Sunday, October 10, 2010


It's never a good sign when you find yourself missing the hagwon (private English academy) business. Hagwon owners are dirty bastards who will sell their own mothers. And yet...there's something comforting about the predictability with which you get screwed over. I had this conversation with my own Dark Lord and Master just a week ago - and now I find myself echoing his sentiments. It's probably not hagwons I miss; it's him, and B, and the comfortable safety of GDA, which, for all intents and purposes, no longer exists. But all the same, on this day which found me catching curveballs before 8 a.m., a very large part of me was wishing I HAD walked to the English academy up the street and got me a job, bidding China a fond "zai jian!"

I don't really have anything important to say tonight, just snippets of memories from the last week. Like the importance of A Well-Placed Word, in this case, "chu-go-llae." I was trying to snag a cab to Bundang on Thursday, and some ahjjusshis (old men) on the other side of the street crossed over to MY side to steal the cab that was slowing down for me. I yelled out in frustration, and they looked at me as if to say, "Oh well, next time," as they climbed in the cab. I then shouted, "Chu-go-llae?" at them, it being the first thing that popped into my head. Now why the Korean words for "Do you want to die?" should spring so readily to my lips boggles the mind, I know, but it did, and whether they actually felt intimidated by a buxom ginger or because they were so amused by a whitey shouting death threats, I don't know, but it did the trick. They got out of the cab and sent it to me.

Then there are Things You Never Knew About People. Specifically, the fact that a former coworker whom I will not name used to do editorial work on erotic fiction (until the technicality of it got tedious and they started getting headaches trying to figure out whose fingers were in which orifice). How cool is that?!?

Also, Conversations You Can't Understand and Wish Would End. Emily asked me if I would go to the sauna with her, knowing how much I loved a nice long soak in a tub with staring ajjummas (old ladies), and I readily agreed (I've said it before, and I'll say it again, nothing says friendship like getting naked in a bathhouse together). We found one across the main drag of their neighborhood, and went there, and enjoyed ourselves immensely, even if it was a little ghetto by Bundang standards. Well, we decided to go for the hot room (after freezing our nipples off in the cold bath), and had settled in when an ajjumma decided to strike up a conversation with us. Except she didn't speak any English, and Emily's Korean makes mine look advanced. So I fumbled through, responding to her "O-di-yo"s with "America," then "Korea and China," then "hagwon and wei-guk-en hakyo (foreign school)," before she started babbling about something that I couldn't figure out, and since she wouldn't shut up Emily and I decided it was time to go back into the bath. Escape is always a good option.

A year back I wrote about how I was strong enough to go back to RAK, in spite of the fact that I was still finding my feet, and that when I began this life five years ago, I don't know if I could. It was Korea, all those years ago, and now I find myself longing for it so much - cross at being here. Being there I felt whole - I'd left my partner-in-crime here, and some friends that I have a feeling I will become quite close to, and yet, I didn't feel their loss like a huge gaping hole in my heart. So who knows - maybe after I finish my contract at my current school I'll be able to get back there.

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