I’d been back in Korea a couple of weeks by then and I was feeling restless. It was high winter and winter had been going on too long. I was glad to be back and there wasn’t anywhere else in the world I wanted to be, but I wasn’t working and people were away. While I was gone a record snow dump had covered the entire peninsular and the landscape had changed and all of it somehow made me uneasy.
I went for walks around Bonggok-dong. I had a strange fear that there were parts of my town I would never see. I wanted to walk down all the streets and know my town completely. The days were sunny but cold and the snow beside the roads and footpaths melted slowly; I would tramp over it in my boots and feel its crunch beneath my feet.
I would go to my local cafe. It wasn’t one of the Starbucks-style chains, but an old school da bang. The coffee was instant but it only cost cheonobaek-won. You could smoke in there and the coffee was brought over by an ajumma who mixed in powdered milk in front of you. I would go there in the mornings and sit for hours and write in my journal and try to study my Korean. Sometimes when I was done I would walk up to the turtle fountain in Bonggok Park, but if it was too cold I would just go home again.
I got propositioned in the da bang by a girl in an eye-patch. At least I think I did, but these things were easy to misinterpret in Korea; like the time my naked co-teacher offered to scrub my back in the jjimjilbang. I knew about da bangs, but was surprised just the same. My copy of Lonely Planet Korea, a smug book that was always irritating me with directions that had me coming out the wrong subway exit, archly noted about da bangs that “sometimes the coffee girls offer more than coffee.” But my local place seemed respectable enough; I figured it wasn’t that sort of da bang.
One day, when I was studying my Korean, a girl came in wearing an eye-patch. She seemed excited to see me, but it didn’t seem like more than the usual novelty of a waegukin. She came over and spoke to me. Her English wasn’t very good. I showed her my Korean book and she laughed at my attempts at Korean like everyone did. After a few moments, when we’d exhausted our stocks of each other’s language, she announced, “We go together.”
I wasn’t sure what she meant. My confusion embarrassed her. I wasn’t sure if she was embarrassed that I hadn’t understood her offer, or that I hadn’t understood her English.
She was the roughest-seeming Korean girl I ever came across. Besides the eye-patch, which leant her a piratical flair, she was hefty and forthright and completely lacking in feminine grace. Anyway after that, when I’d come into the coffee shop, she’d wave to me and come over and I’d practice my Korean and she’d practice her English. But both of us were inept, so the conversations never went anywhere.
I saw a dead kitten in the snowbank by the side of the road near my apartment. It was from a family of kittens that lived in the vacant lot across from me and whom I’d tried to befriend. I was feeling creative and some strange emotion that was like a pleasant sadness or a pre-emptive nostalgia for my life right here, right now. I was aware suddenly that time was passing and it felt like an ominous foreshadowing of something. So I wrote a strange essay about the dead cat and the snow. I tried to use those things as a metaphor for – well, I wasn’t exactly sure; this strange mood I was feeling. The result was weird but seemed interesting to me, so I sent it off for the committee’s newsletter. I didn’t think they’d publish it, because it was about dead cats and snow and not about how to cook bulgogi or classroom tips. They published it but left out the last paragraph where I strained to make my incoherent metaphor work, making the piece even odder than it was to start with. I didn’t mind.
My essay caused some trouble. When I went back to school my mentor teacher told me that the head of Gyeongbuk TaLK had called her up, wanting to know how it was I’d gone off to Australia for three weeks when I only had ten days holiday in my contract. My mentor teacher lied and said that I’d made up for it with Winter Camp. She told the director that Winter Camp was a gruelling death-march of eight hour days. A month later the committee announced that they weren’t going to publish any more stuff unless it was about teaching, and I stopped submitting to the newsletter.
Nobody was around. It was just me. I got bored and announced on Facebook that I was going to go to the bus terminal and catch a bus to a random city. I did it, but cheated; I took my Lonely Planet and went to a city that I had a map for. Jeonju.
Jeonju was like every other Korean city. I wandered around downtown, then got a room at a love motel. It was a very love-motelly love motel. My room was lit a fluorescent orange and there were porn tapes. I took some photos. In my mind I was working on a love motel scale. I called it the lurve scale. It went from vibrating beds and complimentary condoms to The Green in Daegu. The Green was a zero on the lurve scale.
