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December 29th, 2006

calender girl

About a month ago one of my former classmates, who is no longer attending university here, called to ask for a favor. She wanted to make custom-designed calenders for her immediate relatives as Christmas presents, and the cheapest price was from the university's copy center. I'm still not entirely sure why this girl asked me to help her out given that she must know several other people on campus and we were never very close in the first place. However, the Calender Girl (as one of my flatmates nicknamed her) was willing to do all the work and mailed me some money for the copies, so it didn't seem like it would be much.

Three weeks later, and everything fell apart. The carefully researched details included with her package didn't match the options at the copy center, and while the student manager initially confirmed the Calender Girl's price quote as accurate, he called later to say that it would be $160 rather than the $40 that had been included with the package and instructions. At first she wanted me to pay the difference, but after hearing the doubt in my voice she changed her mind and just had the copy center make four calenders rather than the eleven she had initially wanted.

I dropped them off during my drive to Oregon last weekend and she seemed quite happy - but her family likes them so much that she called to leave a message asking me to make more copies after classes start. Usually she only calls to complain about her school or work, so I'm beginning to dread hearing from the Calender Girl. Is it worth the time and effort to make her more calenders?

And here you probably thought I'd be talking about pin-up models ...

home away from home?

One of the other side adventures from my drive to Oregon involved a visit to the Ku family. It's been close to six months since the last time we spent time together, which feels like an eternity after spending four days a week tutoring Kyo Wook and Jung Ah before leaving for university two summers ago. Between playing tennis at the local courts, occasional drives across town to a hagwon by my apartment, late night talks, games of frisbee, and our trip to Canada they feel more like a second family to me than anything else.

I thought they might be busy since it was only two days before Christmas, but Mrs. Ku seemed quite happy to hear from me when I called. In fact, when I arrived at nine o'clock it didn't look like I was interrupting - Jung Ah had flown to Korea the week before, while Kyo Wook and his mother had just finished cleaning up after dinner. What timing. We sat in their living room - drinking coffee, eating chocopie, and talking - for a while before Mrs. Ku heard that I hadn't eaten yet and insisted I have dinner at their house before leaving on the rest of my drive. It felt awkward to be the only one at the table eating, but when I spent as much time talking as concentrating on my plate they both thought that was a sign that I didn't like my chicken kimchi soup. Spicy, but delicious.

I wish I could have stayed longer. Kyo Wook was leaving for a church retreat the day after Christmas and Mrs. Ku and I made tentative plans to meet on my drive back to Pullman, but she wasn't home when I tried calling - presumably because she was dropping off Kyo Wook. I'd like to see them again soon, but it will probably have to wait until the weather isn't so bad. The recent snow in the Cascades makes for poor driving conditions, so a trek halfway across the state might be a little much.