I’ve Grown Sick and Tired of Standing Still, I’ve Learned to Let the Wind Pull Me Where it Will

You can thank Dustin Kensrue for today’s blog title.

Last night after my blog post I went home to start my laundry for the week. Washing machines here take forever. I remember at home it was only 20-30 minutes for a regular wash, but here it takes an hour. That gave me time to eat at a Kimbap restaurant before the wash was done. I was hoping that if I pulled the clothes out as soon as it was done they’d be at least a little less wrinkly when they dried. I think it worked moderately well, but it’s still not ideal. Anyway, at the Kimbap place there’s a TV and on weekends one of the stations plays a “baseball” game. I say “baseball” because, even as someone who doesn’t particularly care for baseball, the game is an affront to what any person would call a respectable baseball game.

First of all, they don’t show the whole game. It’s much more sped up. Not quite highlights, but less wasted time in between pitches and outs and such. It’s also made a lot more interesting with the sound effects, replays, humorous things, etc… Secondly, this is by far the worst baseball team I’ve ever seen play. I honestly didn’t think a baseball team this bad could exist outside of Disney movies before Charlie Sheen, Christopher Lloyd, or a Golden Retriever joined the team and improved the team’s character and skill through a super upbeat montage.

If an MLB player will fuck up a play 1 in 1000 tries, these guys probably fuck it up once every three tries. No lie. Simple pop flies are dropped constantly. People run into each other. Throws to first base are passed balls and the runner keeps on going. It’s tragic how bad this team is. The fewest runs I’ve seen them allow in one inning is four. Yesterday’s game ended 25-13 in the fifth after the ten run mercy rule. They actually scored nine runs in the bottom of the fifth to come within just a couple runs of extending their embarrassment, and they seemed genuinely bummed that they had to quit playing. Their attitude about losing so badly, and my own reluctance to think that even amateur players would be so bad makes me believe it’s probably just a game for fun between celebrities or something, but I have no idea.

After that I went home and hung my clothes to dry. I watched some TV. I was bored as hell and considering just going to bed, but I realized it was only 8:30 PM. Here all the digital clocks use military time. I’m generally pretty good about it, but if I’m not paying attention I might mistake 20:30 for 10:30 PM and not 8:30 PM. I felt it impossible to sleep at that point. I was actually kind of bummed. Maybe not really homesick, but certainly restless. I’m not used to not having things to do on a Saturday night. Even if it’s not a big thing, I’m at least used to being able to call some people up and hang out. Not having that is starting to get real old. I have numbers in my phone to call now, but it’s not the same. It’s just Lawrence and Korean teachers. Lawrence usually goes to Incheon on the weekend to visit friends of his family, and while the Korean teachers are always friendly with me, I’d still feel awkward calling them to hang out. I’m sure they’ve got better things to do on a Saturday night than babysit me. So times like that I just walk around, but I can only walk so far and long before I’ve seen what there is to see and it gets boring and even more depressing. While I usually tend to avoid other foreigners, I began rethinking this, mainly just so I could have someone to hang out with on Saturday night.

So I walked for maybe an hour and a half, never getting more than 15 minutes away from home, walking in a big circle pretty much. I almost went into one of the “Western” bars I walked by. I could see white people inside, and I could tell they were looking at me, but I decided against it. I decided to start heading home, but stopped by the school on a whim. I mostly just wanted to sit and listen to the rest of the album (Bob Dylan – Highway 61 Revisited) before I went to sleep. There was a family of five playing on the soccer field at school and I spent maybe 20 minutes just watching them play soccer while I sat on top of the jungle gym.

