Woke up at 4:15am and arrived at Seoul Station a full hour before the KTX left at 7:30. Had three donuts and a cappuccino at Dunkin Donuts and memorized some Korean vocabulary. Brought Ulysses to read during the train ride, but ended up talking to the guy sitting next to me. He gave me some excellent ideas about where to work and live. “To say it frankly, you’re very good looking,” he told me, “and the girls must love it. Take advantage.”

Took a taxi from Dongdaegu Station to the EXCO center, arriving twenty minutes to ten. The place was dead, thus I wondered what was wrong. Asking the girls at Information, I learned the horrible truth: nothing that day. My train didn’t depart until 7:21 that night, so I followed their advice to get the 503 bus, sitting in the front. A boy behind me said, “Hello” and I responded, and did so again when he repeated his greeting. One of his four friends asked where I was from and I answered in Korean. They were excited I spoke their language and asked where I lived, how long I’ve been here, why I came, if I like baseball and the Simpsons. One kid asked if I like 짜짱밥 and one of his friends yelled cause it’s Chinese, not Korean. The old lady sitting near was amused and entertained, and the kids gave me high fives as they departed for their baseball game.

Yuna called me (as I had text her to call) so I got off the bus after riding for more than an hour. Asked if she could teleport there and she said she didn’t have the energy and wasn’t sure she could use my energy, that she’d have to “fix it up.” Got to the subway station and sat down as I was still on the phone, and it cut out a few times. Then she said that we should talk later, and I thought, “Later? We’ve already been on the phone for over thirty minutes,” but I said okay anyway.

Went to Duri Station and ate at an octopus place. None of the specials were available on weekends or holidays so I picked spicy octopus vegetable casserole and the owner asked if I liked spicy food. I responded that I did and he gave me some extra spicy sauce. It took me an hour, but I ate everything, including the rice and six side dishes. I felt the food fill my stomach up to my esophagus and almost vomited. The staff were impressed when I left.

Followed his advice to, “Turn straight,” for the park and wandered among the throngs, went to the Information Center and talked to the girl for almost an hour. It was genuinely a very nice conversation/flirting, during which various old men interrupted for entirely no reason and she got so mad every time. After trading contact info, I told her I probably wouldn’t be back except for the conference and she was upset.

Attended the Herb Medicine festival as she recommended, buying a wooden sword (the pamphlet said I could make one) and then making something for Yuna, the college girl sat next to me, told me she lived in Denver (of all places) for seven months.

Spent entirely too much time at the bookstore nearby (I still had an hour and a half to kill) and not only bought a nice new journal but found the Sogang University textbooks and bought the student book and workbook for level 2A. Talked to some cool native English teachers and a native who helped me pick level 2A.

On the train back I sat next to a woman who was preoccupied with her mp3 player and “Stop Worrying and Start Living” book, so I was finally able to read Ulysses. Had to get off the subway twice to Uijeongbu because they kept retiring trains, otherwise an uneventful return trip.

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