A tribute

by Grace Ko

I still remember the day like it was yesterday. I was new to the church, the city and the country and was still trying to get a handle on public transportation. I ventured off on the bus and found my way to Gangnam for my first women’s group meeting. Arriving at a cute little apartment, I coincidentally reconnected with a friend, and as we began making our introductions, in walked M.

I don’t often remember what people were wearing the first time I met them, but with M, I do. Because I immediately had a girl crush on her. She was wearing a gray sheath dress, of the chicest kind with a houndstooth-patterned coat.

The next time she and I really got to chatting was at a quaint cafe hidden in the alleyways of Gangnam. It had Alice in Wonderland vibes and the tea to match. As we poured ourselves cupfuls of tea, the autumnal kind, we got to connect about our passions - that night, about writing, specifically. About this very blog I’m posting on. About facing our fears that hold us back. About just starting.

A bit later, I met our fellow partner-in-crime, K. And our trio was complete. That’s until The Three Stooges (Y, D and A) joined and the six of us officially became “SQUAD”.

When Y and I moved to Korea, I was near thirty and a bit (okay, I lie… a lot) reluctant to meet new people. I didn’t feel the need to make new friends.

But life, it’s full of surprises.

When you meet people like M, K, A and D, you can’t help but open your heart and let them in. They’re the funniest, the funnest, the deepest, the truest. And to think, from our small group of friends, M and A went from friends to husband and wife! Life truly is full of surprises, eh?

A 12-hour plane ride from hell didn’t stop us from being there for the big day. J had to make his debut as a ring boy!

The whole wedding weekend was one celebrating love of the deepest and best kinds: in God, in friendship, in family, and in matrimony. I still get warm and fuzzy thinking back to that weekend because two people we love fell in love and got married.

You may or may not know. But I cried a lot on my wedding day. The cheeks-drenched, sobbing, ugly-crying kind. But I may just have cried more at M & A’s wedding.

Here’s the video to prove it:

M, she’s one-of-a-kind. She’s the kind of friend I can talk to about anything and everything: from the geopolitical in nature, to food, family, fashion and fun. Creative to her core, her life and presence itself inspire those around her to make things beautiful, to create, to love and to enjoy. She’s a rare kind of friend - one who isn’t in the same life stage as me but has always fully embraced, fully empathized and fully validated me. She’s my sounding board, someone who “gets” me on so many levels.

A, he’s adventurous in spirit, a rebel of sorts. A teacher and a life-long learner, always curious and inquisitive. Always thinking and asking. He makes me want to learn, to read, to explore. He doesn’t like to sit still for too long and is often who gets us up and on our next expedition.

Today, as I reminisce on that beautiful weekend, I just miss them…

Until our next adventure!