I don't know what it is about Saturdays. Saturday is the new Sunday. I get sick. And in the afternoons, there's a serious crash. The staring stops being funny and starts to give me violent urges, I don't want to eat anything and I just want to go home and go to bed.
Nonetheless, Mike and I made a good show of it today. We went to Insadong, but didn't do much other than walk up and down. I was feeling too shy to go into any of the paper shops. I really wish I spoke Korean. Most of the time it's fine, but it's the not knowing if it will be fine or not that makes me so nervous. Plus, I realize every time I see Mike, I really miss having real conversations. Mr. Wan and Coteacher speak decent English, but you still have to steer clear of anything other than simple declarative statements.
When we were sitting in the subway station waiting for Mike last night, I was telling Mr. Wan about how he will probably hear the difference between me and Mike when we speak, since Mike has a New York accent and I have a Texas accent -- that Mike's accent is much sharper and mine is more rounded. He told me then, "You know sometimes when you speak, I cannot understand you, but I pretend to anyway." Sometimes I can tell when he is doing this, and sometimes I figure it out later when he asks me about something I've already told him. And probably a lot of the times I just don't know. That upsets me a lot. I told him it's better to make me repeat myself or rephrase things than to not tell me he doesn't understand. I have to make him repeat himself a lot too, usually not because I can't understand his pronunciation but because of the phrasing -- I won't know exactly what he means. It's okay. This is the situation we are in. I won't pretend to understand him -- it's too important to me to make sure that I do, since there is only so much we can say in the first place.
There's so much miscommunication between two native speakers of a language anyway. One of my favorite fascinations. But it's that thing that fascinates me -- how someone can say one thing and mean another, and somehow you know what they really mean -- that I think is most helpful in the world I live in now. Our words may not be right for each other, but we can pick up on that intangible something else -- almost psychic. Without that, it would all be a wash.
It's what is frustrating me at the moment about Mr. No Name. I can tell in my gut that I like him, but I don't know why yet. I need words to confirm it. But I'm not able to have that.
Now, the photos:
Mike being a tourist.
Umbrellas in Insadong.
How happy does the guy in that advert look?
Mike's neighborhood at night.
This orange juice is currently making my life worth living.