3 text snapshots

Around 7 pm I heard a soft knock on my office door. I opened the door and a girl on the other side jumped. I don’t know why she would be surprised that the knock was answered, but Korean students are a pretty nervous lot anyway. She started speaking really fast.
“No,” I said. “English.”
She exhaled big and rolled her eyes. Then she smiled and cocked her head. “Take your picture?”

This has happened to me twice now. University students with cameras wanting to take pictures of foreigners. I don’t know what they’re doing with these pictures. I don’t know who’s assigning such homework. I can’t possibly get that far in conversation.

I thought for a second. “OK.”


One of my Korean friends took me out to buy a suit yesterday for a wedding this Saturday. We went to the self-contained megalopolis known as Lotte. When you arrive in the car, they bow and hand you a ticket. When you get to your parking space, they bow and urge you forward. When you go through the front door, they bow and welcome you. They must budget a nice chunk of change for professional greeters.

The only thing I knew was that I didn’t want something shiny. There are way too many shiny suits walking around in this country. I went with something classy. A simple, black, one-button jacket with matching slacks. It retailed for 500,000 won, but with my friend’s discount I got it for 358,000. That included tailoring and delivery.

It was supposed to be delivered today between 2 and 4 pm. It’s now 4:10 pm and it’s not here.


I have a student assistant that I meet with twice a week. She helps me with class stuff and Korean things like the post office and the bank. If I have nothing for her to do, she sits and studies. Yesterday she was studying English.
“What are you learning?”
“Ah, idioms. Okay, good.”

At the end of the day I asked her what she learned.
“At all times. In charge of. At no cost.”
“I see. So when you go to work at McDonalds, your boss is in charge of you at all times. And you get fries at no cost.”

She seemed to get a big kick out of that.


2 Responses to “3 text snapshots”

  1. Who’s getting married, and how much is 358,000 won?

  2. The won:dollar rate usually hovers around $1 to 1,000 won. So just remove the last 3 zeros.

    My friend from Turkey is getting married.

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