Shana and Michael:
It all started last July. I was baby sitting my younger cousin Kristian while my aunt was out of town for the weekend. As it was getting late I put Kristian to bed and I began to watch TV... 
>> Continued




She's From:   Korea
He's From:     Canada

I call my story "a soul searching story".

Almost two months have passed since we officially announced not to see each other again. Even at that moment I knew I would not forget him easily or perhaps forever.

  Then I wonder why I had to leave him because I knew I'd I miss him so much. Well. I can't explain that in easy simple words, but somehow I believe anyone who has an experience to love somebody so deeply won't find it very difficult to understand what I am telling you now. 

Love can come to you in many forms, which are all perfect in their own ways. We have no right to blame someone for loving somebody else, whoever he or she is, though the person is not the right person who you can love. I totally agree with the saying love can't choose a person, meaning you happen to love someone regardless of your will.






You can't just make up your mind to love somebody, like you choose clothes in a department store to suit your taste. It indicates that you happen to love someone who is not your type or is not eligible for your unreserved love. Thus a lot of pain follows you ever since you set eyes on the wrong person. I have to say that loving and losing someone is better than not meeting him or her at all. So basically I hope that you understand that I am writing my story with a sense of gratitude and grace, not with remorse or regret at all. The reason I write this is that I want to remember every detail about our love in my mind before it's too late and I could barely keep any memory except that I loved him as time goes by. 

Do you believe in the role of timing in loving someone? I think it is one of the most important parts of a successful love. When I came across his first letter, I was feeling empty and lonely in the deep part of my heart, partly because my situation had changed since my husband moved to another city. My husband is a really nice man of great ability, personality and sincerity. His love for me seems to be unchanged through all those years or at least he has tried to make me believe that in many ways. My instinct says that he still loves me as a woman. So the absence of his place which had filled me with his caring and loving left me so empty and desolate as if all of a sudden I were told to live alone in a desert, which was a perfect word for describing my state of mind at that time. Anyway I was emotionally shattered and unstable when I received my cyberlove's first letter in March, 2000.

He said: "Hello, Sally" in his first sentence, introducing himself as a technical writer who was very interested in Korean culture and wanted to know more about Korea ever since he visited that winter, January, 2000. When he came back to Canada, he decided to carry an English newspaper published in Korea with him for the intention of keeping in touch with people here. Was it a coincidence or fate? I don't know. But for the first and last time, I put my personal ad in the bulletin board of the very newspaper which he brought with him to Canada. He might look through the possible candidates for his correspondent and I was one of them. I don't know how many people he tried to contact with and how many people actually responded to his letter. I could finally open his letter after one month later when he actually sent his email to me in January, when I had no means of checking my emails since I was at home for the winter vacation without internet connection. Then it was not until the early of March before I finally got to open his email at work, now that the new semester began (we start a new semester in March here).

The feeling that I got after reading his email was that he was a good, sincere, and very serious man who wanted to know more of our country, not like one of many other email friends who only showed a personal interest about me. In most of the cases in which only personal interests were involved the connection wouldn't last for a long time.

Sooner or later, the time came when we were running out of topics. So that was the way I lost many email friends. And frankly it was always me who lost an interest first. But he was different from the first moment. He didn't ask me any personal questions, such as how old I was, if I was married or not or what I looked like. We were not avoiding the topic intentionally, rather we didn't have to ask those because there were so many other things we could share with. It seemed we had no limit to talk with each other about anything and everything. At the beginning of our friendship, I almost regarded him as my teacher both in English and life. I learned many things from him. And he said that he was glad to give me the help and also said that he was learning many things from me. Ironically enough, this difference of language and culture made us feel closer and more interested in each other, because even the things we take for granted among the people with the same culture would interest and attract us very deeply, very pleasantly and very surprisingly. 

