January 30

Two girls in puffy, colorful jackets turned to me and in unison said, “HELLO!” in English.

“Hi! I like your jackets. They have so many colors.” I answered in Korean. They stared at me from the bus stop bench in silence which is the usual response I get from kids in this exact situation.

Maybe all kids have a set script they expect both parties to follow when approaching a foreigner. Or maybe it’s that when I double checked the word I used for “color” much later, it has the meaning of tint OR sexual relations and now I want to die a little.

I thought they were finished with me until I saw their heads together conspiring out of the corner of my eye. My friend finally pulled up and as I got in her car the two turned to me and said in English, “GOODBYE!”

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