Sunday May 10 2015

안녕하세요 journal !

I love Sundays. Ok, usually I don’t but I think I will from now on ;P Do you know why? Because I had the proof today that even to the last day, a s#**y week still has a chance to become one of the coolest ever!

When I woke up that morning and realized I hadn’t closed the rolling shutter the night before, I grunted when the 10 am sun hurt my eyes, all tangled in the sheets and my hair in a mess. However, as I blinked to get used to the bright daylight that first made me see everything in blue, I realized I wasn’t alone. Five silhouettes were facing me against the morning light, waiting. After a while, when I was able to see them from head to toe and smiled at them when I saw what they looked like, they grinned. They were all dressed in the outfits we had bought. It turns out they were not as dirty as I thought yesterday. However, since they were not aware of how it worked, some of them had the wrong pants and shirt size and, though some of them were wearing the right item, it was backwards, which made me laugh a little. They didn’t look psychopathic or dangerous anymore; they just looked cutely stupid X) Aside from that, it fitted them perfectly, which made me glad.

“We are sorry. We want make right.” G-Dragon declared and did the best he could to articulate every word properly.

It was actually pretty good. The four others seemed to really believe in what he was saying too. So I decided to give them my answer. I gestured them to wait a second and typed something on my keyboard on Google Translation before I turned to them again.

“알았어” I replied. “직장에서 !”*

* “Ok.” “Then let’s get down to work!” (I think it means that– I hope o_O)

When they heard my reply, they looked at me surprised and tilted their heads lightly. I thought my own accent was too clumsy and they didn’t understand me. However, I was glad to see them suddenly smile again and nod. I think I was not that bad either ^^

And so we just spent the rest of the day doing what we should have done from the beginning: talking and learning. English for them, Korean for me. Now, there are so many things we can say without looking for the word for three hours! Introduce ourselves, comment on something, order stuff at the restaurant… Yeah, although my computer says we will, I’m not sure we will use that kind of vocabulary soon -_- Most of all, I can finally say “hello”, “please”, “good night”, “thank you”, “sorry”… I’m glad I can use that with the boys from now on.

As for me, I taught them their English equivalent as well as some more… colorful language like “F you” and “Cut the C”… What? It’s always useful under any circumstance XP ! Furthermore, they were more than happy to teach me their Korean equivalent. Actually, I’m surprised they knew them and I’m starting to wonder if they were really that good when they were kids since there is no way they could have learned it from the American scientists J

Speaking of bad words, I love the fact that Asians should never say “no” directly when they are asked something yet in Korea, when a friend teases you, it’s totally okay to ask him if he wants to die XD

I also learned about Konglish, with words like cheeseburger being pretty much translated as치즈 버거and sounds like “chee-su-buh-guh” as well as 화이팅which sounds like “Hwaiting” and means “Fighting!”. This is officially my new favorite word J

Actually, today, thanks to both the boys and the internet, I realized a lot of the tensions I felt around Korean people, both on my side and theirs, were mostly due to some cultural misunderstandings!

For example, when the bus was too crowded and people kept bumping into me, I was always upset that they never apologized. However, in Korea, especially in big cities like Pyeongtaek, it happens so often that it’s just common to say nothing and go on. There’s nothing rude about it, it’s just what people do.

Also, when I asked the boys about why they thought people kept staring at me in the streets, sometimes rather disapprovingly, they explained to me that it was not (only) because I was black or a foreigner. It turns out that, even though the season is understandably getting hotter and hotter, some of my shirts are still a little too (the boys paused and I a few of them blushing lightly :3)… revealing.

I learned that even though it was okay and rather ordinary for Korean girls to walk around in miniskirts, most Koreans are still concerned when it comes to other areas of the body, especially shoulders and cleavage. To them, the cleavage area is particularly taboo. So basically, I learned that as long as I stayed in the country, I could kiss three quarters of my shirts goodbye T_T

Plus I finally understand why the boys keep calling me “noona” all the time! It’s not that they got my name wrong, it’s just that, all this time, I was wrong about the meaning :x

Turns out that, unlike Americans, people here are very picky when it comes to honorifics (titles). In fact, “noona” is just the normal way to address an older female partner. As for me, I’ve been addressing them wrong all this time. Since they are younger than me, I should have called them “Dongsaeng” (wait, one name for the five of them? SERIOUSLY?!) or at least “G-Dragon-ah” or “Seungri-yah” since “-sshi” is a little too formal now.

For practice, since it was Sunday and the fridge was empty again, the boys held me the phone and I ordered something from a delivery website, which made us all giggle like retards as I struggled to mumble our orders to the poor young man on the phone, trying again and again and again before I hung up and we all burst out in laughter.

