This afternoon I walked through the city. While I walked I looked for glimpses of the familiar. I don't so much mean that I was homesick and looking for a touch of something comforting. It's more that I was completely lost and hoping to spot anything that I recognized, anything that might hint at where under the blue Bucheon sky I was. And while I walked I asked myself one very relevant question over and over, thinking that if I kept asking I might come up with an answer. Without an answer I wasn't sure I could tell the unfolding story to anyone. They would probably ask the same question I was asking myself, and it's the kind of question that I feel pathetic answering with 'I don't know.' I begin with this because I still don't know the answer to the question, but I'm going to tell the story anyway. So, when we get to the part where you feel compelled to ask, 'Why did you get out of the taxi?' please don't bother. I've already asked, and I simply don't know.
After church today I took the subway back into town and decided to grab a taxi home instead of taking the bus, as I usually do. This was partly because I wanted to stop at an ATM at the Hyundai Department Store and it was easy to take a taxi straight there, then just walk the last couple blocks to my apartment.
The taxi driver was very friendly. He spoke a little English and was amused by my Korean, so while he drove we had our conversation in double. He would say 'So nice to meet you' and I would reply appropriately, then remember that I knew that phrase in Korean and reply again with my 'Pangap samnida' for which he would offer an appropriate response. I was so caught up in our chatter that I didn't pay attention to where we were. When he stopped the cab and triumphantly announced 'Hyundai Department Store' I noted that I didn't recognize the buildings outside my window, but I paid him anyway and got out of the taxi. (Resist the temptation; you can do it.) He drove away and I began wondering where I was.
I stopped wondering where I was 20 minutes later when I spotted the top of the driving range at Lake Park. It was still a 10 minute walk to Lake Park (it's a pretty tall driving range) and another 20 or 30 from there to the Hyundai Department Store. It would have been a much shorter walk from the subway station. On the plus side, about a third of the walk was on a lovely walking path that follows a stocked creek along the side of a beautiful park. I didn't know that was there and I'm excited to visit it again sometime, with deliberation.
Besides that I don't have much to tell this week. Classes are going well. The kindergarten kids went to the Kid's College farm this week to plant sweet potatoes. It was a nice deviation from the mundane. There were a lot of spiders, though. My second graders all failed their test over the future tense on Monday, so we've been drilling it all week and they passed it on Friday with a lot of moans and groans and 'can this be the last question, teacher?'ses.
On Saturday I went to the park with some friends from Korean class to enjoy the blossoms and nice weather. That evening I went out with some coworkers for dinner and dancing and general cultural enrichment. This evening some of the girls from Korean class decided to have a girls night in. We were going to make cheesecake and eat popcorn and watch movies. The girl with the DVD player forgot to bring it and the girl in charge of the popcorn neglected to confirm that the hostess owned a microwave (I'm afraid that was me) and somewhere along the lines the cheesecake idea was dropped completely. So instead we drank grape juice and played rumicube. Still a decent enough girls night in, I think.
At any rate, it's getting a little late and I'm quite tired. I also have a leg cramp. So, I'm going to eat a banana (celebrate potassium) and hit my firm Korean mattress as gently as I can (to avoid bruising ...)
ps Since I didn't take any pictures this week, I offer instead a poem by the good Mr. Milne:
John had great big, waterproof boots on.
John had a great big, waterproof hat.
John had a great big, waterproof mackintosh,
And that (said John) is that.