Saturday, December 18, 2010

"Are there 'Free Hugs' in Korea?"

For months, I've been saying the thing I miss most as a foreigner in Korea are hugs. In Korean culture, they just aren't that common, even among friends. As a Pacific Northwestern-er in my fantastically lovable college town, Bellingham, people with 'Free Hugs' signs were incredibly commonplace (so commonplace, in fact, that a lot of people began to ignore them). Well, since being in Korea, I can honestly say I've been in a constant state of hug withdrawals.

But last night, we saw something pretty incredible.

Two high school girls stood in the main strip of Song-nam Dong (Old Downtown) with 'Free Hugs' signs. At first, my gut reaction was to keep walking... until I realized we were in KOREA and these girls are AMAZING and I really need more hugs in my life.

It was hands-down the best hug I've had in weeks.

If anyone is wondering why I decided to post about this, it's because I want you to know that not every culture is going to express love the way you expect. And sometimes those little personal interactions really matter; when they aren't there they are missed, more than anything else.

I also encourage you to hug the next person you see who's gutsy enough to hold up a sign that says 'Free Hugs'. You're not too cool for it; everyone needs a little more love in their life.

Because I was too dumbfounded and found the moment too special and fleeting, there is no photo for today's blog. Instead, I thought I'd share this video, sent to me by someone awesome in the NW when I explained, months ago, just how much I was missing those hugs. He said I should look for someone like this:

 안아 (that's hugs) from South Korea,
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