Sunday, March 8, 2009

Big Day Out

It was one of those days that you kind of hope for for your wildest weekend dreams. Yesterday was awesome.

The day started off kind of rough. My New Zealand buddy Chris kept texting me well into the morning to give me random drunk updates about beer, World of Warcraft, and etc. I had the sound on on my phone as a backup alarm after this week's little mishap, so it made for a rough go in the morning. I made it up for Korean lessons, though, and Kayleigh and I were at the bus just in time to wait 16 minutes for ours to come along. (Every 10 minutes my foot!) Really, this wouldn't have been a big deal if we weren't 1) starving and waiting for McDonald's, and 2) surprised by Albert jumping off of a bus. He does these lingering hellos where he'll say hi, then walk off, but he keeps watching over his shoulder. Is that for my benefit or his? The bus ride had a tinge of anxiety, then, as we watched the clock and monitored our progress because really, if there was no McDonald's, we were going to be disappointed. Just as I was accepting the inevitable, we turned the corner to Valhalla and there it was! Yay! And we had 15 minutes! Grabbing the food, we hurried to the YMCA with our treasures and sat enjoying our feast while waiting for Heather.

It was cool when the orientation was over; there are 40-50 people in the classroom, and then the "Beginner" class is excused while the "Entry level" class has to remain behind. I felt special to get up and leave this time! Class was so hard! Korean grammar is obscenely difficult, and impossible for even Koreans to score perfectly on tests (according to my overly fluent student, anyway). Instead of changing "he" to "him," they use markers in the sentence. Really, the entire language just requires an intense amount of preparation before speaking. You have to know where to put the subject, indirect object, direct object markers and what verb you're going to use to place at the end, and what level of formality to use before you even open your mouth. Talk about thinking before you speak. We also learned the world's longest word: immigration office. I would spell it, but Google would say I've exceeded my space limit.

After, Heather, Kayleigh and I went off for Chinese food. Unspicy and satisfying for all of us. After two hours of people watching (and Kayleigh and Heather deciding that they completely hate my taste in Korean men), we headed off for some shopping. By which I mean we watched Heather buy teeny tiny skirts while making fun of the fashion. Have I mentioned that Korea Hearts the 80s? A bubble skirt, some polka dot shoes, and two packs of cigarettes (not me), and we were ready for some coffee, cocoa, and cheesecake. We sat out on the deck enjoying the sunshine and talking about the highly mature and in-depth topics groups of girls are wont to discuss. More than once we commented on how nice it was, and how much fun we were having. That's when the crazy started.

Coming out of Coffee Bean, we started walking down a little alley and Heather stopped us. "That's the MTV guy!!" Huh? Being out of the loop in all things popular, I had no idea, but there was a guy walking around with a mohawk. There really aren't a lot of mohawks in Korea, so after a few minutes of debating whether to chase after him and ask, I overcame Heather's shyness and pursued him. It was totally like Molly and I always dreamed of, pursuing someone through a crowd just like a real spy. Of course the guy with a horse head on his head wondered what I was up to, but really, he was wearing a horse on his head. After wading through the crowds with Kayleigh on my heels, I started to lose my nerve, but honestly--does it matter? It's one of those chances where I literally had nothing to lose. It would be an awesome story either way, right? I caught up and got his attention and smiled so stupidly.

"Are you the MTV guy?"
Awkward pause.
"This is Kayleigh!"
"Nice to meet you."
Awkward pause.
"Our friend Heather watches you every day! Can we get a picture?"
Insert smile of a very patient Korean.
Nervous giggles, picture taken, other Koreans pointing at us, and us walking away actually shaking.

As it turns out, his name is 한별, and he is a VJ on Korean MTV for a show that Heather really does watch every day. I know it's a celebrity from another country, but that's still pretty dang cool. It took us a good deal of time to recover from that, just in time to meet up with Hannah and Mark to get some movie tickets. Tickets procured, we moved on to Italy Italy for dinner.

Italy Italy is a place with build your own pasta, and it was really quite good. I enjoyed a super spicy chili and cheese sauce on my bow tie pasta, others had bolognese, rose (blush) sauce, and Alfredo. Everyone was very happy (especially after the two bottles of wine.) I parted ways with my daytime friends to move on to see Watchmen with Hannah, Mark, Phillip, and two of their friends. The theater was full, the heater was on, and Hannah and I fidgeted the whole movie. I've never met someone who wiggled as much as I do! The movie itself was awful, but I was glad to hang out with my new coworkers. After that I peaced out kind of abruptly; it was pushing midnight, and I had been out since 10 in the morning!

When I got home, the guy from last weekend logged into MSN to share pictures with me. (He had downloaded and signed up for MSN just to talk to me--I'm feeling pretty special after that.) After the picture of him riding a fake bull with a sign that blatantly says "do not touch," and a picture of his friend and his friend's dog passed out (one drunk, one sleepy), I had to smile at his good humor. I think he's moving from distraction to just being distracting. All the while Tracy was on and we got to have one of our random, drawn-out chats that brought just a perfect conclusion to my very long day.

I am so grateful for this opportunity in South Korea. I love being here, and I love the person that I am becoming. I still have a ways to go growing-wise, but the progress so far has been remarkable. And for those who stuck this out to the end, thank you for coming by to read!


Julie (It is.) said...

It was kati's Day Out! Yay!

Miss Chris said...

You take me back to my college days. It is so fun to be living vicariously through you. It is so wonderful that you are having such a fantastic time on your adventure.

Tracy Paige said...

I love the days you seem to be having there. So many times I log on here and get treated to some fun story that you share. Wish I could share the experience itself with you but I definitly think you are growing into the person you want to be. Wooo hoo for you. Love you muchly bud.

Molly Joy said...

Heh- stupid Russian spies. They're everywhere!

James H. said...

Loved the, "I peaced out kind of abruptly" part of this write.

I thought I was the only one who used "peaced out" in everyday convo.

Love it!