Saturday, September 27, 2008

Lost in translation...

This evening I met a friend for drinks. It wasn't anything out of the ordinary. However, there were 2 men at the table next to ours, and the one kept looking over at us. He eventually started speaking to my friend (who is Korean) and was asking questions about me... where I'm from & what my job is.

The reason he was asking my friend about me is because he couldn't speak English.

After they left, 2 girls sat at the same table & started randomly talking to me. After asking where I'm from, they asked my age... then asked if we could be friends. Just like that. When they asked what job I do, I didn't say "English teacher", but "journalist".

I've noticed that when I tell Korean's that I'm an English teacher, their interest in me grows...because they think that by speaking to me, their English will improve.

They wanted to follow my friend and I to another bar when we were joined by 2 other guys (a friend of my friends, and his friend... who came to keep me 'company', I guess?!). Anyways, these two girls were only interested in speaking English to me because I was a foreigner. They ended up not joining us at the second bar.

So my friend & I moved to another bar with the 2 additons, who we'll call PH & NS. PH keeps in touch with my friend on a regular basis. PH & NS's English is quite limited.. so we all agreed that during the evening we'll speak English, Korean, Konglish & Body Language!

It was only fair... since the group was comprised of 3 Koreans & 1 foreigner (me).

PH is generally a quiet person, so I tried making conversation with NS...who only responded with giggles or... wanted to top my glass up with what we were drinking.

I was hanging by a thin thread & running out of conversation topics with NS (my friend helped with English - Korean translation every now and then).

I was getting pretty tired from talking.. and just sitting & doing nothing so I was getting a bit sleeping. An hour and a half later, I said I wanted to go home. My friend was pushing me to talk more to NS, but I was getting irritated since he wasn't speaking either.

Anyways, bottom line is ~ I've been here for nearly more than 13 months, and I am very comfortable with the lifestyle & mannerisms of the people here. At least, I thought I was.

But... it appears that the longer I stay here, the more of a foreigner I feel.

I had this conversation with someone during the week ...language is VITAL between people. If there's no language, the relationship is based on ... what? Maybe just physical acts? That just isn't enough. Of course, this is entirely my opinion.

So to end the story, I took a cab home and here I am... about to go to bed.
Good night ~~

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