So, as some of you know, I've been working on a book about my first year in Korea for quite some time. But it's been slow going, mainly because I've been unintentionally unmotivated. So, I've decided that I will post bits on here in the hopes that it will motivate me to write and update it more. Without further ado... here is the first bit.... (Just be aware that it's still a work in progress...)
She stood in the middle of the sidewalk, staring up at the sunless, gray sky. All around her, people rushed passed barely caring to move out of the way for the odd, young foreigner standing in the middle of the wide walkway. Some watched in anxiety as they rushed passed, wondering if she was mentally off-balanced. Others were more polite, and only glanced occasionally to satisfy their curiosity. And still some stared openly, half gawking at the exotic pale skin, blue eyes and red hair, and half wondering why she was staring straight up into the sky.
But the girl stood still, casually taking in the sky and tops of tall buildings as music pumped through her iPod into her ears. She couldn’t hear the quiet, alien murmurs around her or see the endless stares and looks she was receiving. Nor did she care even though she could still feel their eyes on her. After a month in this strange city, she was starting to not notice them.
The silent vibrating of a cell phone in her pocket broke her reverie, though she stared down at her pocket a moment before reaching in, as if contemplating whether or not she really wanted to answer. But curiosity got the better of her as she pulled the tiny silver piece of technology from its warm haven. The name Hyun was displayed above a number as the phone blinked green. Shrugging she flipped it open with one hand as she casually pulled her ear bud out of her right ear.
“Oppa,” she said brightly. Several people walking passed glanced back at her at the sound of the Korean word coming from the foreign lips. “What’s going on?” She casually started walking down the sidewalk.
“Better watch who you say that around, Nora. People might get the wrong impression,” a slightly accented voice replied lightly. Nora rolled her eyes and sighed.
“Yea, right. You know it tickles your old, Korean ass pink to have an attractive, young American woman calling you oppa,” she said, ignoring the nervous glances from the few people walking around her who could understand English.
“Young and American you may be, but attractive...I think you should seek a second opinion with that mouth,” he said.
“Hey, you swear way more than I do,” she shot back.
“Yes, but not as I’m walking down the sidewalk talking on the phone.” Nora stopped and looked around.
“How did you know I was walking down the sidewalk?” she asked.
“Don’t you have class at 3 p.m.? It’s currently 2:50 p.m, and I’m surprised that I guessed correctly that you were on the sidewalk. Normally you would just be walking out the door,” he said wrily. Nora shook her head and kept walking.
“You know me too well, Hyun. It’s scary sometimes. Are you sure you’re not stalking me?” she asked lightheartedly.
“Oh, yes, because I can do that with all my free time,” he said sarcastically.
“Speaking of which, why are you calling me instead of working?” she asked brightly.
“Wanted to see if you were free for dinner tonight,” he said. Nora paused on the sidewalk to go through her mental to-do list.
“Hmm, I think I’m meeting up with some co-workers tonight,” she said.
“Please tell me you’re not going out drinking again,” he said, resignedly.
“You can always join us,” Nora said suggestively as she continued walking down the sidewalk, vaguely aware that she did have to be somewhere in a relatively short time.
“Hmm, not sure I’m in the mood to baby-sit again tonight. Especially since that’s what I did last weekend,” he said. Nora rolled her eyes.
“Seriously, Hyun. I’m not that bad,” she said defensively. “You only had to help me home once.”
“Sorry, my idea of a fun night doesn’t include watching you edge closer to drinking yourself to oblivion, especially considering that you didn’t drink before you got here,” he said with a sigh.
“Fine,” Nora whined. “Don’t come. It’s a work thing anyway.” Hyun hesitated.
“Will Ann be there?” he asked. “I want to make sure someone is there to keep you out of trouble.” Nora sighed. Sometimes she felt as though he took the big brother thing too far. They hadn’t know each other very long, but already the young executive had taken the naïve teacher under his wing and adopted her as his little sister.
“I swear, you’re worse than a real brother,” Nora said, picking up her pace.
“Hey, I want to make sure you end up home safe and not in bed with some loser,” he said, joking but concern was still edging his voice.
“Don’t worry. I’ll be fine,” she said. “Believe me. I don’t want to end up in anyone’s bed any more than you.” Hyun laughed.
“All right. Then enjoy yourself. And make sure you eat a big dinner,” he said. Nora rolled her eyes again.
“Yes, daddy,” she whined as she hung up the phone. Sometimes being friends with Hyun could be a bit smothering. But she couldn’t help but be drawn to him, even though he was five years her senior. Despite his rapidly appearing protective tendencies, Nora always had fun and felt comfortable around him. She found herself meeting him often for dinner or coffee during the week, something that Hyo Son, Hyun’s girlfriend of a year and a half, wasn’t too fond of. She still couldn’t believe that it was nearly a month ago when they met. Thinking about the first time the two met brought a small smile to Nora’s face. Even then they were arguing…