May 20

I know my Korean has improved because last night I managed to sidetrack my Busan tutor for a full hour.

“Next time just sign up for a free talking class. You’ll save money!” She told me.

With both of my online tutors, we usually start off with conversation and since I’m starved for human contact I have a lot to say. All at once I realized exactly how my online Chinese students feel— they have so much they want to say once they become stronger in English and their desire to communicate increases ten fold.

Now I too can intimately understand.

She and I got to laughing as I made up fake names for loan words:

Cat walk? Feline road.

Runway? Fast-walking alley.

She suggested again that I come visit her in Busan after I move and with all that I’ve told her she thinks that area will speak to me more than Seoul. And she proposed that when I visit we can go to her parents farm to make kimchi and pick sweet potatoes.

“You’ll get lots of food, for free!”

“Yes but don’t I also provide the labor?”

She told me, and at this point we had officially left the grammar intention of class behind, that the first time we had class she thought I was a model. One of her students is and apparently we share the same expressiveness.

Now I don’t know if I’ve become more expressive in Korean since body language helps me fill in the gaps when vocabulary fails or because most of my conversations in English are geared towards non-native speakers and my physical cues have stuck or I’m just animated and never knew it. A friend’s husband also commented that I have a very expressive face. I’ll get wrinkles early but at least I can entertain.

Shared experience is so important to the human experience and I’m thrilled that even online I can make these connections. Look at that, I already have a contact in Gyeongnam who can even give me the unique experience of life on a farm! How great.

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