Pre- Valentine : Surprises on Pepero Day (A Series on Seoul, South Korea – Part 1)

ON PEPERO DAY EWHA University

* All photos in this post were taken from my iPhone while the others like this one were captured by friends. [You know your photos here. Thanks to: PD, PY, Glorienne, Alex and the rest.]

My story doesn’t just involve roses and chocolates, but it is about LOVE and TIME.

Oh, love! How we take pleasure and delight in all things love and romance. It’s simply like a spell! We see hearts in this season everywhere, in the traffic lights at BGC (Bonifacio Global City) and we even create them wherever we go. Look at those clouds…that shape from the drip of my coffee…his twinkling eyes…Oh wait, okay, I guess it’s just me. Or not. Whether we admit it or not, we are so fond of its spell. And every Valentine’s we often find it or not at all.

We see hearts every where

Saw this heart while walking around Seoul

Yes, that’s the sad truth. Some people may seem more fortunate than the others in finding and being with someone. While there’s another population who feels alone and incomplete (and even empty) when the ‘spell’ didn’t work to their advantage. We are all craving for a special kind of love and companionship. Why? Because we are all created to connect and to be in a relationship (not just romantically, okay?). We are relational beings. But not being with someone is not the end of the world. Really. It’s not just what matters in life.

 

If you're single, don't fret...

“If you’re single, don’t fret…” – At N Seoul Tower

I hope after reading this post, you get to find love not just in being with someone or the one.

But in every thing, every person and every place that you’ll see, meet and visit, you get to find love and surprises that there’s more to life than just finding the one. True love could be anywhere! (And you could be a part of it.)

You’ll know what I mean as I share my story. My story doesn’t just involve roses and chocolates, but it is about LOVE and TIME. It’s about how every thing works in perfect sync when we involve God and when we stay open. This story made me realize the four (out of seven) values that I want to keep (based from my previous post):

#2       “Be open to appreciate those simple surprises every day”
#3       “Be open to be blessed and be a blessing”
#4      “Be open to be vulnerable”
#7     “Be open with your plans”

These values were slowly unraveled to me as one visit from a man changed every thing that we planned for the day. In short, this man abruptly interrupted our itinerary. But we call it Divine Interruption… Sounds good, right?

We learned something valuable that day: Never place God’s ideas and plans in a “box”. He’s always better than that!

“Be open.”

Breakfast time

Toast, cereal, milk and orange juice – what we usually have together at our breakfast nook at 88 Hostel.

So usually we start our day in Seoul with our daily group planning and devotion then have our quick breakfast or the other way around. This day was special because suddenly a man appeared at our hostel during our group discussion…

devotion

This is the usual place where we gather to discuss and plan our day ahead. The man at the leftmost side was the one who surprised us.

The man is our friend – PY. We were all surprised to see him at our hostel early that day but even so after we heard why he was there. He said that he had a vision that morning where he saw us exactly where we were at that time. So he decided to go to our place even though he wasn’t sure if we’re still going to be around.

His visit disrupted our activities not knowing that God has something better in store for us. He wants us to experience more of Him and true love through PY and Pepero Day!

drive

PY driving us around while finding out that it’s Pepero Day! (Never heard about it.)

PY started bringing us to different universities near our area. I love exploring universities wherever I go and I can say that South Korea has some of the most beautiful ones that I’ve visited.

[What is Pepero Day? Pepero Day is kind of similar to Valentine’s Day. It actually started on November 11, 1994 (11/11/94) by girls who’s been exchanging Peperos hoping they can become taller and thinner like a Pepero stick. From a friendly gesture, it evolved to a yearly celebration and tradition where friends and loved ones exchange Peperos to show their love and affection to one another. Some for sure takes advantage of this and makes it romantic too. And what a great marketing strategy it is by Lotte! ;)]

While inside the car, we talked a bit about Pepero Day and we all decided to be involved in a plan… To surprise PY’s wife, Sophia at her workplace. We got all excited and cheesy!

Hong Ik University Seoul

But first, a stopover at Hong Ik University

photo by dennis isleta

If I can only study again… I would love to study with this kind of environment. (Photo by PD)

parking first

That parking shot!

