Sunday, May 24, 2009

Memo: I'm Still White

While in Indonesia, I felt like more of a foreigner than I ever did in Korea. On a related note, I also felt extremely Korean. Habits like bowing or handing people money with two hands die pretty hard, apparently.

But nonetheless Korea wanted to remind me that I'm still a weigukin. I was taking a walk during my free period at work the other day and ran across a kid tearing down the street in a Tae Kwon Do uniform. I smiled, since he seemed puzzled or at least intrigued by my existence. He stopped and bowed.

"Annyeung haseo [Hello]," he said.

"Annyeung haseo!" I returned his bow. I'm not sure what the protocol is on adults bowing to kids, and whether or not foreigners are expected to bow at all, so I hover a bit more towards the "nod of the head" range rather than the "full-on bow" range.

And then, out of nowhere:

"WEIGUKIN!!" he shouted, pointing at me.

"Nae [Yes]," I said, and stuck my tongue out. He replied to this with something more in Korean, but my comprehension of the language pretty much ends there. I waved and continued on my walk.

Right on, Korea. Right on.

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