From the BK to the SK
Dear Korea,
Happy Nine Months, and there was no better way to celebrate our anniversay together than some Korean BBQ, Soju-saturated co-workers and a noraebang.
Last week, my gentle giant co-teacher suggested that he, Nick and I go for some beers and Korean BBQ together on Monday night. When Monday morning rolled around, Nick and I both crossed our fingers that perhaps he may have forgotten, which would not be uncharacteristic of him. After a long Saturday night that resulted in coming home when it was light out, I did not look forward to incurring any further damage to my already haggard body and mind.
But no, for once in his life, he did not forget and was awaiting our 7 p.m. 'appointment' with two of the high school math teachers at a Korean BBQ place across the street from mine and Nick's fitness center.
The war zone of a table, the empty bottles of soju, the red faces and the blacked-out state of one of the h.s. teachers led Nick and I to conclude that this dinner had been going on probably since school ended at 4:30 p.m. We weren't complaining, though; live entertainment and some 갈비 (galbi) is a pretty great combination.
The minute we sat down, the '건배', or cheers, started. I was giving a glass with 김치 (kimchi) residue hardened around the top of it, but I just closed my eyes and reminded myself of all the worse things I've seen while traveling (this was after trying to pass off my glass to Nick and my co-teacher).
The one h.s. teacher was one of the most intoxicated forms of life I've ever encountered. He was drunk from soju, meat and good friends, and there was no stopping him. At one point during the dinner, he stopped using his chopsticks and just took the cooking tools (you cook korean bbq at your table in front of you) to eat with. He also proudly showed us his new pair of super-fly kicks that student of his bought him for teacher's day, practically Michael-Scotting his foot by almost putting in on the grill in his many attempts to show us their designs from every angle. He took a cat-nap every ten minutes or so that lasted about thirty seconds until a key word sparked his interest and brought him back to life.
The food never stopped and neither did the drinks, and before we knew it, Nick, my three co-workers and I were en route to a 노래방, noraebang/karaoke room. I can remember in my delirious head being like, "No more"; but when you go to a singing room with three drunk Korean men you know you're bound to have some great laughs.
Literally, one the walk there, my co-teacher and the other h.s. teacher are holding up the one h.s. teacher who is basically lifeless, his limbs flailing about as uncontrollably as his slurred words. Everything about him was just a jumble. All I could think was, I'd be pissed if I was his wife and he came home in that condition, but then again this is just the typical Monday night for the Soju-loving Koreans. (There were a good many stumblers in the BBQ house.)
I forgot how much fun a karaoke room is as I scaled the list and saw countles songs I loved to belt out when  I was little or sing with my whole heart as if I had any sense of key or tone. I scored lowest of all singers this night -  even the drunk man - but I blame that on my strategy; I picked fun songs, not easy songs.
I sang some Beatles, some Bruce, some N*SYNC, Justin Bieber and Mikey J, and I even tried my best to keep up with a song by my favorite K-Pop group, Big Bang. The beers kept coming, the men kept drinking, and I kept my distance from the misplaced cups that were being passed around. I think the one teacher threw up a good number of times, and there was no chance I was risking sharing his cup.
And the same way he'd come to life in the BBQ house, the teacher would come to life in the karaoke room whenever he heard Nick or I sing. At one point, he started unbuttoning his shirt and I thought things were going to get ugly for a few minutes. in the end, he probably only unbuttoned three buttons.
It was more than an eventful Monday night, and one that was in the end a perfect necessity for our nine month anniversary. It couldn't have ended on a better note than sitting in the karaoke room with my co-teacher, whose eyes were swimming in beer and who Nick and I think was heartbroken that there was an entire pitcher left untouched, advising Nick about how the night would wrap up. My co-teacher told Nick the following:
Co-teacher: "Nicholas, I think you should take care Alexandra and bring her to her home. To stay the night at her home is your choice. It is Korean way."
And so, Korea, you've definitely made it an interesting past nine months for me. Despite all your craziness, I still love you more than ever.
In conclusion, I'd like to end on a great student comment. While playing an opinions-lesson game, my students were told to choose which animal would win in an animal fight. One of the examples was Elk vs. Bison.
"I think Bison will win because it has beautiful eyes."

They end.


05/19/2011 04:43

So Happy 9 months. Sounds like you have some great stuff to put into that book of yours. Can not believe how quick the time has past. I can not wait to see you in a few weeks. Love Ya Dad


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