Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Hi! Where Are You From?

Three guys from somewhere other than here approached me as I left school tonight. If I were to guess, I would say Pakistan? Next time I see them I'll ask.

I think I've mentioned before that I am only one of a tiny handful (read: about three) of waygook sarams in my neighbourhood. The other two are just mythical legends as I've never actually seen them. They're unicorny. Actually, to be honest, I am only one of three white-style waygook sarams. In the buildings surrounding my schools, there are lots of other waygooks. They work at the many factories around the area, and some hail from places like the Philippines, Indonesia, parts of India, and Sri Lanka. By and large, they're men. I always smile and say hello, but haven't really talked to any of them at length. Groups of them are waiting for the shuttle bus which ferries them to and from their jobs as I'm headed home for the day. We're kind of like those sheepdogs passing each other in the Wile E. Coyote cartoons.

The conversation with the three fellows tonight started on strange footing, as they approached me and called me "adjumma," which made me laugh. Then they proceeded to talk to me as if I was Korean, which is odd, because I think they can speak fairly decent English. Anyhow, what I gather is that one of their friends wants to speak with me for a few minutes about Canada. I said "sure!" and gave them my e-mail address.

I never know, really, what to do when I'm approached by someone who's interested in me just because I'm sporting my goofy white face. I like it better than, say, high school kids who scream "hello," and "I love you," and (*ugh) "puckin' USA," or whatever English phrases they've learned watching music videos or wrestling.

But when an adult comes up to me to chat and invite me to join them for a meal or drinks at a future date, I never know how I should respond. I'm not interested in accepting private students, and I'm not really looking for people wanting to take advantage of me as a free conversation practice tool. On the other hand, I'm always interested in meeting new people, and some of the most rewarding friendships I've had here have started by chance encounters, much like the three fellow on the street today. I don't want to slam the door shut on what could be something fun, even though I sometimes can't make out the intentions of someone who's gathered enough courage to come up and speak to me.

Two such women came up to me not too long ago at a shopping mall. I'm always polite, and gave them my e-mail address when they asked for it. Then I got this e-mail from them:
Hello, Jenny.
I'm the girl you met at the Lotte mart. ^^
Simplely spreaking, me and my friends need some foreing friend to help us.
we study on every wednesdays and fridays. I think if you come to us on Friday,
we can have some beer or something sometimes. ^^
It is true we need some kind of tutor but we also need to 'FRIEND' who meet easily and have a great time. we meet tomorrow at the lotteria at 8:40 PM. join us, just come over. ^^ I hope we can meet you soon Thank you and bye.

Sounds like some volunteer work to me, so I think I'll pass.

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