Today was a light day, so I met up with my old college roommate for dinner at Spiazzo in West Portal (very nice); afterwards, she sent me on my way back to the San Fran State dorms via muni, this city's snazzy term for public transportation that's part bus, part train & wholly unMetro. She told me which stop to get off at, & I successfully un-boarded, at which time I realized I had a bigger problem -- I had no idea how to get back to my building. No one I stopped for directions seemed to have ever set foot in the city before, so I wandered the SFSU campus aimlessly for a bit before asked three Asian tourists for help.
"Strangers!" the one man said, indicating his inability to direct me. "Me, too," I sighed, turning to leave. But then one of the men turned back to me -- "You need map?" he asked, & I must have looked either very grateful or very, very lost, because the men conversed in their native tongue for a sec & then assigned one of the three to Directional Duty. He motioned for me to follow him, & we set off across the quad, him quite determined & me quite embarrassed/grateful/hoping not to be abducted/etc.
He spoke approximately a dozen words of English, including (& probably limited to) the following:
- "You American?" -- To determine my ethnicity (& he was Korean, for the record)
- "Two weeks" -- The amount of time he was staying at SFSU
- "Mechanical engineering" -- His course of study
- "Very cold" -- Pretty self-explanatory
- "More clothes?" -- Following the previous statement, while offering his sweatshirt to me (I declined)
- "I'm OK" -- When I thanked him repeatedly for his help; I think he meant "It's OK!" but it's unclear
Over all, quite the international day for me. Who needs a passport when you can conjur up awkward interactions with strangers from abroad?