Sunday, March 21, 2010

Alex Fest, Day 2

After the instruments of doom I went to get my hair cut, and actually succeeded in communicating what I wanted. This is a bigger feat than it sounds. When I told a co-worker about how I needed to get a hair cut but was nervous because my Korean is so bad and they never seem to do what I want, she burst into laughter.
Me: What's so funny?
Co-worker: I am Korean. I speak Korean...and they still don't do what I want.
~~Giggling ensues.~~
Co-worker: If you bring a picture, it works much better.
Me: Aha! Amazing! I'm glad to know it wasn't JUST because I was mangling the words...

At first when I walked in, the ajossi behind the counter was just like 'anneeyo!' (no!) despite my polite greeting and mini bow. I think he was just stressed out about communicating in Korean or English with someone who wasn't Korean. However, I persevered, because a friend had recommended this place to me as an alternative to trekking into Busan to one of the 'international' salons. After about 30 seconds of hearing me stutter away in broken Korean, showing my picture and miming and the receptionist looking very unfriendly, a hair washing girl walked right up to me and said (in a very warm, friendly manner) 'what do you want?' I explained in Korean and English that I wanted a trim and then dried and styled like the photo. She smiled, translated to the receptionist who grunted and pointed to a hair stylist. After that, I was treated like any other patron, which is to say, very well. I wasn't upset, I understand that it's stressful to try to understand someone who is butchering your language and making your job difficult. Besides, I ended up with a fabulous hair cut and feeling much better than I had directly after my torture session. My hair dresser didn't speak much English but the more I managed to relax and put together sentences in Korean, the more she relaxed and asked me questions in a mix of Korean and English when I didn't understand the Korean words. It was like, the more I made mistakes in her language, the more it was okay for her to make mistakes in English in front of me.

When I got home, I grabbed a purse friendly book (Factotum by Charles Bukowski) and went over to the park down the street.  I laid down on a bench and read in the sun and my afternoon was punctuated only by greetings from my students who were there to play.

That evening, the Female Kiwi, the Partial Asian, Hooligan 1/Cragon and I got together for some amazing Korean barbecue. Then we went to the Hemingway to meet up with some more people and eat chocolate cake. What's that you say? A baked good that wouldn't ruin my evening?!! That's right, I have the best friends ever. The Female Kiwi got a vegan cake recipe, I contributed a bar of my precious Swiss chocolate and a bottle of lemon juice, Happy Starfish Girl contributed the use of her oven and somehow, somehow my cake got made.

Yummy, yummy cake. So I failed at taking a picture of this (though I tried) but yesterday was a ridiculously bad yellow dust day. Time to bring the face masks out! Go look at the picture a fellow k-blogger, Roboyseyo took when he was in town this weekend.

Next we made the long trek into Busan for dancing and craziness.  There were many people involved...none of which I got permission from to have posted on my blog. Just imagine 10 crazy foreigners dancing up a storm and getting the Koreans around them dancing and partying too. I like birthdays. Everyone is very lovely, buys you drinks and goes where YOU want to go next. Quite fabulous. If I want to stop for a snack, everyone stops for a snack! None of this, Alex, you JUST ate a pound of flesh at the restaurant and 4 pieces of chocolate cake. Well, okay, they did say that but it was in a loving way while they patiently waited for me to finish eating my gyro. A girl gets hungry!

Coming up: Alex goes to a Buddhist monastery on her birthday for bibimbap, a talk on dharma and traditional calligraphy class. Lots of pictures, I promise.

7 comments:

SETH said...

Big yellow dust day in Bejing,
so I guess it made it down to Busan

Nancy K said...

You look gorgeous and grownup! Well, you've been grown up for a while, but you know you'll always be my little girl. Love the hair.

Rachel S said...

Absolutely love the hair style! Wow! Can't wait to read about your visit to the monastery. When Grandmother and I were in Portugal, we stayed in an old monastery that was turned into a type of hotel. It was still very calm feeling and fascinating to me.

Alex said...

@Seth/Dad Yeah, it has been pretty bad in Seoul all week but it just made it down here yesterday. Was clear and gorgeous today but I bought a new face mask just in case.

@Nancy/Mom Thanks! I love the hair too! Still the same cut basically, I just had them style it glam for my birthday.

Alex said...

Cool! I'm staying overnight in a functioning monastery in April. Doing temple stays is very popular among Koreans and tourists. It's a good experience and the cost helps support the monks and the buildings.

Josh said...

I agree with the parental units! you look super-fab! maybe a little crazy with the happy pre-chocolate eating face!

Alex said...

Thanks! ...and I'm ALWAYS crazy. :-D