Friday, September 10, 2010

Of All the Gin Joints In All the World...

Leslie and I went out tonight, as is our usual on Friday, to eat at a restaurant and decompress from the week. We found an amazing resturaunt that served the best food I've had in a while. The place was so small that you could probably walk from one end of the kitchen and out the door in ten steps. The kitchen looked like someone's kitchen in their house and you could watch them prepare your food from your seat.

After the meal, which was ridiculously cheap ($6, no tip - in Korea its considered rude) we went for a stroll where we met up with three other people (Roza, Mia, and Jeremy) we knew from various places. It got me thinking about how small the world is in general, not just Korea or the ex-pat world. Its as if, if you are a world traveler, you meet the same people over and over again. And I am not refering to some personality type that you meet often in different people, I'm talking about literally the same people.

For instance, Roza is an Azerbaijani who moved to America in her teens and spent the rest of her student years there. She, some crazy how, knows this girl - Fidan - I went to high school with. The only justification I can wring out of Roza as to how they know each other, is a non-committal shrug and "She's Azeri". Which I suppose is enough explanation for her - she tried to explain how small the country is - but to me, it is not in the least bit enlightening. I mean, she can't know everyone in the country - no country is that small.

Further proof that the world really has less than six degrees of separation is the fact that Stephanie and I learned to ski at the same resort in Garmisch-Partenkirchen; and that my first and second grade Music teacher (from Kenya) goes to Leslie's church. Here in Suji. Dare is say it? It's a small world after all.

We ended the night looking into a Kpop dance class for Roza. Roza loves Kpop even more than Leslie does - and Leslie will sometimes stop a conversation mid sentence to listen to a song on a loud speaker. And even though Leslie and Roza have discovered in each other their long-lost Kpop soul mates (Seoul mates?), Leslie doesn't have the energy for Kpop dance class on top of her ridiculous work schedule. She did, however, know of a class that was nearby so we decided to check it out.

What followed was a tri-lingual conversation between the dance instructor, Roza and Roza's friend Mia who is Russian-Korean (born to Korean parents in Uzbekistan when it was still part of the Soviet Union). The Instructor would attempt to start a sentence in English, end up in Korean, at which point Mia would translate it into Russian, and Roza would respond again in English or broken Korean. Leslie and I watched the exchange feeling very monolingual. Wait, scratch that, Leslie speaks Hawai'ian. So, really, I was the only mono-linguist in the conversation. Bleh, I need to get on that.

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