White Day Weekend

Good Man has been working too much lately. (What else is new?) He was in Busan from Tuesday morning to Friday afternoon this week. I wasn’t sure when I was going to get to see him again, so I started calling him my Weekend Boyfriend.

Thursday night I talked to Jennifer, who asked if we were doing anything special for White Day. Jennifer digs romantic holidays. Good Man and I bought each other cheese and RAM for our birthdays and didn’t even exchange Christmas gifts, so of course I said, “Nope, nothing special.”

But Friday evening, I was having dinner and drinks with Master and Sabumnim the Man, so we could become friends. I really wanted Good Man to come.

Good Man returned from Busan around 4:30, came to my house, took a nap, and then headed to taekwondo with me. Although he won’t admit it, I know he just wanted to get home, change his clothing (Busan was an annonved-at-the-last-minute-no-time-to-pack trip), shower and sleep. But instead he went with me. Good Man is a Very Good Man.

We got there late, so I didn’t play soccer with the rest of the class, but we chatted with Master. Master had invited his brother’s family and a hubae (junior classmate) as well.

Master’s Brother walked in and introductions were made. He said to Good Man, “You speak Korean?”

“Yes.”

“Oh, wow. Good.”

I laughed and said, “He’s Korean!”

Master’s Brother looked so surprised. “Really? You’re Korean?” It seems that Good Man was dressed “like luxury,” so Master’s Brother thought he was…Chinese? Korean-American? Japanese? I have no idea.

Master’s kids were being wonderful, like always. When their cousin showed up, Master’s Son ran up to her and sort of followed her around. I think he’s got a little crush on her. I was hanging out with Master’s Daughter cause she’s so darn funny, clinging to me, whispering things I couldn’t understand. At once point I said in Korean, “I speak English.” I switched to English. “I speak English.”

I knew she wouldn’t understand; she’s only 3 Western age. But I wish I had a video camera at that moment. Her eyebrows knitted together just a bit, then she managed to raise both eyebrows out to the side. The look on her face said it all. “What the heck did you just say?”

Dinner was huge. We had jokbal, bosam, and tangsuyuk (with the side dishes that those main dishes entail), a large bowl of fruit cocktail that kept getting refilled, mandu, apples… Master’s wife just kept preparing more and more food. At one point Master said, “Stop cooking!” But she didn’t.

The entire evening was, as always, wonderful. But there are two points of conversation I’ll hold in my heart for a long time.

At one point Good Man and I were talking. I was telling him how Master met his wife, how she waited for him when he was in the military, how she went to a women’s college. Master asked what we were talking about. I said, “Remember when we were drinking 동동주?” I explained what we were talking about.

Master was surprised that I remembered the conversation so well. I said, as best I could, “You had a lot of love in your voice. So I thought your wife was very lucky.”

Master grinned and his wife blushed a bit. I think those two really, really love each other and have a good marriage. It makes my heart happy to see them.

At one point, Master started talking to Good Man about something. My name kept coming up, but apparently I misunderstood the whole lecture (Good Man said so later). I left the room for a few minutes and came back to find Master toasting Good Man.

“Did he just give your his seal of approval?” I asked Good Man in English.

Master shook his head, “Amanda, it’s a secret!” He made Good Man promise it was a secret.

“Um…Master, when I talk to my mom, she always says, ‘Does Master like Good Man? If he does, then I like him…'”

“Ah, yes, OK!”

Master’s seal of approval. I couldn’t ask for anything more.

The rest of the weekend was nice, too. We watched Juno and went to a nice Italian restaurant near my house. It’s on the 42nd (top) floor of a building and overlooks the city, so it’s quite pretty. A nice brunch this morning followed by a bit of Korean practice on the subway (where I accidentally said someone had “multiple personalities”).

Really, the fact that Good Man joined us even though he hadn’t been to his own house since Monday morning—so much better than any candy, toys, or notes Good Man could have given me.

“You’re Still Doing Taekwondo?”

Since my second dan test, I’ve been asked, by five different people, a variation of this question:

You’re still doing taekwondo, even though you already did your second dan test?

What an odd, odd question.

I went to taekwondo last night and tonight. Last night I managed to pull the inside of both thigh muscles, doing—of all things!—a grapevine across the floor. I also managed to jam my toenail against the top of my shoe when I was trying to put it on, and a bruise mysteriously appeared on my shin.

Hmm. Why am I still going again?

Klogic Two: Pay

Fine Moments of Klogic: Pay

Imagine, if you will, a qualified, sassy teacher who has not been paid on time or in full even once since starting her job (3 months earlier). Other coworkers have essentially quit (she would find out later that they were out 11 and 8 million won each). Our heroine is overworked and unpaid. She’s not scared of her boss, she’s not worried about her visa.

She goes to work one day and sits in the office. She refuses to work.

Confused Foreigner (me): I’m not working until I have all of my money.

