Wow… that was another long day. On Tuesdays I have a busy morning with four classes in a row, and in three different buildings! It was a bit disappointing to start today with finding that most students had not done some very simple homework, even though it was very nice to see all students back in class at the same time. I really look forward to reading some great narrative essays soon though. I think they will be good pieces of writing to share.
My credit classes went well today. I have one class of psychology majors who were especially fun. They laughed at all the right times, at all the silly things I said (deliberately). I like those classes. They affirm my sense of (deliberate) sillyness. … Now, I just have to remember when it’s not appropriate to be deliberately silly… Then I’ll be really… not silly … (*cough*).
I met my nice friend Mano for lunch today. We did not have long for lunch as he started his lunch break early at 11.35 and so had to be back at his desk an hour later. I had to eat very quickly!
We had not caught up for a long time though, so it was really nice to chat. He is a very interesting guy as he was born and grew up in India but his teachers were all westerners, so he thinks and speaks very much like a westerner, and does not really relate to many things that are culturally Indian. Apart from all that though, he is just a really nice guy, and, he has interesting perspectives or ideas on life and things we chat about.
After lunch I trudged back to the office to find both the printer and the photocopier were actually working properly! I nearly fell over in surprise! I was so happy that I stayed there for another two hours preparing papers for the essay writing class and my credit classes. Wow: I’m so organised; I’m so good!!!
Then I rewarded myself by going for a swim. I seem to have found a great routine for that now as I have a regular time for a good swim at least twice a week. I am starting to recognise some of the other swimmers too. A couple of the gentlemen there greet me regularly and I saw them both this afternoon.
Also today a couple of young boys started chatting with me in the shared open spa pool next to the main swimming pool. The older one was about 6 years old in western years. He asked me if I was American, so I gave him my regular line in Korean:
“No, but in my heart I am 50% a Gwangju person!”
He were not convinced, so I told him I had a good friend who looked just like him but was American, and then I asked him if he was American. He said no but I said I was not sure whether to believe him. … Soon after that he went away and I had a really lovely soak for a few minutes until I was in danger of falling asleep, so I got out.
Then, after the swim I went to the tiny local ‘Wang Kim Bap’ (King Sushi Roll) store for my kimbap and eggs. It is part of my new routine to visit here after a swim. It has only about five greasy tables and the menu is about fifty types of kimbap, and there is a loud little TV placed high on the wall where I can’t reach it to turn it off, but, I feel comfortable there.
I was about half way through my kimbap when two women came in with a little girl aged about three or four. They ordered their kimbap to go and came towards the table next to mine to wait for the nice lady to make it. The girl was walking up to her seat but then saw me and stopped, turned to me and said in Korean:
“What are you?!”
The question was so innocent and direct I could not help smiling as I said:
“I am a person!”
She smiled back immediately, and then went on to her seat to sit down with her aunt as her mother went to the fruit store next door. A minute or so later though, she asked me again:
“Are you American?!”
“Nope, I’m a Gwangju person! I live in Gwangju; I love Gwangju; and I eat food from Gwangju every day, so, I am a Gwangju person.”
She blinked once and looked at my half-empty plate, and asked me:
“Do you like kimbap?!”
I had to smile again as I replied to her:
“Yes of course! Do you like it too?” She nodded immediately as her eyes went wide, and I added, “Oh, we are the same!”
She blinked again as she smiled back and half returned back to her seat but her young aunt with the cut eyelids and half-height heel shoes told her not to be so rude and sit down and started pretending to smack and slap her lightly as she explained something like it was not polite to chat with strangers especially when they’re eating. I tried to laugh at this and say it was okay, but I knew it was not my business to say anything, and the girl was not at all physically hurt of course. Actually, she even looked less suddenly confused than I was feeling.
Anyway, then her mother came back with the fruit, and then their order arrived as I was finishing my kimbap, so as they walked out the door I said audibly in Korean to the little girl: “Bye-bye!” She turned, knowing it was meant for her, and brought a hand up to wave clearly back at me.
Her aunt and her mother seemed to be trying not to look at me as they left the store. I thought that was funny-haha and funny-strange too, but not as much as I thought the little girl was some kind of angelic cuteness personified.