Late Saturday morning. The train arrived a little late but R was waiting as planned. We walked to a great authentic Chinese restaurant, following the river bank and he carrying my backpack. The meal was very pleasant.
We remarked that we had rarely had one-on-one time to chat with each other and get to know each other before as we usually used to meet each other at social activities where mutual friends were present. I went alone and saw him perform with his band a couple of years ago, and was introduced to his band mates. I went to see he and his fellow band members perform in Busan one more time, but brought along a friend and he had a woman with him at that time.
I know R from my first phase of life in Korea, in a different town when I first began teaching English in this country. I met him with other foreigners at cultural outings and Korean lessons. He developed a role as a social event organizer, and is a community leader in that regard in Daejeon now, as well as a band leader.
His foreign co-workers band together and do social activities together on a regular basis. Folks in Busan don't do that, although I used to try to set up such occasions. Other than faculty lunches and a coworker's birthday once in a while, we don't generally socialize. Of course, the annual Hallowe'en party night is different, for that is when most of the foreign English teachers go out and can be found together mingling in costume.
After dinner, we just went to his place to guzzle wine and shoot the breeze. It was fun. He had been working a lot this past week as his winter session courses have just ended and he's been doing the grading and reporting, so he felt tired and we fell asleep earlier than we had counted on. He has two short sofas. I slept on one, a visiting cat on the other and he on his proper bed. The cat, and thirst, and disturbances outside woke us up a few times, but we generally slept until 9:00, which he felt was a bit early for a Saturday for him.
His workload is onerous as the base teaching hours is 20 at his institution. That\s right, 20! He says, though, that they often only have 14 to 16 hours of teaching. By comparison, a lot of post-secondary institutions require 12 to 15 base hours for the designated salary, and pay overtime for anything above that base. He does get a one-roomer apartment with the salary.
His one-room is a big larger and laid out better than mine, which is just rectangular in shape and thus more box-like. He has more light and more storage space.
It is good spending time, and getting to know each other more. In these circumstances, there is more intimacy so we feel inclined to disclose more about each other's history and beliefs.
Today, there is a potluck dinner with some of his work mates. The venue was supposed to be another person's home, but that person just called to report she wasn't feeling well, so people are to come here. R is making lasagna for the occasion and has some great French bread to go with it. I'm blogging while he's cooking.
We're getting along well. We went out for a long walk along the river but cut short the outing when the rain got heavier. The taxi took a long time to get through the Saturday afternoon knots in the city centre.
This is very relaxing staying here. Tomorrow I'll have to endure a meeting of about five hours in length in Seoul. R doesn't like the fact that I've got to make a 9 a.m. train.