The Girl In the Elevator

There’s a girl who lives on my floor in my apartment building.  A foreigner, like me. I know because I was waiting for the elevator when she walked up.

“Hi.” she says, surprised.

“Hi.” I say, even more surprised.

The elevator opens and we get in.

Cue super awkward moment where we’re both not sure what to say next so we don’t say anything at all. I couldn’t remember the last time I was in an elevator with someone I could actually communicate with.

We stand quietly but inside I am absolutely RACKING my brain for SOMETHING friendly, relevant and/or intelligent to say to her.

You can’t pass this up. You need friends.

Ask if she’s a teacher.

No nevermind, it’s rude to assume.

Maybe…How long have you been in Korea? 


What’s your room number?

Definitely not.

Say something! Quick!

“You going to work?” I finally blurt out.

Alright, not the best line but I was panicking.

“Yeah….you?” she asks.

The elevator opens and we step out, “Yeah I work at a hagwon over on main street,” I answer.

“I work at a hagwon somewhere over there,” she replies in an English lilt and gestures off to the right.

Aha, my question worked! I now successfully started a conversation AND know she’s a teacher. And British! 

“Sorry, I’m late.” She glances at me apologetically as she starts walking away.

“No problem” I shrug, slightly defeated. So close.

I start to ride away when she calls to me, “I’m Grace, by the way”.


“I’m Savanna!” I reply, with too much enthusiasm, “It’s nice to meet you!”.

And I ride away grinning.


Well, you know.

2 thoughts on “The Girl In the Elevator

  1. kellyulf says:

    If it means anything at all, next time you see her, dont be shy. I’ve found myself in this situation many times and ive learned that being aggressive (or so we think/seemed to be thinking from this post) is totally fine. The good thing about meeting other foreigners is that they’ll have sympathy and or understanding for your situation. Its all so weird, doing the whole “making friends” thing as an adult. We have had friends pre-set out for us since preschool the way the american school system and university life works, that “putting yourself out there” is the most frustrating concept ever in a foreign country. Good luck, and it gets easier, but i’m sure you’ve been told this many times.

    • savannaleechampagne says:

      Kelly you were more than right. I made excuses not to reach out or find her and when we finally did become friends it turns out she was just as homesick and sad as I was. And we wasted all this time alone just a few apartments away.

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