I used to live in a city where spotting a Korean is a very rare situation. I’ve only seen scary-looking 아저씨들 doing some grocery shopping with their Filipina wife at the supermarket about once or twice and a small group of exchange students leisurely walking around the mall. I’ve never talked to a Korean in real life before because I have no Korean friends and I’m not the type of person who randomly blurts out 안녕하세요 to every Korean person I see. I’ve always admired some of my kpop friends who have the courage to approach Koreans and say hi even though they know nothing much about the language. I don’t have the guts to do so because I’m shy in real life but I’ve always wanted to try having a face-to-face conversation with a Korean. I’ve always wanted to know what’s like and the chance finally came. God knows how long I’ve waited for it to come.
I met this Korean friend on Facebook a little over a month ago. He aid he’ll be in town for a business trip. I asked him to buy some second hand Korean novels for me. I told him my budget and to buy just one or two books. But he ended up buying 6 books. My jaw dropped when he told me that. 6 books for approximately $20. Haha.
We finally met last Friday. I didn’t go alone, of course. That’s just scary. I went together with Arin, a friend who I also met not too long ago on Facebook. The three of us planned this meetup about a week before his flight to Manila. Hours before, Arin and I were sort of freaking out because our speaking skills isn’t at par with our reading skills. I simply cannot explain exactly how I felt as we headed to where he was waiting for us. My hands were sweaty and cold. I was so nervous. He was tall but Arin and I were expecting a much taller guy. He looked young for someone who’s in his mid(?) 30s.
Well, we really didn’t get to talk a lot or have a deeper conversation with him because our Korean was limited and he was doing most of the talking. I feel like all we ever did was eat and listen to him talk. He bought us huge ass burgers which I didn’t get to finish. We were supposed to pay for coffee but he ended up paying for it as well. I feel bad to be honest and to top it off, I didn’t get to prepare a gift for him. So that made me feel even worse.
Surprisingly, the meetup wasn’t awkward as I had expected. But I was really frustrated that I couldn’t express well what I wanted to say in Korean. My brain was a mess and it was a nerve-wracking experience. It was either I knew what to say but the words just wouldn’t come out or I didn’t know what grammar point to use. Lol.
When Arin left, he and I got to talk more when he walked me home. (Whenever I tell this part of the story to my other friends, they were like “Aww, it’s like you two were on a date” 개소리 하지마! 좀! ㅡ__ㅡ;; ) He lit a cigarette as soon as we stepped out of the mall. When we reached the apartment building, I wanted to wait for him to get a cab so I could take note of the plate number. It was pretty late and it’s kinda dangerous for anyone (especially a foreigner) to go alone at night. But he insisted that I go inside and not worry about him. He finished his cigar, shook hands with me and left as soon as I walked inside.
When I got home, I realized I needed to study and practice more so that the next time the three of us meet again, I’d be able to say what I really want to say and thank him wholeheartedly instead of simply saying “오늘 너무 즐거워서 정말 감사했습니다”.
1. 아홉살 인생
3. 그대를 사랑합니다 1-3