Where will you be my darling? Where will you be when the dark is rising?
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Well, I've been talking quite a bit about Hailey.
Yeap. This is her.
Ha, well, yeah, of course. And what an entertaining time that has been. Well, I guess I'll expand this post about the Koreans in general who interned at my company, because they were great company themselves!
Well, first, my parent company is EP-Asia Group. Under them, they have EP-Tec, that sells Smartboards and Robotel products, there's EP-Net, that does networking stuff, there's GTI Media (originally from the UK) that sells publications like doctorjob, GRADMalaysia, postgradasia and that sort of stuff, and my company, JobsCentral, a job portal originally from Singapore, a distant second to JobStreet in the market. Through career fairs and other business opportunities, GTI has developed a working relationship with Berjaya, who owns Berjaya Times Square and their hospitality school. Berjaya has some kind of contract with the South Korean government that sees many Koreans from various universities interning at Berjaya. However, sometimes there's an overflow of students and they end up interning at other places instead of Berjaya itself. This is how we wound up with the 5 Koreans. Alfred picked them up for their first day, and we jokingly called them Girl's Generation, haha! I'm not familiar enough with K-pop to remember any girl band that has 5 members... I can only think of those with 4 =/.
Anyhoo, the interns were divided into GTI and JobsCentral. Yee Ju, Lyn and Cathy went to GTI and Hailey and Hyo Jin came to JobsCentral. Hailey and Hyo Jin's first day was spent setting up the JobsCentral section for our office open-day, where family and friends were invited to see what our office and company was about. As Hyo Jin had some designing experience, she was able to help me with some minor work that would have taken my time off from some more important assignments. So I got to know Hyo Jin better first, and she was more inquisitive, asking many questions, so that led to good conversation and knowing each other better. She also had a boyfriend in Korea. Hailey, meanwhile, was doing the more typical admin and data entry work, so I didn't talk to her as much, but a few chats here and there. She had broken up with her boyfriend of 3 years a few weeks before coming to Malaysia. And what do you know, I had just broken up with Sharon days before the Koreans came in. Fate? Well, I think fate is crap, but it's good for literary value.
At the office open day, apparently the Koreans were asked to do a K-pop dance. Lol, talk about stereotypes! Hailey was the most confident dancer of the 5, and led most of the moves. I suppose it was a cutesy kind of dance, and while I'm not really a fan of K-pop, it was a nice thing to watch. And I suppose, from that dance and the few conversations I had with Hailey throughout the office open day, I took note of her more. Later that day itself, JobsCentral had a trip to Port Dickson, which was full of alcohol and good times with colleagues. And under the influence of alcohol, I became a religious scholar and science teacher. And I was also caught by Farrah (flirtingly) messaging Hailey. Thankfully, she didn't say a word about it to anyone.
Over the next few weeks I got to know the 2 JobsCentral Koreans better through lunches and chatting here and there in the office in general. I suppose I developed an attraction for Hailey around this time too. She's a very lovely, graceful girl. Very lady-like, and just sweet overall. So one day, during lunch, there was Hailey, Hyo Jin, Minghan, Alexandrea (also known as Lina) and I. Basically, marketing team minus Alfred and Yan Yee. After eating, Lina, who's basically the very definition of ignorant and naive (but she's really nice, don't get me wrong) asked whether any of us had played truth or dare by spinning a bottle or other objects. As people living in the 21st century, yes, obviously we had. So she started spinning her lunch box (she always eats home-cooked food). And for some reason we all decided to play. Since it was a hawker centre and it wasn't very practical to play dares, we decided it'd just be truth. Spinning a few times, we learned quite a few things about one another! Like the fact that Minghan had actually liked Lina last time and asked her out, which she rejected. And then it came to me. Fresh from my breakup with Sharon they asked me whether I had a crush on anyone since then, specifically anyone in the office. To which I replied yes. Of course, this caused a barrage of questions all related to "Who?!" I ignored them and said that one spin was equivalent to one question, and spun the damned lunchbox. And then it pointed towards me again. Bloody hell.
Naturally, they asked who. I was at a loss for words because Hailey was right there in front of me, and how hilarious it'd be if I told her I liked her right there, in a hawker centre of all places. I decided to waste more time and hoped they'd forget or something, so I said I'd tell them back in the office because it was very hot in the hawker centre. Yes, it was. No, not because I was flushed or Hailey was there. We went back to the office, and they started treating me like royalty. They pressed the elevator button for me, led me into the elevator doors, opened the office doors and even stood at the side and freaking bowed. It was bloody hilarious. It was such a troll thing I only expected from Symposium. But yeah, we went back to the office, and they all crowded around my table asking who it was. After eating some mints and drinking some water, I said that after mentioning the name, I needed to do quite a bit of explaining. Hell yeah. They started to shout names of the single girls in JobsCentral, and when I said no to all the names, they started listing the ones who were in a relationship. After hearing no's all the way, for fun, Hailey threw out Hyo Jin's name. Hyo Jin in return tossed Hailey's name and I said "Yes, correct. Hailey."