The next morning I got up and looked at the folk village, which was very pretty, all covered in snow, but otherwise was like any Korean folk village. I ate Jeonju bibimbap. They set seventeen side dishes all around me and I felt dumb, eating alone, surrounded by so much food. I bought a postcard on hanja paper, thinking I might send a postcard to someone, and came home.
School started again. It was Fake Winter Camp. Fake Winter Camp was like Real Winter Camp but without a budget so I had to buy my own lunch. It felt pointless; it was make-work, and I’d used all my best ideas for Real Winter Camp, not knowing that Fake Winter Camp would be a last minute addition to the schedule.
Fake Winter Camp was relaxed. I had no ideas for it, so decided to bite off two things that seemed achievable, and really drive home the point. The first was to make sure my third graders through sixth graders knew their basic phonics, and the second was to teach some new verbs in past, present and future tenses.
The phonics idea had come about because at the end of the previous year, I’d discovered that one of my sixth graders, Meg, couldn’t read. These sixth-graders had been my greatest failure as a teacher. They were a bunch of too-cool teenage girls, all smart, all hitting puberty, and completely divided between the two alpha girls and their respective followers, who wanted to play games, and the bookish beta girls who wanted to study. Both groups were insanely jealous of each other and any lesson I did failed with at least half of them. Meg had been lost in all of this. She was a sweet, unpopular girl who was far behind the rest of the class. I’d ignored her because I didn’t know what to do with her. She came early to class and lined up the desks in perfect parallel lines and after class she would walk in circles around a certain tree in the playground. I was pretty sure she had obsessive compulsive disorder and tried to communicate this through the school hierarchy but it got lost in translation, or else nobody cared all that much. She seemed to exist in a horrible, frozen world of self-recrimination and social isolation. I said, “Hi Meg,” and “Bye Meg,” to her every day and hoped that one day she’d say it back to me.
Amidst the mess I’d made of that class I finally realised that Meg couldn’t read at all. I spoke to my mentor teacher and got her to ask Meg if she’d like me to teach her reading after class. Meg said yes. So for the last six weeks of the year I did that almost every day. I taught her the letters, a few at a time, some consonants and some vowels, and then gave her three letter words from those letters and got her to sound them out. Bat, cat, tag, rag, can. She wasn’t dumb and she learned to read and I felt good, knowing that she was going off to middle school with at least one tiny area of English being something other than a hellish nightmare. There were enough things about middle school that were going to be nightmarish for her; I felt good that I’d helped a little bit. She was always respectful but never spoke to me in English and there were no grand scenes at the end where I felt I’d made a connection, but I’d helped and done my job.
I realised that if these kids somehow missed out on learning phonics in grade three – if they were sick those days, or not paying attention – then they never had the chance to catch up and were from that point on lost in English. So I decided to make sure that they all knew their damn phonics.
My method wasn’t super-imaginative, but effective. I just gave them a test every morning. I stood in front of the class and gave them a sound and some example words and asked them to write down the initial letter. Twenty-five sounds, twenty-five questions, c and k both being represented by the hard kuh sound.
For my genius third-graders, it worked. They were that smart. Katie got most of them wrong the first day, cried, went home and memorised them, and got one hundred percent every day after that. By the end of the week almost all of them had it down.
The rest of my plan was built around a picnic story I wrote. I chose five new verbs for them and wrote a story that used the verbs in past, present and future tenses: planning the picnic, going on the picnic, remembering the picnic. I planned a half-dozen activities around these verbs and tenses. My kids hated it. By the end of the week they were all, “Teacher, no picnic story! Picnic story is very very bad story!”
They were right. It was a terrible story. I felt bad. On the Friday, my mentor teacher (and, for that week, co-teacher) called in sick, and I was overjoyed. I did the spelling test with them, but then blew off my awful third day of picnic story-related lessons, and we played games instead.
That was a great day. We went outside, and it started to snow, and we had races around the snowy oval and played 2-5-10 on the climbing equipment and listened to Bo Peep on my handeupon, and they spent all day talking in English, telling me about their lives, the music they liked, how to play the games they wanted to play. When this happened their English skills went up amazingly and I was blown away by how smart they were and what great people they were.
They were a great class; the best I ever had. Next semester a bunch of idiot boys came along and ruined it. The class split between my schooled-up genius girls and two great boys and my new, idiot boys; there was nothing I could teach that wasn’t baby-stuff for one group, or far too hard for the other, and the class was never the same again. I’ll never forget them, though: Jin Hee, Son Hee, Katie, Lisa, Stella, Juliet, Joe and Tony. They’ll go on to do something special, all of them, if life doesn’t screw them somehow.
