Jun Dishes

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A Long Distance Love Story


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BY — Kaatje De Coninck

“The Huge Love Between a Flemish Dockworker and Winner of Big Brother America”

Het Nieuwsblad (De Gentenaar)

*** Copyright Het Nieuwsblad/De Gentenaar ***

http://www.nieuwsblad.be

July 28, 2012

Pp 20-21

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INTRO:

She is Korean, and for 12 years long worked on Wall Street. She lived most of her whole life in New York City and has thousands of fans. They follow her on Twitter and her blog as she, in 2003, became the winner of Big Brother, yet still the most popular reality-show in America.  He has worked for seven years as a docker “longshoreman” in the Port of Ghent and was always the picture of “cheerful bachelor”.  One you thought you’d never see married, but you knew sported a hard shell to mask a golden heart, and a smile always on his face.  A most unlikely couple, they, Jun Song (36) and Davy Goethals (32) found each other on holiday in the Dominican Republic.  Scarcely two years later  – and a marriage, a baby and a pet rabbit richer – live they together between the chickens and the cows in Evergem.  Living in love,   ‘After five days I knew this man would become the father of my children.’

STORY:

Paintings of the skyline of New York, photographs of Wall Street, pinstripe suits hanging in the closet upstairs…these being the memories of the fast life that Jun left behind.  Today, the life of the American Jun Song consists of a lovely and lovingly decorated rented house in Evergem, with a garden connecting a patch of land  for homegrown vegetables.  Their kitchen is in red and white, in a specific corner of their house, for according to the rules of Feng Shui (the philosophy that teaches you how your surroundings can influence your luck, etc.) this corner stands for love and marriage.  She loves Belgium, says Jun.  And of Ghent, ‘After 32 years in New York, I had the urge for something more stable…healthier surroundings.  Somehow I found the place to start a family.’

Jun scarcely knew Belgium existed – ‘I knew about the waffles, that’s about it.’  Huge was her surprise to be meeting four Belgian dockworkers on a trip to the Dominican Republic, one of whom grabbed her attention immediately. ‘I had just gone back to school and finished a semester, and I felt that my father dying and a lot of other heavy events were behind me. I wanted to just get away, thus went I to the Dominican Republic…with three other girls I scarcely knew.  Our hotel was so dreadful that we left it and chose a new resort, and there I spotted Davy.’   He had ignored her at first.  ‘I had thought, why is he not trying to get with me?’

What Jun didn’t know, until much later, was that there was a girl back in Belgium that Davy was seeing and had promised to stay faithful to on this trip. ‘I knew right away that things were about to get complicated,’  Davy laughs as he recalls it.

Four days later, things finally happened between Jun and Davy.  Both having led very adventurous single lives consisting of many relations and plenty of one-night stands, they both sensed they had found something special. ‘After four days I put up a photograph of him on Facebook, with:  This is my future baby daddy.  I don’t know how I knew since we had not done anything yet, but I just knew.   Our last evening together we spent the whole night just talking, about what we wanted out of our lives and how we saw our future.  It was real.’   But that doesn’t mean it was easy. Davy’s family and friends wondered what he was doing, and tried to convince him that it really could not work.  ‘And living 6,000 kilometers away from each other.  Believe me, it was not easy building a relationship’, smiles Jun.  The two held on through six roundtrip visits within six months, Skyping and telephoning everyday.  Jun once even fell off her chair while she was trying to be creative and acrobatic.  They laugh with the memory.

With the last visit, Davy asked her to marry him and after scarcely six months they got married in New York around Christmas.  They celebrated New Year’s in Times Square as a honeymoon, then Jun packed all her things and moved with Davy to Evergem.

With the regularity of the bell, the mailman stands at their door with special packages from America.  Donuts, American treats, bibs for baby Noah, her fans do not forget her.  ‘Davy is a huge fan of cream soda (a kind of soft drink in America) and someone was wonderful enough to send us a sixpack’, tells Jun.  ‘It is crazy how much Jun and her fans mean to each other,’  says Davy, in his usual down-to-earth manner.  ‘It’s as if Jun’s fans live with us through Twitter. For us, Flemish people, reality tv is not a big hype.’   But there are also some poisonous reactions from Jun’s audience, like someone telling her: ‘I hope you fall and lose your baby. ‘

‘Those we try to ignore.  But I presume those sick people won’t come to Evergem, right?” questions Davy.

$500,000

It is nearly nine year ago that Jun joined the fourth Big Brother-season in America.  The program began this summer it’s fourteenth season and still draws 8 million viewers. That is almost as many viewers as there are Belgians in this land.  ‘After four year my ex and I had split up, and I didn’t know what to do with myself. When I saw the commercial for BB asking if I had what it took to win. Hell yeah, I thought, and I applied. I wanted to get out of NY, away from everything that reminded me of my ex. I wanted the experience, the money but fame didn’t really interest me.’  And yes, she won, Jun:  500,000 dollars.  Half of it went to taxes and the other half went into an apartment.  ‘People think she’s rich but Jun hasn’t worked for three years so not a lot is left, “ Davy smiles.  If there was one thing that would help a lot, ‘Davy works intensely hard to support me and Noah, but it is hard living off one wage.’

All true Flemish have in their hearts the desire to own their home. And so Davy, and Jun, desire to own a home one day. ‘Finding work here is not as easy as I thought it would be. Especially with the language barrier. I understand perfectly most Dutch, but speaking it is really something else.  For now I am content as a housewife, but I hope to contribute more soon.’  Thus Jun currently does what she’s good at: taking care of her home and her family and writing part-time for a reality tv blog.  Reality tv is a big business in America.  ‘I am also writing a book.  Do you know Fifty Shades or Grey?  The mommy porn that’s a hit right now? Well I know I can do better than that.’

Exotische Liefde

One thing is for sure, they never had to defend themselves to either embassies on suspicion of a fake marriage… ‘I come from the U.S. People all know that Davy didn’t mail-order buy me’, laughs Jun.  Yet people still stare, especially when shows like Exotic Love are airing on television here.  ‘When we run errands together, or Jun goes to the bakery alone, people stare at us. To them, she might have come from anywhere…  Oh, but we laugh about it.’  One thing is thing is certain, their life together is never boring. Not even living between cows in Evergem.   ‘Drama pursues us’, says Jun, with sparkling eyes.  And they actually enjoy it too because how boring would life be without it, they believe.  ‘Davy and I are so much alike.  We live full days from day-to-day and go with whatever feels right in the moment.’   They were simply the same person, just in a different body on a different continent. You hear people say that it seems they’ve known someone their whole lives. ‘Well, now I know how that feels. It must have been something close to destiny that brought us together in the Dominican Republic.’

Their son Noah is in the meantime almost 4 months old.  He was premature, but is all but caught up and healthy and happy.  ‘When he is old enough we will, with pleasure, tell him the story of how his dad and mom found each other and how they conquered all the obstacles and doubts because they knew that this was the love of their lives.’

Admit, it is a beautiful loves story, no?

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