I have always enjoyed David Sedaris’ work, be it on his occasional contributions to This American Life or his books. I’m not sure if I said it before, but I always wished that I was born a Sedaris. How fun it must be to have Amy Sedaris as a sister. Anyway, his book Me Talk Pretty One Day really connected with me because I am also trying to study Korean, and just like him at the time, my relationship with the language moved from utter despair and confusion, to learning to live with and be amused at how dumb I must sound.
The dumb fish out of water experience added with the awkwardness of the language. Let me present a semi-fictional minute-by-minute autobiographical chronicle of a club-going experience in Suwon, a satellite city of Seoul. This was written in Korean, Google-translated to English.
6:34 pm I met my boss’s son. He came with two friends. His English name is “Yun”. I said it’s not an English name. “English, no! English, no!” He was a bit angry about it. “English, yes!” he insisted.
7:50 pm After dinner, I went to the club in Suwon. I thought it was too early. In the club there was no one.
8:00 pm In the club there was no one yet. The club gave us watermelon and bananas. Because loud music my head hurt.
8:32 pm The waiter brought two women outside. They didn’t seem happy. Yun how to drink taught us. I called it Titanic.
8:47 pm Two women left. In the club there was no one else.
9:03 pm Yun said he needs patience to succeed. He started studying English with me.
9:16 pm The waiter picked up three women from outside. It was like they came from a birthday party. I brought a half-eaten cake.
9:20 pm Yun wanted me to shake the “gangsta” handshake on the girls. I don’t know that. I’m really angry.
9:28 pm Three women left. They forgot the cake.
9:30 pm I learned the price of drink. A bottle of shochu was 7,000 won. A bottle of Cass was 10,000 won.
9:41 pm I finished the cake. Yun said he needs confidence to succeed.
9:49 pm The waiter brought two women outside. They seemed really drunk. Yun talked about the military experience. Although his story was passionate, they seemed boring.
10:02 pm Two women left. In the club there was still no one else as there was a ghost.
10:03 pm I realized that Korean club is so different than Canadian club.
10:32 pm In the club there was still no one else yet. Yun’s friend we go to the Salsa Club suggested. Yun forced me to go with them.
10:45 pm We left. The fruit bowl was 50,000 won. The fruit is very expensive! Yun said he paid. He is my brother.