My Saturday was going well, treating myself to noodles in a window cafe where everyone stared at me and then egg tarts by the beach, until I recieved a text from House Owner.
Freshman had caught the male Korean roommate feeding the corgi chocolate even though he had been warned against doing so several times.
This was the last straw for House Owner and she gave him twenty four hours to move out.
The corgi is in fact a rescue: someone had found her north of Seoul trotting along the side of the road, chain dragging behind her. She’s afraid of cats though she behaves like one: she doesn’t like to be pet and only has eyes for her mama.
Freshman and I sat in House Owner’s room eating tangerines and listening to him open and close drawers upstairs.
We urged House Owner to invite more people to the house, and if she could get a man to come too, even better. He didn’t seem likely to retaliate but better safe than sorry. And historically we know men have less qualms about hurting a woman if another man is absent.
This morning I awoke to a full house: House Owner’s sister, sister’s boyfriend, and her mom.
Modern American culture places emphasis on the separation of family, friends, and romantic partner, with the latter being most idolized.
Korean culture certainly places high emphasis on marriage but not at the expense of family. Freshman can’t come to our Halloween party because she’ll be in her hometown paying respects to her grandfather that passed away.
It warmed my heart to see a house full of people show up, without question, in a time of crisis.
As someone told me, when you have one Asian you have a family.
When the man of the hour had finally and pitifully pulled Brazilian’s suitcase and a trash bag of clothes to the end of the street and out of sight, hours past the due date, the mother placed salt in the corners of the house and threw it down the stairs and across the courtyard.
I’ve watched Supernatural enough to have some idea what this might be for and House Ownee confirmed: salt is good and keeps the evil away.
It was in fact comforting and I love how rituals bring us peace in turbulent times.
House Owner then cracked open a bottle of rice wine: “because we went through a hard time”. We sat on the stairs and caught up about the events.
Freshman said when he left he said “thank you for the experience” with a stone cold face.
“He’s a psychopath!” She shivered.
House Owner disagreed.
“I though he was dumb but he’s dumber than dumb. Even the corgi knows after being told something twice.”
I’m inclined to agree with her. He’s not a bad guy but there are bats in the attic.
“He sent another long message to me saying he was sorry and he really enjoyed living here and grew up so much. I told him he needs to listen to people. I showed he text to my sister’s boyfriend and he said that guy sounds like a teenager.”
That evening it came back down to the three of us, and I ordered us Italian style pizza. (This foreigner approves.)
House Owner told me, “if you move out of Busan, you can’t get this type of food you know.”
I knew then we had officially become friends. Her potential missing me does give me some pause about moving, but at the very least I know I have a little family in Busan to count on.
We made some Halloween plans, likelier a cookout, and I’ll visit Costco this week to get spooky candy.
There are a lot of ways to have a family and this is one of them.