I’m writing this from work. Monday morning after Halloween weekend. It was a real good one. Friday, I stayed in Cheonan, and went to the costume party at Dolce. I had initially planned on not going in a costume, because being as busy as I was, and in all honesty, not really giving a shit about Halloween, I just couldn’t be arsed to buy a costume. However, Friday evening when I was warming up for hapkido, I looked down and realized that I already had a costume, so after class I went home, showered, and put my uniform back on, then headed out. It actually got like a surprisingly positive reaction. People, Korean and foreign a-like, were coming up to me and asking me about it.
Also, on the hapkido front, things are going well. My master said on Wednesday that I could have another belt test soon, for my green belt, so I’m improving. I’m the only person in my class that isn’t a black belt, so sometimes I feel a little left behind. All the black belts will do one thing, and he has to make sure to tell me to do it slowly, not worry about kicking really high yet, or just plain do something else easier. Still, more and more, I’m watching the black belts and it’s easier to see what they’re doing. At first, everything moved so fast that it was really hard to do anything but copy the basic order of which foot where, lead with which shoulder, etc… but now I’m seeing all the motions, so the master spends less time correcting me.
Plus, Friday, I accomplished something none of the black belts could. It was mostly a kicking and tumbling day, and the master set up some gymnastic pads for us to jump over. They were probably about four and a half feet high all together. A couple black belts tried jumping over it, but kept knocking over the pads. When my turn came, he took the top pad off so it would’ve been considerably lower for me, but I told him to put it back on. Better believed I jumped over that damn thing. Also, I can feel myself making progress ever so slowly on handsprings. Still can’t land one, but I’m almost positive I’m getting closer. I can do a respectable handstand now. I just landed my first one handed cartwheel and can actually do a legit pull up, probably for the first time in my life. Feels good.
Anyway, the party at Dolce was huge. I’ve definitely never seen so many foreigners in one place in Cheonan. At least a hundred people in the bar. There were even people from out of town that came to Cheonan just for that party. Seems strange people coming here to party, but most said it was just a pit stop for Seoul on Saturday night. Later in the night it was such a hassle getting beer from the bar we just went across the street, bought beer and brought it in. I felt a little like the douche bag since the owner is always so nice to me, but the place was packed, and he had been using smaller paper cups instead of the usual glass mugs for the same price, so I’m sure he didn’t miss a couple thousand won from me.
Saturday, I got up early (11 AM) and headed to Seoul to meet Josh. A friend of his from OSU was in a play, so we went up and caught the dress rehersal. It was pretty decent. It was funny enough. Just a series of ten monologues. It was called Ten Good Reasons Not to Go Home. I thought it would be like a sitcom type thing with kimchi jokes, but it was just a series of monologues that represented the different types of people and situations that you may necessarily not miss from home. Though, honestly, I don’t know that the same people and situations don’t exist here to, perhaps just to a lesser extent. Lesser evil, I suppose.
Afterward, we bummed it around Itaewon for awhile. Had good Mexican and Indian food. Checked out Hooker and Homo Hill. Both incredibly disappointing, though we did see them while it was still light out. We waited for his friend to finish with his show for the night to come back to Itaewon and start drinking. We met some older career army guys in a bar and struck up a conversation about Big 10 football. They were pretty decent guys. Met up with the play people. Met a military guy who was on his last night in Korea before going home, and he also happened to be a huge OSU fan. Good luck for me I was wearing my OSU t-shirt and he ended up buying me a couple beers and a shot. I take back everything bad about the military I may have said. Almost.
Started heading to Hongdae just too late to catch the subway, but it ended up only being a $10 ride from Itaewon, which isn’t a bad deal. Hongdae was just… a blur. Not because I got especially drunk. I did a fair amount of drinking, but it was spaced out and I left enough time in between drinks that I almost never really felt anything more than a little tipsy. We just were all over the place in Hongdae. We met some girl Josh was in his orientation group with and caught a Korean punk show at some dive bar. That was interesting. They played mostly covers, but in Korean, and being punk bands, sometimes it was honestly really hard to tell what the fuck they were playing. Still pretty interesting. Almost saw some douchebags get in a fight, mostly because some dude on the edge of the pit got salty after he was run into. What a bitch.
After that we split out, headed to Exit bar for a drink, then went to the park. There was a huge drum circle/b-boy (break dancer) crew group that tons of people were watching. Josh struck up a strange friendship with some Korean guy and they ended up dancing with a lit cigarette between their forearms to see who would chicken first. Some really cute, sexy girls came up and were somewhat concerned (one of them was either dating or related to the Korean guy) but I just ended up talking to one of them for a good while.
I got her number and she wants me to teach her English because she’s planning on going to Australia, but I don’t think it will really happen. I’m too busy during the week to go to Seoul, and she’s busy on the weekend because of her boyfriend (just another good reason not to waste my time and energy), so meeting at all would be hard to work out. It really sucks. Seems nearly impossible to meet a young Korean chick that is single. I think, off the top of my head, I only know three. And honestly, only one for sure. I just think the other two are single, but I can’t be sure. I’m just making an inference from conversations we’ve had.
The end of the night was probably the only bad part. The taxi drivers in Hongdae can be incredible dicks. If you just want to go somewhere nearby, they just ignore you. They only want to take large fares. And this is not just for foreigners either. I saw plenty of pretty Korean girls get turned away from cabs. It was the worst I’d ever seen, though. Josh and I spent about half an hour at 5 AM trying to get a cab. We only wanted to go to Seoul station, which is only a $5 from Hongdae, so we probably tried 30 cabs before we got one that would take us. Utter ridiculousness.
Of course, having stayed up all night, I was wicked tired. My train left around 6:25 AM, and I ended up falling asleep. Wake up in Daejon, the stop 20 minutes past mine. Ugh. I got out, bought another $10 ticket and waited half an hour for the train to go the other way, then damn near missed my stop again because I was nodding off. I ended up getting home around 8:30 AM, and immediately passed out and woke up at 1 PM for lunch, a Korean movie, and my study group later in the evening.
Anyway, next weekend should be eventful. Someone mentioned they were going bungee jumping, and when I seemed excited, they invited me along. The details are still a little sketchy, but it should be sometime this Saturday afternoon, not too far from Seoul. I hear tell it’s only 25,000 won ($20), so there’s no reason not to do it. I’m pretty excited. Bungee jumping is something I’ve always wanted to do. It’ll definitely be cool to cross something off the bucket list.
Lastly, I’ll try to update a little more often. I’m generally super busy, pretty much all the time, but I do have free time in the morning that I could use to write here more, so I’ll try doing that.
Korean Word of the Day:
맛 축이네요 – mat chugi-neyo – This isn’t necessarily a curse, but it is slang for “It’s fucking delicious.” It literally means “the flavor kills me”.