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Monday, August 8, 2011

Bad start. Good ending.

As my third ride, I decided to ride my scooter to the bus terminal. I had a trip to Uljin (about an hour and a half away from Pohang) planned and I bought my scooter so I didn't have to rely on the bus. Even though I was a little afraid of riding it at a semi-busy traffic time, I had confidence in myself.

So I'm scooting, scooting, scooting... then it starts going slower, slower, slower. And then stops. In the middle of a busy road, where inconveniently there are no places to get up on the sidewalk. [Enter several obsceneties...]

I've only broken down on the side of the road one other time in my life and that was a horrible experience (long story short, it included a ride in the back of a cop car and three hours at the Gerald, Missouri police station with Officer Joe...). At least this time I knew where I was and had cell phone reception (and didn't cry).

I called a friend who had no idea how to help me (thinking back on it now, not sure why I called you, Jenn!) Then I called the guy who sold the scooter to me, who of course, was of no help as he didn't speak English. Eventually I got a call from a Korean who spoke English to translate the problem/solution between Buddy (scooter salesman) and me. I was told to leave my scooter on the sidewalk with the keys in the seat (Hopefully it wasn't stolen...) and take a taxi to where I was going. Remember, I was going to the bus terminal to catch my bus at 9:30.

I got in my friend's car at 9:23 assuming I'd miss the bus and I'd either catch the next one or leave the next morning. She drives (illegally) to where the buses depart from and tells me to run. I run. I say "Uljin" in Konglish to the first worker I see and I get waved to the bus in front of me. I tried to explain that I didn't buy a ticket yet. I get waved onto the bus... Okay. So I get my wallet out to pay the driver who also waves me to the back of the bus. Alright...

I'd never been to Uljin but my friend told me that the bus I was taking was an hour and a half ride, straight there. Nope. It made about 20 stops along the way. I had no idea when I was supposed to get off. I asked these middle school-looking boys if they spoke English. No. One of the boys mustered up enough courage to try to tell me that my stop was the last stop and it would arrive at, "Eleven hour, forty minute." I applauded his effort. And a little later a woman looks at me and says, "Uljin. No." (The middle school boy had informed everyone else on the bus that the silly waygookin didn't know where she was going and to help me get to Uljin.)

I made it, finally, hungry and with a headache. To much avail, my friend Angela had a lot of yummy leftovers in her fridge and fed me American food that night and the rest of the weekend. The blueberry pancakes Saturday and Sunday morning made my day, week, month and probably year!

The rest of the weekend was spent hanging out with good company at the beach, an outdoor jazz festival and more sun and beach! I was asleep before midnight every night but had so much relaxing fun doing practically nothing. You need those weekends sometimes.

I guess I was (abnormally) cheerful today during my first class (and may have broken out some show tunes). One student asked me, "Teacher. Why you sing? You happy?"

"Yes, Miki, I am happy."

"Why?"

"I had a good weekend."

And then William says, "Teacher. Stop the music," and covers his ears.

Playing cards on the beach because it was raining (note the umbrellas..) 
We were determined to enjoy the beach in spite of the not-so-great weather!

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