Thursday, February 17, 2011

Marmite, Y of Yonsei and Bad Englishee (23 January)

NZ2 has invited Catfish and I over for tea and probably lunch too because, let’s face it, we all know that we’re probably going to end up spending the day together no matter how much we say otherwise.  Tentative arrangements were made last night via text so, this morning, we confirm things via skype.  After acting as the intermediary between NZ2 and Catfish via text message, NZ2 initiates our first three-way conference call and we’ve probably just found a new way to pass the cold evenings with each other without actually leaving our apartments.  After changing several small details, we finally all meet at NZ2’s apartment before heading to the local mart to buy supplies for today’s tea and lunch. 

Just To Clarify

Back in the apartment, we settle down for tea which NZ2 makes Korean style – we can have the other half of the cup of tea once we’ve finish the first half instead of giving us a full cup of tea to begin.  We’re laughing over just how much our English has deteriorated in our constant need to simplify things and how we tend to over-explain things now even when talking to other native English speakers.  An example of this is when Catfish tells us about the daughter of one of her co-teachers who is studying at Yonsei University.  As soon as she mentions Yonsei, she clarifies with, “You know, the ‘Y’ of SKY?” just in case we’re uncertain.  We can’t help but laugh at this considering how often we hear students at school talking about their hopes of studying at one of the SKY universities (Seoul, Korea, Yonsei) which are the top three universities in Korea.


It’s amazing how much time the three of us can spend chatting about ridiculous things and we all have countless amusing stories to share in very bad English.  Soon, however, our stomachs are grumbling and it’s time to get on with the job of making lunch – spaghetti.  One of the things that NZ2 has promised today is Marmite!  I’ve been craving Marmite on toast for months but it accidentally got left behind when my parents shipped my other things to me in November.  Catfish has never even heard of Marmite so we’re keen to share this delicious spread with her.  I suppose Marmite can be considered something of an acquired taste although most English people, many South Africans and even New Zealanders are pretty much raised on the stuff.  It doesn’t seem to have really made it’s way to America and, from the look on Catfish’s face, it doesn’t look like it’ll be making it’s way home with this particular American. 

I Speak Engrish

As NZ2 cooks the spaghetti, bad English continues to hound us as Catfish asks where NZ2 why he keeps eggs in the cupboard and not the refrigerator.  I try to explain that as long as they’re stored in a cool enough place, which they are, it’s not necessary for them to be fridged.  Only when they both start laughing at me do I realise what I’ve actually said and I can’t help but smile.  The spaghetti smells delicious and, will full plates before us, we decide to simply sit on the warm floor to eat lunch – the warm, previously clean floor that Catfish soon throws her spaghetti on halfway through the meal.

After lunch, we continue chatting from the comfort of the warm floor.  NZ2 skypes briefly with his girlfriend in Japan and Catfish and I mischievously decide to surprise her by sitting with him and waving as the call connects before leaving them alone.  Conversation flows easily between the three of us and we’re surprised to discover that while we’ve been whiling away the afternoon with idle chat, it’s been snowing up a storm outside just in time for us to leave and make our way back to our own apartments. 

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