Desperate Crazy Boss Lady: If you don’t work, I’m not going to pay you!

Confused Foreigner: When I do work, you don’t pay me!

Desperate Crazy Boss Lady: I know!

Confused Foreigner (bursts out laughing): Uh huh. I’m going. Call me when you can pay me.

Desperate Crazy Boss Lady: But I need you to work! I need the parents to think I have money!

Confused Foreigner: My ex-coworkers have told them! They know you don’t have money! The jig is up!

Desperate Crazy Boss Lady: But I need you to work! We can make them think we have money.

Confused Foreigner left and went to watch a Kukkiwon tourney.

Time. Elapsed.

Blue Light and “Auto” White Balance in Lightroom

Sly Good Man Smile

Dongdaemun I

(10 Second Exposure)

Dongdaemun II
(10 Second Exposure)

Clean Noraebang? Or Dirty Noraebang?

Jennifer and Sung Hyun

Good Man

Lecturing and Gesturing

Sea Squirt

Sung Hyun, Caught

Yams, Corn, Rice Cakes

Handling Rice Cake

Crane Game

Change of Plans

I just wrote a post detailing why I’m so frustrated today, but scratch that.

Yesterday, in taekwondo, I was having a heck of a time with some kicking drills. We had to do a roundhouse, then a spinning roundhouse. I said to Sabumnim the Man, “다리들이???소주를???마신것 같아요.” It seems like my legs have drunk some soju. But I was thinking while speaking, so it came out like “Leg plural marker object marker…soju subject marker…drink past tense seems like…” Sabumnim the Man burst out laughing.

Tonight I got to class and found out we’d be playing soccer outside. Unfortunately, it’s a bit too cold for my Raynaud’s Disease. I said, in Korean, “Um, it’s cold.” He scoffed and I said, “No. Um…OK. Blood vessels.” He didn’t understand me, so I pointed to the vessels you can see in your wrist. “Blood vessels…usually, when it’s cold, they are like this,” I said. I made an O with my fingers. “But mine are like this.” I made a tiny O. “And…um…” How do you show a rash? I tapped my face with my fingers and said, “Puh puh puh puh.” He stared at me. I thought. “Red! Red! Ahh! I don’t know doctor Korean.” But he understood, so I went on. I put my hand on my chest and faked breathing problems. I finished with, “And I don’t have a training suit. Is Master here?”

Master was downstairs, so he loaned me a training jacket and things were well.

A footprint someone left inside the studio window last night.

What Circle of Hell Does That Place Me In?

Text message to multiple people sent around 10:30 tonight.

Some crazy “blind” man is walking through the CROWDED number 2 subway cars. I want to push him. How evil does that make me? What circle of hell does that put me in?

Because of space constraints, I didn’t mention that he was screaming-singing in tongues. While hitting people in the legs and poking people in the butts with his cane. For a blind man, he was remarkably good at getting the perfect spot on someone’s butt.

***

Tonight’s taekwondo class was good. Sabumnim the Man is a good instructor I think. I was running with the last group of students, so it was Amanda Eonni, her little brother and me. While the two lines of students in front of us had to sprint the floor twice, he told us to do it only once. No way. I am not a child. I can do two sprints (even though I hate sprinting with a deep passion). He thought I didn’t understand, but I well understood. He tried to catch me and I said, “No, I am an ajumma,” meaning, “I am not 9 years old. I can do this.” But I used the lowest form of Korean. Ugh.

He grinned and said 화이팅! and I went off. When I returned I said, “And, I’m sorry. ‘I am an ajumma.'” This time I used the correct form. He grinned.

Last night he showed me a different method to finish off Koryeo. I was laughing inside. This man just watched me get a poomse certificate and now he wants to change my form? But I’ve gotten used to new instructors and slightly different methods, and rather than fight it, I’ve decided to tuck all those stylistic things under my hat. Besides, his method makes the ending feel more powerful.

Last night I worked on poomse a bit with Amanda Eonni and her brother. They’re both red belts, so they should be testing for black soon. But they are so sloppy and lazy! And I don’t mean typical childish laziness, I mean…ugh! Amanda Eonni was doing scissors blocks with open, floppy hands. She was doing the weakest punches ever. It was making me crazy.

I dragged her to the edge of the studio and said, “You are 1 gup! Why are you like that? You don’t want a black belt?”

She shrugged and I suddenly realized I had gotten myself into giving a pep talk. In Korean. Paging Amanda Teacher. This just in. You’re an idiot. But I’d already jumped in the deep end. I said to her, “You’re a 1 gup. You don’t do scissors block like this. You need to have power! Be strong!”

When a senior is speaking to a junior—especially for a scolding—the junior does not make eye contact. She was looking at her hands and shrugging. I decided to switch tactics. “Little Sister…we don’t have many girls here. Only [Crybaby Gold Medal Girl] and me. I want a sister.” Then I remembered she has a sister, who’s also 1 gup. “I want your sister and you.”

