Today, I was walking in the shopping area near school on my way to get a cup of tea and just sit outside and enjoy the wonderful weather for a few minutes before going into work when I was stopped in my tracks by 2 Korean women. I knew right away what they were going to do - try to convert me. This has already happened a few times to me when I have been out with my friends, but this was my first time solo.
Sure enough, these women smiled at me and then pulled out their literature, which conveniently enough is always in English. I tried to just smile back, politely decline, and keep on walking, but these women were good. One stood practically in front of me and the other came out me from the side. They started opening up their binders and talking to me in Korean of course.
I had learned how to say "I don't know" so I started saying "Oh-my-oh" while shaking my head. This didn't seem to faze the women at all. They found the English part of their materials and one of them started pointing line by line down the page. The material was basically a series of question & answers, but to make this more fun, it was all about why God should be a woman and why we should worship a Mother God. I immediately started thinking of the Da Vinci Code - interesting, but not for me.
After having to read about two pages line by line, I started quickly thinking of ways to get away. I stopped looking at the paper and stepped back. This started another round of Korean. I said "Oh-my-0h" again several times. This only seemed to encourage more Korean. I really wanted to get away now so I said "sonsaengnim" at pointed at myself and then at my imaginary watch and then in the direction of my school. They understood that so I thought I was in the clear and could make my getaway. But they weren't completely finished.
After talking to me in Korean some more, they indicated that they wanted my phone number. Well, I'm not stupid enough to give it out so I said "opssoyo" which means "I don't have." No problem for them though, one woman decided to give me her phone number. While she is trying to find a piece of paper and a pen, the other woman keeps chattering away in Korean. I can tell that she is asking me questions and expecting answers, but I have no idea what she is talking about so I just play dumb, saying "Oh-my-oh" over and over again, looking clueless, and giggling nervously wondering when is she ever going to figure out that I don't understand anything and stop.
By this time, the other woman has finished writing her phone number. She gives it to me and then I think asks me what time I get off work. I tell her ten pm by holding up my fingers because I've forgetten the time set of numbers. She nods and then says a whole lot back in Korean. By this time, I've resorted to repeating back what they are saying to me as if that way I will magically understand and then staring blankly back at them in silence, since they don't realize that I really truly "Oh-my-oh."
Finally, the telephone woman grabs my hand and I see that she is holding up her other hand with her fingers clenched into a fist except for the pinky finger that is sticking out. She waves her hand like she wants me to do the same. Then I think she made me pinky swear to come back and meet her at that same spot after work. All of a sudden, I realize that I am in big trouble. I have no intention of meeting her at all and here I am pinky swearing to do just that. Finally I make a break in the direction of work, but the lady decides she is going to walk me there. When we get to the corner, I firmly turn around and wave good bye and keep on walking, hoping that she really gets the hint this time which thankfully she did.
During our prep period at school, I tell Mandie this story, making sure to emphasize how many times I said "I don't know." At the end of my story, I say "I just don't know why she didn't understand me when I was saying 'Oh-my-oh.'" Mandie pauses and then says, "You were asking her 'how much?'" It was my turn to pause and then we both started laughing.
In my initial reaction, the first phrase that popped into my head was "Oh-my-oh" or "how much is it?" instead of "Mu-lie-oh" which is the real "I don't know." No wonder those poor ladies were so confused - I was asking them how much it cost to believe in Mother God.