I still hadn’t done much since getting back to Korea and I was bored. The week before, when doing invitations with my third graders, one of the boys had drawn a birthday invitation for a trip to Geumo Land. “Let’s Go Geumo Land!” it said, and there were drawings of the exciting things you could do there: sledding, ice-skating, a Viking ship.
I had forgotten about Geumo Land. My mentor teacher had mentioned it to me when I first arrived. “But Geumo Land is not safe,” my mentor teacher darkly told me.
I have a thing for carnivals and bad amusement parks. I decided I wanted to go to Geumo Land. I sent Stella text message asking if she wanted to go with me one day next week and she replied in characteristic brevity and all in caps, “SOUNDS GOOD 2 ME.”
I wanted something to happen. On the weekend I got a message from the committee, asking if I’d come to Gyeongju on Wednesday to help with the orientation of the fourth generation teachers. The message was very mysterious. It said that the invitation hadn’t been sent to everybody, and warned me not to mention it to other scholars. I immediately sent out a message on facebook mentioning it to everyone I knew. I figured that if the committee had sent it to me, they must have sent it to nearly everybody. My reasons for this were pretty logical: it seemed to me that whenever I was at social functions organised by the committee I was usually off in a corner, smoking a cigarette, scowling, and making snarky comments to my friends. Also, I sent them weird essays about dead cats in the snow.
I asked my friends who else was going. No-one was. None had got the email. They were all a bit offended and I was a bit flattered. I realised it was something I did want to do. I thought it would be nice to go back to the Kolon Hotel, this time to dispense knowledge, rather than receive it. I sent off my acceptance. I heard nothing back.
Being a paranoid person, I realised what had happened. There had been a confusion of email addresses. They had meant to invite someone else, and had misclicked on the contact list. Now they were looking at each other and saying, “Shit, him? Arrgh – and he wants to come, too. What are we going to do now? I’m not telling him – you screwed up the email!”
After a bunch of messaging on Facebook, Lisa decided to come down from Yeongju and go with me and Stella to Geumo Land. She was off work and going crazy in Yeongju with nothing to do. This was working out well. I’d teach school in the morning, then meet up with two of my favourite people in Korea and check out Geumo Land. Then I’d go to the bus station with Lisa, get a bus to Gyeongju, maybe eat dinner with Elizabo and go to Kolon Hotel the next day. It was a plan.
“Ba ba ba ba ba baba ba bap! Good morning! Good Morning!”
It was early; definitely before seven. With my eyes still closed I reached for my bedside table, found my phone and silenced the alarm. There was no way to change the song that awakened me each morning. It was cute and cheery – Korean – and didn’t match my morning mood at all.
I’d had maybe five hours sleep. I still hadn’t adjusted to morning classes; I was still staying up until two in the morning and I couldn’t seem to change this. I would try to catch up by napping in the afternoons but I was building up a sleep deficit and knew that today, napping would be impossible.
I got up and lurched to my kitchen. I sloshed the kettle to check it had water, then put it on to boil. I dumped two sachets of Maxim instant coffee mix into a mug and when the water was somewhere close to having boiled I filled the mug and took the coffee back into my room. I’d developed a fondness for Korean instant coffee. I’d come to like the taste and the pre-mixed milk and sugar powder cut two steps from my morning routine, which I appreciated. I sat down on the floor beside my bed, turned on my computer to check my email and facebook, and smoked about a thousand cigarettes with my coffee. Eventually it got to the time where I could no longer sit on the floor and smoke cigarettes, so I got up, washed my face, and dressed for work.
I stopped at the convenience store to buy some candy for the kids. There was no way I was getting through this day without bribery. I bought a can of coffee, too, because there was no way I was going to get through the day without that, either, and I loved Korean canned coffee like I loved Maxim coffee sachets. I walked to the bus stop and caught my bus to school.
The failure of my picnic lessons hadn’t stopped me from recycling them for my fifth grade class. Theoretically it was 5/6 grade, but the sixth graders were about to graduate and they hadn’t turned up for Fake English Camp. I didn’t know the fifth graders too well. I taught them once a week as an assistant to my mentor teacher. They were nice kids; rowdy and not too good at English. Tenses and verbs would work just as well or as badly for them as they had done for my genius third graders.
