Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

You know who your friends are. You also know who your friends were. But how do you know who your friends are going to be?

Only God knows that. And he isn’t telling. And just to make sure, he picks the most unlikely people. That way it must be His doing, and not ours, right?

Last August, on my first day in housekeeping, I was introduced to a Korean guy calling himself Tiger, after one of his favourite singers. Tiger had arrived in Auckland around the same time that I had, and also for a year. We folded sheets, quite unaware that we would spend a great deal of the next 9 months doing this together.

Some weeks later we were going to attend a backpacking survey, for which we would receive, quite literally, all the pizza we could eat.

“Sixth floor!” declared Tiger beforehand in his breathy Korean accent. “Come on! We go together!”

In England you can’t really use the phrase “we go together” without immediately distancing yourself from whoever you had hoped to go together with, but Tiger had no such inhibitions. As we headed for the lift, I felt a bit like I was 6 years old again. Back then your friends were whoever was in the room.

Somewhere along the line, Tiger invited myself and Japanese travellers Kazu, Wei and Darren along to the Korean language service at his church – the Salvation Army on Queen Street. After the service there was a meal, and extensive games with completely nonsensical instructions. I realised that I was totally and utterly outside of my culture, yet a whole year on I’m still attending.

I guess in some way that fish-out-of-water syndrome gave us some common ground, especially since we’d both left home to arrive in Auckland the same week. As the weeks became months, and ten of thousands of transient travellers tramped through my life, Tiger became a rare constant. Just as in England Herschel and I had regularly greeted each other in the style of The Matrix’s Agent Smith, so Tiger and I would boom down corridors at each other “Misterrrrrrrr Goblllllle!” “Misterrrrrrr Kimmmmmmmmm!” (TOGETHER) “It is…inevitabllllllllllle!!!”

He read the Bible, he also read Sherlock Holmes, he stuck stickers from the hostel’s quilts on his baseball cap like a burger uniform to read “BUNK KING”, he won a competition, he begged me for my free drinks vouchers, he asked me for more of them, I lied to him that I had none, I apologised to him for lying to him, he gave up drinking, then he went touring with other backpackers and hated it because they all drank so much. The everyday legends of the Tiger became legion.

Finally, as my year down under approaches its conclusion, so necessarily must Tiger’s. Osaka beckons, and with it comes 3 years of the Tiger learning Japanese.

On 6/28/05, Tiger wrote:
>I'm home misterrrrr gobleeeeee
> mister goble, i'm home now. it was long boring flight, really tired, i'm in
> my room now, something's changed..11months..take care and keep in touch,
> tiger

Tiger's blog:


2 comment(s):

At 7:36 am, Blogger KlownKrusty said...

So, Tiger really did steal my act, huh? I guess it *was* inevitable.

PS - I came across your site on google and I wanted to let you know about this site you might be interested in... ah, ferget it.

At 4:58 am, Blogger Steve Goble said...

No please, I'm really interested in blogs about scary-looking green-haired klowns from Krustonia.



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