I like one out of these three things. Can you guess which one?
Here we have "moo-kimchi" - which is white radish that's strong smelling, crunchy, and spicy sweet. Beside that is ubiquitous "bondeggi" - silkworm larvae (see:bugs). And finally, there's makkoli, a fermented rice wine which is always served in crooked kettles at restaurants and drank out of bowls. It's a favourite drink on rainy days, and goes well with "pajeon," which is sometimes called as "Korean pizza" - though I think "Korean pancake" is a better description.
I enjoyed one of these three things the other Friday night when Joy - my former co-worker came back into town. I was surprised to see her face in the window of the 1st class I was teaching that day! We made arrangements to meet after work, so three of us (Sunny, my current co-worker came as well) met up for some makkoli. I really miss Joy!
I like Sunny well enough, but communicating with her is really challenging. She keeps asking me to do things with her, shopping or going out for dinner, but I'm wary and don't think I'd have the patience for it. But it's always fine when we go out with another person who can speak English well. Joy and I talked and talked, and I knew Sunny wasn't able to keep up with it, but Joy would translate the gist of the conversation.
Sunny has a gaspy laugh (he-he huuuuuu he-he huuuuuu) which gets more pronnounced when she drinks, and she can't drink very much at all. After a bowl of makkoli, she's bright red! Maybe she's allergic. As we walked to meet Joy that night, we chatted a little bit. She was trying to ask me what I thought was special about Korean culture, but it took a few minutes for her to put the words together so I could understand what she was getting at. I said, "I think your English is special!" Everytime we'd have to cross a street she'd link her arm through mine and clutch me to her, and I'd try to shake her off. "Oh, Jenny! Be careful!" I told her I'd managed to not get sucked under a passing car thus far in life, and I was pretty sure I could cross the street unassisted. She laughed breathily at me, not knowing what the hell I was talking about.
After Joy and I finished the lion's share of three kettles of makkoli, we headed off to the noraebang for some singing. Time flies so fast in those dark singing rooms, and it was a lot of fun. It was almost two in the morning when we finally emerged. Joy and I headed across the street to the park where she could sober up a bit before going home, and Sunny walked off in the direction of her brother's apartment where she's staying with his family.
I found out Monday that her brother had been waiting up for her when she got home. He shouted at her awhile and she ended up crying and apologizing for coming home after two a.m., sober and twenty nine years old, on a Friday night. I just can't relate to it.
It was so good to have a little Joy for some time. I wish she was still working with us. This past week, Sunny actually called in sick on Thursday. No one was feeling particularily fantastic this week. Jane's back is still acting up, Sunny has an awful cold, and I've been worrying about things back home. Next week, though, is a short week - broken up by a holiday on Wednesday. Good. My visa got renewed for another year, which isn't to say I'll be staying here another year,...but I wasn't going to be leaving last Thursday when my current visa expired. So there you have it.