According to my lesson plan, I gave them the phonics test, then lined them up from perfect scores to none correct. I made the winners play off against the losers in a lightning arithmetic competition and gave candy to the winners. I showed them the picnic story, gave them some new emotions adjectives – confused, hurt, hopeful, excited, anxious – that were used in the story, then played paper-scissors-rock game and arrow game with them to drill the words. Then I got them to make picnic invitations. The truth is I don’t remember much of it, other than that a couple of the invitations took the concept of “token effort” to a whole new level. Lunch went for a long time. My heart wasn’t in it.
I left school and went over to the bus stop. It was quiet with school out for the winter. During regular school, on days when I wasn’t getting a lift with nurse teacher, I caught the bus home from here, and the bus stop would be surrounded by rowdy kids from the neighbouring middle school who practised their English on me. “Hello! What is your name? Where are you from?” They’d point to their friend and say, “He is stupid boy,” and the friend would attack them. But now it was quiet. Just me and this weird town I’d come to like. The town had a dusty, Mediterranean colour to it. It was an ugly, falling down town with houses made from cinderblocks and corrugated iron; houses that kept chickens and meat dogs in pens. Near the school were a couple of unlit general stores that catered to the after-school crowd. There were two downmarket love motels, a noraebang, and a hagwon near the elementary school which had ancient, rusting playground equipment in front. After school, while I waited for nurse teacher outside the Rose Motel, I’d see my students coming out of this hagwon to catch the vans that took them home or to other hagwons. Sometimes they’d run in pairs to the general store to buy thirty cent frozen ice blocks and when they saw me across the street they’d wave and call hi to me. Around the corner from the school was a dokkboki booth that opened up after school to sell dokkboki to the kids; it was near where I would hide and smoke, and once, as I rounded the corner to go there, little Joy saw me and asked me with big, serious eyes, “Teacher dokbokki?” I said yes.
A bus came along and I caught it. Stella, Lisa and I had been exchanging messages about when to meet. Lisa was limited by the buses that came from Yeongju and Stella was concerned about a package from G-Market she was waiting for. I wasn’t terribly understanding because I wanted to maximise my Geumoland time and because I figured the package would somehow reach Stella whether she was there or not, and because we all pretended and half-believed that Lisa lived in Andong, where there were lots of buses and civilised things, and not the obscure town where she actually lived. This would frustrate her. “You guys! I don’t live in Andong. I live in Yeongju.” “But it’s close, right?” “It’s like an hour away! It’s a whole different city!”
The result of all this was a compromise: Stella had given up on waiting for her G-Market package, Lisa had found an earlier bus that came via Andong, and I was going home for an awkward hour before leaving again. I was feeling OK with this right now. I wanted to catch my breath. I got off at my usual stop and crossed the river and walked up the four flights of stairs to my place. I dropped my bag on the floor; turned on the computer, and made myself another double coffee. Soon, it was time to head off again. I caught another bus for Gumi.
I was always surprised by how close I lived to Gumi. In a couple of minutes the spread out vacancy of rice fields and outlet stores was replaced by the cluster of high-rise apartments that signalled the entry to Gumi proper; a moment later I was in downtown.
My phone rang. It was Stella. She was late, predictably, and although she’d given up on her vigil for her G-market package she was still miles away, somewhere on the long road from Seonsan to Gumi. Lisa had called and wasn’t sure of how to get from the bus terminal to the train station; could I go over and rescue her? I said sure.
Some of my buses went all the way to the terminal, but others shot off at unexpected moments for Honggok-dong or Gumi Indong. I couldn’t remember which bus I was on, and whether it went to the terminal or not, and I didn’t have the Korean to ask. So I got off at the yeok and caught a taxi to the terminal, probably pointlessly.
When I got to the terminal I remembered as I always did my first time out in Gumi, when Stella and I had arranged in our ignorance to meet at the terminal instead of the much more convenient yeok. How I had caught a random bus and stayed on it far too long as it looped out into the suburbs and back again; how, one-by-one, each passenger disembarked until I was alone on the bus, and how, panicked, I eventually got off somewhere amongst the anonymous grey buildings and highway overpasses. How I’d been forced to catch a taxi and instruct the driver with phrases from my phrasebook, and eventually made it to the terminal twenty minutes late, and how when I got there Stella came running down the long walkway and hugged me, and how glad I felt then to have a friend and not be alone in Gumi. But I was an old hand, now.
