Vignette:Cultural Exchange

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Cultural Exchange
Ansan Stream Canal, Saekung, Equatorial Republic of the Yeosan Islands
July 12th, 2020

Are you sure you want to go strolling around in a suit, Thea?”

“I’m perfectly fine, Yun-Seo. I’m part of the embassy staff. I’m supposed to be wearing one.”

“You’re on a break. You could at least take your coat off.”

“Alright, alright. If you insist.”

Thea didn’t quite feel right, being so far from home. This district of Saekung faintly reminded her of the streets of old Avarino with the palm tree-lined canal cutting the neighbourhood into two. The similarities ended there, though.

The cool ocean breeze rushing through her hair contrasted with the hot desert heat peppered with sand particles she once had to deal with. The hustle and bustle of the old town bazaar littered with people shouting in Aravan, Thalassian, and Goetic were replaced with Yeosani pop songs gently weaving their way into her ears and out of her mouth in the form of quiet humming as she strolled down the canal beside Yun-Seo.

“You’re humming that song, aren’t you?”

Thea seemed surprised; she hadn’t caught herself humming at all. “It’s an earworm, I guess.”

“Earworm?” Yun-Seo looked and sounded befuddled.

“Ah. It’s what we call songs that stick around in our heads long after we’ve heard them.”

“You Goetics certainly have odd words in your vocabulary.”

“There are far more interesting words I’m sure you’ll find are hard to wrap your head around.”

“I won’t push any further,” Yun-Seo chuckled. ”I’ve had enough Goetic lessons for today.”

The upbeat song played over and over again in her head, her footsteps matching up with the beat. She could imagine herself walking down the banks of the Alva river again, carrying a binder-laden bag towards the university with her earbuds playing the latest music.

Old memories trickled past her eyes as she gazed around at her surroundings. She hadn’t had the time to really take in the sights and sounds of Saekung; she’d been too busy fixating on and cheering for the Alvak team in the Saekung Race just days prior.

“Hey, Thea?”


“Didn’t you say you forgot your lunch back at the residence?”

Thea nodded, quietly cursing at herself.

“I don’t suppose you’ve tried the jjamppong here before.”


“So you haven’t, then,” Yun-Seo smirked. “You’re in for a treat!”

Thea’s eyes glinted with marked anticipation as Yun-Seo led her by the hand down the canal.

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