I had a new experience today. I know, very surprising. Today is an odd day. It is a Saturday and I had the day fully booked, then my plans all changed and I have spent the majority of the day alone (with the exception of some lovely skype calls this morning). I was supposed to meet a friend for lunch, and when that fell through I made the decision to do something I have never done, I walked across the street and I entered Techno-Mart (exactly what it sounds like, you can buy computers, tvs, iPods, as well as furniture, clothes, books, and the kitchen sink) took the escalator to the basement and walked to…. the food court. The only restaurant in the food court that is not Korean appeared to be a kebab place and it was out of business. I looked at all of the plastic fake food displays (very popular here) and I found myself reading the Hangul (Korean alphabet) printed menus. I settled on a 4,000 won meal of bulgogi and dok (a delicious meat with noodles and something else I can’t describe… a really thick noodle rice cake thing? okay… you wouldn’t understand) and through some hand motions discovered from the adjumma working that it would NOT be spicy.
As I sat down with my receipt and waited for my number to be called (I was slightly confused at first how it worked and through observation learned pretty quickly) I saw a group of high school students enjoying a late lunch. One of the boys was talking to his friends while nodding his head in my direction. I smile and throw up my hands into the Korean V. The boy is so surprised he smiles back and then speaks even more forcefully to the group of friends. They are not to bothered by my presence but oblige him by looking my way.
My number is called. My food is delicious. I know exactly where to get the water (they give you a cup and the water is at cooler stations throughout the food court), I feel like an expert with my chopsticks.
Sometimes I think that I am just getting a big head. I often wonder if I really am making things up or exaggerating how often people look my way. I feel like they can’t be that interested in me and they really aren’t ALWAYS staring. Or if I think they are staring at me they really aren’t. And then I realize that I am not making it up. They really are always looking at me.