In 2018, Andrea was a marketing associate working in Bonifacio Global City, The Fort in Taguig, while Joon just arrived from Korea and was a professional football player for the Philippines.
The two weren't new to the online dating scene, but both revealed to Manila Bulletin Lifestyle that they were each other's first foreigner dates. They hit it off almost immediately, chatting every day which lead to their first dinner date in Makati.
Dating a foreigner for the first time, Andrea didn't know how to handle the scenario. They consistently dated and eventually got pregnant along the way. "I wasn't really sure how to draw the line between being officially a couple or 'just having a good time.' I didn't claim a spot and kept things open since I also didn't want to be disappointed," she said.
Andrea admitted that things between them turned cold once she told Joon that she was pregnant . Being an independent 28-year-old woman then, she didn't expect anything from him, "not even support because I didn't want to force him into anything, because I believe that 'forced' things will not have a good outcome. I was ready to become a happy single mom," she shares.
Joon gave himself time to think things through. Between this uncertainty, they still kept seeing each other which ended one day in a serious talk about the situation that they were in. "Nag-iyakan kami (We cried). We talked about all the pros and cons of things. After that, things changed. He started acknowledging the baby inside me. Things got clearer, and we were able to plan the future. What helped us get through the 'hard part' was the confirmation that we were both in this together as partners. And no matter what the future holds, we will always have each other’s backs."
The couple got married civilly in the Philippines in 2019 with Andrea giving birth to their son Seojin in January 2019. They got married again in Jeju island, South Korea last January 2020, just before the lockdown in the Philippines was implemented. Andrea admitted that she didn't believe in marriage, so "it was a rollercoaster of emotions" when the wedding happened. "Hindi ako makapaniwala (I couldn't believe) where I was at that moment—happy and full of relief remembering all the things I went through in my life. Turns out, all I ever needed was the “right” partner. It was like watching the last episode of my favorite Korean drama series.
How's family life in Korea? She's currently a housewife who's eight weeks pregnant and blessed to have wonderful in-laws. "I love them! We’re not very traditional. My in-laws don’t force me or expect me to serve them, even if I insist, unlike the others that I know of."
In terms of adapting to the culture, she's still adjusting. Luckily, she loves Korean food so she doesn't have a problem with that. What was a wide-opener is Koreans value presentability. "For a low-maintenance girl like me, it’s a bit hard to keep up with some things. In the Philippines, I can wear comfortable clothes (I mean pambahay levels) to the mall. Here, it’s different. They value appearance so you have to look presentable at all times, so you won't get judged—at least with what I have observed."
She hasn't been able to visit her family here in the Philippines due to the global pandemic, making her homesick. "It’s difficult to not be able to just go out to your fave place and hangout with friends when you want to. Whenever I’m feeling a bit down, my husband always drives me to some place where we could enjoy and shake my thoughts away. I hope this pandemic will be over soon."