A woman I work with, let's call her Delilah, found out that I lived in Korea. The first time she tried to actually talk to me instead of just a passing hellos, involved using Korean. A good old anyung, and some broken Korean. I know she was just trying to chat so I replied politely in English. We talked a bit about Korea, when I was there and how long. Delilah shared the same info and that was that. (She is in her mid-30s and it turns out we were in South Korea around the same time. Different cities and circles though.)
Afterwards, whenever Delilah saw me he would try chatting in Korean. And by chatting I mean using the same sentences/questions she had memorised in Korean. I lost most of the Korean I knew in the years since I have returned home. Korean just isn't a language I use in daily life. Hell, in life in general. Now I have to think about it before being able to reply. Delilah was funnily cute at first and then it just became kind of annoying.
Delilah seemed to enjoy the short time (2 years) she had spent in South Korea. She lived in Seoul, partied a lot. Going by her stories she had a solid group of friends (fellow ex-pats) who hung out. They always seemed to have travelled in a group. A lot of partying. Good for her and them. Delilah was basically one of the type of foreigners I didn't hang out with while I was there, or tried to avoid, 1 year wonder frat boys.
I decided early on not to share what I thought of Korea with her. I had made some comments about not having enjoyed my time there but they went over Delilah's head. It seemed better, meaning not actually getting into any heady discussion, to just let her share the memories of her "good times".
When I look back at my time in South Korea there was good and bad. Unfortunately, the bad outweighs the good. I did share that with a few co-workers. One of whom mentioned it to Delilah. Of course she just had to approach me about it one day.
Delilah just couldn't believe I didn't completely enjoy my time in South Korea. She went on about how great the partying was. Her answers to anything I had to say reminded me of shit the apologists would say. For example, when I said that I found South Korea to be the most racist and bigoted place I have ever lived her response was "You have never been to Africa then!".
I gave her an eye roll and said "As I said, 'place I have lived'. So either I have never lived there or did and didn't find it as bad." (Never lived there. Haven't even travelled there. Yet.) Based on that I just let it drop. I didn't need personal shit fucking up the workplace.
Then a week ago I got to spend a shift working in an area with her and another co-worker. When it wasn't busy she would talk, and started off talking about ... Korea. She still couldn't believe I didn't like my time there. So, I decided to ask her about her experiences.
Me "What was your favourite Korean food?"
Delilah "Oh god I hated Korean food."
Me "So, what did you eat?"
Her "Western food. Oh, yeah I liked dunkas."
Turns out she is a REALLY fussy eater. Vegetables must not touch meat. Nor should they touch other vegetables. Vegetables get eaten first then meat. It was basically cook your own, western style restaurants, and bar food for her.
She also talked about partying with her friends. No Koreans were in the circle of friends. Lots of stories about drunken revels and not knowing how she got home. However, when the subject of Korean alcohol came up it was the same result as Korean food. She hated Korean alcohol and wouldn't even try most of them, including the beer.
Me I still love some dong ... dong ju. :)
So, she spent over a year living there but not really experiencing Korea. I can point to experiences that shaped the opinions, good and bad, that I have of South Korea. And every other place I have travelled to or lived in.
I ended up deciding it was best to just not to talk about Korea with her any more.
Seriously, how the fuck can you spend time in a country and not experience the country? It always gave me a headache when my students would talk about going to another country and not really experiencing the country. Did you eat their food? No I ate at Korean restaurants. Did you check out their history or culture? Only in Korean tours that gave ample opportunity for pictures in front of things.
And Delilah is just like them.