Life can get out of hand pretty quickly when you are in a place you don't know surrounded by people your don't know. When a beautiful woman throws herself at you, you kind of forget about everything back home and lose sight of what you are doing. Soon you're in a toxic relationship with a woman you know nothing about, she shows up at strange hours with groceries and gifts, all she wants in exchange is your time.
When you move to a new country, not only is everything different, but you become different. Soon after arriving in Korea my boss informed me that I would have to work on Saturday, however it wasn’t going to be at the office, it was something much more important. We (the foreign teachers) had to impress our student’s parents. The purpose of our presence was to show the parents that we were foreign, that is what they were paying for.
I sat in my apartment waiting to be picked up, the cellphone my boss provided rang, in broken english Mrs. Lee said, “We are running late, we will be 40 minutes.” Often when someone is running late and they tell you how long they are going to be it is usually wrong. Wasting time on YouTube my phone rang again, this time the words came quickly, “We are almost there. Please wait in front of the building.”
Shoes on, out the door, down the stairs, and out side. I meet Josh, my co-worker from across the hall, he is much older than me, he is a republican, something he insists on telling me about. Josh came to Korea after his wife divorced him, he was from Chicago and was actually a teacher. Josh only ate Korean McDonald’s and refused to try the local food, he had a grey moustache and smelt awful.
The boss’s big black gas guzzling car pulled up to our apartment, we both jumped in the back, the leather squeaked under us as we fell into the seats. Josh said, “This car is big for Korea, it must have cost mega won!” Mrs. Lee and her husband said hello then spoke Korean in the front seats. Later Mrs. Lee turned and said, “We are going for dinner after today’s event…. OK?” I wonder if that is a question or an order? It doesn’t matter because I will go, Josh however jumps in and says, “I have plans tonight, I really can’t make it.” They talk and its settled, Josh won’t come. He turns to me and says, “I’ve got a date with a girl from my old school, we are going to Bennigan’s. She’s beautiful and she finally agreed to go out with me.”
Thirty minutes later we arrive at our destination, a crowded river side park. There aren’t any parking spots, so we get out of the car, Mrs. Lee opens the trunk of the car and asks, “Can you carry these tables please? It’s only a short walk.” She points to some grass in the distance, it doesn’t look like a short walk, but than again any walk with a table on your back is going to be long.
Other teachers, parents and students had gathered, many of the kids are already bouncing around, their parents watch silently. There are a couple hundred students in yellow pants and white shirts with blue and orange sleeves. This event is called the Olympics, to set the scene a few students are selected to run in a big circle carrying a burning torch while prolific music plays. Next, a massive South Korean flag is unfolded, a few parents and students are selected, they run around and around as the national anthem is blasted from static speakers.
There are hot moms all around, but one in particular stands out, she is wearing tight yellow pants, a bright yellow puffed vest and a golf hat. She and her husband are wearing matching t-shirts with jugs pouring water and hearts with the word ‘love’. Their daughter has a matching shirt, her’s shows a flower pot with a single flower and two streams of water. I later learnt that these sorts of shirts are common in Korea, they are called ‘couples shirts.’
Josh spots her and comments on how she is the hottest of all the moms, he has seen her before, I agree but don’t say anything more than “Sure.” It’s awkward to talk about this stuff with him, he adds for good measure, “She has a really nice ass for a Korean” then chuckles, this is also true, but I keep quiet. The event goes on for most of the afternoon.
Later in the day, close to the end of the event the hot mom walks up to me with a smile on her face, she is pretty up close. As she gets closer I notice her hands are full of candies. She motions for me to open my hands, then she pours the candies in, she bows and walks away without a word.
Sandy has been writing for 14 years and wrote his first novel after graduating from university. He was first published in an english language Korean monthly newspaper around the time that this story took place. When Sandy isn't writing he is thinking about philosophy or building website for a bank.
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