I looked around the waiting area but couldn’t see Lisa. I went outside again and had a cigarette on the steps in front of the terminal. Koreans looked at me the way they always looked at me when I sat there – a mildly amused look that seemed to say, “Hey, look at the waegukin smoking in front of the terminal building,” and nothing more than that. It didn’t feel hostile; it was just Korea. I finished my cigarette and got out my phone and called Lisa.
“Where are you?”
“I’m just coming in to Gumi,” she said.
I told her I was at the terminal waiting for her. Then I decided to go meet her where the buses arrived. Some buses came, but I didn’t see Lisa. A few minutes later she called me from the waiting room – she was here, where was I? We found each other. We went out to the street and I outlined the options for her. We could wait for a bus, or pay a couple of cheonwon more and catch a taxi. We caught a taxi.
We waited for Stella outside the yeok. Lisa was impressed by Gumi. “Wow, you guys have shops and stuff,” she said.
“Don’t you have that in Andong?”
But she wouldn’t rise to the bait of this old joke. “There’s nothing where I live. You guys are so lucky,” she said.
She took a photo of me outside the yeok. I look stiff and awkward in the photo, though happy. My collar is awry.
Stella arrived like she always did: late, loudly, and with such enthusiasm that I would immediately forget she was late and just be glad to see her. As it turned out we’d managed to get ourselves together with more time than we could ever need to see Geumoland, so we decided to get some lunch. We walked down to Second Street to find a place. Lisa was impressed, again, by Gumi’s moderate if busy downtown. We avoided New York, New York, which Stella and I had mistakenly gone to on one of our first trips out in Gumi – bad fake western food – and decided on the sushi place.
We went upstairs and got a seat and looked at the menu.
“I want something salmon-centric,” I said. The girls deciphered the various combinations and set meals on offer for me. I was always depending on my Gyeopo friends for anything language related; without them I was helpless. It took some figuring mostly because the prices were so cheap. “I get ten pieces of salmon?” I said. “You’re sure?” We ordered, and soon the food came. We talked about our make-work winter schedules, and Lisa complained about going crazy in Yeongju. We debated the ideal proportions of wasabi to mix into the soy, Stella holding out for an amount that seemed to me excessive.
We finished and went back down into Second Street. There were a thousand clothes shops but I walked quickly so the girls wouldn’t be distracted. There was a bus that went to Geumoland, but who could be bothered? We caught a taxi from the station. We circled around the station and went up the incline towards Geumo-san. We saw the paddle-boats on the reservoir and Stella thought they might be part of Geumoland, but then the taxi driver pointed out its entrance to us. We went in and figured out the ticketing system – entry was cheonwon, and you got three rides for an additional yukcheonwon. That was our deal; we bought our tickets and went into the park.
Geumoland was almost deserted on a weekday afternoon. A few families with young children; some teenagers who clearly weren’t getting in to Seoul National. The weather was warm, the first warm day in a long time, and I took off my light jacket and enjoyed the feel of the sun on my skin. To our right Geumo-san arced above the park. Above us, to our left, was Geumoland’s incredibly awful rollercoaster. It was dead-flat. Pedal powered. The sled ride was shut down with the passing of the snows. Near the entrance was a bizarre petting zoo containing only hares, and a depressed looking monkey in a wire cage on a concrete floor. We spent a while looking at the hares and the monkey. The hares were clustered at the edge of their cage, soliciting food from a toddler, but the monkey wasn’t doing much. Geumoland had taken its toll on the monkey, you could tell.
It wasn’t a good fun park, not by any interpretation. You could ask the sad monkey that; he would tell you. But it had a charm to it.
We found the bumper cars. The Korean carnie stood by the ride, bored, waiting for someone to come along. I love bumper cars. I amused Stella by calling them dodgem cars. “They’re bumper cars! You call them dodgem cars? That’s so funny.”
I told Stella and Lisa that I was a dodgem car fiend. I told them that I would try to hit them – as hard as I could – and if I took a bump myself in the process, so be it – that it was a price I was willing to pay for the joy of slamming my friends. They said that was fine. They told me to bring it, or at least Stella did; Lisa might have been a little wary of my maniacal enthusiasm.
