"The Year of the Rabbit" began this week on Wednesday. I had the whole week off and tried to use my time wisely--which was more difficult than it sounds, considering most museums/restaurants/stores/my gym were all closed for most if not all of the holiday. Lunar New Year is a Big Deal here--most Koreans travel to see family or take a vacation, since it is one of the few times during the working year that most people actually have more than a day off of work.
Some of the things I DID manage to accomplish:
- I went up to my old Korean home, Uijeongbu, to my friend Leah's house. Leah has recently acquired a small convection oven, which is an extreme rarity in most Korean kitchens, most of which only have gas ranges. We baked up a storm: I made quiche and Leah and I whipped up some insanely delicious meatloaf from old, frozen hamburger patties she just happened to have lying around. We also made mashed sweet potatoes and green bean casserole:
Everything plated. NOM NOM NOM
Close up deliciosity
Beautiful lady, beautiful oven, beautiful MEATLOAF, DELISH
My old guy friends Brendan and Anthony came over and we played a bit of poker and drank a bit, which was so much fun.
Brendan looks smug/slightly resistant to having his picture taken
- I went on the worst date of my life. Note to all dudes out there: if you hit on the random friend your date happens to bump into while you on said date, odds are, the friend of your date is going to tell on you, and things will get really weird, fast. Also, you will affirm all of her stereotypes about enlisted U.S. Army folk: that they are stupid, culturally insensitive, and misogynistic. That said, I did get a steak dinner out of this guy (Outback Steakhouse in Korea in pretty much the exact same as it is at home, by the way)--still probably not worth the unnecessary dramz
- I went and visited my old friend Bob out in Incheon yesterday.
I've written about Bob a little bit before here. He is one of the most interesting people I've ever met in my life. He has lived in Korea for almost six years now, has over 20 years of experience teaching special education, was a chef for Norwegian Cruise lines, and has lived in all sorts of amazing places like Miami, Niagara Falls, Key West, and Hawaii. He has a ton of interesting hobbies--from collecting old coins and Asian artifacts to playing World of Warcraft. His house is lined with hundreds of DVDs, books, and interesting pictures and stuff. He is always full of great advice about teaching, cooking, drinking, living life--and after having a particular shitty January, it was great to visit him and his partner, Hoon, and eat delicious food, talk about our Korean and American lives (past and present), and drink a full glass of wine in the middle of the afternoon.
Some random tidbits I picked up this time around:
--If a red wine is good, it will have "legs"--tracks that drip down the side of the glass after you take a drink
--The secret to a good gravy: having a pre-made roux on hand
--Did you know they used to have 1 won coins in Korea?
--Always keep in touch with your friends--even if you go three or four years without talking to them, keep their phone numbers on hand. It just takes one phone call, and you'll pick up where you left off
--Aim to do everything in three year cycles
--Move to Miami at some point in your life
--The TV show "Queer as Folk" is awesome
--You can sell Asian stuff on eBay to people and they will pay TONS of money for it
--Be there for your friends, even when they call you drunkenly at 2 am wanting to go for a walk or something
--Be there for your friends, which may require you to drive them to the hospital after the bullet they shot at their own head grazes their ear
--If you want to make a ton of money, try to be a housekeeper on a cruise ship in the future
--Eat, drink, and be merry, even if you have diabetes/sky high cholesterol/have had open heart surgery
I love this guy, and think I'm so lucky to have him here in my Korean life^^
- I went and volunteered with PLUR, a fantastic internet-based volunteer group that does all kinds of work here in Seoul. I have been participating in PLUR's "Help Your Seoul" event on Sunday night for the past few months, and it has been a great way to end my weekends here lately. Every volunteer that participates donates 10,000 won for bread and soymilk, which are distributed to the homeless living around Seoul Station. You meet a lot of interesting people, and more important feel like you are contributing positively to society, ect.~~
Trying to start this new year right! Thinking about lots of things--friendship, love, teaching, the future...