Wishful thinking, I guess – assuming that my Korean coworkers might begin to understand sarcasm by the end of my year here. I let loose a bit of sarcasm this morning, a knee-jerk reaction to a stupid question, and it sent Mr. Kim reeling.
For the past few weeks, I’ve been too lazy to cook my own breakfast. To avoid eating unhealthy snack food, I buy kimbap every morning at a convenience store on my block. Kimbap is a triangular rice snack with meat (or some other filling) stuffed in the middle.
Kimbap is a common sight at every convenience store and grocery store in Korea. So, when he asked me what I was eating, I couldn’t help myself.
Mr. Kim: Wirriam, what are eating?
Me: 해물국 (Hae-mul-guk, which means “fish soup” in Korean)
Mr. Kim: Oh…..yes, okay.
I managed to keep a straight face, despite the fact that he looked terribly confused. He had a concerned look, but didn’t say anything else. He went back to his desk, so I assumed the conversation was over. Wrong. About two minutes later, he walked over to my desk.
Mr. Kim: Wirriam, excuse me.
Me: Yes sir?
Mr. Kim: That thing you eat. Not 해물국. Kimbap. You eat kimbap.
Me: No, the man at 7-Eleven told me these are fish soup. I think I need a spoon.
Mr. Kim: Hmmmmm. You are confusing (he means confused). These things not soups. Soup is very water.
Me: Yeah, I should be careful. I don’t want to spill 해물국.
Mr. Kim: Wirriam, I am sure. These things kimbap. Not soups. I know this.
Me: So….where can I find that spoon?
Mr. Kim: Ummmmm…..I go work now.
This conversation happened about ten minutes ago, and he still seems disturbed by it. I can see him looking over at me out of the corner of his eye every few minutes. Considering the fact that he still thinks I’m mentally disabled, he must think that I am genuinely confused about the difference in kimbap and soup. This is fun.
Until next time.