After Thursday night's shenanigans, I was too tired to get up to anything on Friday. Plus, I had a date on Saturday with class 313 for a samgyeopsal party. I didn't figure it would be on to show up hungover and reeking of alcohol. It was really nice to get a chance to spend some time with the boys outside of class, or the ten minutes we have during passing periods to talk. The boys, who eat in their classrooms away from the teachers, were excited to feed their weoneomin kimchi for the first time, and watch her expertly deal with the samgyeopsal using, of all things, chopsticks.
They managed to get ahold of my phone and go through the text messages, which they were shocked to find were mostly in English. For some reason, the ones in Korean didn't phase them. After all, people get text messages in Korean -- not in English. Even if the recipient is their native speaking English teacher who can't really speak Korean. Chingyoo (featured above modeling my sunglasses) even used my phone to call his, and thusly sent me approximately ten text messages last night. In English.
After, Coteacher and I went to see Black at the theater, both mistakenly expecting it to be in English. Actually, I didn't know anything about the film. I might have suspected, otherwise. Let me tell you, listening to Hindi while watching sign language and trying to read Korean subtitles....
Well. At any rate, between the Korean, the sign language and the occasional line in English, I did actually manage to follow most of what was going on. But what a headache.
I came home and almost immediately fell asleep. When I woke up at 10, all kinds of nonsense had gone down on my phone. Chatted with C for a bit, who is back from his trip with Garfield and J to Jeju-do this weekend, where J managed to get into a motorcycle accident. Those boys. After checking in with J, I was reassured that he was okay and safe at home with G watching the football, while C ran to Emart. Smalltown phoned from the train, after having a somewhat disastrous date and requesting company for a sympathy pint. Although it was nearly 11, there's no way you can say no to that.
It was a really nice evening out where, for once, it didn't feel like we were waiting around for something to happen. Just hanging out with friends, chatting with some of the other foreigners and Koreans we've gotten to know from around, playing pocketball and barely drinking.
Aigee 2, who shall from here on out be known as Shorty, works all night on Friday and Saturday and has been extremely reluctant to tell me what he does. I had already sussed it as convenience store clerking, of course. It was either that or a host bar, and he just doesn't seem world-weary enough for it to be the latter. Around 2 am, I sent him a message just saying hello and not to work too hard. He phoned back right away to ask where I was, if I had seen him. He assumed that I didn't remember he was working, but had instead seen him inside the shop. I told him that wasn't the case and finally convinced him to tell me where he was, so I could stop in and say hello.
I told Smalltown he had to meet this kid, that, although he is young, he's smart and has a great heart and way of relating to the world around him. And, although he is studying English to study abroad, his genuine interest in befriending foreigners comes from the time he's already spent abroad, where he was made, essentially, to feel like a ghost. He started trying to explain this on Thursday, but he often gets hung up and frustrated when he tries to speak on deeper subjects in English. I told him that he didn't have to explain, that I had tutored Korean students in New York and was already well-versed on what it was like to be a Korean foreigner in a Western city.
I reminded him of the speech I had given him the first night we met. I told him that being a foreigner in Korea is much different, in that, instead of feeling invisible, you feel extremely fucking visible all the time, but the bottom line is the same -- you can't ever seem to truly get inside. You can't break past the cultural barriers, and become somebody's true friend.
With this kid, it's different. Already we contact each other with ease and speak openly on all sorts of matters. He's a wicked little pretty-faced Scorpio with a knack for going on about how he only wants to date foreign girls, and only likes 'older women', but he's yet in the baby stages of womanizing and essentially harmless, even when he talks trash. I like him.
We spent the whole night sitting outside his shop drinking Cass out of paper cups and eating foil-wrapped dried squid that he produced out of literally nowhere. Every ten minutes or so, he'd run inside to tend to a customer. Once the sun started coming up, Smalltown and I decided to grab a coffee and head home.
While we were sitting on the bench in front of the station, enjoying one last cigarette together, a Korean man came up behind us and asked in Korean if either of us spoke Korean well. I responded that I spoke just a little. He pointed down the sidewalk to anther bench and told me that there was a foreigner who was drunk and whose wallet was on the ground. The utter kindness of this man, to see this situation and, instead of getting worked up about trashy alcoholic foreigners and the like, to come find other foreigners who spoke this person's language to go over and help him out, make sure he was safe, was a very nice experience to end the evening with. We went over and put the guy's wallet into his bag (being that he was essentially unresponsive) and I tried to get him first to a bathroom, and then into a cab, but there was really nothing better for him to do but to sit on that bench for a while and sober up a bit, until he could remember and articulate where he lived at least. At least his money and ARC card were safe.
I've spent today doing nothing essentially productive. Meeting with Shorty cancelled due to a surprise visit from Oma, but we will meet either on Wednesday or next Sunday.
Tomorrow starts one hell of a busy week. I actually have to go in a bit early in the morning to make sure I get everything done that needs to be done before classes start. Aish. And Korean classes resume. One foot in front of the other. Life continues to get more and more interesting. Let's just hope that, at times, there can be some rest as well.