One morning, after my friend Michelle had had a particularly dreary French Midterm, I decided what we needed was a food pick-me-up. I had just decided to drop a class, the weather was turning, and it seemed like just what we needed. I had to finish a midterm, but Michelle researched a few places we could get an American style brunch, and I stopped by her room to decide where to go.
Michelle had found several good options, but one seemed to fancy, and two others just didn’t look appetising to me. After I narrowed it down, I made Michelle choose between the final two. One was French, the other the Wanderlust Corner: she chose the Wanderlust Corner. Just off Donggyodong bus stop, tucked behind an alley, was the smallest, cutest spot we had been. Truly a balm to our rough morning, Michelle and I stepped inside the smallest cafe, a kitchen, really, on the corner of the street, tucked in a back alley. With only one person in the home-like set up, and only two tables with seating, Michelle and I instantly felt at home.
This is where I met Yena, someone who I now consider a good friend. Yena was quiet at first, but spoke amazing English, and her cafe was aptly named; she wanted to travel. Michelle and I bonded with her that first day over her dreams of America, her stories of the people she had met, and most importantly, gossip about our love lives.
Then, the heartache: After just having looked at each other in amazement, swearing to each other we would come back here every week of our abroad- Yena delivered the news that she was actually closing shop that saturday. It was wednesday.
Michelle and I were wrecked by this, but in good humor decided we would simply just pop by every day until the store closed. And we did!
Then, Yena kept inviting us back. I ended up going after the store completely closed, I helped her move, I watched her play the cello, all over hibiscus tea, until at last, even the hot water no longer worked.
However, even with the closing of the Wanderlust Corner, a place I knew only briefly, my relationship with Yena has persisted. We text each other often, now more busy and unable to spend every afternoon together, and we have even binged watched a series or two together.
It is hard to put in words what it is like to meet a similar soul in a foreign place, even when you have had a lot of fun. Having someone who understands you fundamentally in a completely unexpected place is a kind of relationship that only develops while abroad, and I hope everyone gets to experience it at some point in their lives.