Being ignorant or being linguistically incapable?

Saturday morning drive- very quiet with only few cars in the traffic. The sky is gloomy. I drove myself mindlessly (hehehe not really, but driving on Saturday morning is really nice and refreshing) to the swimming pool for my routine.

The pool was surprisingly full – with lots of middle-aged and adults, and ahjummas and ahjussis hieihihe. This city is a multiracial city with Korean settlers as the most dominant Asian race.

After changing to my swimming suit, I walked my self to the pool. As I entered, I looked around and found that some lanes were already occupied. The far right and left were full with ahjummas paddling around exercising their legs.

My level of sensitivity is being alert and so is my energy level; thereby I still walked confidently, regardless the “looks” from the ahjummas. I swam for a few laps and stopped for a while catching up my breath, and a middle-aged caucasian lady approached me ” Is your suit for Triathlon?” She asked nicely, and a short conversation occurred. I explained it to her about my suit- which is outstandingly different from others.

I appreciate this kind of gesture, while at the same time, I tend to hate people’s ignorance. As I was swimming, I was thinking that it is easy for people to be ignorant and stay in their comfort zone, but living in a multiracial city like this I feel like it is such a waste not to get to know others. But again, I think the problem lying with these bunch of ahjummas who are silently glaring at me (which I assume due to my attire) might have been due to their linguistic skill. The caucasian lady and the other lady were linguistically capable to have a conversation with me, so we could decrease our gaps. On the other hand, these ahjummas, who I assume to have lived in their Korean circles and Korean town, rarely have their opportunity  to master their English especially in this city where Korean landscape makes its significant appearance. That said, they may have very limited access to English speaking people and to actively use their English. Up to this point, I feel that their curiosity to get to know other people is being limited by their linguistic inability. On the other side of the coin, I wish I could have spoken a better Korean so I could at least initiate a conversation with these ahjummas.

With all that said, being a multilngual is always a plus and benefitting, right?

** as I walked out from the pool to the locker, again I caught a pair of eyes from an ahjumma sitting in the jacuzzi. I smiled at her, but she just paid attention to my suit too seriously that she seemed to let go my smile 😀


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