Today was a day of revelations that still leave me flabbergasted. Perhaps it started with the discovery of a free range rooster. Why did he cross the road?
No, really, why is there a rooster loose in the maze of apartment complexes near the mountain base?
G stopped by to finish her taxes and discovered me. “Can you go out? I want to buy you bread.”
“Yes, I don’t think anyone really cares.”
Arm in arm we walked to the bakery and G told me that the nervous young office woman intercepted her to say “Please tell Abigail I feel sorry. She doesn’t like our lunch food so it must be difficult for her.”
G recounted this and I was shocked. I told G, I have no problem with Korean food.
They saw that I was trying to eat as fast as possible, so why would they think I didn’t like it? I am so confused that they see my refusal as a rejection of Korean food and not a rejection of their uncomfortable eating habits. I’m a bit offended that they think I don’t enjoy Korean food, which is an insulting assumption. I suppose I could go again with them tomorrow and then finish my meal alone.
As appealing as that sounds.
Okay, okay, I know they mean well. But I wish they could examine that perhaps there was another possibility? Even one man at the time laughingly noted that “Koreans eat really fast” as I tried to stuff a cup of rice in my mouth to match their speed.
G told me “If they ate too fast you could have stayed. Just say goodbye!”
“I guess, but I didn’t know that at the time!”
Later she said, “I think it must be hard and lonely sometimes for native teachers.”
“Yes. You know, I sometimes think that the Korean teachers forget we are not from here and leave us to our own devices.”
“Oh yes, relationships are very important.”
G also shared some other concerning gossip with me. I asked her if she would be coming back next semester to which she explained:
“Don’t tell anyone this but I asked the VP. He told me he wanted me to stay the next year and teach. But the principal said no. He doesn’t know why but feels sorry.”
G will instead take a semester off, go to America to visit her sons, and spend time with her mom in Busan. She’ll start at a school in Dongdaemun after that.
“I told the principal at that school about you. That we work well together.” I can’t switch to that school but I appreciate the vote of confidence.
In the spirit of sharing secrets I told her that I want to stay in Korea but move to the Southeastern province, a fact that no one at this school knows including S and H.
“I’m thinking about… Tongyeong.”
“Wow! Tongyeong is so beautiful! Yes, I think this is a very good idea. And maybe–“
“We can visit each other!”
“Yes,” she agreed.