I'm freezing. I want to go to sleep. My room has no heat and it's -800 degrees outside. So I sleep with a hot water bottle (heaven!). I need to go fill up said water bottle, but the hot water source is over on the N. Korean side of the hall and they are obviously drinking and having themselves a merry old time.
I decide I don't care about entering their territory. I'm cold.
I wonder myself down there in my pajamas.
On the way, the leader spies me and gives me a jolly, "Ni hao." (Chin.ese is our common language).
Wheww. I'm in the clear. All's good.
I fill up my water bottle and venture back into their hallway and the leader calls out to me in front of a bunch of them, "Mei nu," (beautiful girl), "Ni shi nali ren?" (what country are you from?)
This goes through my head in 2 seconds: Shit. I'm from America. And your country just killed 2 S. Korean soldiers and my country has thousands of soldiers stationed in S. Korea. How much do you know and will you hold country allegiance against me and I'm just cold and wanted to fill up my water bottle and I'm still made at you for eating my chocolate pudding last week out of the communal fridge. Bastards. Don't blow me (or my people) up with your uranium mines, please. Thanks. And why don't you spend more money on grains and then your people won't eat tree bark for dinner and how did you get this lucky to be the leader, you must be really nasty mean. Go eat a burger.
But instead, I answer, "Mei Guo." (America).
He gets a shocked look on his face, then puts his left arm around me. Homeboy smells of cheap Chi.nese beer and has a cigarette lit in his right hand. (in the dorm. not allowed).
In my mind, A N. Korean leader has his arm around my shoulder. Ha. This is cool. And watch your step, Jessica. Be a good representation of your country and faith. And my water bottle is really hot. Ouch. Should have worn gloves.
"American, really? Well, then, come to our room and sing us a song." -arm around my shoulder tightens and starts to lead me towards one of their dorm rooms.
"I'm sorry, I can't tomorrow I have things to do, I have to get up early." (true story). -I pull away with all my might trying not to make anyone mad, but trying to stand my ground.
"What do you have to do?"
"I used to be an English teacher at another university and my students are coming to see me." (semi-true).
"Ok, next time, beautiful girl, we let you go for now." -his arm around me lets go and I'm free to leave with my water bottle in tow.
"Ok, have fun, Good night."
Mission accomplished and then some.
Will someone please pinch me? I live in CNN.
What should I do? Am I over-reacting by thinking it is uber unsafe to to into a dorm room with middle aged drunk N. Korean men and sing karaoke? (they are all middle aged men - zero females). I want to see people as all the same. And inherantly, I believe we are. But there are a lot of other factors that play into relationships and I just don't think I need or want to be hanging out like that with them. Truth is, the haunted looks in their eyes scare me.
What would you do? Make up an excuse, or go sing/be put on show and not care/relish the moment as awesome and weird?
Oh, and happy black friday. :)
Walk slow. xoxo.