A Korean joker takes the Polish positionI met Min-su about two years ago when he came to Poland as an exchange student at my university, which is in a small town near the German border. From the very beginning we got along and soon became good friends.
I liked him because, of the Koreans who were studying at my university, he was the youngest but his Polish was the best. He also was really outgoing and fun-loving. The other Koreans seemed to be too serious and reluctant to talk about their feelings. But not Min-su; he always said what he was thinking, even if it was strange or controversial.
One day he called me from his dormitory and told me that his friends were out and he was lonely and depressed. I told him to pack his stuff and he could stay at my house with my family. An hour later he was at my doorstep. He stayed at my house for the next two months.
He became a member of my family from the time he arrived. Soon enough he asked my parents if he could call them "mommy" and "daddy." Because my parents have a good sense of humor they agreed. My parents liked Min-su; they even took him out socializing with them.
One day Min-su took our dog for a walk. On the way he passed a neighbor, Mrs. Nowak. She recognized the dog, but not Min-su.
"That's my neighbors' dog," she said. "I didn't know they had guests from abroad."
"That's right, it's your neighbors' dog," Min-su said. "It's my daddy's dog."
Confused, Mrs. Nowak said, "Well, I didn't know that he had other children. I know he has two daughters and a son but I haven't heard about any Asian kid."
"Really?" Min-su said. "He didn't tell you? I'm his Korean son!"
That started a wildfire of gossip on the block, so people kept asking my father about his new Asian son. My father played along, and never denied what Min-su said.
We had a lot of fun with this. I am sure that poor Mrs. Nowak, a kind lady, is still confused about Min-su.
Now it's my turn to study abroad and I'm living in Korea. Min-su is back in Korea as well. But unfortunately we rarely get to meet because he is doing his military service.
Two years in the army! I hope he is doing all right and that we will meet again soon.
by Jacek Jaroszyk
The writer, a linguistics major, is studying at the Hanguk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul.
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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