She shrugged and we went back to our forms. But this time around, she did put more effort into them.

After class tonight, Master showed me how to do formal big and little bows. For the big bow, women place their right hands over their left hands at just under eye level, elbows out to the side. Then they slowly start to bend their knees. In one smooth, slow movement, they slide one leg in front of the other (I suspect the right leg, though Master said it doesn’t matter; I will check with his wife), cross at the ankles, and sink all the way to the ground in a crossed-leg seated position. You lower your hands (I’ll have to check how much) and I’m sure you lower your eyes, too. You then get back up without touching your hands to the floor.

I was wearing…well-fitting jeans. Rather than sink to the floor, I plunked to the floor. And then I looked at Master. “일아날 수 없어요.” I can’t get up.

Luckily, Master couldn’t either. Guess I still have my “Amanda, you very Korean” credibility.

Next Friday, Master and his family, Sabumnim the Man and I are going out for dinner and soju with Master. It was my idea. I sent him a text message, “우리는 새남자사범님하고 소주를 미셔 야해요. 그럼 우리는 친구가 될 거예요.” He laughed and agreed and set the date for next week.

We should have soju with New Man Sabumnim. Then we will become friends.

Never Take Fruit From Strangers

Walking to the bus stop, my Strawberry Guy stopped me to chat. He gave me two gul and tried to sell me some tomatoes. Then he tried to sell me these small orange things the size of shooter marbles.

I asked what they were and he gave me one. I started to peel it and he shook his head, no. He picked off the stem end, then polished the fruit on his jacket. He popped it into his mouth and chewed. I expected him to spit out the skin, but he only spit seeds into his hands. Weathered hands, I suspect they’re always slightly dirty.

I followed his lead and popped the fruit into my house. One bite and I felt my cheeks twist.

“읗…읗 살탕! 살탕 필요해요!”

He looked at me, “Sugar?”

I nodded. This fruit was much too sour. He gestured for me to spit the fruit out a few feet away, behind a car. I did so and he just laughed.

Never take fruit from strangers.

***
I went to taekwondo for the first time since the test tonight. I told Master I was busy with school, but that wasn’t it. I was afraid I’d cry if I came to class.

After class I said, “관장님, 금요일에 Good Man하고 가속 버스를 타고 있었어요. 그리고 울고 있었어요. Good Man의 스위터 가슴 눈말 많이 있었어요.” Master, Friday Good Man and I were riding the express bus. And I was crying. The front of Good Man’s sweater had many tears on it.

Master looked a little surprised, “왜요? 심사…good!” Why? Your test was good.

“통일을 미국에 가지고 가고 싶어요…” I want to take Tongil to the States with me.

Master grinned and nodded, then tried to lighten the mood. “초대하세요… Invite us, please.

A Weekend Trip and He Doesn’t Listen

At the Dunkin’ Donuts at Nambu Bus Terminal.

“Good Man, what kind of coffee do you want? Latte?”

“Yep.”

A few moments later, I was ready to order, but he was eying juice, so I wanted to make sure he still wanted coffee. “Cafe latte?”

“Yes.”

A few moments later, “How about a grape juice,” he asked.

“OK, but you still want cafe latte?”

“응.”

I put the tray on the counter and said, “오렌지 주스, 포도 주스 하고 케페 라테.” Orange juice, grape juice, and a cafe latte.

Good Man looked at me. “Why did you order a cafe latte?”

I stared at him. “You just told me you wanted one! Three times!”

“No,” he shook his head.

“Yes!”

“Oh.”

***
This weekend Good Man and I headed to Jeonju to see some friends of mine. We had a great time and I ate the famous-for-reasons-I-can’t-figure-out-Jeonju bimbap. Photos are in the gallery (I finally got some great market shots!), but here are a few of my favorites.

Spring is Here

I like this photo—which I obviously took in front of Good Man, though he didn’t notice—best in black-and-white. My nails were short for my test.

Together

I have always wanted to get market shots, but markets are usually so crowded and the ajummas glare at you… But Jeonju market wasn’t very busy, and I finally got some good shots, including some shots of what I call a “fish kite.”

Fish Kite

After the market and dinner, we went to a bar. I was so tired, I was just leaning into Good Man, resting. At one point we were talking very close, quietly, and this photo was shot. Last year, Master and I had drinks together. He talked about his wife the way any woman would want to be talked about by her husband behind her back. I immediately thought of that when I saw how Good Man was looking at me in this photo.

In fact, we were scolded for being a bit too close by Friends’ Friends. It didn’t stop us, though…

Talking

Good Man spotted this woman and has some lovely, lovely photos of her in the gallery.

Smoking Woman

Sunday morning, I took this photo. It breaks so many rules of composition, yet I love it.

Good Man

More photos are in the gallery, including photos of the best (or possibly worst…) advertised lingerie store I’ve ever seen.

Jeonju Weekend Trip