This is my best friend.

Imagine this.  You’re sitting in the back of a taxi in Seoul.  It’s lashing rain outside so you’re grateful that you’re not getting wet.  Then, your best friend, who is sitting beside you says;

“Why are you going to Korean class anyway?”

Me; To keep my skills sharp, the more I practise, the better I get.

Best friend; Well, I don’t know why you bother since English is going to replace Korean in the next few years.

Me; Really? How would you know that?

Best friend; Well have you looked at G market recently???????????????

Me;……………………………….?????????????????????????…………………..huh?

Yes, this just about sums up every conversation I have with my best friend.  She’s someone who, even if you meet her just once, you are likely to be very scarred by your experience and guaranteed to never forget her. 

We go back a long way too.  This isn’t one of those Korean friendships.  No, No, we go back to the good old days when our summers were filled talking to tourists in West Clare.  It was by chance that we shared the same apartment that summer and so began the randomness that looks set to continue.  Our days were filled “working” and our nights were filled in the local village looking for trouble.  All those nights we set out on the 2km journey back to our little house, stopping only to “fertilise the grass”.  

Skip a few years of internet friendship and here we are again, together, in Korea.  Oh how the good old days have returned.  But instead of calming her down, age seems to have made her randomness worse and her “verbal diarrhea” is in such a chronic state, it is beyond all forms of repair.  She says and does things that even has me wondering what I’m actually supposed to do.  For instance, she loves music and finds it perfectly appropriate to burst into any song while waiting on the train, bus, bus stop etc.  And not only that but every time she comes to my apartment, she fills her hours on youtube finding the most random videos possible and forcing me to watch them.  That’s right, anything from that German hip hop man to the Japanese video public service announcement about getting robbed (which she does her own moves to sometimes.)Hours of endless entertainment.

If there’s one thing that isn’t her most redeeming quality, it is her complete inability to walk in a straight line.  Seriously, I don’t know how she does it.  Even when you leave a wide space she still manages to walk on you.  And when we have a few drinks she gets worse.  Of course, this rather unfortunate inability to walk straight means that she’s more prone than usual to accidents.  Like the time she broke her toe, but didn’t know.  After complaining about the pain in her foot for weeks, she finally went to the doctor, who looked at her toe, looked at her and said “eeehhhhhh……I think that toe is broken….did you not know????”Too little too late there.  Yes, we have spent many the night having a few drinks, swapping stories of injuries we have sustained (although I just have one so really she does all the talking). And it’s like a party piece, because no one can ever top the ridiculous accidents she had throughout the years. 

I threatened to write a blog about her a few weeks ago when she said something “her” and then I forgot and wrote about the bus instead and for this got myself put down on the “friendship graph” The concept of a friendship graph might be new to many of you, indeed it was for me until my friend, introduced it to the Geumchon Crew, one afternoon at lunch.  So you have a picture of all your friends on a graph on the back of your wardrobe door.  The graph goes from strange to casual acquaintance to best best friend.  And then according to your behaviour during the day you either go up on the graph or taken down on the graph.  Yes, none of us had heard it either and now the phrase ” you’re going down on the graph” is heard more often than anything else.

I’ve had to filter a lot of the things I say about her here because most of it is pure mean.  Like I’m fairly sure one of her favourite songs is “small people”   It says things like “small people go no reason to live, they got dirty little fingers and they tell great big lies…….” and it goes on like this. The follows every mean statement with this special eye thing that she does.  It’s  hard to describe really , almost like her eyes expand and the muscles in her eyebrows have no control of their own. 

But beyond all the compulsory video watching, meanness and random conversation lies a heart of gold.  Someone, who makes everyone laugh with her ideas. She never thinks twice about helping you when you need it, even if it means going without something herself.  You can tell her anything and be guaranteed that she’ll actually keep it a secret.  And best of all, she loves to drink tea.  Of course this is compulsory best friend requirement but on any given night when she comes over we can get through at least 4 or 5 cups each.  Usually this is while watching some epic programmes that she suggested, Sherlock, Republic of Doyle, Flight of the Conchords.  She also keeps my apartment clean.  I mean she doesn’t actually clean it but she’s on it when I don’t.  The first thing she does when she walks in is smell the air.  If it doesn’t smell sufficiently of bleach and cleaning product, the questioning begins. “Shauna, did you clean your bathroom????”

The bathroom issue is possibly her greatest weakness.  She is somewhat of a Monica (from Friends) and like everything clean.  So public bathrooms definitely don’t live up to this standard.  To combat any nasty surprises she sends me in first to check for cleanliness and after I report back she’ll either use it or not.  It’s the funniest thing. And it totally backfired on me when she ventured in alone last week out of desperation only to have the toilet explode on her……….that also got me moved down on the friendship graph for being late.

In conclusion, my best friend is  a Canadian who uses the words “tooque, moose, maple syrup, snow,junk and nasty” as well as “yer man and yer wan” (her mum is Irish).  We have a very special relationship that is based on a deep understanding of the other and all I can say is……..if you meet her………………brace yourself!

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