Monday, 28 June 2004

The Gin Girls And Other Koreans

Quite a pleasant weekend, in a fairly minimal and laid back kind of way.

It began at 3am on Saturday morning, when I woke to watch the European football, as ever. This time France lost 1-0 to Greece, which amused me greatly.

At 11am it was to the YMCA. Not for some man-on-man action, but because that's where my Korean lessons take place. This time, though, it was test day. I wasn't terribly nervous because there's nothing much at stake except pride, and I was fairly confident that the reading and writing part would be within my realms of comprehension. So it proved. Not easy, though, but manageable and I'm confident of a good result. The speaking test I didn't even realise was taking place until about half way through. I thought it was just our teacher chatting to us. I blundered about like a backwards child, but was alright overall.

There was a party afterwards. This being the YMCA and just noon, it wasn't a raging affair of soju and debauchery, but rather just a congregation of all the classes round a set of tables for pizza, fruit and coke (coca cola). As mentioned it my last entry, I'm very anti-social these days and prefer not to meet people I don't already know, so did my best to avoid any sort of conversation with anybody. I talked to Tim, of course, and both our teachers in the end. Tim fancies one of the teachers, a tall, attractive, very innocent-seeming one, and was most annoyed when she chose to sit next to me (being surly and trying to avoid eye contact with everybody) and chat away in pidgin Korean.

I'm obviously popular with the Korean ladies right now because afterwards I was desperately trying to find good CDs in the only slightly decent CD shop in Daegu, and was approached by a schoolgirl. This, it goes without saying, is always something I encourage. I think she was wanting to practice her English, and it was very good English. She recommended a CD to me and we chatted about music for a while and I decided to take a risk on the CD because it sounded like it might be ok. She was delighted I was going for her recommendation and gave me her discount card to use, which got me 25% off. She was a very charming Korean school girl indeed and the best thing about her was that she was called "Hyu-joo" which sounds just like "Huge Jew".

The CD turned out to be utter pish and I broke it into pieces and threw it in the bin. No, it was alright, quite poppy but in a summery, laid back, acceptable way and I'll certainly listen to it more in future. Well done Huge Jew!

I couldn't be bothered saving orphans that afternoon so dozed a little and then did some shopping and internet and was in bed for about 10pm so I could watch Holland beat Sweden on penalties the following morning.

Sunday was a good day, most notable for being my first lesson with my 132nd student, the shopkeeper's 23 year old nubile daughter. I met her at noon and the good news was that I was getting two for the price of one, as she was bringing a friend. The daughter is called Hyo-Joo (that's Hyo, not Hyu) I think and the friend something like Sun-i (as in a type of Muslim).

I was pleased about this development as it means that when gin is introduced into the lessons, there will be twice as much fun. From now on I'm going to refer to my two new students - nos 132 and 133 - as the "Gin Girls".

Anyway, it turned out to be enormous fun. We went to Hyo-Joo's (i.e. her parent's) home and spent over three hours in total working in a mixture of English and Korean. Their English isn't terribly developed, it's very obviously school English, and is probably just a step above my Korean. We used a textbook as our working template and just threw words at each other and tried to make sense.

Time went by very fast and it definitely did me good to have people to really practice my Korean with. Sun-i said she was very excited and hoped we could have a good friendship. I said "oori-nun jigum jin-ul masyeo-yo" which means "Now, we drink gin." No, I didn't actually, I just agreed.

Despite all my lecherous gin talk here, and my ignoble intentions, the girls were both very pleasant and fun, and good company. I'd been worried I might end up with a surly cow or someone too shy for their own good, and it would all feel too much like work, but it was anything but. It was very enjoyable.

Next meeting is Friday 8.30pm at my apartment. We'll talk in English and Korean at first, but by 9.30pm I hope that it will only be the gin talking...

Late afternoon then, and after the language exchange, it started to piss down with rain quite severely and so began an enjoyably thunder storm which unfortunately resulted in my TV reception getting cut entirely. As a result I had to go to Tim's house to watch the football last night/this morning, which resulted in me getting about 2 hours sleep today. And as it's now 7pm, this means I'm rather tired. Hence I'm going to leave the school right now, go to my little shop and buy some milkshakes (I sometimes get them free now), eat some food and go to bed.


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