, it loves me.
I’ve heard lots of talk about what it means to be besties, and I’m just a 25 year old, Toshiba laptop owning, Claddagh ring wearing, blog writing girl who’s not all that special or even famous or anything, but I’ve actually got this one figured out. If I’m honest, my personal victory in this field has rendered me my own superhero. Life’s a tiny bit more blissful. I don’t even give it away that I’m wiser now, but I’ve got more bounce in each step and I look around at my colorful world through a lucky pair of eyes because I know I have control over who taints it.
I want to talk about friends. Mine are the ones instagramming homemade vegetable soup, gesturing frantically at the front of the line when they’ve forgotten their wallet, recording a Vine in the passenger’s seat, chasing their own litter after dropping something on a windy day. You guys pass by them crossing the street, only noticing their plushy mittens, red lipstick, and their morning rush, but not me. I’ve got it made in the shade. I could spot their halos from across a noisy, unchaperoned house eight years ago and even still from countries, languages, cultures away. An average Earth dweller would pass off any of my friends as just another pretty girl adjusting her tights on the elevator. Only a few of us feel the way she sincerely wants us to be happy every single second of the day, forever, no matter what.
That’s the breakthrough I was telling you about. There have been times you and I fell into friendships with the type who’ve got jokes and gush at our indecent conversation, but are also keen on watching us recoil after serving one backhanded blow, when they’ve decided we’re standing a bit too firm. I’d say it’s a pet peeve of mine. I resent those verbal sword thrusts piercing the air in attempts to defeat me, and at the cold grip of a person whose face is so familiar, you know?
These days, I’m very aware of when someone has intentionally made me feel just a little bit bad, so I write them off as any type of real friend, discretely and immediately. This method has been quite the success, because I don’t need that, not even once in a while.
I mean, you and I are only typical, living, breathing, sale seeking human beings, so we’re reasonably critical of our very own selves already. Then occasionally awesomeness ensues, and we get a promotion, or finish a race before the others, or a night out ends in unexpected, but delightful conversation with an actual sane person who thinks we’re cool.
Keepers are funny in the way that they really do become bored of hearing the play by play, but can see that right then, our whole world feels lit up, so they’ll nod back at us with their elbows leaned on the table and their chin on the palms of their hands, hoping it will last a long time.
There’s something divine about those friendships, so I really prefer being honest, as not to polish it up with sweet, calculated sentences, tailoring some sort of blinding, slippery, seamless bond. I’ve happened upon some elegant words here and there, which form statements about how any worthy confidant can be reached at all hours, and always knows just what to say. Of course, that’s just a sparkly, pleasantly articulated tale. We’d like to prove it true by being graciously well spoken and available all the time, in case our friends need us, but realistically, most of us aren’t even vampires, so we sleep like a rock and with our phones on silent.
In college, a friend once came into my room crying because her little brother accidentally left their pet bunny to freeze to death in her parents’ garage. Seriously, I can hardly arrange a normal-sounding salad comment at the restaurant dinner table, let alone, address a wide-eyed, long-eared, carrot-eating fluffball that has suffered a heinous ending.
Friends are cool cats, but they’re not perfect. Even mine are annoying once in a while when they say something under-sugar-coated outside the dressing room door, or accidentally call the guy I fancy a douchebag, but only because it came out all wrong.
I guess my story’s unraveled in a way that’s provoked me to write about how you should stick with the people who want you to be happy. I think if there’s someone in your life deliberately taking jabs at you every so often, surely you should cut ties. Look elsewhere. Even a peculiar, quiet girl like me has found characters here in Korea this past year, who make my realm of reality twinkle with superbness, as all friends clearly should. Everyone deserves to have that person sitting beside them, sipping wine, talking shit, hanging out underneath their halo.