After working out, I decided to visit the seafood pancake place I found the other day. I nervously entered only to find, in a restaurant of four tables, the office manager and one of the older guys (who earlier today fell asleep at his desk).
They invited me to sit with them and I didn’t find out until later that they’d already had eight bottles of makgeolli which WOW explains a lot. That’s probably like six bottles of wine.
In an increasingly garbled English/Korean conversation the manager told me if I had any hardships to tell him. He added, “we appreciate you working here.” He also said he’d make sure my things are moved back to my classroom. Since I came from the gym he told me he used to work out and showed me his phone background which were apparently the abs he used to have.
They both said I seemed standoffish at first (or something?) because I didn’t talk much (because you know… I don’t speak Korean) but now that I was drinking with them they were so happy. The older guy would interject with okay! every few minutes and pour me another makgeolli. At one point I said the Japanese word for cheers accidentally (Korean: konpay, Japanese: kampai) which was quite controversial but I explained I had Japanese friends.
“Who’s more fun?”
“Well,” I leaned in conspiratorially, “my Japanese friends really know how to party.”
They asked why I didn’t eat with them, did I dislike Korean food? No, if I eat fast my stomach hurts. They apologized for that, and a few more times.
The manager said that Korean men were afraid to talk to foreign women because they were too beautiful and said many moms said that I was pretty (I think). The word sexy was used once by the older guy which was frankly one time too many.
I said the students sometimes asked if I am Russian. “Oh that’s because Koreans think Americans are fat but Russians are very beautiful!”
The office manager also noted that they had good coffee in their office, better than the teacher’s lounge, so I should come by. “Will you remember you said that?”
They stumbled out of the restaurant and I followed. In their stupor I was hoping they’d pay for my order. They didn’t.
The old guy wanted to keep drinking and go to karaoke but the office manager dragged him away with promises of “next time we will eat bbq”. I remarked “whatever is most expensive”.
I couldn’t just go home after such excitement so where am I writing this from? That whiskey bar in my neighborhood where I once asked the bartender for help with my homework.
I’m riding a very weird wave of confidence and vindication right now.