11/16/2007

Why Are People Touching Me?!



Today's been incredibly long, but I promised myself I'd post before going to bed. I woke up super early to go to the gym. I knew I'd be eating like a cow today so I had to do damage control. So, at 8am I rolled into the gym with my hat and coat on (40 degrees this morning!!) I ran for a little bit, did the elliptical for awhile. All pretty standard. Then I trudged over to the ab machines. I really wasn't in the mood to do it, but I'm a robot so it happens whether I want to or not. So, this woman comes up and starts using the machine next to me. No biggie right? I mean, there were 3 machines to share. Out of the corner of my eye though, I noticed her glancing at me out of the corner of HER eye! I was getting a little weirded out. Then I noticed she was moving at the exact same pace as me (which, for any other gym freaks out there, is REALLY irritating...). Up...1,2,3...Down...1,2,3....Up...1,2,3,4....Doooooooowwwwwnnnn. I mean, she was totally mimicking me. So I looked over at her and smiled politely and she smiled back, pretending like I didn't notice she'd been tagging along on my workout. And before I knew what hit me, she reached out and touched me! She rubbed my leg and started jammering in Korean and laughing shyly. I tried to wipe the horrified look off my face, but it was stuck. My reflexes didn't even function. I just sat there dumbfounded...and she went back to working out. WEIRD!! So I got up and moved onto a different machine. I put my iPod back on and got lost in my workout.

But....

not even 5 minutes later, I had ANOTHER visitor. This time, it's the Cute Trainer Guy. I was in the middle of a set and he just popped up and started chatting me up. I'm sweaty and gross and all I really wanted was to come in and work out for an hour and go home!! WHY ARE PEOPLE BOTHERING ME?! So, I stopped and chatted. Cute Trainer Guy is harmless. He's very nice and I think he enjoys practicing his English. I managed to wrangle some information out of him, too. He has 2 jobs - one in Bucheon from 6am - 3pm and another one back in Seoul (where he lives) from 3-1130pm. He was "very tired" he said. Not surprising. As we're chatting along, I felt this....presence at my backside. Some middle-aged man wandered up on us and started jammering in Korean! Obviously, I don't speak Korean but I know some words. He was talking to Cute Trainer Guy and said, "Migook?? Jamaica??" Migook means American...And well, OBVIOUSLY, Jamaica....so I said, "No no, not Jamaica. New York City." (No, I'm not from New York City, but it's the one city everyone knows here). And creepy older guy said, "Ohhhh. A lot of gyms in New York City??? I saw you...first day....all time here. Nice to meet you." Ok so maybe he's not so creepy, just a curious man. Ok, crisis averted....

But THEN Cute Trainer Guy just starts staring at me...and I said, "What???" I was beginning to feel uncomfortable. And he said, "You are...very beautiful." Hmmmmm.....thanks but I'm looking like Patrick Ewing in the 4th quarter right now. So I said thank you three times because the silence was unbearable. What the heck was I supposed to say?! Then he touched my arm...and mumbled something about my unrecognizable bicep muscle. Thank goodness customers came in and he had to go. I got outta there as fast as I could. Didn't even finish my workout. Damn...

Later tonight, my Directors took all the teachers out to dinner at a nice galbi place (Korean barbeque grill type place). It was very nice. And I ate entirely too much. In fact, I fell over trying to put my shoes back on, which was very funny to witness. So after eating the equivalent of the Last Supper (sans Judas), my coworkers wanted to go out AGAIN! I tried to wiggle my way out of it, but I couldn't. So we went to a Japanese restaurant. Let me tell you something - I'm not one of those mindless eaters. I don't eat when I'm not hungry (except gummi bears). After dinner, I had no desire to go have ANOTHER dinner! And I don't even drink anymore. So I asked Steve, "Um, why are we going to a restaurant? We just ate...a lot. I don't get it.." He said, "Oh, you know we're just gonna have some drinks and appetizers...we just eat for no reason. Doesn't matter if we're hungry or not"

ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?!?!?!?!? ARE YOU SERIOUS??!?!?!? I just ate an entire cow 15 minutes ago!!! Did you see me inhale that cow?!?!

For the first time, I really felt entirely out of place. As I sat there, watching my coworkers drink Soju (don't drink Soju...it will mess you up GOOD) and eat again, I just turned sour. I didn't want to be there. I wanted to be at home, listening to music, and resting my overextended belly. I had NO idea what anyone was saying. The two people that did speak English did me no favors by trying to involve me. I know about 20 Korean words and half of those are the numbers from 1-10. I was not gonna be jumping in, interrupting the flow of conversation. It was just awkward. To make things worse, while I was sitting at the table, a group of drunk businessmen next to us was staring at me, which made all my coworkers stare at me. I said, "What? Do I have a booger in my nose? Did I offend someone??" Steve said, "No, they're staring at you because you're different....in a good way" Gee, thanks for letting me know! I had no idea I was "different" in Korea, but thanks for staring at me for 15 minutes. I'm well aware now! So anyway, Steve was already tipsy and he was mad that I was leaving but oh well. They were headed to the norebang (singing room) after dinner #2. No thank you!!

And now, here I am, sublimely happy....listening to music and resting my belly :)

2 comments:

Vakker Kvinne said...

foot in the ass. . .four words likely to save you in a new country.

W

Au Naptural said...

So thaaaaat's how they do it in Korea! Eat big ass meals to cushion the blow of the strong ass liquor. Then go out and dance and sing off the calories. Hmmmm