Running on Fumes

Well, Friday was pretty interesting. After work, we finally had our welcome dinner party with all of the teachers together. The other three foreign teachers showed up a little late, so before they got there, I was talking a little bit of Korean to the Korean teachers. I literally said three sentences and one of the teachers was like “Oh wow, I’ve been teaching for seven years and you speak the best Korean of any teacher I’ve known.” I mean, Koreans are always super impressed with any level of Korean you can speak.

Then the other teachers showed up and it went a little downhill. One of the other teachers is starting his third year in Korea. He studied here in college one year and just finished his first teaching year. He’s engaged to a Korean girl he met in Canada five years ago. So the guy’s had a bit more opportunity and time to learn, but when our boss told us to give a toast in Korean, he totally blew me out of the water. Made me look like a retard. I had to admit to him that not only was I jealous, but I hated him, just a little bit.

It’s given me a bit of a new drive to study Korean. Up until now, among the people I have spent a lot of time with, I’ve always spoken the best Korean. I do know a handful of people that speak quite well, but we also don’t hang out often. So, most of the time, no matter who I was with, they always kind of deferred to me as the best Korean speaker of the group if interaction with the natives was necessary. Now that I know someone who speaks significantly better than me and I’m going to see him a lot, I feel a much stronger need to study Korean more earnestly.

Anyway, I drank quite a bit at the dinner party. My boss was excited to have more male teachers around to drink with because before it was almost all girls so he got lonely at the company dinners. I told him I drink well, so he was excited and kept the drinks coming as fast as I could drink them. I met up with friends later and continued drinking. A lot. Phew.

Saturday I met an old co-worker in Hongdae. Since I got my smart phone a lot of Korean friends I haven’t talked to in awhile have been contacting me because of a free texting app that’s available on the phones. I actually didn’t even immediately know who she was when she texted me the first time. Because of how much I drank Friday night, and how much I drank the last time I saw her, I decided to play it a bit more low key. We just went to a couple sit down places to drink and munch on food while we talked. It wasn’t anything insane, but it was fun.

She was also like “Oh my god, you know four words of Korean, you’re the best ever” so I told her that really made the compliment mean a lot less. Sometimes it’s not just the amount of words I know that impresses Koreans, but the kinds of words or idioms. A lot of times Koreans ask me how I learned something. A lot of times the answer is just like “Uh, a Korean friend”. At the end of the night she was almost in tears over some piece of really new slang that a high schooler taught me. I’ll admit, that was probably something worth being proud of.

Anyway, of course, since it’s Sunday, it’s my do nothing day. Last night I didn’t sleep. At all. We called it a night around 1 AM, but I wasn’t drunk, so sleeping at a jjimjilbang was not happening. I laid down for four hours and didn’t sleep. Gave up around 5:30 AM and went to the train station. Got home around 7 AM and tried to fall asleep, but just laid in bed for four hours. Lame. I’m not that tired now, but I’ll sleep well tonight.

Tomorrow the whole school is going on a field trip to the postal museum in Cheonan. Sounds thrilling, I know. Still, it means I don’t have to teach anything for the first several hours of my day. I’ll enjoy that.

Tuesday I’m meeting a new Korean friend for dinner and Korean practice. On Wednesday I went out with Oscar to try a new bar similar to a very popular bar he liked in Daejeon. We didn’t go in with high expectations, but it was a generally great time, minus some bullshit alcohol being poured on Oscar’s head instance at the end of the night. Definitely going back there soon, haha.

Some more new pictures from my phone are available: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?fbid=10100435593474105&id=12437843&aid=3021076

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