Black Women in Korea Meet-up
Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending a meet-up for black women here in Korea. I joined a group of Facebook called ‘Black Women in Korea’ and was grateful to see an event posted for a meet-up in the city closest to me. I have kind of been longing for the opportunity to meet some new people and I’ve been straight up hungry to see faces that look like mine! So I quickly added the event to my ‘to-do’ list and the following Sunday, I was heading to Gwangju to meet some of the ladies in the group.
A bus ride to Gwangju from Boseong easily takes 1 hour to an hour and a half depending on traffic and how many stops you have before reaching the final destination. I arrived early and planned on spending my time shopping around while I waited. But another girl attending the meet-up also arrived early so we shopped around together until it was time to meet up for our late lunch.
After some shopping, we headed back to the bus terminal to wait on two other girls that were arriving, then hopped in a taxi and headed for a western restaurant called Another Kitchen. It’s a small place that can get pretty crowded. The admin of this Facebook group made our reservation for 3:30 so we pretty much had the place to ourselves until dinner time. The place specializes in steak and lobster but also has other options so meals range from affordable to “who the heck is paying for that???”
I chose the shrimp pilaf which was actually really tasty. There were nine total of us and it was so nice to get to meet other black people here in Korea. It’s pretty obvious that there aren’t very many black people in Korea and the ones that are here definitely aren’t down here in the countryside like we are.
The majority of us were from the US while one girl, a TaLK teacher, was from the UK and another woman, who has been in Korea for 7 years, was from South Africa. Everyone was super open and very friendly and I’m so glad that I went. I am someone who has a bit of social anxiety and am not very good at meeting new people in general, so this was a huge step for me. I had to pep talk myself into going lol. It was either stay home and wallow in my boredom or go and meet some new people. I chose meeting new people.
After we ate together, we stayed and chatted a bit but the restaurant got crowded fast once dinner time rolled around so we jetted out of there. People were staring at us with a mix of wonder, fear, and distaste, but it was a lot easier for me to handle since I was with 8 other people. I don’t mind the stares of wonder so much. It’s the stares of fear and complete distaste that get to me.
Quite a few of the girls wanted to go to Emart to do some personal shopping as the restaurant is in walking distance to one. I didn’t need anything and had plans on catching the 6:30 bus back to Boseong so I didn’t stay and shop around very long. As an introvert, I get tired very quickly when in social situations with a lot of people, so after dinner, I was ready to go home anyway. Mix that with the fact that a couple of the girls were just too loud for my taste and I was ret to skidaddle.
I wasn’t expecting to become friends with everyone in attendance after only one meeting of course. But it was just really nice to attend an event and interact with people that share my race and ethnicity, as well as any similar struggles I might have. It’s nice to have a support group when we are all so drastically the minority in this country.
Overall, I had a good time and I am interested in attending another one. The admin of the group did a great job at setting this up. If she ever makes another one, I will definitely try and go again.