Then off we went to one of the sweetest part of our day… It started here.

buying flowers yey convinced PY

Choosing the best flowers and gifts for PY’s dearest Sophia :)

PY choosing

Instead of the usual bouquet, PY opted for a lovely pot for Sophia. ;)

flower shop

Some complimentary tiny bouquet of dried flowers for the ladies from Rosemary (the owner of the flower shop) and PY. Love her flower shop!

teasing and excited and practicing...

Then off we went at EWHA University while teasing PY and practicing our “special number” (haha)!

Universities

From Hong Ik to EWHA University, and PY struggling to carry that huge flower-pot for Sophia. ;)

EWHA praying and planning

More prayer and discussion at EWHA University. The group also received some Pepero from PY.

at EWHA

Here we come…

(EWHA University: EWHA means pear blossom. This beautiful Women University’s Educational Vision is this – Truth, Goodness, Vision.)

Then the time came when we slowly approached the workplace of Sophia…

approaching...moving carefully

“Moving carefully…” (Photo by PY)

Then this happened…

Each of us surprised Sophia with a red rose then serenaded (that was our intention haha) her with “God gave me you” before PY appeared!

The total of the red roses given to Sophia that day was 11 by 11 people on 11/11/15. :) And it was never planned!

we ordered

After the surprise, we decided to stay for a while and buy some drinks at Blackline Coffee. So good and cheap! (Photo by Glorienne)

mission accomplished

It was a day filled with roses and chocolates (or more of Pepero). A special and unplanned turn of events that made me and my friends experience Valentine’s Day, three months earlier during Pepero Day in Seoul, South Korea.

(We’ll never know the impact of this to the marriage of PY and Sophia. But we hope that it will always remind them of their love for each other just as it will remind us about love and marriage. It’s a continuous work and courtship. 😉 

“But wait, there’s more…”

there was more...

From EWHA to Blackline Coffeee (my large strawberry milk frappe was only 3,700 South Korean Won or Php 145.56!), to choosing more bouquets before lunch (that’s PD in the lower left thinking about his wife, haha), to heading for our preps for our event that evening…

we surprised the girls starting from sunny...

We also surprised our girlfriends in Seoul starting from the ever sunny, Sunny!

then sunny treated us some coffee

Then Sunny treated us at Coffee Bon after lunch. (Koreans are very sweet, appreciative and generous.)

After a meaningful celebration of our first Pepero Day in Seoul, we thought that it was already over. So after our event, we started walking towards the subway station when a car suddenly stopped… it was PY!

“But wait, there’s still some more…”

we thought its already the end after our session...

PY offered to bring us home and asked the sweetest question while he was driving, “Do you guys like macarons’? Without any hesitation I answered with such thrill, “PY, that’s my favorite”! So PY with his oh so gracious heart, gave us a ride home, stopped over at MarieWhale Macarons and bought some macarons for us and his family.

as in these macarons ? of course!

Yes, please!

PY asked us...

One of each, please.

And the surprises weren’t over yet! (We were spoilt.)

Upon arriving at our hostel, we saw our host Violet. We handed her some flowers and in return she gave us some Pepero. And that was like the longest and most special Pepero Day ever!

even violet had a surprise for us...

I think behind every gracious deed whether on Valentine’s DayPepero Day or even on regular days, it’s all about where we fix our minds on. More than finding love, the one, giving and receiving roses and chocolates, what’s more important is how we express love and how open we are to be used in such life’s surprises.

Koreans are very sweet and generous....

“Kamsahamnida” (thank you) to all our friends in Seoul! You’re all remembered and will never be forgotten. :)

As I recount this story, as simple as it may seem, my hope is that we’ll always find and think about what is true, honorable, right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable, things that are excellent and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8), in every place that we visit and every person that we encounter.

May we continue to open ourselves up to the possibilities of giving and receiving love and time in many different forms.

Do you have your own divine interruptions like this? Don’t miss out on life’s surprises. :)

Happy Valentine’s!

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