Banner design by Helena, portrait by Eva


Sunday, December 17, 2006

Sunday with Chung

He met me outside my apartment at 2:00. There were 6 inches of bright, wet snow on the ground. Everything looked fresh and pretty. Water dripped off rooftops.

"The baseball game is cancelled, right?" I asked him, zipping keys in my purse. No, no! Still on. Really? I pictured the players sliding through the field in their sneakers. As I was buying a yogurt at the convenient store, Chung's phone rang. The guys were wet and tired. No more baseball, but the buffet was still on.

Chung asked if I still wanted to do something. "Yea," I said. Karaoke? Why not. We walked to a noraebang club- closed. Movie? Sure. We took a taxi to a movie theatre near Woncheon amusement park. Closed! We asked the driver to take us to another theatre, between New Core and Galleria. The Holiday and Just friends (the only English movies showing) didn't start until 5:30. Well we had to be at the buffet by then so we settled on a karaoke club in the complex.

Noraebang is a whole other story when you're a party of 2. I was more shy than I was in a crowd! Chung sang his songs "to" me and most of them were hardcore 1990's rock music which he sang at the top of his lungs. He was a great singer but my head pulsed! His cigarette didn't help. Koreans are so comfortable with a microphone in their hand. Chung said he and his friends sang at a karaoke club, nightly, after school. He asked me about my Canadian friends' voices- high or low, powerful or weak? He was surprised that I haven't heard them sing!

The buffet was a lot of fun. We took yet another taxi to a wedding hall. While we were sitting in the lobby, waiting for the players to show, he expressed how excited the players were to meet me. I was supposed to watch one of their games last weekend but couldn't make it. Attendance is normally low but everyone showed up to meet 'the foreigner.' When Chung arrived at the field without me, they told him to "go home!"

The food was incredible. There was Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Italian food- you name it! I ate an exorbitant amount, took shots of soju and saved room for the desert spread with everything from rice cakes to gourmet chocolate ice cream. I had so much fun meeting the players. We continued our conversations when we moved the party to a nearby bar.

They asked me questions. One of them was, "what's your favorite Korean dish?" I described raw white fish rolled in lettuce and dipped in horseradish sauce, along with kimchi pancakes and sweet rice wine on a rainy day. They were impressed I knew about the "rainy day pancake" tradition.

Everyone seemed desperate to get together and practice English, in the near future. When
I left, they wrote down their e-mails (with a little blurb so I'd remember who they were.) The e-mail addresses on my notepad say: "Nice guy," "Muscle Amazon guy," "Shy guy," "Min-Gyu," and "smart guy!" They're all single and not happy about it. As I emphasized, Christmas is not a family-focused holiday in Korea; it's couple-focused. Single friends get together and eat/drink. Those in relationships do romantic things. They asked me what I was doing for Christmas. I have nothing planned so they suggested Chung and I join them. We'll see.

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