Met up early morning with “Samchon” (korean name for “uncle”) as my friend prefers to be called, for a easy 2 hour hike along the Seoul Fortress Wall. The sky was hazy but the weather really nice, hot but with a cool breeze. It’s been a few months since we last met, as samchon’s been really busy. He showed me his schedule for the next month and it’s packed every weekend with golfing trips with his colleagues and friends. I was surprised he’s making a trip to Japan to golf. He laughed when he told me it, because he has very few good things to say about the country. He said the food is good and he can enjoy his travels there, but nonetheless the Japanese are always trying to “rock the boat” as he, to my surprise, expressed in English. His english is really limited, but he’s clearly using a phrase book to study because some of the expressions he used impressed me. Nonetheless, at this point, we speak primarily in Korean but I still help him practice.
Today, we met for a hike and finished with a meal and beer as we usually do. The restaurant we chose doesn’t sell beer, but allowed us to purchase some next door. They said they usually don’t let customers do that, but it’s okay today. I waited for the food as Samchon went to the nearby convenience store. Once he came back and we drank beers, he made it clear the tall bottle was mostly for me. He said “I’ll have one glass, you drink the rest”. He told me he went out with coworkers last night and drank more than usual so had a headache this morning. He encouraged me to enjoy the beer and filled the cup as soon as it got a little low. He’d remind me to “enjoy the beer” as we spoke. After our meal, despite saying how full he was, he took us to get Busan style Odeng (Busan = southeastern port city, Odeng = fish patties), ordered 4 sticks and ate really quickly.
During lunch today, he told me he’s thinking about me a lot even though we haven’t been able to meet. He said I’m always on his mind. He’s been somewhat of a teacher to me here in Korea, and it’s great to have the extra support from someone who knows there way around this culture far better than me. He’s one of the few people I know who eats faster than me.