Our favorite place to hang out was the roof of the dormitories – the perfect hideaway from the
intense heat of the city. Here is where I met Fatou, a Senegalese French girl who effortlessly
towered over me with the longest arms I have ever seen and legs as long as a giraffe.
I could never forget the first time I saw her - dancing to some of the most popular tunes of K-pop and knowledgably discussing the hypes of Korean culture.
Fatou was a true Korean at heart. We were able to bond almost immediately because of her love for my home culture, especially relating to soap operas.
But this wasn’t my sole attraction to this fascinating girl. She allowed me to break boundaries which I thought were norms that just had to be kept -from minor things such as taking pictures in the most bizarre poses that I wouldn’t dare think of previously in Korea, to biggerissues such as relationship with boys.
Before my little adventures with Fatou, I only thought of the male gender as the opposite sex, not as a potential friend. For the frst time, outside the female-only environment of Ewha, I was able to form a casual peer relationship with quite a few male students.
As I was increasingly fused with this new environment, I started to look back on the relationship between people and my life in general in Korea. My college years, with its upsand downs, were rather stoic compared to the free spirited and fun loving Fatou.
Although relative, my experiences with Korean students can be summed up with one word: competition. I myself had constantly measured my own value in relation with my peers with the strict rulers of GPAs, high profile intern positions, and the number of lines on my resume.
There was hardly a time when I came out like the winner which often influenced the relationship
with my fellow Ewhaians in campus.
The life in Taiwan was drastically different. I wasn’t able to notice too much competition between students and the discussions I had with friends diverted from future jobs and exam scores, to asking questions about life and how to enjoy it to the fullest.
Motivational speaker, Michael Altshuler said, “The bad news is time flies. The good newsis you’re the pilot.” Time flied indeed as I look back at my university life that is without many achievements when I’ve already become a senior.
With graduation impending like a death sentence followed by the inevitable pressures of choosing a career, a constant knot in my stomach forms. I am sure that many others have experienced this also. This is when I look back at my stay in Taiwan and reminisce about my dear friend Fatou.
These precious memories remind me that there is a little more to life than getting ahead - more important things such as living the life that I can truly love.