Letters to Gloria "The Ring"

Sorry, it's taken me so long to respond to you. Life's been a little hectic. It hasn't been tremendously hectic- just changes are taking place at my institute.

Today my hagwon owner fired one of the foreign teachers because the teacher was really unhappy here and all the students really noticed it. He was a 50 year old New Zealand man that was really introverted, so he didn't do much with the students or even with the other teachers at our school.

He said that he wanted to leave after the first week of being here, so I think he's happy that he is returning to his country.

My hagwon and many other's in the area aren't doing very well because of the sluggish economy and because President Roh changed the education laws so many high school students can't attend hagwons.

Oh, well, it's not my problem. I feel bad for my owner though, because he's a nice guy. I still have a lot of students so I'm not really worried.

I have a funny story for you. One of my students told me one of her friends- a guy friend went to Canada to study for a year. In Canada, this Korean guy became friends with this beautiful blond girl and he was so happy, but he was too shy to ask her to be his girlfriend. They got along really well and after one of the meetings the girl told him, "Give me a ring, sometime...ok?"

The Korean guy said ok, but he was utterly confused. "A ring?" The guy thought the girl was interested in him so he thought he had to buy her a ring as a sign of friendship or he thought she was asking him to be his boyfriend.

Now the guy didn't have a lot of money, but he decided that maybe this was fate and possibly this was the girl that he was going to marry so he went to several jewerly shops to find the perfect ring to exemplify her beauty. Finally, he found a beautiful blue sapphire in a gold band- the stone was the color of her eyes and the gold the shade of her hair. He bought it, the price was almost $300.00 dollars- which was more than he had ever spent on anything for himself or for a girlfriend.

He was scared and happy, but one has to make sacrifices for fate, for destiny.

So on the next meeting, he buys flowers for the girl and puts on his best outfit to meet the girl. When he sees her, she has on just casual clothes- ripped blue jeans, a t-shirt and a baseball cap. They don't exactly match, but he thought it was the culture.

She...asks him, "Why are you looking all sexy? Do you have a date?"

The Korean guy answers, "Yes."

"Really? With who?" she asks, smiling flirtatiously.

"With you." he says as he hands her the flowers.

"You're too sweet." she exclaims as she smiles with glee. "You're the cutest fun-friend, I've ever had."

Then the boy, thinking this exchange is going well gets on one knee and he opens up the ring box and reveals the beautiful blue ring.

"I got the perfect ring for you." he says, through a dry throat and a locomotive heartbeat.

She stands there agasped. She doesn't know what to say. She is trying to say something, but she can't figure it out. Her mind is in a vortex of perplexities. Finally, something rings true in her mind, she remembers their last conversation. A huge smile comes over her face. She starts to giggle. She starts to laugh.

The boy is utterly defeated. He should have gotten her a diamond ring. Why is this girl being so cruel to him. He has failed. He sulkingly gets up, his head down. He is thinking of the $300.00 he spent on the ring and all the dreams he had of her dashed to pieces.

The girl is still laughing when she grabs him and says, "I said give me a ring, but I didn't mean a ring."

He is trying to shake off the girl, but she is holding him fast.

"I meant brrrrring, brrrrring, a telephone ring."

The boy is suddenly embarrassed, but relieved. The girl's arms are still around him and he feels an exuberant silliness fill his whole body- his body which was devoid of all happiness one second ago has been recharged with life. He is hundreds of blank pages suddenly filled with words. He is laughing uncontrollably and the girl is still hugging him as they laugh. Tears are rolling down their cheeks and as they look at each other- they laugh harder.

This is happiness he thought.

I'll e-mail you soon, I've gotta go to work now. Have a nice day :)

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