Sunday, April 17, 2005

wild weekend

This weekend was filled with unexpected surprises. Friday at work began with tragic and devastating news about my co-worker's boyfriend. I spent the evening and into the late/early hours of the morning with her and a couple other teachers discussing a whole menu of crazy stuff and meanwhile collectively contemplating the meaning of life without directly discussing it in those terms.

On Saturday I met up with my Korean teacher, Young-jean, at Technomart. I've been spending far too much time there. It's a mall and I don't belong there. We discussed proper sentence structure, a few irregular verbs, and how to clearly express things like "I'm drinking at the bar..." "Which bar? Where are you?" and just for the Jehovah's Witnesses and adorable church ladies "Who's there? I don't speak Korean. I'm Jewish."

Then I met up with Wo-seuck, and his new adorable girlfriend (who has in two weeks completely revamped his look), as well as Jade and Paul. We went for dinner together at a chicken place. I did my best to eat roasted chicken with chopsticks, but I eventually gave up and used my hands though I felt like a barbarian as woo-seok's girlfriend delicately ate with grace and ease. Afterwards we were meant to meet up with the Chun-Cheon posse, but they never made it to Seoul, so minus the happy little couple the English teachers went to the Jim-Jil-bang. It was really great and relaxing. I sat in the sauna, watched a couple of movies, had some snacks and sipped on shigae(some rice drink) while I had a foot massage. After a good shvitz we got ourselves together to leave. Then I realized that I forgot to take my cash out of the pocket of the shorts before tossing them in the hamper and basically threw away the equivalent of 20 or so bucks. I just don't know where my brain goes sometimes.

On the way home I bumped into EG, Woo-Seok's brother. It was nice to bump into him seeing as though we hadn't chatted in a bit. Still I always leave thinking "What a nut."

The weather today was amazing. My absolute favorite. I went to the Jung's (Woo-seok's uncle's house/Yuna's) for lunch with Paul. Their apartment was stunning and fancy looking, like a hotel. Apparently it was modeled after the Hyatt on Jeju-do, which I think is a hysterical little tidbit. The apartments were all situated around a huge courtyard. The glass elevator, with a tv inside, provided a luxurious ride up to their floor. They have an enclosed balcony that is filled with bonsai trees and all types of flora. It wraps around the apartment and displays a great view of the city and the mountains beyond. Yuna's mom made a fantastic spread of goodies. The main bit was a seafood soup with lots of veggies, octopus, and crabs. She made some chop-che(that great clear noodle dish), hobuckju(the pumpkin soup), and some pajon too. I stuffed myself. Then she had fruit and we brought a cake so we had some of that too. She tried to talk me into a stawberry milkshake, but I successfully was able to reject eating till I bursted by using the lactose intolerant excuse.

No matter what we do the Jung's always seem to be one step ahead of us on the gifting. We brought a nice cake from the bakery with white icing and fresh fruit stacked on the top. I had a little print of my dad's and I bought a cute frame for it. Still, somehow I left with some Hanji, Korean paper (MY FAVORITE), and a cute pillow that stores an extra blanket inside for my house. They always seem to be ahead.


Yuna has an international conference coming up where she is giving a presentation on her work, IN ENGLISH. She's in grad school for genetics and her thesis project is really quite fascinating. She's been extracting albumen (like the white part of an egg) from blood using a solution that has acetone(like in nail polish). Apparently, this procedure is far more cost-effective and produces more albumen than the commercial methods currently being used. The albumen is tested to detect disease. Anyway, Paul and I sat around for a bit helping her practice for her presentation.

Then her dad drove us to the Children's Grand Park to see the cherry blossoms. I have never seen so many children in my life. It was as if every child in Korea was there running around, screaming, throwing things at the seals and pathetic looking polar bears, blowing bubbles, crying, giggling, hanging from trees, eating, riding camels, playing soccer, pulling each other's hair, and most of all being shown off like a shiny new exciting accessory that matches the perfect outfit. I'm constantly amazed by the kids here and how parents let them wander and run around OR by how outrageously CUTE they are. I want one, at least just for an occassional weekend. In addition, there are so many kids in this city. It's like there are two children for every cell phone. New York simply doesn't have as many children running around as Seoul does. Within 25 minutes we had to leave the park. It was too crowded and overwhelming--you couldn't even walk.

We strolled over to Konkuk University and went to a board game cafe. After I won Cha-Cha-Chicken we played Jenga a couple times and then Da Vinci Code. I had a green tea frizzae and it came with a basket of bread and cookies with whipped cream. After all that excitement I was ready for bed.

I couldn't find the remote to my television all week so I didn't watch any tv. Of course, I put it in the closet. I don't know where my brain has gone. So, I think it's about time to revisit an old friend with a bag of my favorite new bad snacks and see what kind of amusement I can find.

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