Side Dish

Last night I was introduced to Soju, the Korean equivalent of Sake. If your interest is peaked and you feel like playing bartender you can make some easily enough at home: two parts rubbing alcohol to one part water. Voila!

I was able to stand this afternoon around 1:30, so I gnawed on an apple for sustenance and hauled myself to Starbucks. I’d just taken a seat with my whole wheat egg & cheese bun (which turned out to be a whole wheat egg, cheese and mushrooms bun) when I was approached by an older foreigner. “Where are you from?” he asked, and obviously I replied, “America.” “Never heard of that place before,” he joked. And then, because I didn’t particularly favor company and couldn’t decide if this guy was creepy or normal I didn’t invite him to sit down at my table or, you know, say anything while smiling. Despite my stand-off-ishness he sat down at the table next to me and we had a pleasant enough conversation over the course of which I learned that somewhere in China there’s a man with three wives (one in Australia, two in China) and a few girlfriends on the side. As I finished my latte the man made a call to his wife, after which he nonchalantly disclosed, “Now my wife is lying to me.”

“Oh?” I asked.

“She told me she’s going to dinner with her mother, but I just called her mom and she said my wife’s going to dinner with Katie.”

I smiled politely and tried to laugh about it. “So what does that mean?”

“Well, my wife’s going to dinner with someone and she doesn’t want me to know who. I’m gonna call Katie now.” And so, not wishing to stick around and find out if a complete stranger’s wife was possibly cheating on him, I picked up my things and said, “I’ve got to go, actually, I have tests to grade.” He laughed at my apparent excuse and we parted ways amicably enough. I really did have tests to grade.

And that is why I’ve made only one foreign friend outside my school since moving to China.

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