I know I'm breaking tradition by posting in the middle of the day, but I thought I'd share a few photos and stories from being out with the other teachers last night.
We met Matt and Tania in the Cheongjong neighborhood and headed over to Soulmates for Chris' birthday. Ian's met Chris a few times because they work near each other, but this was my first time meeting him. Chris and Chelsie were already at the bar, so we joined them at the table and had a few soju cocktails. Soju cocktails are blended fruit drinks with ice, puree and (naturally) soju. Strawberry was a little too sweet, but the kiwi one was really good. I'm keeping my soju intake to a minimum because even a little gives me a killer headache. The "cheaper" stuff tends to be full of mystery chemicals and it's all so cheap that I'm not sure which is which.
There was another birthday being celebrated at the table next to us and when they lit their cake, a waiter turned on a dance mix birthday song. Matt danced, it was pretty rad.
I'm not sure if it was because he danced, or because they knew it was Chris' birthday, too, but they brought us over a couple pieces of cake.
I found it terrible, the other folks who have smartly allowed their taste buds to acclimate found it enjoyable.
When the woman (the other birthday'r) brought us chopsticks, Matt tried to tell her that it was Chris' birthday, too. She obviously didn't understand and just made a grumpy face at us. It's difficult to describe the level of discomfort one can reach when there's a language and cultural barrier. Had we offended this woman who had just given us cake? Ian, Matt and I were all too uncomfortable to eat the cake. Then Matt decided to send over a pitcher of Macchu (beer) and all was resolved.
There was another birthday party happening for another teacher named Kendall, and all 17 of them showed up to Soulmates at once. Our group, now around 22 people would force the bar to rearrange and clean quite a bit, so we headed to Metro. On the fifth and top flour of Metro, we lined several tables together and made one big mob against the side wall. The roof is retractable and any time it gets too hot, they pull it back for a minute and let the place cool off. Pretty cool. I drank beer, having filled my quota of soju earlier and watched Ian play Titanic (or "tug boat," as I knew it). If you don't know, Titanic is a drinking game in which you fill a glass three quarters of the way with beer and drop an empty shot glass into it. The people in the circle take turns pouring a little hard alcohol (soju, in this case) into the shot class. Whomever pours the bit that sinks the glass has to chug the whole mess.
I had to stop Ian from taking pictures of unsuspecting folks, but here are some photos of the group from Metro:
Three quarters of the table. The people looking at the camera are (right) Tristan and Arian from Canada and Adam who (I think) is from Jecheon. We met a lot of new folks last night, including Jamie, a man from Ireland whose been in Jecheon for seven years and is now married to a Korean woman. He was quite a character. As for the faces you can actually see, we've met Adam before and if you'll think back to when we first arrived, we actually ran into Tristan and Arian in Lotte Mart. They were the first foreigners we saw in Jecheon. They remembered us, too, even though we haven't seen them since then.
A group of us discussed going to the 호박 (hobahk / pumpkin) club, but it was decided that it was too expensive and cheasy. So, we went over to Sara Jayne's and had our own dance party. It was pretty rad, because people actually danced (thanks to Jeff and his Daft Punk). Then we had to leave because Adam told us the neighbors were complaining. I don't blame them.
The group headed out to a nearby park. It's legal to drink wherever you want in Korea (like Spain), so the boys played beer pong while some of us talked about teaching and the difficulty with reconciling the fact that Hogwons are more business than school.
I got tired and I was one of a few sober people, so I decided to head home. Ian wasn't tired or sober, so I told him that I didn't care if he stayed out. He finally agreed and I set off in a cab home. As the cab pulled up the our complex I remembered that only Ian had carried keys that night. Great. The last thing I wanted to do was call him home. A) I felt terribly guilty for telling him he could go continue to have fun and then having to end it, and B) I do not want to give our friends the impression that we are locked at the hip or that I am controlling of Ian. But, I couldn't wake the super, so I had to have him come home. All the "no, no, you stay out and have a good time" for nothing. We took two seperate cabs only forty five minutes apart.
But, on my way home I made a nice discovery. They have been doing contruction on a pretty large building to the south of our apartment building. Last night, I noticed that they had put up the sign.
Yep, an E-Mart! Right next to us. We went to an E-Mart in Wonju (it's the very large shopping center with a McDonald's inside). I don't know if this one will have a Mickey D's, but it'll sure make shopping a lot better. I can't find anythng onlin about when it is to open, but the building looks nearly finished. Maybe next month? I hope so!
Enjoy your weekend!