Thursday, June 18, 2009

My Lost in Translation #7: Aaron

{Aaron and I went to Korea together. However, our experiences were quite different: I was a wide-eyed first timer, and he was on his second stint as an ESL teacher. He introduced me to Korea and guided me through my first steps living there. We traveled through Asia together, fought cockroaches and burglars, became celebs at our local gym, went for late-night snack runs at 7-11, and teamed up at our school. He agreed to share some of his hilarious stories from his first year. You can now find him at Quietly Loud, writing about the music industry and telling us what the hipsters listen to these days.}

{Seoul, South Korea}

I frequent V.V.'s site on one excuse, her endearing passion for what she loves. Revisiting interests and hammering home prevalances to her daily life overseeds fleeting mentions of trends or passing stories. When Vivian emotes, she is devoted and sincere, yet simple and essential.

After spending two separate sojourns in Korea myself, a held passion for Asia varies from direct discussions on culture and more on the stories entrenched due to cultural differences. From these distinct moments I draw up some stories from the vaults...

The Gift

My korean girlfriend (at the time) was on the phone telling me she had the most incredible christmas gift for me and that I couldn't imagine how happy and surprised I'd be. The latter proved an understatement! The next day I met up with her, and she had this fair sized present in tow, I started to feel a bit guilty and nervous (my not having anything for her yet and her having some big amazing gift for me). Than the moment of truth came and she opened up the bag and whipped out...a small baby blue pillow, with the most feminine lace surrounding the outside, and in the middle of the pillow is a cross-stitched picture of 'winnie the pooh' sleeping under the moon. Understand I am not good with fake emotion, but I gaver...until she announced the kicker...she wanted to get a picture right away with me holding it.

{The aforementioned pillow}

Translation Mishap

One day I walked into the teachers lounge at school, the director (picture a 65 yr old man) confronts me "what does 'peed' mean", I thought I heard him wrong "what?", he repeats "PEED" and continues.. "I've been looking for it in the dictionary, but its not in here". Through a large smirk, I ask him where he heard the word, he hands me a story which the children are doing a test on and the story unfolds that (keep your imagination here) Jim and John are stuck in a boiling pot of soup in which a cannibal has thrown them in with plans to eat them, it elaborates that at such a scary time, for some reason Jim is laughing. The conversation ensues, with John stating "how can you laugh at a time like this?" to which Jim responds "I just peed in the soup". After I got a hold of myself, I realized this respectable elder was still staring at me anticipating my clear definition of the word "PEED", there I was fumbling to explain, thinking do I demonstrate in actions urrr...suddenly I blurted "it means to go to the bathroom, the urinate way". What followed was quite a sight to behold: 3 Korean adults sitting around practicing their pronunciation of "Peed", like it can actually be said wrong!

The Haircut

It's class 'cut and paste' time, which inevitably means get your party hat on. Things are going good, I feel like I have everyone in check, suddenly all the kids are gasping, laughing and pointing at the 'one that got away', immediately I see a somewhat large pile of hair on the ground, a quick glance up and I lost it laughing. 'Danny' decided he wasn't content with his somewhat conservative haircut, so he made the executive decision that creating a significant bald spot about halfway up his right forehead would suit him just fine. No offence to Danny, but he made the wrong choice!... and thats a cut where you can't go back, although he seemed quite overjoyed with the new look regardless. Before I could step in to do something more productive than laugh, a korean teacher overhearing the proud celebrations came flying in,..and as if the 'hairdo' he was now proudly sporting wasn't punishment enough, he got reamed out and the regular but never dulling in amusement, 'stand in the corner with your hands in the air'. Poor kid, he takes the fall for me putting those scissors in his hands, I feel like I could have done something, than again, I don't wanna be blamed for putting the brakes on a potential barber.

Happy Birthday, Aaron! xx


Tracy-Girl said...

I love hearing everything about your trip... I love that you guys were celebrities at your gym. What an incredible journey you had while you were there.

La Couturier said...

I just stumbled upon your blog today; I love the little journal-like entries!

La C.

Kelly said...

This is funny!! Just another piece to a little more of an understanding of how things were for you over there!!

K @ Blog Goggles said...

Haha omg these are great stories. That pillow thing is hilarious and I'm not surprised at all. Fabulous.

Nicole Marie said...

hahaha great stories. and he's a great writer too!

that pillow story is hilarious!

Anonymous said...

wow, great post...
thanks for sharing....

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