“You have girlfriends?”

Today we went to the Smithsonian American Art Museum. We were looking at portraits and paintings, and writing poetry based on a pre-chosen painting. I thought the museum would be a bit boring, but it was truly fun. The students—when we walked into the hallway with the paintings they’d seen, their arms went wild. “Oh my gosh, we’ve seen that! And that! And that!”

A girl who was in my group is tall and lanky, like a model. She’s sassy and she set off two alarms today. She talks with her hands and uses her whole body and all of the space around her when she moves.

Another girl who was in my group is short, moves more slowly, doesn’t know what “sassy” means, and is very cautious about her surroundings.

We were walking through part of the gallery and Sassy was walking, looking backwards, chatting with her friends, nearly running into things. After setting off two alarms already.

I started scolding her. “[Sassy!] Be more careful! Look forward instead of walking all twisted up so—so—you don’t run into things. Stop chit-chatting with your girlfriends!”

Everyone around could hear us, though I wasn’t yelling or anything.

Suddenly Cautious, who was far ahead of us, turned around and shrieked, “You have girlfriends?”

Oh. My. Kimchi.

All of my students burst out laughing. I couldn’t help myself. I doubled over with laugher. “Girlfriends?” she repeated. Everyone else around us broke into smiles. Even the docent laughed.

Her timing and voice were just perfect.

Tin Woman
I can’t remember the name of this piece.

“We Will Drink, And Become Friends.”

“Why are you late?” Special Forces Instructor asks me, in Korean.

“Um, my boyfriend wanted to watch Obama, but we don’t have a TV, so I had to drive him to a friend’s house.”

Two of my classmates look at each other. One says, “I understood ‘Obama'” and the other, “I got ‘television.'”

Special Forces, who I assume wasn’t expecting such an answer laughs, “OK, warm-up.”

We drill, kick after kick in class. He speaks to me in English and slips into Korean. I say nothing, responding in Korean. I like it when we speak Korean.

After class I ask the instructor if he likes soju, and where I can find it since the Korean market doesn’t carry it. He says we should go out for drinks together.

“Yes,” I say, “We will drink, and become friends.”