When we got tired of our lessons since our brains were fried with trying to remember words and tone units by heart, we took a break (which then turned into the end of today’s lessons :P) as I plugged the speakers of the radio on my computer and looked for some cool music. Since, of course, the boys didn’t know anything about pop culture (and they were rather curious about it), I thought it was time to shape their musical taste too ;)

Needless to say, I couldn’t get them to know anything but my favorite artists. And since I was more of a hip-hop/R’n’B girl, we listened to a lot of Ne-yo, Usher, Tupac, Dr Dre… Thank God, they seemed to love it instantly J I soon learned to know their type too:

Taeyang and Seungri were more into the dance videos, so they adhered more to dancers/singers like Usher, Timberlake, Derulo, Ne-yo etc.

G-Dragon and Daesung preferred the rappers and singers, so GD was more into stuff like Eminem, Dr Dre, Jay-Z. And Daesung loved more female singers like Beyonce, Adele and Charlie XCX (I don’t like most of her stuff but I think “Boom Clap” is the s#!t and Daesung agreed apparently :D)

Top was into nothing since he decided to sulk all day. Good for him and fine by me. That’s all I will say about it.

Since, for obvious reasons, the boys hadn’t listened to modern K-pop, we decided to look for it ourselves. So we got to know some interesting recent artists like Se7en and 2NE1. To be fair, although they were maybe a little weird for my taste, they were still pretty good! At least the boys loved them for sure.

By the end of our little session, G-Dragon and Daesung managed to remember two songs from two different bands they used to listen to when they were kids, one from a girl band called Baby VOX and one from Rain. The songs were pretty dated (even according to the boys). However, as soon as I started a random song, we all stayed silent as the boys suddenly held still with half-closed mouths and absentminded eyes. It’s like their bodies were there but their minds had been transported somewhere else, deep into flashback-land, especially Daesung and GD. In the middle of the second song, “Bad Guy” from Rain, suddenly, GD turned his head away from us and bit his lip. Yet, as I took a little peek, I noticed tears fall down, as he was trying his best to hold them back, knowing he was being observed. However, Daesung smiled at him and took him in his arms before Top rushed at their leader and gave him a back hug, holding him tight as if he was afraid he would break into pieces if he let go ever so slightly. GD hugged the both of them back even though he kept his red head bowed and tears kept falling on the floor from the face I couldn’t see, sobbing a little louder as the two others just observed the three of them with a small smile.

From what I understood, as they explained to me, this was the song the six of them, along with Beast, used to sing in their cells during the first years of their captivity, whenever they feared they wouldn’t make it. GD was the one who taught them the lyrics as he knew them by heart since it used to be one of his favorite songs.

Here is a sample translation I’ve found of some of the lyrics. I guess I understand why he taught them this song and why he loved it so much.

I'm not the guy for you
I'm not the sort of person for you
I'm not the sort of person you know
I'm a bad guy, I'm a bad guy...
To many other people
I couldn't quite show myself...

I'll listen... I'm tired of the tough times...
(When I'm with you it's always like that)
I'm a bad guy... I wanna tell you I'm a guy~*

To lighten up the mood a little, I chose a song I knew, with no doubt, the six of us would love since, well, it’s from the MASTER of music. Especially pop ;P

Michael Jackson’s “You are not alone”

Although I knew it was a little cheesy of me, as soon as they heard the chorus, they smiled gratefully at me, including G-Dragon who raised his head and gave me a small smile with red eyes.

When Michael reached the highest, longest note of the song, I could tell as I closed my eyes that for a second we were all in heaven, away from the rest of the world, away from the dangers and from our past. We were just there, together.

