Last week I had the opportunity to meet one of my very first language partners for dinner on Wednesday as well as for an entire afternoon on Friday. We have stayed in touch over Kakaotalk since he went back to Korea after completing his exchange year in Copenhagen back in 2013, and we finally managed to meet again now that he dropped by Denmark for a quick visit during a vacation from graduate school in France.
Admittedly we didn’t speak a lot of Korean except for a few sentences here and there since our common language has always been English so that’s become our default language, but we did get to eat Korean food and enjoy each other’s company. Also, at dinner we were placed close to another table where a Korean and a Dane were obviously having a business meeting, which made me very aware that if I could hear their conversation (“ten million” “… before or after tax?”) they could likely hear us just as clearly.
A few moments to remember:
Realising that my phone’s settings are in Korean while his are in French.
After overhearing him speaking with two Koreans, nodding at the right times, and being able to translate afterwards:
Him: Oh, you understood!
Me: I understand more than you think
Him: Well done, we spoke quite fast
Him [to himself]: oh this could be dangerous…
After taking a picture of us together at a book cafe – with him being obviously much closer to the camera than me because of the angle:
Him [looking at the photo]: your head looks so small! just like that book!
At that I just started laughing, knowing full well that in Korea that’s a compliment, but in Denmark it just sounds a teeny bit odd
Him: that’s a good thing! Well, I’m close to the camera, but still
A bit of Korean daily life right there in Copenhagen.