We each handed over one of our three tickets. I had spotted a car in a good position (not blocked in, facing the right way) and claimed it. I spun the wheel to each end and back again, making sure I was at twelve o’clock. Opening seconds are important in dodgem cars. The carnie threw a switch and the electrical grid above our heads was electrified; I headed towards the outer edge of the rink, ready to swoop.
Now, the ideal way to hit someone in a bumper car is to get on their outside and hit them at a forty-five degree angle to the front edge of their car. That’s when you really knock them about. I got a few good ones in. At one point I found myself stuck against the middle barrier and looked up to see Stella, foot to the accelerator and a wild gleam in her eye, heading for me at the perfect angle. She got me good. It happens.
At Geumoland, all the rides went for longer than you would expect. After a good run the electricity was shut off and our cars rolled to a disappointing stop. It had been fun. We went in search of further thrills and came to the tagada ride. It looked like a fast, spinny sort of ride; a little fun and a little cheesy; a good break after the bumper cars. We had not idea what we were getting ourselves into.
I’ve since learned about this sort of ride. A tagada is a ride that would never be allowed in Australia due to the lack of restraints. It was probably what my mentor teacher had been thinking of when she told me, “Geumoland is not safe.” Tagadas are popular in South Korea and parts of the former East Germany. Cultural practices vary. In some places they are like discos, where people attempt to dance while riding them; in other places, the fun of the ride comes from being mocked by the carnie as you flail about. The common element in all of them is this: the fun of the ride comes from knocking people out of their seats so they tumble about the ride, out of control.
A tagada is an inclined, circular ride, with a piston action at its apex. So you spin around, centrifugal force pushing you back against your seat and against the railings, and as you reach the high point of the incline, the piston bounces you, causing you to come out of your seat, rise in the air, lose your grip, fall dangerously to the floor. The tagada at Geumoland had no particular complexity to it. What it had, instead, was hard seats.
(On a later trip to Geumoland, I discovered that normally the seats were covered with padded cushions. It was a far more tame ride then. I don’t know where they were that day; perhaps they’d been sent out for cleaning during the week.)
So we handed over our tickets and got on the ride, laughing to ourselves, thinking we were in for a fun, not-too-exciting time. We sat equidistant from each other, so that if you’d drawn a line from each of us to the centre of the ride, you would have a Mercedes symbol. The ride started up. We spun around, laughed, looked at each other and sarcastically said things like “yay” and “woohoo”. Then the piston action started.
It was gentle at first, if surprising. Then the ride gained in speed, and we each suddenly found ourselves being bounced a foot into the air and landing on our tailbones on the hard plastic. It was impossible not to scream a little when this happened. Then you were past the bouncy point, and looking at your friends being flung into the air and landing on their asses, trying to hold on, trying to find some way to avoid the pain. So we would go around, and it would go like this: “Ow! Christ! Ahahahaha. Ahahaha. Argh! Ahahaha.” We were all screaming and laughing at the same time. And, of course, because the park was nearly empty, it went on for a really, really long time. Then the ride slowed down, and stopped. We were relieved. Then it started again, going in the opposite direction. “Oh my god, let me off! Ahahaha. Jesus Christ! Ahahahaha.”
A crowd of Koreans had gathered to watch us. They were laughing and pointing. They knew about this ride. Eventually it ended and we left the ride, bent over, in pain. “What the hell was that?” we asked each other. “That ride should not be allowed.” It wasn’t fun, merely painful – yet I hadn’t laughed so hard in so long.
The Korean spectators were giving us the thumbs up and smiling broadly. We hobbled away. We walked towards the back of the park, now, and passed the House of Horrors; it looked amusing, and we thought about going on in later, but our next ride by common agreement was to be Viking ship.
The Viking ship was at the very rear of the park. There was nobody operating it, and we had to go find a carnie, who agreed to fire it up for us. We got on. Lisa and Stella sat at one far end, and I sat at the other.
What is there to say about Viking ships? It was satisfyingly steep, with a slight thrill of dangerous uncertainty when the ship reached its zenith and again started down. When that happened you rose in your seat a little, and the bar across your lap wasn’t so secure as to stop you from wondering if you might come out of it. It made me feel I need to brace myself into my seat with my knees. I kept my arms in the air; Stella one-upped me by not only keeping her hands in the air but dancing in her seat to the k-pop tunes. There were tunes, plural; it was a really long ride. At a certain point I thought I wouldn’t mind getting off, now; and when it ended and we got off I asked if we could sit down for a bit. I was a little worried I might puke.
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