Being Friends, Late

Last night I went out with two of my coworkers, Music Teacher (left) and the Science Teacher with a Secret (right). We had some Korean food, just chatted about work and men. Nothing out of the ordinary for three women after work.

Except I was speaking Korean the whole time, with about a half dozen trips between the three of us to my electronic dictionary, and re-explaining in simple English what I meant three times.

Yesterday, after the students left school, we had some sort of Teachers’ Sports Day at another school. While we sat down and snacked, I ended up chatting—in Korean—with teachers I don’t know very well.

It’s a bit frustrating that just weeks before I’m leaving, I start forming new friendships. It’s frustrating that weeks before I leave, I can suddenly hold a conversation in Korean for 20 mins with new people, an hour over dinner with new friends, two hours with 75% Korean rate with Good Man’s family.

When I started studying Korean, I did so purely to a) buy food, get places, understand times and general commands and b) understand what was going on in taekwondo. After a while, my reasons evolved. I wanted to be able to write letters to Master, to thank him for his kindness. Then, I wanted to be able to read children’s books. But for a while now—probably unwisely—my goal has just been “to improve.”

I’ve been getting fruatrated lately because the grammar forms and vocab I’m learning aren’t used daily like they were at level 1A/B, and to a large extent level 2A/B, of Sogang. But the past week has felt so good.

When I started learning Korean, I never thought I’d chat with some coworkers over lunch or find out a co-worker’s secret. I never thought I’d make girl talk over drinks after work, read a newspaper blurb about myself, or blog in Korean.

And I sure as hell never thought I’d meet a Korean man’s parents!

I wonder—if I keep studying Korean, just keep chipping away at it—what I’ll be doing with it in another year. Or two.