It was Sunday evening, my friends and I boarded the train a minute prior to its departure. (After waiting for 8 hours at the station…hahaha!) There was someone seated already on the seat next to where I thought I’ll be sitting. I was not sure though if I was on the aisle seat or window seat. So, I checked my train ticket first before settling down. I placed my violin on the luggage space while my bag rested on my lap. I was not sleepy. I took the book entitled “The Great Gatsby” by Fitzgerald and started reading. I noticed that the man I was sitting with was restless. He looked tired–dead tired. I tried not to make any sound so as not to disturb him. However, his restlessness bothered me a lot. I could not focus much on my book. After reading a few pages, I got my notebook and pen and scribbled few words. Few words became few sentences. Few sentences became few paragraphs. Long before I noticed it, I had already written a five-page journal entry. Hahaha! Tired from writing, I then ate gummy bears. (**wink**) Left with nothing to do with still one hour more ride, I grabbed the Korean magazines in front of me and flipped through the pages. Of course, I could not understand them. A bright idea came into my mind. ”How about if I copy the characters instead and try to read them the best I could?” I talked to myself. So I did. All the while I did not know that Mr 3-11 (assigned seat..hehe) was already observing me. I heard him cleared his throat for two times. Suddenly, he popped out of his silence mode and said something like “jang”. It was the continuation of the Korean word I was trying to read. It was fun. He even taught me the correct romanization of the word. I was amazed with his friendliness. It was far from my imagination. Yet, I was happy with the outcome. From that moment on we conversed till he got off the train.
**I know my experience does not sound special. But for me, it does sound like it is because many people mistake me for someone snobbish, unapproachable and unfriendly. That is why I am so grateful that he did approach me. I am also thankful that he helped me with Hangeul.
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Posted on September 16th, 2008