First, thanks for the encouraging comments regarding my observation period. It's good to know it's just part of the learning experience and the give-and-take that is life.
Second, I had a great day! I woke up and headed to the doctor's; she was disappointed that my cold has evolved into some sort of lung infection, but anyone who has known me since the pneumonia incident of '98 knew it was what would come. Just like in the past, though, I know this will pass. I have a slew of drugs to take, and I'll see her again on Tuesday.
So that part of the day wasn't great, but the walk there was. What a beautiful fall day! You know, in Colorado and Montana I always felt like fall only lasted for 3-4 weeks before it went from dreadfully hot to pretty darn chilly. In Daegu, it really has progressed at a decent pace--less like a sprint to winter, and more like a rambling walk through freshly fallen leaves. The temperature would have been a little warm had it not been for the crisp breeze that followed me wherever I walked. My first destination was my favorite coffee shop; while I was walking the 1 1/2 miles, I realized that in Colorado my problem wasn't that I didn't have the time to exercise, I was just damn lazy! So, the thought did cross my mind to hop on the bus, I chose not to. I chose to take those extra steps for my health. And it was beautiful out, who would waste such a nice morning?
Unfortunately, when I got there it was closed. :( The sign said they open at 10, and it was 11:03 when I got there. So I stopped off at a less favorable but suitable establishment, drank some espresso like it was going out of fashion and prepared for the trip back. Again, the struggle, "taxi versus walking." Since I didn't have to be anywhere until 2 (when I was meeting Yuria for our painting adventure), I headed out on foot. To change things up, I walked on the opposite side of the river from the one I live on, and like Robert Frost's poem, it made all the difference. Along the road I walked, marveling at the public exercise equipment, pondering whether I would actually use any of it, and just as I started to reach the conclusion of "no," I stopped in my tracks--much like a deer in headlights. Not more than 100 feet from me (33 meters?), was a student. It was too late to head off in the other direction, so I went and greeted Alice, smiling to her mother, and in general looking like a retard.
Alice felt shy around me, so when I spoke to her in English, she did the bashful little girl dance (the same regardless of language), and when her mother prompted her to speak in English, it yielded much of the same result. At the end of an awkward pause, I tried to head off, but the mother insisted on offering me a ride. Since I had sort of gotten myself lost, I agreed and climbed into the back. When we got to 7 Valley, though, it looked like I had partners waiting with me for Yuria Teacher.
While the hour was fairly awkward, I guess I passed muster because once Yuria arrived, we made an appointment (you need an appointment for a pedicure, but not the doctor?), and partook of lunch. Lunch was half a ham sandwich with processed cheese, ham, honey mustard, apple, and yellow bell pepper. Bizarre but yummy. Thoroughly caffeinated by this point in time (I think I had 5 cups of coffee total today), and with Alice bouncing around with the energy only the young possess, we headed back.
It was a good first pedicure experience! The woman changed the blade on the scraper, mom, I saw her use a new one. So the disgusting skin is gone, cuticles are pushed back, and I have the brightest, sparkly toes on my block. It's a shame I'm allergic to nail polish and it will have to come off soon. I'm enjoying it while it lasts, though.
Through the periods when the mom and I were quasi-alone, it felt kind of awkward, but she seemed happy to be around another adult. Sometimes, though, she sat as far away from me as possible--I think the foreigner thing intimidated her. After all of it, though, she paid the $57 for my foot spa experience. I told Yuria I wasn't comfortable with it, but for whatever reason the mom really wanted to do it--she paid for Yuria, too.
So now here I sit with my princess toes, pondering this road not taken.