Faith restored.

What the fuck happened last night? I'm not really sure....

Went out on my own determined to watch the game on a proper television screen this time, and not really feeling much in the mood for company. Which is difficult to avoid in a bar during a World Cup game in Korea, turns out. First thing that happens: run smack into a foreign male bachelor party. Loud talking. Obnoxious. But not rude to me, personally. They kept taking special care, actually, to comment on the fact that there was a lady present (present, as in standing in the same general area -- not present, as in having joined the party). One comments that a Korean girl who ignored his advances "looks better from behind, anyway". Another corrects him, saying, you do realize there's a lady standing right in front of you? First one says, "That's alright. I never had a chance with her anyway, did I?" Too right on that one.

Second thing that happened: went inside, ordered a drink, sat down and realized I was sitting directly across from the pack of Christians I've been awkwardly avoiding in my neighborhood ever since they invited me to church. Hilarious. God's got a sense of humor, you see. Anyway, they're leaving on Monday.

Third thing that happened: an Irish guy with lovely eyes was shocked to hear me say he was from Ireland (you fellow Americans must not make such a good impression with recognizing the spectrum of other English speaking nations' accents or something) and guessed that I was from Michigan or Ontario, based on mine. Which I suppose is better than the "Eastern Europe" I've gotten from time to time.

Fourth: The bachelor's party gets to discussing how to get themselves into a "sexy bar", which they've clearly never done before, despite all their bravado. One of them catches me chuckling at their total incompetence in this area, and shouts, "HEY DON'T YOU FUCKING LAUGH! IT'S HIS BACHELOR PARTY ALRIGHT!" At which point, I hold up both hands and explain that I'm not judging, I just think it's funny how they're going about it. He shouts back, "FUCKING JUDGE! FUCKING SHOUT AT US! GO AHEAD!" Which is when the Irish guy and another Korean guy he was with step in. One of the bachelor party says something about not sleeping with high school girls because he doesn't want to lose his job, and Irish says, "The fucking morality of the situation doesn't bother you in the least, then?" And Korea says, "Just I want to tell them, 'Grow up! Grow up! How old are you?'"

Take it easy, boys.

Irish is with another Scottish boy, and they both speak more Korean than I've heard out of any other foreign male in all of my time here. I compliment them on it. They try to refuse the compliment. Korea gets talking to me about how he lived in Waco, which is hilarious. It kind of goes from there.

Before I know it, I'm being shoved into the back of a cab after having told everyone goodbye, four boys piling in after me, and we're off to Bucheon. What the fuck? They're good guys though, almost all with girlfriends (which always makes me trust men more), so I just give up and enjoy the ride. At the new place, one of the Korean guys explains to me the trouble he's having with his family not accepting his girlfriend. I told him that I understood the differences in our cultures, and how it's not easy to just ignore your family (as Irish had suggested), but that I also thought his family might be good people who ultimately wanted him to be happy, depsite their big ideas. Ideas are ideas and people are people, and good people can often have ideas that crumble in the face of meeting actual people. After some time, they will accept her, if they see she makes you happy....

After this, he promises to teach me Korean.

And then, I don't know what. Scottish disappears with a girl who's not his girlfriend. His girlfriend shows up at the bar looking for him. Me and the first Korean guy somehow get sequestered off at another table, because I figure the last thing this girl needs to see is another girl sitting at the table. We get talking.

Three hours later, without having touched another drink, we look up and the sun is coming up outside the windows of the empty bar. We look around and realize everyone else has left, but we don't know how or when. He realizes his exam is in three hours. We walked out together and he put me in a cab. Promises to really keep in touch.

And so far today, he has kept that promise. But as always, it was worth what it was worth in the moment, no matter what comes of it. As he said just before we left the bar, although our bodies are weaker (too much alcohol, too many cigarettes, no sleep), our minds and hearts are stronger -- "Please, do not blame yourself." And those foreign guys were fantastic and respectful and intelligent and kind as well. And a bit of Liz's faith has been restored this rainy, muggy weekend.


babsie said...

it's those nights... those moments.. those random people that breathe fresh air into life. i myself have to figure out how to keep breathing fresh air

C. Cryn Johannsen said...

I'm really glad I found your blog. Although my primary work is on Education Matters (http://alleducationmatters.blogspot.com/), I also began writing about living in South Korea (yee-haw! I'm the zillionth expat to do so). Your work is top-notch, and I absolutely loved this post. You have the description of hanging out at bars until sunrise down, sister (if I may be so informal). Indeed, I find myself asking, "why the hell is the sun up already?" I mean, really? Why is it time here seems to go so fast? Hmmm . . . I might have an answer for that. Your post has inspired me to write about time in Korea again. Thanks! (Of course, I'll make sure to reference your work and thank you for the flash of "idea-lightning" for this next piece.

-Cryn Johannsen
Student Loan Debt Advocate, Founder of Education Matters

South of North Korea (http://southofnk.blogspot.com)