To say that Hailey's expression was surprised would be expected of course. She genuinely looked surprised but that was really about it. Not awe, wonder, or disgust but, like an honest curiosity. The rest, however had gone fanatically nuts and started asking, when, how, why and that sort of stuff. I had said I needed to clarify and began explaining that I found Hailey attractive because she was really pretty, and was a very soft kind of girl, and I found that attractive. I turned to face her and told her that we were both fresh from breakups of our relationships of several years and that we probably both didn't need more relationship drama in our lives at the moment, hence why I kept quiet. I also said I did not wish to pursue anything further, as it would be very irresponsible to both of us, and especially to her as she would be here for only 2 months, and she would be going back for good. To start a relationship and having her go back without any direction in our relationship would hurt both of us and make things possibly worse or awkward. Also, I said due to us being fresh from breakups, my feelings for her could well be a rebound on my part and we all know what a poor decision it is to begin a relationship from a rebound. While I didn't know whether I considered this a rebound (and when it comes to emotions, we don't often have that certainty!) I erred on the side of caution. She agreed with my statements and that was that! Kidding. The rest made jokes about her staying in Malaysia or me moving to Korea, but they were pretty satisfied with the whole thing.
I messaged Hailey telling her that I hope this revelation wouldn't make things awkward between us to which she said it most definitely wouldn't, and why should there be? I was wary, because I've heard this line from so many people in the past, and for the vast majority, they made things extremely awkward. Very few kept their word. Hailey kept her word to such an extent that it was like I hadn't confessed. Haha! Really, she was mature about the whole thing, made jokes and kept things very natural. From the time I messaged her at Port Dickson until she left, every few days or so we'd have an exchange of messages on Facebook or WhatsApp, getting to know each other better and all. It was a very pleasant experience. About 3 weeks before she was to leave, her phone was stolen by a snatch thief on a motorcycle. Zzz. What a way to experience a country. I was the first person she told (yay! Sort of, I'd rather her phone not have been stolen), and I comforted her and told her I'd lend her my old phone. I also decided to ask her out for a date and she said sure, if we could find the time.
And of course, we found the time. She had said she wanted a place with good, creamy pasta, and when I asked her out I said I'd take her out to a place with great pasta and we could go for some drinks afterward. The best place for that was Ante, at Publika. Strictly in terms of pasta, there were many other places, but Ante had fantastic pasta anyway that could hold its own and Publika had plenty of bars we could walk to after our meal.
So after work, I showered, freshened up and borrowed my mom's car to pick up Hailey. She was dressed in some sort of stereotypical summer-girl kinda dress with a light cardigan. We had a few conversations here and there about colleagues and I pointed out a few places of interest on the way there. It took forever to find a place to park at Publika, and even all the valet spaces were taken. But we found space, and went to Ante. We got a candlelit table for two, which was lucky because Ante was now booming in business. When Sharon and I last went here a few months back, it was still relatively empty; at least half the place was never filled. We definitely were lucky to get a nice table to ourselves because every single table was occupied like I've never seen it before. Luckily they still served us well, and we ordered our food. The pasta was fantastic as usual. I had told her the top two choices were either their carbonara or a special curry cream spaghetti, which, to my amazement, is good as hell. She wasn't bold enough to try the curry cream so she had took the carbonara and I had the curry cream.
