And what had I done?
Well, not too much really.
Usually Christmas is a fairly tumultuous time in my head. I miss my friends and family back home in a way that makes me ache. I mean, I miss them all the time - but it's not nearly as bad as it tends to get around the holiday season. And I felt that familiar pain at times this past Christmas; I did. But, it was so brief and fleeting that it barely registered. Overall I didn't give a rat's ass that it was Christmas. To me, it just felt like a Thursday. (Although really it felt like a Saturday which pleased me to no end because I kept remembering that Saturday was two days away.) I love holidays. Not "the holidays" as they're known back home - but I love not having to go to work.
We started off the "holidays" by having "Market Day" at school on Wednesday. When I first started, we held Market Day every three months. I always looked forward to it, and the kids LOVED it! Over the past couple years our Market Days have occurred with less and less frequency, and so this past Wednesday's was the first one we'd had since the beginning of MAY! It was so "meh." I showed up late because no one bothered to tell me to come in early and I didn't even think about it. I wasn't assigned a job, and so I basically pretended to be your average Korean employee and tried to make it look like I was busy.
That's a lie. I half-heartedly pretended. I couldn't muster enough care to give a shit, really. I know I complained about my co-workers laziness at the Halloween Party, but I've jumped wholly into that Pool of Laziness it seems. Oh. I rented the movies that we played on the big screen in the TV room. Not too many kids watched anything, but I thought Kung Fu Panda was pretty cute.
Anyhow, my former boss Karen came for the day and I enjoyed seeing her. I miss her. I do really like my new boss, though - so I'm not complaining. I was wary of the new guy when I first met him because, well, that's the nature of this beast. But I've grown to like him the most and I feel almost protective of him. I want him to do well so I ramp up my enthusiasm on most days. Except Market Day.
We finished early on Christmas Eve and headed out to my boss's favourite down-scale "gogi-jip" where we ate so-so pork and even more so-so baby squid stir-fry. However, their kimchi (hand made by the owner's mom) is delicious. There is no better kimchi than that made by someone's mother. In fact, my boss gave me a massive amount of his mother's kimchi today. She's got to be over 70 years old. I can smell it through the container and I know it's going to be goooood. It will probably last me all winter. Num.
Ee-cha (2nd stop) Xmas Eve was my boss's favourite "hoff" (bar) where he got us a cake. Wheeeee!
Those big red balls on the top are tomatoes!
Sam-cha was the noraebang.
Sa-cha was just my co-worker and I visiting a foreigner bar downtown. We met up with other people. It was fun. I've got a fledgling relationship happening. Maybe. Perhaps. It's been a slow three year build, but I'm still not all in. But these beginnings of maybes and perhaps can be sort of thrilling, can't they?
Most of Christmas Day was spent cocooned with the cat. I managed to call my brother's house just as they were all starting to open their presents. I missed them with that ache until I was told they were too busy to talk to me, and so I cocooned some more.
I showed up to a feast on Christmas night at my friend's restaurant. Join me now in remembering the deliciousness.
First course was a whole lotta beef.
Sorry for the ratty picture, but trust me - this is some yummy meat. It's like a seriously fine steak sliced up and grilled for just a couple minutes. you can dip it ever so slightly into the wee bowl of salt and pepper mix and pop it in your mouth, or create a bundle of meat, wasabi-onion, red bean paste, garlic, and kimchi wrapped in lettuce and sesame leaf and CHOMP.
Second course was fish.
Thems raw fishes.
Have a closer look.
Dip it in a spicy red sauce and eat it up! Or make a bundle. Whatever you like.
This came next.
I really don't remember what this was.
Did I mention there was a lot of free-flowing beer and soju? Yah. Lots of "gumbaes!" (Cheers!) Still, I remember asking what this was and I remember thinking "nooooo thanks" so I didn't taste it. Looking at the photo,....I don't know. Tongue? Penis? I'll ask my friend and update. **UPDATE** it was squid intestines. So my drunken "No WAY" was reasonable. And lookng at my photos in retrospect I was sure this was deep fried, but my friend swears it was just boiled. So, double ewww.
Third course. Yuuuuummmmm.
King crab, baby! There were three of these gigantic trays. Enough to fill all the spaces in your already quite full tummy.
Strangely, no one seemed to like the claws, saying they were "too much trouble." Puh-lease!" And just so you know, whereas most Westerners might stick to the legs and claws, my Korean pals ate everything, pretty much, of these crabs. Crack open the bodies and slurp everything out!
And to end off there was some cake. Cake bookends to this post.
I was supposed to work Friday, but I took the day as a holiday and spent the next three days in near hibernation. I liked it.
Meanwhile back home my mother bought my niece ice-skates for Christmas and they all went skating on Boxing Day. My mom fell down and broke her arm. It had been snowing in Toronto for days, and just after Christmas it warmed up and started raining. The ER doctors said they'd spent the whole day mending broken bones from people falling on the ice. It was the first time my mom has broken anything. Record over. I've never broken a bone either, despite having smashed myself up good numerous times. At least I survived Christmas intact.
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