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Sunday, April 20, 2008


Sorry for the noisy title. But people have been (silently, to themselves) clamoring to see photos of my new domicile, so after nearly 4 months (I moved in around New Year's), I finally gathered the necessary energy to spend 5 minutes taking pictures.

As Laura so astutely pointed out, it's been more than a month since my last post. She failed to mention, most likely out of courtesy, that the previous posts, also few and far between, were largely vapid and insignificant. While I suppose that's better than numerous lengthy, vapid, insignificant entries, I still offer my sincerest apologies.

I haven't really done any sightseeing sort of stuff lately, and while I'm still enjoying myself here, there's not a lot I'm doing that I feel is really post-worthy. Anyhow, I'll give you a rundown of my last little while.

A few weeks ago, (April 4 I think) a friend of mine had a birthday party. You will know this if you've logged into facebook recently, since I'm pretty sure it's always watching me. We started at 4 in the afternoon with a BBQ, some drinks, music, party games, and a Wii. During the party game (Mafia, if you know it), I befriended a korean guy named suk-joon, since we were both cast in the role of detective. I translated a fair deal for him, and he said my Korean is awesome, which is pretty much true. Anyway, the party continued late into the night (you will also know this if you've scoped out the facebook pictures), and we made several stops including a bar where the mugs are made of ice and when you finish you get to chuck them at a target. If your aim is awesome, you can win some free nachos. Luckily for the owners of the bar, you have to finish a mini-pint before you get to chuck the cup, so the success rate is pretty low.

The next week was pretty mild. Study or read or sleep in the mornings, work in the afternoon, gym in the evenings, home by midnight or 1. On Tuesday, George and I went out for some drinks and grub with our adult class, since Wednesday was a holiday (voting or something). We've been doing that a lot lately, as the higher-level adult class has finally reached some critical mass where we have enough people to keep a conversation going for a while. On Friday, George and I probably played pool, as is our habit, and he definitely whomped me, because he's ridiculously good at it. After that, we met two korean friends and went for some grub and drinks. We ordered the skewered meat platter and I successfully avoided eating more chicken anus, though I did unknowingly consume some eel. It tasted like smores.

Saturday, George and I went out to meet Suk-joon, the Korean guy I had befriended earlier. We went to an area that was new to us, the North Gate of a college not too far from here. The area was really cool, much younger and livelier than the suburb I'm in, and we went to some cool restaurants and bars. The two Korean guys that we met (the second was named dae-joo), despite not being much scrawnier than me, couldn't handle their soju and literally fell asleep in a bar at 2AM. There was a girl with us, whose name I can't remember, who somehow managed to get the two boys home, I assume. The night still being young, George and I proceeded to go downtown and shake our booties in a club called "Frog" until closing time (6 or 7AM). If you stay long enough, you can always count on hearing "soulja boy," about 5 songs by kanye west, and a smattering of naughty by nature and beyonce. Probably pretty typical. Some random foreigner I was talking to accidentally stabbed me in the hand with his cigarette. It hurt much more than I expected. If you watch the longer of my two apartment videos, you'll see the wound while I'm pointing at some Chinese characters.

Sunday I of course rested, and on Monday, though I had been invited by Suk-joon to go down to the North Gate again, I opted out so that I could go to the gym. He was persistent, though, and finally at about 12:30 in the AM, after playing squash and lifting for a little more than an hour and a half, I caved and went to meet him. I hung out with him and some of his friends until 4. It was a really bizarre evening involving an extremely odd conversation with a late-night radio dj-voiced taxi driver, a love triangle (I wasn't involved, just watching and trying to understand as best I could), a dead friend who was an organ donor, and who knows what other mayhem. It culminated in me going with Suk-joon (but not with Dae-joo) to Dae-joo's apartment, where we ate some awesome spicy ramen and then slept on the floor. I took a bus home the next day, rested a bit, freshened up, and went to work.

Wednesday of last week, some of the coworkers wanted to go out. We have a new receptionist with whom I've been to busy to socialize, so I agreed. We all went for some grub at a western-style bar, where I enjoyed some delicious chive pancakes. Then we went out to another restaurant, specializing in a certain rice-alcohol called "Makkoli." That restaurant had some truly awesome potato pancakes, but I do not recommend the Makkoli. It's much stronger than it seems. And it doesn't taste that great in the first place. Even when you mix it with 7-up, which is what the new receptionist suggested. After that, we went to a singing room, and George and I disgusted the coworkers with our terrible rendition of Eye of the Tiger.

Thursday morning I was feeling pretty lousy on account of the Makkoli, but I got a call from one of the middle-aged men at the gym in the morning, and so I agreed to let him buy me some delicious lunch. It was just me and him and grub and Korean for about 90 minutes. Not too bad, eh? The food, called Shabu Shabu, is one of my favorites here. They put a large bowl of broth in front of you (everyone shares it), and you just dump in some meat, eat that, some veggies, eat those, then some noodles. Then they make fried rice for you. It was splendid.

Thursday night was monthly meeting night at the gym, so in lieu of exercising, we went up to the roof-lounge and had some grub. Unfortunately the only choices were pig feet and nasty steamed pork fat, so I just grazed on lettuce and kimchi, despite much heckling from my elders. I abstained from drinking with the dudes, also despite much heckling, because the Makkoli had still not finished taking its toll on me.

Friday I went to work, then went to play pool with George and another Korean friend, Chanhyeok. Another dude, Yook-gi, came and met us later, and we went out for some gru band came home around 3.

Saturday (yesterday - the post is almost over, as I'm sure you'll be relieved to hear), I didn't do much and then went downtown around 9 to meet a certain lady I had befriended in the club the previous week. I helped her and her friend with some English assignments in a coffee shop, chatted for a bit, then we went for some grilled meat. Originally they had planned to go home around 11, but apparently I just make people want to dance. So we went back to Frog (after a brief stop in Monkey, another club in the vicinity), where we spent about 1/3 of the time dancing, 1/3 hanging out on the roof, and 1/3 wandering around either looking for each other or just trying to find the bathroom. That finished around 6AM as well.

Now I'm at home and I have to write about 50 report cards. Dahhhhhh.

I know that post was a little long and self-centered. By the way, the korean word for "narcissistic" is wangja-byung, which means "prince-disease." Pretty sweet, eh? Next time, I'll try to go a little more Bob-and-Laura style, mentioning something about Korea I like or hate. Maybe something that will actually give you a little insight into what it's like to be living here. Just maybe.