A couple awkward things happened in the past couple days. Won’t you let me tell you about them?
1. There is a little maintenance man who works at my school, and who also happens to live in Danggogae up in North Korea where I live. About a month or so ago he sold me my pretty purple bike with a basket. Ever since then he has been so nice to me and literally every time he sees me starts rambling mumbo jumbo that I don’t understand, throws his hands up in excitement and then brings me some kind of treat. First it was a peanut butter sandwich that he probably got from Family Mart down the street, then it was a Capri Sun, then it was a ginger drink, then an energy Bacchus drink, ice cream and a cup of ice water, then it was 2 pieces of caramel candy. THEN he wanted to get 피자 (“peecha”…or pizza) with me in our hood. After asking me (thru Jin) a couple times, I obliged. So we met this past Sunday at 3pm in the Dontgogay. This is the story of how I was courted by a tiny little ajussi (old Korean man).
First we ate Nangmyeon (냉면) which is delish. It’s buckwheat noodles in an icey cold broth with a hard boiled egg, julienned cucumber and pears and then you put vinegar and dijon mustard in to taste. Tis the perfect summer meal! Anyways, we went and ate that first. He talked to me, I didn’t understand, he slurped uncontrollably, I tried to remain unnerved by it.
Next he bought me an iced latte from the 17th Street coffee shop that I sometimes go to. I drank, he smoked a cigarette and tried to talk with me some more. He basically said Itaewon (the foreigner area) over and over again because he knows I went there one of many weekends.
THEN after motioning to me if I wanted any home supplies (I didn’t), we went over to the THE school. Pizza School that is. He motioned for me to pick out any pizza I wanted, so I chose cheese pizza. This is him sitting and waiting for it to finish cooking. That’s his jazzy bike in the foreground.
And to conclude our “date,” he put my pizza on the back of his bike, walked me in a circle through some janky Danggogae alley way, back to the station and to the hill before I turn off to go to my apartment. Gladly he did not walk me further so he doesn’t know where I live. Then he told me “bali bali” (kinda like hurry hurry, go go), handed me my pizza and I was off on my way.
It was slightly awkward, but it’s interactions like this that make me so happy I’m living abroad. It’s so interesting to me how two people literally can not effectively communicate because of a thing called language. So simple yet so complex. Good sociology project I reckon.
2. For those who are out of the loop, I renewed my contract and signed my life away to Korea for one more year. The first step in the renewal process is to get a medical check. You know, to make sure I don’t have AIDS and to see if the crack is all out of my system. The whole check consists of peeing in a cup, giving blood, getting a chest x-ray, getting my blood pressure, vision, hearing, height and weight checked, and being “interviewed” (if you can even call it that) by a doctor. All he was concerned about was if I had any cocaine or other narcotics exposure and if I had the AIDS. Thank God I’m not a dirty waygook!
Anyways, my male co-teacher, Mr. Jang, took me and it was slightly awkward, but whatever in the grand scheme of things. The part that really gave me a good giggle was when he directed me to the room I was supposed to go change into the x-ray gown in. He points and whispers to me “now you must go in and take off your clothes.” Normal co-teacher chatter. Afterwards, he continued to stand behind me through each process. He honestly could have just sat in the waiting room while I handled it. I’m a big girl. He almost walked me right into the women’s restroom stall until I put a hand up and said “I got it.” He got the message.
So yea, next on the list of renewal to-dos is to renew my visa at immigration. Now all you people who have not come to visit me have a whole year longer to figure out how to get to the far east. Make it happen.