There I was standing on a street corner just outside of Hapjeong-dong station, thinking about what I should have for lunch, when I heard a familiar voice shouting amongst the traffic sounds. Looking around, I knew that voice… and I thought to myself, nah it cannot be... It’s impossible he’s not supposed to be here for another week? Justin he’s still supposed to be in Yeosu, teaching.
I turn my head, as if I cannot hear his voice shouting through the crowded street corner. I laugh as I know he is approaching. When I think he’s within arms reach, I turn abruptly thrusting my arms out in lavish gestures, and say in a very loud, very high voice, “Oh Justin! Where have you been all my life!” And I proceed to pull him closer giving him a bear hug. We laugh like idiots. The Koreans’ smile and nod around us.
“Justin, what are you doing here? I thought you were coming up next week?” I say. “I was going to wait it out and then they cancelled the last week of classes. It’s unreal. This has never happened before. So, here I am. What are you doing?”
“Well buddy. I was just contemplating grabbing a bowl of that red noodle with egg. Agh, man, what is that called again?”
“Agh James, you are thinking of hoe naengmyeon. May I join you? I am famished.” “Certainly old friend. Let us feast until our bodies cannot eat anymore. What about that place Mee-young and you, took us to last time? The one with the rooftop patio?” “Perfect, suggestion. Let’s go.”
Justin and I, strolled up Jandari-ro 6-gil talking about the last 6-weeks of life, work and living in South Korea until we the street ran into Eoulmadaeng-ro. Here we stood surveying the wreckage along the street from last nights festivities, because every night in Seoul is a night to be out and about. The two of us, looked at each other, looked at the cafe doors standing wide open, inviting us across the street, as our stomachs growled in anticipation of a couple bowls of spicy hoe nanengmyeon.
~ James Curtis