We were also glad when we heard the delivery boy ring at our door and our food had arrived ;P Dinner went well. Or so I thought until I saw them leave the table as fast as they could and come back almost disfigured from the pain for the third time in two days. What the hell is wrong with the food in this country? Or is there something wrong with the boys’ stomachs? In any case, we have to find a solution and fast before they starve to death. Tired from the sickness/allergy/god-knows-what again, they all went to sleep pretty early as I myself decided to stay among them to write my dear daily report ;) I feel like I’m being watched. It’s okay, false alarm! For a second, I thought it would be Top trying to kill me in my “sleep” )X Yet it was just G-Dragon who was not sleeping either. Turns out he was just doing some kind of night watch, waiting for me to go to sleep so he could keep an eye on his team. Such a good leader ^^ Since neither of us were going to sleep before a long time, I made us mint tisane (my favorite drink :3) and we both sat by the window with our hot cups, whispering small talk over the smothered rumble of the night traffic and the light snores of the four others. As he hid half of his face behind his cup, in the dark, I could see his brown almond eyes were directed at the window. Yet I knew they were focusing on something else, something in his mind... He looked a little sad too. When I asked him if it was still about the music, he shook his head lightly. He tried his best to tell me in English that he was mad at himself about what happened yesterday at the mall. “Mad at yourself?” I asked surprised. “왜?”“Because I was not a good leader.” he replied glumly. His answer made me smile. “Cut the crap!” I said in English and smirked. “You are a good leader. It’s obvious. If you doubt about it, go wake up the others and ask. I’m sure they would know how to convince you four times better in Korean than I would in English. Hwaiting, dongsaeng!” He smiled back at me. “Thank you.” “In fact, this is something I wanted to ask you about.” I said after I took a sip of my cup. “How did you become the leader of the group? Leader, how?” I repeated carefully when I saw he was having trouble understanding me. He then sat back, apparently trying to find the right words. “Maybe because I the second hyung of we. Top never interest in leading us and I know better. So…” he finished with a light shrug. “What’s your secret?” I asked abruptly, my eyes locked on his. “How do you make the others listen to you? Respect you? How do you do that?” G-Dragon grinned and rubbed the back of his neck, looking a little ill-at-ease. “I don’t know. Just…” He looked at me, hoping I would find the word. “Natural.” I completed and gave him a wry smile, a little discouraged. “I guess I’ll have to find it out by myself then. That’s what you would like to tell me, right?” G-Dragon nodded at me hesitantly. We then drank our cups in silent, both of us deep in our thoughts, looking vaguely at the city underneath us. After a while, I was surprised to hear his voice. “You are a good leader too.” I smiled, a little sad at his statement. “Annyo, I’m not.” “Yes. You saved we. Without you, we dead.” “It’s not enough. I just…” “Yah, cut the clap!” Although he had said it in a calm tone (actually way too calm for that kind of exclamation ^^) I turned my head at him, taken off guard, and I saw his brown eyes were staring directly at mine. “You work hard. It is not easy. Thank you. Don’t stop! Hwaiting, Pabo-noona! Arasso?” Pausing between each sentence, he would sometimes press his fist on his heart, which I knew was his way to say “sincere”. To that kind of language, we humans don’t need translators. And although his last words sounded a little dry, I won’t lie, I felt a wave of gratitude suddenly warm me from the inside as I listened to his pseudo-commands. It’s like I was part of his team just like the four others and he was giving me my own instructions. I couldn’t be better integrated than that. “Arasso G-Dragon-ah.” I said softly. “Fighting!”“Fighting!” We both grinned and cheered with our cups like the two leaders we were supposed to be before I repeated, confused: “ “Pabo?” ” G-Dragon smirked. “It means idiot.” “Oh… Hey!” I protested, upset, and hit him lightly on the shoulder as he chuckled. “By the way, I have another question… What did Top tell me yesterday when he talked to me in Korean?” Although I had asked him partly in Korean, GD’s smile suddenly froze before he shook his head. “I tell not. Sorry.” “You don’t want to tell me? Wae? Did he insult me?” “ “Insult” ?” G-Dragon repeated in his turn, confused. I pointed at myself. “He told me “Pabo”?” GD didn’t answer. “That wouldn’t surprise me.” I went on. “Don’t worry, I’m not mad.” Again, G-Dragon just shook his head, either because he didn’t understand what I meant or pretended he didn’t. “He tells you later.” he then said. I sighed. “Alright, I’ll wait. But you have to promise me that if I ask him and he doesn’t tell me, you guys will.” He looked suddenly interested. “And in exchange?” he asked and raised an eyebrow. “What? You’re bargaining, now? How dare you?” I exclaimed, pretending to be shocked and disappointed then turned immediately serious. “Okay, what do you want?” He gave me a wry smile. “You and we shopping again!” My own smile widened at the sight of the little spark in his eyes. “Deal.” We then got up and bowed to each other as I then went to my room and locked myself again. I think we made a lot of progress today, probably much more than Joseph and I ever did with them in a month at the lab! I’m glad we had this talk too. It made me realize that I need some improvement myself. In fact, I kind of like the connection we had today. They need me. But I guess I need them too. They make me want to fight for something, something Joseph never gave me. I will fight more. Even if the cops come to get the boys, I’ll fight to the end to help them escape, just like I did at the lab. One day, I will be like GD. One day, the boys will respect me and that day, we will be part of the same team. I will also have Top under my thumb. There’s no way I’ll let him screw with my brain ever again. Thank you for being a part of my new life guys. If we make it, I’ll make it worth it. I promise. 화이팅 ! 안녕히 주무세요 <3 Joan <3
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