#4 "Surprise Gift"
Okay. So there was a problem. The education system here was totally different from the one back in the states. It was late November, So when I was just starting my senior year in the states, here it was already over. So I had a choice. Wait until March to begin my third year or begin my second year right now. I wasn’t going to choose the latter.
"Wait. So he is going to stay home and have fun while I have to go to school? No fair!” Jihoon said, crossing his arms.
"The educational system there is different from here. Besides, Sean isn’t going to stay home and watch TV. After he unpacks his stuff, he is going to go to the library and study." My Aunt said brightly. Wait, what?!
Jihoon smirked at that as he started wearing his sneakers. ”Sure. See you later, mum."
"Oh, can you get out of the free study session tonight? I need you to show Sean around. I already chose his workbooks for the PSAT, so you can just show him the library, the supermarket...stuff like that." my Aunt said.
Jihoon grumbled at that but nodded anyway. ”Fine."
"Great. Have a nice day, honey." my aunt said as she patted her son on the back. Then she soon turned to face me. Oh joy.
"Uh...Ah Cham.. Naega yeongeoreul motaeseo eotteokaji? (Uh...Oh, gosh...I don’t know how to speak English...What am I going to do?)” My aunt said to herself, biting her lip.
I just turned on my google translator and handed my phone to her. She brightened up at that and soon started typing in.
′Will you unpack your things and take a leaf through your workbooks? I picked them out for you. It’s the same as Jihoon’s, so if you have any questions, ask him.′ It roughly said. Google translations were really sloppy.
I nodded at that and my aunt sighed in relief. She soon took my phone away again, typing in. ′Great. I have to go to work now. Feel free to feel at home. Your father has sent you your allowance for this month. Your uncle will exchange it for Korean Won and give it to you later in the evening.′
I nodded and grinned at that. Here I was, thinking I was broke for a whole year.
My aunt grinned too and waved good bye as she left the house. Great. My grandmother smiled at me as she indicated me to come sit next to her. I felt so awkward sitting next to her.
’Uri saekki momeun gwaenchana? (How are you feeling?)′ She asked. Oh hell. I couldn’t lie to her like I did to others.
′Gwaenchanayo. yakgan jollinde gwaenchanayo. (I’m fine. A little bit sleepy, but fine.)′ I replied. My grandmother’s eyes widened in shock.
′You...You speak Korean?′ My grandmother asked, stuttering.
I shrugged. ′Mom taught me when I was young.′
Grandma’s eyes started to water at the mention of my mother. ′Oh, My little Junghwa. I can’t wait for the day till I see her again.′
I patted my grandma’s back awkwardly. Grandma sniffled. ′Oh, how silly of me. Go. Go and unpack the rest of your stuff.′
I glanced at my grandma and started to get up before I opened my mouth. ′Um...Grandma?′
′Hmm?′ Grandma asked, still looking thoughtful as she thought of my mom.
′Can you keep this a secret? You know, that I can speak Korean?′ I asked.
′Why?′ Grandma asked, tilting her head.
′It’s just...It’s just that...′ I said. The fact was that I didn’t want to open up to them. Not yet.
′Well...Sure. I won’t say anything.′ Grandma said, giving me a wrinkly laugh.
"Thanks." I said before giving her a smile. Great. Now I had to unpack all these boxes.
I started to huff and puff as I started unboxing and putting all the items in place. Thank god my room was big enough for everything.
When I was unwrapping the last box, I stopped in midway. Right on top was Josh’s most treasured baseball that was signed by Mickey Mantle himself. Josh’s dad gave it as his birthday gift, and he had treasured it ever since. It meant a whole lot to him since his dad was in the army. Next to the baseball was Cole’s teddy bear from when he was a kid. Yeah, believe it or not, Cole had always carried that bear around till he was like 10 years old. Even till now, He had always put in on his bed no matter how much we teased him about it. But the question was this. Why were these things here in Korea with me?
I logged in my SNS account, trying to send a message to the guys. They were already one step ahead of me.
‘Hey, by now you would have found our stuff there with you. No biggie. Just wanted to be emotional and wanted to give you a part of us. JK. You have the most valuable stuff from us. If you lose it or leave a dent on it in any way, We will hunt you down and kill you. And no, we are 100 percent completely serious about that. You better come back to the states with them safely. Cheers, Josh and Cole. P.S. Cole says his name should come first because his name is alphabetically first. I made him smell my armpit again. Gotta love the power. See you in a few months.’
I smiled at that as I left the bear and the baseball on the top of my shelf. At least I had something that would remind me of the states. I checked my inbox. Yup. No message from Dad whatsoever. I tried not to feel sad about that. After all, I was here all because of him. Because he didn’t want me in his life.
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+) As you guys already know, when a text is like this, tilted, It means that the speaker is talking Korean. I can write Korean in roman, but I thought that would be too un-reader friendly.