I sometimes hesitate in telling the story of how Chansik and I met because, in the abstract, it seems really sketchy and leaves a lot of room for criticism. After watching many other interracial couples be bashed on the internet I am even more hesitant. Therefore, I will not go into detail in all aspects, but still tell our story truthfully. If you have questions about the specifics, feel free to email me.
Chansik and I met in October of 2014. Some weeks before we met I had come across the request of a fellow American who wanted to set up his Korean friend with someone. He said that his friend spoke English and worked as a vet. I was, at the time, a student at Sogang University in the language program (level 1) and without any special visa. I wanted to experience as much of Korean culture as I could before I had to go back to the states, and that included dating culture (which is a big, very different thing here than it is in most Western countries). So, I answered the request put out by the American man but didn’t get my hopes up.
A couple days later I got a text from Chansik. I told him that I had a lot of veterinary experience, having started veterinary technician training in the past and volunteering at my local vet clinic in America, not to mention the years of rat rescue projects. With a common interest in both medicine and animals we had a lot to talk about and we messaged and phoned each other often for about 2 weeks before we met.
For our first date Chansik came from Incheon to Seoul (where I was then living), riding the bus for over an hour. Our first date lasted until the wee hours of the morning, which is easy in Korea because so many things are open 24-hours. We went from restaurant to coffee shop to game room all night, talking about everything. I discovered that he had donated 80% of his liver to his mother when she had needed a transplant and heard about his time in the military. We shared our interest in each other’s cultures and languages. From that date on we took turns riding the bus to visit each other but not always having a lot of time together because of my school and his long work hours.
I had to return to America in late November but was luckily able to return to Korea on a proper visa in February (2015). The three months of long distance was hard, particularly for me because in addition to missing him I was also missing my life in Korea. It sounds so cheesy but neither of us had felt such clarity of love like this before. I had never had any inclination to marry or even really settle down with someone but suddenly I was fantasizing about those things!
We moved in together in a small apartment in Incheon and started adding cats to our family, of course. I continued studying Korean at Sogang University and took the long bus ride to school and back each day with long walks to and from the school and bus stops. I overestimated my health and had a hard time attending my classes regularly or even soaking up much while I was there. I failed level 2 and had to retake it. If I didn’t improve my grades and attendance I would not be eligible to renew my visa and it didn’t look promising.
We researched so many ways but it became obvious that, since we could not rely on my health or my ability to hold a job, the only way to stay together in the same country was to get married. Then came an agonizing period of decision-making. If we didn’t get married I would have to return to the States and we would be forced to end our relationship since we would have no promise of seeing each other ever again. Luckily, after talking with our friends and family, we decided that we had what it took to make a successful marriage and started on the tedious paperwork for a marriage visa (F6). We had been dating 9 months
when we got married.
We married very quickly, but as I write this, only weeks away from our 1-year marriage anniversary, I know we made the right decision and look forward to our future together.
여보 사랑해요~~ ❤
Read more about us here.