2.2 Winter 2020-2021

February 8

I told my Korean teacher about Busan Boy because teachers are secret holders and occasional therapists, too, you know.

She agreed he’s a narcissist.

“He obviously had a confidence problem, because he needed to be the one to ditch you. Not the other way around.

“Language exchange, HelloTalk, Tinder… those are not nice guys. You know, I’ve heard from my female American students that men from language exchange will offer them free Korean lessons, then neg them during the lesson so the woman loses confidence and only talks in English from then on. Boom. He gets free English lessons.”

Damn, so sly! And mean.

She then told me this: “That’s why you have to make the decision. Here, I’ll propose an experiment for you. After COVID, of course. Go to a cafe to study Korean. If you see a guy there working on his laptop, quickly write a sentence– but make sure there is an error. Scoot up to him when he’s taking a break and ask him for help. He’ll realize you speak Korean well and compliment you. From there you say, ‘Oh, no I don’t’ and can get to chatting. He might end up having a girlfriend or wife but in any case, he is your choice. You’re not waiting on someone. Especially not someone who is a stalker or creeper or player.”

This is something I’ve done once before– although, it was at 6PM at a bar in my neighborhood and I genuinely needed help from the bartender.

But there’s something in there.

“Yes. I love it. And here, the shy ones I think are the best ones.” I told her. The true nice guys. Every Korean man that’s approached me here has been unsavory, to put it mildly. I think the key here, and in a woman’s life really, is choice. I’m the chooser. What a freeing thought.

There are people I know only in Korean– Freshman, Rachel’s male cousin (and entire family, really)– and those relationships are really special, and feel real.

We briefly debated the merits of accuracy versus fluency. She asked which I think is more important and thinking of my Chinese students, I answered fluency. There are students who make mistakes but speak fast and have a high level of understanding. Students who focus on perfection often miss the details of the interaction.

“Sidenote: I agree with you. And I think you can raise your fluency and accuracy at the same time. You’re my project, remember?” She said.

Last week she said with a bit of study I’m probably around high intermediate. I swelled with pride until I tried to read more than a paragraph of a news article. If I look at a webpage with more than three sentences I die inside.

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Like D.W., I believe my Korean illiteracy opens doors.

One part of my homework was to write about my “ideal type” and my entry became an essay about politics, gender equality, and a sprinkling of Kim Soo Hyun because he’s just so pretty. Obviously, I’m practicing for my future role in international journalism.

Our house dynamic will also be tested by a coming gender upset– tomorrow, another male roommate will arrive. House Owner tells me he resembles The Rock and hails from New York City. She says he himself is an Airbnb host so she hopes he is well behaved. This house is cursed when it comes to male roommates, however, so my expectation would be in the basement if we had one.

Maybe reporting on the strange events of the house is further preparation for my global broadcasting career.

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