Three minutes before “Desolation Row” ended, the mom came over and asked if I wanted to play soccer with them, so I said sure. So for probably an hour or so I played soccer with this family. I was on the team with the two oldest sons, while the other team was the parents and the youngest son. We talked a bit in broken Korean and English. It was good for me to practice my Korean without a script. Most of the time when I go to the language group I’ve got a list of things I’ve already planned and practiced saying, but with them I just had to understand and respond as best as I could. I told them I was a teacher at the school, I’d been in Korea a month, that I’d been to Taejosan earlier in the day, how old I was, etc…

I think the final score was something like 10-8 for my team. We played a little more after that, but it was a lot less active and we didn’t bother counting anymore. They complimented me on my soccer skills. I was actually pretty impressed myself. The last time I remember playing soccer was probably sixth grade. I was expecting to be a lot clumsier than I was. I scored maybe four of five of the goals and had some decent moves I think. The very first shot I took was an absolute laser that blasted the dad right in the chest. As soon as it left my foot I started apologizing, mostly because it looked like it was heading for his face, but he chested it down. Once we were all too tired to play anymore they asked if I wanted ice cream. They also tried to get me to eat chicken with them, but I said I was too full from dinner for chicken, but that I would have ice cream with them.

We went to a little shop nearby and they bought me an ice cream cone and a Coke. We sat on the curb and ate ice cream and talked a little. They showed me which building they lived in and said that I should come by some time to visit them, which I said I would. Right before they left they made the kids introduce themselves and say goodbye in English. The youngest is a first grader in Buldang, and the middle son is in sixth grade there. The oldest was maybe eight or ninth grade, I’m not sure. I didn’t give them my phone number, mostly because I’m still getting used to having a phone. Sometimes I forget I have one. If I see one of the kids at school I’ll write it down for them so their parents can call if they really do want to have me over. I’d feel weird just dropping by.

All in all it turned out to be a pretty good night. I started off a little bummed, but in the end I had a lot of fun. Like the title says, being in Korea it’s never a good idea to just sit inside and watch TV. There’s always something to do and you never know what may happen, so even just taking a walk can lead to something really nice, like a kind family inviting you to play soccer and giving you ice cream.

Afterward, I was exhausted. I wasn’t in the mood for the third shower of the day, so I just went to bed sweaty. I think I was too tired to sleep even, because it took awhile to finally slip under. I just laid there being sore as hell. Particularly my right calf. Coming down the mountain I slipped (note to self: Chucks are not suitable hiking shoes) and my calf came down right on a rock sticking out of the ground. I don’t see it yet, but I can feel a massive bruise on the muscle.

This morning I went to Yawoori for the regularly weekend language group, but it ended up being five foreigners and no Koreans. It turned mostly into chatting about Korean stuff, and only a little Korean learning happened, but I still managed my goal. I can finally say “I can/can’t [verb].” I can also ask permission to do something, but in kind of an awkward because the guy teaching me didn’t really know it either. I can ask “May I go now?” but literally translated it comes out “Now go thing okay?” I feel like there has to be a better way to say that. Maybe I’ll learn it tomorrow.

After everyone decided to leave I took a guy named Julius to a Kimbap place to eat. He’s only here for a month for business, but I guess he expects to come back again and again, so he’s learning what he can while he’s here another 20 days. He paid for lunch, since I was giving him Korean pointers about numbers and food, so he’s okay by me. He’s actually fluent in Chinese, as well. He took Chinese in high school and lived in Taiwan for four years. First illegally as an engineer, and then legally at a bike shop.

The rest of the day I don’t have plans. Maybe I’ll walk around again once I drop my stuff at home. I do need to buy more chocolate candy since I ran out and I promised the kids I’d get more for Monday. The weather is getting really nice now. I’m starting to see guys in shorts and t-shirts. Girls are awful gauges of temperature here because even when it was below freezing they’d be wearing short skirts and leggings. I guess that’s normal year round attire for women here.

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2 Responses to “I’ve Grown Sick and Tired of Standing Still, I’ve Learned to Let the Wind Pull Me Where it Will”

  1. Jason Levine Says:

    Hey, I realized we’re both LLers. Rockin’. Small ass world, my friend.

  2. Wow, that’s such an awesome day. It’s amazing what being random/spontaneous can do. Solid! 🙂

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