I have reached the next level in my relationship with C, after a strange lunch where she randomly updated me about Busan Boy who I frankly never want to hear about again.
She told me it seems like both numbers he harassed me from belong to him, contrary to our original supposition that one belonged to his girlfriend.
He has two numbers with two separate sets of photos of him with two different women. So, two numbers for two different girlfriends.
I asked her why she keeps checking his profiles.
“Because it’s fun.”
“For you!!” I countered.
I’m glad my pain could be so entertaining. *Beleaguered sigh*
I later unloaded a brief history of all the unsavory encounters I’ve had here and with a sweeping gesture I concluded of all the man mishaps: “well, you know, life lessons”.
In the afternoon we attended one of the awkward monthly tea parties with the usual cast of subject teachers for this semester: female science teacher, young PE guy, older female music teacher (same as last semester), E, C, and a new face: an older male science teacher. I like his aura, he seems to a be a kind and patient man.
I didn’t say much except to tell C an inside joke from a worksheet we had the kids do (The spaghetti is spicy in Spain) which genuinely cracked her up.
On our way out, after the female science teacher kept heaping the milk ice leftovers on us like a Sulbing representative, the female music teacher told C in Korean: I saw Abigail’s face while eating and I think it must be very hard for her.
Of course it’s hard for me to listen and contribute when I only understand one out of every five words but do not fear, teachers! I don’t need pity, just patience. I enjoy being included even if I can’t join the conversation.
We headed back to the classroom and C told me, “I asked the principal if we will hire another native teacher in the spring and she said yes. So if after your language program you want to come back to this school, just tell me.”
“Oh? You’re going to miss me? Will you teach English next year?”
“Oh, I’m not sure.”
“What? Then why do you want me to come back? S said the same thing even though we don’t work together anymore.”
C nodded along like she understood S perfectly, as if my presence at the school was enough.
I guess this means she’ll miss me? I think I’ve finally worked my way into another introvert’s heart!
At the objectively cheaper mart by the school I was the only person in my cashier’s line so she told me slowly the price and emphasized that I need to refrigerate my block of tofu.
She even helped pack my bag— a rare luxury in hurry hurry Seoul.
As the only foreigner in the store, I imagined for a moment how life could be in a smaller town when I eventually make it there.
Then I bought some freshly shucked Lima beans (?) from a granny on the sidewalk and thought how nice it is to be comfortable in a place.
This day made me realize I finally made it to a point in my Korean life where I’m not floundering.
Life feels right, and that means a lot after the turbulent 2020 I and we have all had. Coworkers petitioning me to stay, comfort in communication, a life goal, a friend network across the country of both locals and not.
The future is still a question mark, things are going to change fast and soon, and shortly my fate will be in the hands of immigration.
As the great Mary Oliver said, “leave some room in your heart for the unimaginable”.