Several months passed. We were still connected to each other on a deep level. We seemed to have a strong psychic connection. I don't remember who was first to call each other "a soul mate". Yet we began to feel that we were soul mates, in the definition of the word, someone who you have a close relationship with because you share the same emotions and interests. I just could understand what he was saying because it was coming right from my head. Even though we didn't show our personal feelings at all, we could remain a best friend and a soul mate to each other. I felt it was a blessing given to me. I thought it would be a lifetime relationship until we die eventually in this world. That much I was so certain of our deep friendship. 

Not so suddenly but rather naturally he invited me to take a long drive along the Northern part of Canada, which of course was an imaginary trip in our mind through words. I said yes. The next day he sent me a long email titled as "Our trip to Muskoka" which had a very special meaning for us. Still now I have an illusion as if I had been there myself in a real life. The memory of the trip was so vivid and special that I would never ever erase that out of my mind. Do you believe in the power of words, or letters? I do believe in it. They are just ingrained in your memory and stayed there for a long time. I printed the email out and read it over and over again until I finally memorized every image in it. Closing my eyes, I could visualize our trip in my mind, which was a wonderful experience.

Then something was going on in my mind while we were still in a car on our trip. Yet we hadn't reached our destination, Muskoka. I was looking at the boat which would take us to our cottage. But I couldn't get into the boat with him. I began to feel uncomfortable with the trip. I was not saying that I didn't like it, rather I was afraid of my strong feelings toward him. I couldn't describe how I was feeling toward him. It was mixture of guilt and desire, guilt for my husband and desire for him. My heart was wandering between them, trying to figure out the best I could do with this. 

Again back to the timing, I felt that the timing for us was good and bad at the same time, good because I met him anyway, bad because I met him too late. We found out we were both married, seemingly happily married, to another person when we began to feel something special for each other after one year of emailing had passed. We both deliberately had kept the feelings only in our heart which we suspect might be close to a feeling of love. A very strong love. I remember his closing of most of his emails with this, "I care about you, Sally" That was it. It was the greetings we could give each other safely. On the surface of my mind, there was no such notion that I might love him as a man, a real man. He and I were such good spiritual friends that the feeling of love couldn't find its place. In short, we were afraid of losing our solid and deep friendship, though we were feeling something going on in our hearts. 

Yet I didn't allow myself to say that I love him not even in my mind. After a few weeks hesitation, I finally sent him a very long email in which for the first time I wrote about my personal life, that is: " I am a married woman, mother of two boys and I am responsible for my family and thus I can't continue to keep in touch with you because I am confused with my feelings toward you. For the sake of myself, I want to leave you." Things like that, I explained in the email. He was a perfect gentleman. He said he would respect my feelings and never push me to continue this relationship against my will. He was that kind of man who would never try to keep me from going on my way. It was sad to say good bye to him, but I thought it was the best for me. And I naively thought this would be the end of our relationship. 

How could I explain the sheer emptiness I felt ever since I said good bye to him? Out of habit I used to check my mail box every morning as soon as I came to work, anticipating something from him. I wished he had changed his mind and he would send me an e-mail again, telling me that he wanted me to come back. But not a line from him ever since. No new e-mail message for me. Soon I had to realize the obvious fact that he would never resume the mailing unless I asked him to do that first. It clearly shows another facet of his personality: He is a man of strong will and word. Once he says it, he acts upon that. 

In the mean time I had tried so hard to forget him in my everyday life, starting from erasing his email address in my mail box. The thing was that it was totally useless. Every effort with which I tried to forget him would only make me realize how much I missed him and his emails. People around me started to ask me if I was ill or something. My face showed the very signs of a person who had a serious disease, physical or mental. I lost my words in real life along with my smile which was a trademark of me. I lost my enthusiasm in teaching, for which I was so ashamed of myself, still now. Furthermore I was not a good mother and a good wife. I lost myself completely ever since I lost my connection with him. It was exactly the opposite result from that I expected when I said good bye to him. It was so obvious that losing him would not be helpful for me to live a happy life in a real world. I needed him badly. I needed to talk to him.


>> Continued in Part Two