Chapter 60 The One Where I Small Talk for 210 Minutes…


After a sad morning of goodbyes to my little Seoul family at my hostel I grabbed a train down to Busan. It was a solid 5 hour slog followed by a subway and a rainy walk in the dark but eventually I made it to the Busan language studio cafe to meet Andy who would be my host and boss for the next 10 days. He showed me the cafe briefly and explained I would work there for 4 hours a day chatting to Koreans with a mix of English levels so they could practice their English conversational skills in exchange for my free bed for the duration of my stay. Next we strolled to the apartment building where the other teaching volunteers were also living and I was greeted with total brilliant chaos. The other apartment residents; Valentina, Zuzu, Lelo, Lina, Dane, Chol, Joyce and Olivia made me feel instantly at home and toured me around the crazily messy but very homely house! They soon invited me to join them at the local bar where I honed my pub game skills concluding I am awful at pool and beer pong but actually not bad at darts and out of nowhere I seem to excel at table football…!
The next day was to be my first day at work so I woke nice and early to explore my little local area and make lunch before the class. I found my seat in the airy cafe and had my first chat with an adorable liberal arts teacher from Busan who thankfully did most of the talking in that first 70 minute session. After a short break I was given two teenage boys to chat to which was much harder as one was exhausted and falling asleep at the table and being a 14 year old Korean boy, finding things in common was much trickier. For my final session I had this awful middle aged Korean guy who insisted on stopping me mid conversation to text a girl he fancied followed by a barrage of patronising comments and finally explaining that he was tired of talking so would like to just sit in silence for the final 20 minutes! I was pretty exhausted myself so thoroughly enjoyed my post class coffee and a compare and contrast student gossip session with the other teachers. It soon became clear that we would always get students like my last guy but 80% of the time it was easy and with free accommodation and a kitchen full of basic food I figured it was gonna be worth it! I came home to chill on our beautiful rooftop all afternoon before heading out for kareoke with the girls from the house which was hilarious and led to a serious K-Pop education before bed.
With a day off to look forward to I made a little packed lunch and headed down to Gamcheon culture village which is a hillside town transformed with coloured paint and tonnes of murals making the views from the top beautiful. I grabbed a bus from there down to the jagalchi fish market where I spotted octopuses escaping their little plastic buckets, giant crabs, hilarious marshmallowy and horrifyingly phallic sea creatures and tables upon tables of raw or dried fish for sale. I headed from there into Nampo to Gukje market where stalls of second hand clothing and make shift restaurants sprawled for miles across the streets. After a brief browse I came back to my flat for a evening of completely traveller cliche but rather beautiful session of singing around the dinner table with our resident guitarist and in-house incredible singers (myself absolutely not included!).

(Photos; Gamcheon culture village 1-4, Busan streets near my apartment, the fish market 1-6,  Gukje market, my apartment rooftop 1,2, the inner city river and city views)


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