Assah. Off work at 2 today. Following Co's advice, I decided to make a quick dash to the Homeplus before the Children's Day present buying crowd packed itself in. Yohan and Jaekwan walked me nearly the entire 30 minutes there. Yohan suddenly started grabbing me in the halls last week, telling me that he and Jaekwan want to be in the FBI and Interpol when they grow up. I don't know where this came from suddenly, if it's a joke I'm not getting or what. But they keep trying to tell me something about New York and terrorism... who fucking knows. They're cute though. Yohan runs the show, and Jaekwan speaks more English. This seems to be a theme with my students who come in best friend duos. There's always one who wants to communicate, and one who actually can.

They kept trying to get me to buy them food along the way. "오 배고파요! 오 나 배고파! Teacher isn't chicken looks delicious? Oh.... hungry..... I want to eat chicken...." Puppy dog faces. Sorry, boys. 1. I know you just ate lunch. 2. I love you, but not enough to sit down in a chicken jip and spend the afternoon with you, like a couple of ajeosshi. 3. Do you see all these other students? If I so much as reach for my wallet, we're going to have an all-out chicken-begging ambush on our hands.

When I got to Homeplus, I was digging through the t shirt bin with the rest of the ajumma, when suddenly the speaker overhead started to crackle with an overly cheerful tune. Out of nowhere, Homeplus employees began to emerge and line up along the edges of the store. To my utter horror, they proceeded to do a choreographed dance, while singing joylessly along with the tune. I stood in place, dumbfounded, as this nonsense proceeded for the next 3-4 minutes, trying to figure out what in the fuck was going on. I haven't been that confused since my first few months in Korea. Then, it dawned on me -- Children's Day. It must be a Children's Day song and dance. I wonder how many times a day they have to do that. What a miserable fucking job....

On the walk home, I was very nearly bowled over by a motorbike shooting out of an alley. Unlike when this usually happens however, the young man on board stopped short, pulled his mask down, bowed deeply and apologized profusely. What lovely manners. I gave a huge smile and my best, "아니오! 괞찬아요!"

The sunshine must be getting to people. There are a lot of smiles and kindness around these days.

Now I'm off to try to nap a tad before trying, yet again, to make it out to meet the lads. They're so patient with my grandmothership.


Burndog said...

I've got some news...that song and dance isn't about Children's Day...it's something that happens EVERY SINGLE DAY at Homeplus. The time isn't constant...it changes. Ive seen the dance three times in two years...and every single time...it freaked me out! It's just so weird and random and...well...middle aged women shouldn't have to dance like that in public.

I'm no Picasso said...

YOU'RE FUCKING KIDDING ME! This is huge. I'm telling everyone I know about this via text message right fucking now.

At first, I didn't realize it was a dance. I saw the ajumma line up and start tilting their heads from side to side and bending in a choreographed manner, and I just thought, oh isn't that nice... they're doing the ajumma/ajeosshi random stretching/exercise thing in the middle of their work shift. What nice workplace camaraderie! Then I craned my neck over the racks and saw all of the young men from the electronics department doing a little jig in sync and I realized they were *singing*.

Mystifying. Absolutely mystifying. I consider myself lucky to have finally encountered it.

Burndog said...

The sad thing for me is that Homeplus has always been an exciting world of strangeness and fun...but now...if they aren't dancing...it's not as magic as it used to be. It's like the dancing overloaded my senses so that I can't taste the mad quirk now...kind of like what Americans have done to breakfast cereal!

Amanda said...

New York and terrorism? Are they talking about the failed New York Bomb attack from Saturday night?

I'm no Picasso said...

Yes, that was part of it. But they were trying to connect it back to wanting to be in Interpol. I couldn't figure out the connection. Or, given that they're 15 year old boys, maybe there just wasn't one, other than stream-of-consciousness.

The Korean said...

It's spelled 괜찮아요.

I hate being a spelling snob, but I figured you would appreciate it.

Kel said...

My boys have recently gotten into the FBI too, some of them have formed some kind of gang and written "FBI" on the backs of their uniform jackets in huge white letters.

Jelly said...

Hi, Liz.
I think this is my first comment on this here blog, ehich I found through Diana's "Going Places."

I love how you write and appreciate the frequency with which you update. I'm hoping it will inspire me to be a better blogger, once I come out of the funk I'm in.

Anyhow, I'm de-lurking because I do believe I've got the HomePlus dance on video n my camera. I hope I haven't deleted it. I'm going to find my camera, charge it out of deadness and try to locate that video. If I can find it and get it uploaded I'll let you know. It'll be my Children's Day present to you.

I'm no Picasso said...

The Korean -- Thaaaank you sir. I *know* that fucking word. I just. Stupid second ending consonants. And corrections always, always welcomed. This is why I type this nonsense up from time to time, because learning the language almost entirely by ear, my spelling is fucking atrocious. Gotta get in the practice where I can. And my Korean friends, despite their best intentions, are not likely to correct my mistakes in texts and emails because a. they don't want to make me feel bad and b. that shit's just kind of a hassle when you're just trying to plan the day's activities.

Kel -- I was wondering if it's been on TV show lately or something. I asked them just to try explaining it to me in Korean, to see if I could figure out what they were on about, but all they did was repeat the same stuff, only in Korean. Helpful.

Jelly -- That would be fantastic. About the frequency with which I update, it's become almost embarrassing of late, but this blog has suddenly become my main place where I'm writing, and the shit has to go somewhere. It's nice to have responses to it though, even if it is just in humble blog format.