Sunday, November 29, 2009

"Hangul mal mulah-yo"

Chris: Before my last entry there was a four-month gap between posts. This was probably due, in part, to the fact that my little discoveries have become littler and littler. I increasingly feel at home here. But my Dad keeps asking me to write, so....
(The movie "Meet the Spartans" is on the TV in the background. Holy shit! Aggressively unfunny. I'm so astonished by its awfulness that I just can't change the channel.)
Months ago my boss gave me a Korean name, just for a laugh really. I wanted to be called Min Gyu. I don't know why, I just like the name. Instead he gave me Gil Su. The "G" sounds a bit like the "k" sound, and the "l" is very subtle. So it kinda sounds like how my students say my English name, ie. "Chris-su" or "Chris-uh".
I'm not about to adopt this my Korean name for real any time soon but lately I do feel as though I'm blending in a little here. My Korean-style gestures have become so automatic that I do them amongst my fellow foreigners. When handing something to them I touch my right arm with my left hand. My Korean is still terrible but if the conversation is familiar and basic I can often get by. I even find myself automatically using Korean exclamations such as "assah!" and "aish!"
My Korean would improve exponentially if I put in a real effort, but being a lazy sod is not the only reason I don't know more of the language. I don't mind wandering around not knowing what is going on around me. In fact, I often prefer it that way. Things seem more wondrous and magical this way. For example, when I see my elderly landlady talking with her friend on the sidewalk whilst drying chillies or seaweed or some mysterious vegetable/herb that I can't place, I can imagine them debating the tenets of Confucianism or swapping vivid war-time stories full of pathos. I don't want to know that they're really comparing ailments or bitching about the music volume from the round-eye tenant.

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