The conversation was nice. We talked about our most recent exes quite a bit. Apparently she's only liked one guy in her life and that was her then-boyfriend. Somehow, ignoring her ex, she's never been asked out by any other guy, nor has any other guy confessed that they liked her. I found that weird as hell because she really is gorgeous and is really nice. And that's not me being dumbstruck. It's a sentiment a lot of colleagues have, and they see her everyday. They had broken up because they got bored in their relationship. I told her my story of Sharon and I and what the hell, speak of the devil, Sharon called asking me where I was. She had some belongings she wanted to pick up from my house and wanted me to pass her my keys, to which I obviously said no, because then I wouldn't be able to enter my own house if my mom had fallen asleep, and Sharon sure as hell wouldn't bother driving back or wait to pass me the keys again. She asked me where I was and I said Publika. And she was like, "Oh! Me too!" I still said no, and said I'd pass it to her another day. I continued to talk with Hailey about our impressions of each other. I've found that when you ask people's opinions about yourself, it's usually once you've reached a level of comfort with them; a level you're close enough to discuss their views of you and hopefully, constructive criticisms, or praises. To overly generalize, that normally takes more than two months. Unless you're the needy kinda guy who asks everyone right after they've met you. I thought it'd be a unique perspective from Hailey, seeing as it's only been two months but we've gotten relatively close yet it's still very... I don't know how to put it. Safe? Well, she said that her impression of me was that I was very nice and gentle. I laughed, because I've gotten cockier and arrogant the last 2 years, and that shows in the office, and I'm pretty sure Hailey has seen that side of me. Interestingly enough, she only took notice of my kindness. She said I was very patient and well-spoken to her and Hyo Jin, and that's the impression she had of me. I was so curious for more so I asked her whether she had any negative impressions of me. She said she had none. I egged her on to be as honest as she wanted but she really had no negative impressions of me. I laughed again, hard. That really surprised me, and I don't think it was empty flattery, she's not the kind. She proceeded to ask me of my opinion about her, and I told her, she was a very sweet, graceful girl. Very lovely. And she was surprised too. Referring to herself she was like "Me? Lovely? Graceful?" She laughed too. Naturally she asked for more elaboration, which I did.
After a very nice, satisfying candle light dinner, we went off to drink. I originally suggested Barfly, because the beers are dirt cheap but the crowd was insane. So we went next door to Modestos instead to have a few beers. Talked about embarrassing stuff we did under the influence. Haha! Well, her stories were pretty mild. I forgot which story I told her though, because I've had so many drunk incidents and stories =/. She was kinda concerned about me drinking because I was driving, but really, we didn't drink much. Lol. We also spoke about Korean history. Why? Well, I'm in interested in something (or someone) and it's not something I'm familiar with I tend to read a lot about it through journals, various articles, the ever-convenient Wikipedia, and books. So, since there were 5 Korean interns, and mostly because I was interested in one, I decided to read up the entire history of Korea, from the their Three Kingdoms period of Goguryeo, Baekje and Silla until the formation of North and South Korea. Yeah, LOL. So that led to some good, light intellectual conversation. After a bit more talk, she was getting tired, which was no surprise since we had been up in the morning since work and she didn't have much time to prepare after coming back from work until our date. I drove her back and along the way, had a bit more small talk, very softly. After reaching her place (maybe I'm over analyzing things or what) but once I reached the lobby of the apartment, there was this slight hesitancy on what to do next before she would go off. It may well possible there was nothing, but she said she had a great night, and said good night.
So yeah, that was it. We acted like nothing happened in the office, 'cause you know, sneaky! But yeah, from the very beginning when the Koreans joined us, I honestly didn't expect this level of relationship to develop. Not because of pessimism but they were here for just two months, which isn't that long. But everyone in the company treated them very, very nicely, and they were given tours of the city, and some people took the time to drive them to various places around Malaysia, as well as taking some of them to cafes and restaurants, and for Hailey and Yee Ju (yes, there was also another colleague who fell for a Korean intern), dates! Lol. They were a very lovely and lively addition to the company and truly everyone enjoyed their company. They were always very happy, smiley and very pro-active in everything the company did. It was with heavy hearts we said goodbye to them, over the course of their departures. Cathy sobbed like a baby when leaving, lol. But yeah, it was a very deep bond forged over a short period of time and everyone enjoyed their company. As for Hailey, for me personally she was the most graceful of the 5. Yee Ju was very, very fun, engaging and sporty. Lyn and Hyo Jin were a bit on the quiet side. Cathy was the definition of the naughty little sister. Hailey was, as I've been repeating, graceful, and very lovely. She was very gentle, but very bubbly as well. She had this cute marching thing she did with her arms. Despite being a bit more reserved outwardly, she was also pretty sporting and would try out things and explore new places too. Not to mention she's a fantastic singer and apt dancer Hailey, Hyo Jin and Yee Ju gave some gifts to me when they left, which I appreciate a lot, and thank for the kind words. I miss them tremendously, especially Hailey (of course) and if I ever get the chance to go to Korea, would definitely like to meet them up. Yee Ju said she's planning to come back for a quick visit in December, so I'll be expectant for that. As for Hailey, I still chat with her here and there Facebook, keeping updated.
Really appreciate the gift!
A new batch of Koreans came in today, 3 of them. 2 girls, 1 guy. Effy, Ariel and Kevin. Kevin will be at JobsCentral side, while the girls will be helping out GTI. When they walked in, Ming Han said "So, which Korean are you going to date out this time?" LOL.